Harvey Morton Beigel

harvey beigel

October 14, 1930 ~ February 17, 2011

Resided in: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Harvey Morton Beigel October 14, 1930 - February 17, 2011 Harvey M. Beigel, 80, passed away Thursday, February 17, 2011, at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes. His death was due to complications from a stroke. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth. Harvey was born and spent almost his entire life in the Southern California area. He was a graduate of Hamilton High School and received a BA from Cal State University Los Angeles and an MA from USC. He was a life-long educator, serving as a history teacher to thousands of students at Willowbrook Junior High School, Venice High School, and Los Angeles City College, and was justly proud of his role in bringing the Advanced Placement college credit program for high school students to the area. A long time musician, he played clarinet and saxophone in a number of Air Force bands while performing his military service during the Korean War. He remained an active musician up until the time of his death. Harvey had a passion for historical research, and wrote a number of well-received books on the US Navy. Perhaps his most popular book was "Battleship Country", an account of the US Navy battle fleet based in San Pedro Bay prior to World War 2. No mention of his life would be complete without remembering "The Sturdy", the 20-foot powerboat he owned from 1972-1978. Many were the happy hours we all spent fishing out by the Cabrillo Beach breakwater or the Palos Verdes coast, or the (not so happy) hours afterward, cleaning the decks from stem to stern. There was always a trip to McDonald's on the way home, with Harvey buying hamburgers for all the fishermen or water skiers who had done their share in getting the boat in tip-top shape for its next voyage. He is survived by his sons, Richard and Bill, and daughter-in-law, Dawn, and grandchildren, Jimmy and Linda. A donation to any Alzheimer's Disease research group in Harvey's memory would be greatly appreciated. A Memorial Service will be held at Rice Mortuary in Torrance on Saturday February 26, 2010 at 10am, followed by a reception in the Lighthouse Room until 1pm.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Dawn and Bill… Our hearts are with you. This has been a difficult few years and the commitment you’ve shown to caring for your dad has been inspiring and moving. Whether he was able to show it or not… it meant the world to him to know that he had two sons and a daughter in law that cared for him and learned enough from him in life to be fabulous people. You done good! Take care. This to shall pass. Love, Vanessa and Morgan

  2. On behalf of the staff at Martin and Sheng Dental, I wanted to let you all know that Harvey will be missed around here. We were only his dentists office but he had been spending some time here recently getting some work done and we got to know him. He always brightend our day and we will definitely miss his smiling face and his warmth. We are sorry for your loss, we know he was a great man!

  3. Mr. Beigel was my history teacher at Venice High School in the 1960’s and because of his enthusiasm and encouragement I learned more than I ever thought possible about my country’s history. Students today should consider themselves lucky if they have a teacher just half as good as he was. Sincerest condolences from Ruth Anne (Smith) Venneman

  4. Harvey (and Betty) were the best neighbors. They were both always kind and loving to my sisters and me. I have so many fond memories of swimming in their pool, going for Easter egg hunts in their backyard, and looking at their beautiful Christmas tree. For a young Jewish girl, this was pretty amazing stuff! Harvey was such an incredible musician – we used to love to listen to him practicing. They will both be missed greatly and I will always think of them fondly. In one of my favorite verses in the Zohar, which decodes the Old Testament, it says “When the soul leaves this world, meaning as a person dies, if that person has merit, the soul enters the earthly Garden of Eden, which [was] planted for the spirits of the righteous men of earth…it sits there, [and] clothes itself with a garment in the image of this world and enjoys itself.” There is no doubt in my mind that Harvey (and Betty) are there, and I hope they are enjoying themselves.

  5. In remembrance of my high school history teacher who, in 1961, inspired & encouraged an unfocused & rambunctious 11th grade student who sat in the back of his class while he shared his love of the sea & the Navy which lit a flame that ultimately culminated in a career. Some 33 years later, when I was captain of a guided missile cruiser in San Diego, it was my honor and privilege to host my teacher and his wonderful family for lunch aboard the ship. My relationship with him had come full circle that day. Thanks for not giving up on me, Harvey. Thanks for sharing your love of the great music of our time, the noble tales of naval history, allowing me to “pique your interest” which resulted in the publication of your book “USS Los Angeles (CA-135) Cold War Sentinel” in 2000, and for inspiring a young man to do something meaningful with his life. May the stars guide your journey with a following sea always at your stern. Farewell my friend and teacher. Dallas Bethea Captain, U.S. Navy Retired

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