Published 3/3/2009

Paul's Epistle...
"Remembering Paul Harvey"

If I could consider anyone a professional, secular radio hero, that would have had to be Paul Harvey, the famed radio commentator who died Saturday at age 90.

Still a fan of his, we usually planned our lunchtime in the office around his broadcast. He wasn't on the air this past week, although he had done several of his noontime broadcasts the previous week. And he sounded....well....good, as always.

Our family got to meet Paul Harvey during a vacation in Chicago back in 2000. In fact, Shelia and I got to sit with him in his Chicago studio high above Michigan Avenue while he delivered his noon broadcast that day, an honor afforded to very few. (A complete account of this visit can be found on our website: I'll just refer you there instead of copying it all here.)

Last year was an especially difficult one for Paul Harvey. He reportedly suffered pneumonia, he underwent eye surgery, and then, just about the time he recovered from all that, his long-time wife and business partner, whom he affectionately referred to as "Angel," died. As he later confessed on the air, in so many words, Angel's death took "all of the wind out of his sails." But he was quick to add that his faith got him through that most difficult time.

Back in 2001, Paul Harvey was off the air for several months with a severe throat problem, caused by a virus that weakened his vocal chords. Shelia and I sent him get-well wishes at the time, and later, when he had recovered and was about to go back on the air, he dropped us a short note about his recovery: "Prayer did it, Paul."

Much could be said about Paul Harvey's mid-America values and the impact he's had on American life over the past half-century. But it's already been said by others.

Here's one Gospel music-related aspect of Paul Harvey that perhaps you haven't heard (unless you've read that story posted on our website) from that story:

Before our visit ended, I gave Mr. Harvey a copy of a recent "The Gospel Greats" broadcast. This morning, as I write this, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a personal letter from Mr. Harvey: "Angel and I have truly enjoyed the recording. In my youth I traveled with the Norse Gospel Trio in Kansas. In St. Louis where I directed news and special events for KXOK, I visited black churches with the Friendly Brothers Four. Until your recording, I hadn't realized that good and energizing Southern Gospel music is still with us. And, apparently, in acceptance!" That particular program happened to include a news story on the Update interviewing a Wal-Mart vice president who noted that Southern Gospel music sales at his stores are up sharply. This caught Mr. Harvey's ear, since Wal-Mart is a long-time Paul Harvey sponsor. "I am also glad to see that Wal-Mart has been cooperative."

Peter Enns, an author and poet, sent out a poem he wrote to remember Paul Harvey. Here's his concluding verse, which just about says it all:

For 90 full years this world was blessed.
An American voice, he gave life his best.
Now he has joined Angel. Paul is at rest.
Enjoying the rest of the story.

- Paul

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