Sept. 17, 1944 - Sept. 29, 2009
Pharis Harvey Stower, Jr., Amery, died unexpectedly at Regions Hospital on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.
Visitation was 2-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Amery. The ecumenical funeral service took place at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Catholic Church with Reverend Mark Peacock officiating.
Harvey Stower was born on Sept. 17, 1944, in Frederic, Wis., the son of Pharis and Kathryn (Bergman) Stower. His early years were spent near Frederic until his family moved to Range, where he attended 8th grade at the Range School and graduated from Amery High School in 1962. His high school activities included athletics, speech, and helping to found the Young Republicans club.
Harvey attended college at UW-River Falls where he was active in United Methodist Youth, campus politics, and working for social justice issues throughout the United States. In 1965 he participated in the Selma to Montgomery march with Martin Luther King, beginning a life-long commitment to working for civil rights. It was during this time that he switched his political affiliation, becoming an active member of the Democratic Party for the rest of his life. Harvey graduated from UW-River Falls in 1966 with degrees in political science, English, and education. He met his future wife, Marilyn Stower at UWRF and they were married on March 11, 1967, in River Falls.
Harvey taught for several years at Prescott, Clayton, and Nicolet High Schools, where he shared his love for literature with students in his English classes and created a new course on minority literature. In the mid-1970s Harvey pursued another dream to become an ordained United Methodist minister. He attended Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and spent time studying in St. Andrews, Scotland. After becoming ordained in 1977, Harvey and Marilyn moved to Milwaukee, where he served as a minister at Kenwood United Methodist Church.
In 1982, Harvey returned to Polk County to run for Wisconsin State Assembly in the 28th district. He spent the next ten years involved in state politics. During his time in the State Assembly, Harvey was called "The Conscience of the Legislature" and won the respect of many on both sides of the political aisle. He chaired the Tourism and Recreation Committee and chaired two Legislative Council Studies on issues relating to hunger prevention and homelessness. He was vice-chair for the Committee on Consumer Affairs and the Committee on Government Operations and Corrections and was Chair of the Subcommittee on Forestry for the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs. He wrote legislation to create the Wisconsin Conservation Corps, and was given the "Clean 16" Award by Wisconsin's Environmental Decade for his outstanding voting record on environmental issues. He also authored legislation to support Wisconsin schools and rural communities, and improve the lives of farmers, workers, motorists on Wisconsin highways, veterans, and Americans with disabilities. In 1994, he ran an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Congress.
Harvey spent the last 14 years of his life as Amery's mayor, working behalf of the citizens of Amery and the surrounding communities. He focused much of his efforts on developing the riverfront in Amery, maintaining a thriving downtown, encouraging industrial growth, and building the reputation of Amery as one of the "100 Best Arts Communities" in the United States. Through the "Amery Almanac" he highlighted events, places, and people that make Amery the place that he loved.
Throughout his life, he received numerous awards and commendations including the Award for Excellence from the Robert Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation. He also served on the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Board and Inter-County Cooperative Publishing Association.
Harvey is preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn; and his parents, Pharis and Kathryn.
He is survived by his daughters, Kate (Joe Schlosser) and Liz; grandson, Adam Schlosser; sisters, Pat (Jim) Anderson, Susan (Gary) Bohn; sisters-in-law, Nancy (David) Nedveck, Marie Nielsen, Carla Nielsen; brother-in-law, Allen (Cindy) Nielsen; two nieces; eight nephews.
Pallbearers were Geoff Bohn, Greg Anderson, Steve Bohn, Todd Anderson, Andrea Bohn, Anna Bluma, and Allen Nielsen.
Honorary pallbearers were Derek Nedveck, Mateus Romero, and Kenton French.
Music was led by Duck for the Oyster, Nancy Hoppe, Sherry Monson, Chris Lindee, and Barry Tulkki.
Williamson-White Funeral Home, Amery, was in charge of arrangements.
No flowers please. Memorials may be made to the Stower Community Scholarship Fund, Kinship of Polk County, Amery Area Public Library, and UMCOR.