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Services set for Skip Harvey

July 20, 2012

Skip Harvey on June 6, accepting a plaque of recognition from the Town Council for eight years on the council and two terms as Mayor.

Services for Skip Harvey have been set for tomorrow (Saturday) at Canyon Lodge.

The service will begin at 3 p.m.

Harvey, who left an indelible mark on Mammoth as a restaurateur, ski instructor and, most recently, a town council member, died early Monday, according to town public information officer Stuart Brown.

“Mayor Harvey had been battling cancer for several years,” Brown wrote in a press release Monday evening.

“Family members and close friends were with Skip at the time of his passing.”

Police Chief Dan Watson delivered the news to members of the Town Council, and others.

Watson said Harvey “took a turn for the worse” over the weekend, and was receiving hospice care at his home in Mammoth when he died.

“This is a sad day for Mammoth,” Watson said on Monday. “He was a good guy. He never took any position that he felt was not to the benefit of our community here in Mammoth Lakes.”

Harvey stepped down from the council in June after serving eight years and two terms as

Mayor on the Mammoth Lakes Town Council. He had intended to run for re-election, but withdrew his nomination papers, saying at the time, “I just want to go back to being Skip.”

The owner of the Base Camp Café on Main Street, Harvey also was an accomplished athlete, and served as a ski instructor and department manager at Mammoth Mountain.

“I’m really heartbroken,” said Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory, who often joked with Harvey before, during, and after council meetings.

“Skip was a good friend, a longtime ski instructor and supervisor at Mammoth Mountain, a great councilman and a great mayor,” Gregory said. “He will be sorely missed.”

Wrote Brown in the press release:

“The Town Council and staff of the Town of Mammoth Lakes extend their sincere condolences to Skip’s family and friends.”

Rick Wood, who was Mayor at the time Harvey won election to the council, said he got to know him well in the eight years since then.

“What I’ll remember most about him was that he was such a decent man,” Wood said on Tuesday.

“I’ve thought about this overnight. A lot of good things are said when people pass on, and certainly good things I’ve read have been said about Skip. He spoke from his heart—always.

There was never any guile; never any hidden agenda. What he said is what he believed. And I think that’s a wonderful human quality, especially in this day and age.”

Harvey, 60, a native Ohioan, moved to Manhattan Beach as a partner in a delicatessen. He established a permanent presence in Mammoth Lakes in the early 1980s. Recently he has suffered from throat cancer, he himself acknowledged. He had been receiving treatment for the illness in Southern California, at one point receiving experimental treatments, he said.

Mayor Matthew Lehman spoke for many in his remarks following Harvey’s death.

“I think the one thing I think of when I think of Skip, he was a guy who never, ever really was too influenced by people and I don’t think he ever had a true agenda,” Lehman said.

“His focus was strictly the community.

“He thought a lot with his heart but in a very positive way. We disagreed on a lot of things, but at the end of the day, you knew when he was voting, his intentions were always with the community as a whole.

“That was the basis of his decisions. That was unquestionable.”

Gregory, meanwhile, was jolted with the news, saying he did not know the extent of Harvey’s illness.

Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht said he heard the news from Chief Watson early Monday.

“It’s really sad,” Wilbrecht said. “Skip was a pure gentleman with me. He was always thoughtful and considerate, just one of those kind persons.

“I found him to be someone I had great respect for. He had great integrity and was committed to the town and what the town was all about.

“I just really enjoyed working with him. It’s just sad to hear. Obviously he was a great contributor to what he felt were important items. He had some important accomplishments, like getting the ice rink going.

“I was delighted to work for him.”

In his last appearance before the council, June 6, Harvey made an impassioned speech about his love affair with Mammoth.

“I have to say, I came back up from Santa Monica last Monday. I’m just in awe of the high mountains and the deserts.

“The farther north I come, the better it gets. I can’t help staring at them.

“It is beautiful, and then as I turn up 203 to come up to town, (I slipped in between rainstorms), I could see the beauty of the crest, I could smell the pine. It’s gorgeous, it’s enchanting and it’s beautiful.

“No one, no matter what, can take that away from us. I love this town. It’s a wonderful place.”

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