Harvey Warren Steen

by | Sep 23, 2021 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach—Harvey Warren Steen, 90, passed away on August 30, 2021 after a brief illness.

He was born on January 2, 1931 in Bronx, N.Y. to the late Emanuel and Mary (Schmookler) Steen. His family moved to River Edge, N.J. where he excelled as a student and graduated high school with a ROTC scholarship. He attended Cornell University and joined the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, graduating with a five-year degree in chemical engineering. He also played in Cornell’s Big Red marching band. Harvey soon married his red-haired beloved, Phyllis Wallach, on June 1, 1952, and the couple moved to Biloxi, Miss. to begin his military service. He was stationed in Japan with the United States Air Force where he served as a lieutenant in the communications unit, providing ground support to paratroopers on air-sea rescue missions during the Korean Conflict. After completing his service at the rank of captain, he returned to New Jersey to begin his career in the young field of plastics, helping to develop new products and serving as technical director for major companies in Ohio and Massachusetts. After their children had left home, he and Phyllis moved to Virginia Beach where he became vice president of a business brokerage firm, from which he later retired.

Harvey had a lifelong love of music. In addition to playing trombone, he had a beautiful singing voice and loved to play records reflecting his broad musical tastes. He would often play trombone duets with his wife and daughter on piano, and performed with various groups culminating with the local Tidewater Community Band. He also served as president of Temple Emanuel, in Lowell, Mass. Harvey discovered tennis in his 40s and continued playing until a bad knee stopped him in his 80s. He enjoyed watching televised sports and amusing others with his quirky sense of humor. He was able to fix almost anything and was often called upon to keep household appliances and toys operational. Harvey had an inquisitive, incisive mind and used his Tivo to compile programs reflecting a wide range of interests.

Harvey was preceded in death by his parents; his younger sister, Myrna Steen (age 1); his cousin, Lawrence Levine; and his sister-in-law, Doris (Wallach) Gutentag. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Phyllis (Wallach) Steen; their three children and spouses: John and D. Elizabeth (Steen) Meyers; Alan Smith and Patricia Steen; Jonathan and Carole Steen; his brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Donna Steen; his brother-in-law, Jack Gutentag; his cousins, Damien and Carol Steen; and his six grandchildren: Nicholas West; Tory Zakarian; and Solomon, Edmund, Timothy, and Emily Steen.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Cremation Society of Virginia. Condolences and memories may be posted to www.vacremationsociety.com.