At age 94, Earl Harvell is older than his
friends who walk laps with him at
the McKinney Senior Pool. But it’s his
friends who are working hard to keep up with him.
“We gain so much encouragement and inspiration from watching Earl work harder than we do,” said his friend, Gus Hernandez.
Harvell, who turned 94 on Dec. 13, walks laps in the pool with his wife, Faye, five days a week, for about an hour each time.
Hernandez said when his friend gets into the pool and ready to walk laps, he gets in serious exercise mode.
“He’s very friendly but he’s not going to stop and talk,” Hernandez said.
Austin Coleman, senior pool manager, also attests that when Harvell comes
to the pool, he wants to get in a good workout.
“He’s serious when he comes to workout,” Coleman said. “If you try to talk to him, you got to walk with him.”
Faye said Harvell doesn’t only keep his body healthy. He also keeps his mind sharp by voraciously reading.
“He picks up The Dallas Morning News and the McKinney Courier-Gazette and reads it cover to cover,” Faye said.
Harvell also is an avid checkers player who competes in tournaments all over the country. His next tournament is in March in Tennessee.
“That’s something that is intriguing to me and others that walk, that he is a champion checker player at his age,” Hernandez said.
Harvell played checkers off and on for about 60 years before resuming serious play at age 89, after the death of his first wife, Earlene.
“I always liked to compete,” Harvell said. “I tried to be a professional bowler but I couldn’t so I went back to checkers.”
Along with a dedication to physical and mental exercise, Coleman said Harvell also has a winning personality.
“He’s a sweet guy,” Coleman said. “He always brings us candy. It’s funny and awesome.”
Coleman, who is in his early 20s, said he finds inspiration in the man who is over 70 years his senior.
“I’m just amazed,” Coleman said. “If I can keep going like Earl can, there’s hope for the future.”
To celebrate his 94th birthday, Harvell decided to go for a swim, literally.
“He had in his mind to swim the pool on his 94th birthday and he did,” Hernandez said. “And he did it twice.”
Faye has found her perfect match in Harvell. The couple has been married for almost four years, and they live in Princeton.
“I think he’s a patient man, and he’s very easygoing and he takes interest in things, what’s going on around him,” Faye said. “And he’s a good Christian man.”
For Harvell, Faye has also been a good partner in walking water laps and in life.
“He always, always talks about Faye and how he’s lucky to have her,” Coleman said.
Contact staff writer Stefanie White at firstname.lastname@example.org. To post comments online, access this story at www.scntx.com.