Harvey Gene Grossman, 79, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 30, 2017, in his home in Corpus Christi, the city where he was born on December 14, 1937. Harvey was the son of the late Fela and Simon Grossman. Harvey remained faithful to his parents, caring for them until their deaths. He respected and advanced their legacy of gratitude to the United States and the blessings of religious and racial tolerance, civil rights, and economic opportunity.
After graduating from Ray High School in 1955, where he was a standout varsity basketball player, Harvey pursued higher education at the highest level. He graduated from Princeton University in 1959 and Harvard Law School in 1963. Harvey then attended the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Harvey was active in public affairs, serving as the Nueces County Democratic Party Chairman and as a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee. Harvey and others succeeded in promoting the passage of the municipal bond initiative that built the Selena Auditorium the second time it appeared on the ballot. Harvey's ideas and activities were vital to many political campaigns, including Frances T. "Sissy" Farenthold's 1972 gubernatorial campaign, which was his idea. Sissy was the first woman to seek to become the Governor of the State of Texas in history.
Harvey defended and supported those who were in need and underdogs throughout his life. He served as a public defender in Washington, D.C., representing criminal defendants who were too poor to hire a lawyer, and worked in the Office of Economic Opportunity under President Kennedy's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver.
Harvey was a hard charging competitor in every aspect of life from sports to business and the practice of law. Harvey enjoyed telling "war stories" from the courtroom, where he wowed colleagues by winning cases that were tough and bedeviled prosecutors and courts alike on behalf of his clients. When Harvey returned to Corpus Christi, he practiced law with his cousin by marriage, Oscar Spitz. He served as legal counsel to the Communications Workers of America, Local 6147 and many individual Texans. Harvey communicated skillfully, writing and speaking to his audiences, and thinking through the consequences of every word he read and wrote. Harvey participated in sports from early childhood into his seventies, playing every sport as a child in his neighborhood and schools as well as at Camp Stewart. Until 2013, Harvey practiced and competed with the Corpus Christi Classics basketball team.
Harvey had a sensitive and discerning ear and sang well. He loved all of the visual and performing arts. He attended a number of Olympics and professional sports events, especially baseball and basketball games. He was tall and handsome, very smart, warm, charming, funny, creative, prone to ask provocative questions, and to argue and take outrageous positions for the fun of it. His wit, charm, qualities of loyalty to a friend or family member, curiosity, and intellect will be missed by all who knew and loved him. As his Princeton College friend Ross Milloy said,
"He had probably the best mind I ever encountered and I knew him . . . for nearly fifty years. We only had one argument (Kennedy vs Carter, I believe), but like all things with Harvey, that argument lasted for over forty years."
Harvey was a member of a prominent Corpus Christi family, the Grossman family, whose first members came here early in the 20th century. The matriarch of the family, Rebecca Grossman, Harvey's grandmother, helped her older children immigrate from Russia in the early 1900's. She later came to Corpus Christi with her youngest child, the late Dr. Saul Grossman. Her children acquired a home for her, the Grande-Grossman house, which is now in Heritage Park and has been designated a Texas Historical Landmark.
At age 48, Harvey did what most only fantasize about; he enrolled in the Peter Stark Film Producing Program at the University of Southern California to pursue a career in filmmaking. He received his Master's in Fine Arts, graduating first in his class in 1985. Harvey loved and was interested in feature films virtually all of his life. He shared this passion for film with others in his family. As stated in a September 29, 1986 Corpus Christi Caller-Times article, "Grossman did have some advantages when he went Hollywood. Not only did he know people in the business, he was related to them. Grossman grinned. "I'm related to Steven Spielberg's best friend," he said. Spielberg's "best friend" is Grossman's cousin-Sidney Sheinberg. Sheinberg is the president of Universal Pictures' parent company, MCA. And local businessman Mel Klein - founder of one of Hollywood's major independent movie companies – is Grossman's cousin by marriage."
Harvey was preceded in death by his brother, Sylvan Grossman. He is survived by his son, Christopher Bailey of Corpus Christi, his sister, Elizabeth Grossman Gans of Beverly Hills, California, and his nephews William, Jonathan, and Gary Gans of Beverly Hills, California, and many cousins and friends in Corpus Christi, and around the world.
He is also survived by his loving caregiver and lifelong friend, Aurora Silva of Corpus Christi and his companion, Emilie Farenthold of Houston. Harvey's physician and cousin, Dr. Maurice Grossman, provided tireless and continuing care and support to Harvey during his illnesses. Harvey's caregivers during the last years of his life were Elvira Luna, Narci Alanis, Iggy Prado and Charlene Velasquez.
A Funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 7, 2017, at Seaside Memorial Chapel, 4357 Ocean Drive, with Rabbi Kenneth Roseman officiating. Burial will be at Seaside Memorial Cemetery. A Reception will follow immediately after the burial service in the Grossman Auditorium at Congregation Beth Israel, 4402 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78413.
Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to:
Congregation Beth Israel
4402 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78413
Phone: (361) 857-8181; or
Peewee's Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary
1307 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78417.