By Special to the Daily World
Family and friends remember Harvey Benton Michael as a “quiet but strong and faithful presence” at his recent memorial service at First Congregational Church.
Michael, a longtime Atlanta resident, died April 14 at age 96, some 11 years after moving to live near his daughter, Mae Wanda Micheal-Jackson in Silver Spring, Md.
Fellow church member Roland Yates recalled him as dapper and dependable. His nephew Julius E. Coles said he had instilled in him a sense of thrift, and an interest in the world around him.
“He was someone all of us admired and loved,” Coles said. “He was interested in worldly issues. . . . He was maybe the first African American I knew who read the Wall Street Journal.”
His daughter said he reminded her that “life is always changing. . . . He imbued me with the desire to stand on mountain topes and enjoy adventures just as he did.”
Rev. Dwight Andrews, senior pastor of First Congregational Church, said Michael had always been supportive during his time as an active member of the church.
“He literally lived his life as a sermon,” Andrews said in his eulogy of Michael. “He was a gentleman who knew how to love and love more.”
Michael, known to friends as “Mike,” was the first born of Lonnie William and Lula Stigall Michael, on Dec. 23, 1914, in Jackson, Tenn., where both parents were teachers at Lane College, a historically black college chartered in 1884.
His family moved from Jackson to Arlington, Ala., and subsequently to Sheffield, Ala., where Michael was raised with his three