A man of deep faith with an evangelistic heart, he was the consummate fisherman — of men, women and children. He served as a missionary in Nigeria for nine years; deacon, elder, Sunday School superintendent at Second Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven; helped establish the Chapel of Christ in Grand Haven; Back to God Hour representative; volunteer at the suicide hotline; volunteer for the Billy Graham Crusade in Jos, Nigeria; and the face of Jesus to countless people he met along the way.
A member of the Greatest Generation, he courageously served his country during World War II, entering Europe via the beaches of Normandy. After the war, he rejoined his father in the Poel Shoe Repair business. Later, his brother, Gord, joined him and then took over the business when Harvey felt the call to missions. Harvey joyfully served the church of Jesus Christ as a missionary builder, working tirelessly to build schools, hospitals, missionary homes and facilities at the missionary school in Jos where his children studied. Upon his return, he spent the remainder of his working career at Rycenga Lumber. But not all was work and no play. On any given day, one could find him pursuing his favorite sport — fishing. Grand Haven pier, the bayous and Pine Island, Florida, were his playing field.
Harvey was a great storyteller. He learned the Tiv language so that he could tell the stories of Jesus to the people with whom he lived and worked in Nigeria. He relished in stories of life in Nigeria, Grand Haven and Florida — amazing, sweet, funny, embellished stories. He fiercely loved his family and regaled them with stories of his younger years.
He leaves a legacy of faith and endless love to his family members: beloved wife of 72 years, Jeanne (Wychers); five children: Thom (Louise) Poel (Brandon and Sue Poel, Janelle and Bryan Tithof, Nicole and Mike Skofic); Cheryl (Cal) Bremer (Ben and Andrea Nielsen, Dave and Leslie Nielsen); Berni and Mike Geoghan (Sheli and Tim Massie, Matt and Tracy Geoghan, Josh and Cori Geoghan, Rachel Geoghan and Erin Cummings, Sarah Geoghan); Marie (Daryl) Sieplinga (Kari and Matt Dykhouse, Joel and Renee Sieplinga, Kelli and Jon Dunn); Phil (Kirsten) Poel (Molly Poel, Fisher Poel); and 25 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Also surviving him are a special niece and her family (Luann and Doug DeVries, (Daniel and Brittany DeVries, Abby and Travis Christian); sister-in-law Ruth Poel, brother-in-law Clyde (Jean) Kinkema, sister-in-law Gretta Petersen, brother-in-law Bernard (Ann) Wychers, and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding him to heaven were his parents, Jacob and Elizabeth Poel; brothers: Oscar, Kenneth and Gordon; sisters, Clarissa Kroeze and Phyllis Kinkema; sisters-in-law, Marian Poel and Fran Poel; brother-in-law, Peter Kroeze; brother-in-law, Kars Petersen; and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jerry and Phyllis Wychers.
A service of Remembrance and Celebration will be held at Second Christian Reformed Church, Grand Haven, on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at The VanZantwick Chapel (620 Washington Ave.) on Friday, January 4, 2019, from 4-7 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Grand Haven Christian School or Resonate Global Mission. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.sytsemafh.com.