James Harshaw Jr.
James Wilson Harshaw, Jr.
Beloved Husband, Dad, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and Friend
A servant of the Lord
James Wilson Harshaw, Jr. (Jim), a resident of Garden Spot Village in New Holland, Pennsylvania, was “promoted” to be with the Lord, as he would say, and died peacefully on July 1, 2018, at Garden Spot. He was 84.
Jim was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on July 23, 1933 to James Wilson Harshaw, Sr. and Mary Wills Harshaw and was raised in Delaware County. He attended Yeadon Grade School and graduated from Ridley Park High School in 1951. After high school, Jim attended and graduated from Philadelphia Bible Institute, married his high school sweetheart, Lillian (Lee) Harvey, in 1954, and took a position as a lab technician at DuPont. Soon thereafter, Jim and Lee felt God’s call to be a missionary. They moved to Nome, Alaska where they worked in a mission hospital and were involved in a Christian radio project to reach Russia with the gospel.
Upon return, Jim attended Fort Wayne Bible School in Indiana, where he received his bachelor’s degree, and worked at Goodyear Tire. He was promoted to a plant management position at Goodyear and then was offered a position at Celanese in Cumberland, Maryland to computerize their plant management systems. By then, Jim and Lee had six children under the age of 10. Although he found success at his position with Celanese, Jim’s heart was in Christian service. So he left Celanese and took a significant pay cut to take a position as a financial officer at Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music in Michigan.
Jim later served for many years as a senior financial officer at Barrington College in Rhode Island (a Christian liberal arts college which later merged with Gordon College). Jim then obtained his lifelong dream position as a hospital administrator at Bethesda Hospital, a missionary hospital in Chicago. After Bethesda was sold many years later, Jim started a hospital financial software company and his software was sold to a number of major hospital systems. He also advised and worked for other Christian organizations and brought expertise on computer systems to those organizations.
As he neared retirement, Jim co-founded a non-profit humanitarian organization, Plesion International, Inc., in 1992. Jim served as an Executive Director of Plesion, which is still in operation, for almost 25 years. He helped Plesion conduct numerous humanitarian relief projects, including providing clean water systems and medical supplies to orphanages, hospitals and poor communities in Vietnam, Russia, Romania and Nigeria. Jim was also involved with the Union Gospel Mission and its projects to provide online Christian evangelistic content in many languages and nutritional supplements for malnourished children.
Throughout his life, Jim was very involved in his local church and served as a deacon or elder at Cumberland Baptist Church in Cumberland, Maryland, Bethany Gospel Chapel in Swansea, Massachusetts, Arlington Countryside Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois and Malvern Bible Chapel in Malvern, Pennsylvania. While an elder at Arlington Countryside Church, he helped lead the work to build a sister church (Alpine Chapel) in Lake Zurich, Illinois where he served for many years as an elder.
Jim lived an interesting life and was well traveled. He lived in nine (9) different states. Jim and his wife Lee personally sponsored and housed a number of refugee families and children from Vietnam. He and Lee had seven children, Laura (married to Ron Ward), Rebecca (married to David LaDuke), James (married to Ann Harshaw), Sarah (married to Mark Broomell), Paul (who died in 2004), Deborah (married to Keith Congdon) and Lisa (married to David Robertson). Jim was also an adopted father (and grandfather) to many others, including Thuy Chau and David and Tina Luu, from Vietnam, and Regina Lowery, each who lived with him and Lee at one point and were sons and daughters of his heart. In addition to these, Jim is survived by more than 60 adoring grandchildren, nephews, nieces and great-grandchildren. Jim was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Garden Spot Village Benevolent Fund, 433 S. Kinzer Ave, New Holland, PA 17557 or to Handi-Vangelism Ministries International, PO Box 122, Akron, PA 17501-0122, www.hvmi.org.