December 20, 2007 - Courier-Gazette - Birthday swim: Earl Harvell continues to be as active as ever at age 94

Birthday swim: Earl Harvell continues to be as active as ever at age 94

(Created: Thursday, December 20, 2007 1:36 AM CST)

Earl Harvell celebrated his 94th birthday last week with his wife, Faye, and numerous friends at the Senior Pool at the Senior Center in McKinney. Harvell, who lives in Culleoka, which is near Princeton, is one of many seniors who take advantage of the Senior Pool. This photo and others available through Photo Gallery at Brandi Hart/McKinney Courier-Gazette

At age 94, Earl Harvell is older than his friends who walk laps with him at the McKinney Senior Pool. But its 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.

Hes very friendly but hes 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.

Hes serious when he comes to workout, Coleman said. If you try to talk to him, you got to walk with him.

Faye said Harvell doesnt 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.

Thats 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 couldnt so I went back to checkers.

Along with a dedication to physical and mental exercise, Coleman said Harvell also has a winning personality.

Hes a sweet guy, Coleman said. He always brings us candy. Its funny and awesome.

Coleman, who is in his early 20s, said he finds inspiration in the man who is over 70 years his senior.

Im just amazed, Coleman said. If I can keep going like Earl can, theres 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 hes a patient man, and hes very easygoing and he takes interest in things, whats going on around him, Faye said. And hes 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 hes lucky to have her, Coleman said.

Contact staff writer Stefanie White at To post comments online, access this story at

1/8/2006 The Dallas Morning News - "Staying sharp"

12/12/2006 - McKinney Courier-Gazette Star - "They don't act their age"

 12/16/2006 - The Wylie News - "Collin County 93-year-old leads a checkered life"

12/26/ 2006 - The Dallas Morning News   - "At 93, he's making all the right moves"