The morning hours of the 8th of Sept. 2013, at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, saw the peaceful passage of Dr. Harvey Aft Ph.D., husband of Lorna, and father of Wendy, Theresse, Robert and Adam.
Harvey and his twin sister, Rae, were born in Chicago, Ill., on June 17, 1929, to Samuel and Pearl Mandel Aft. He had two older sisters, Sarah and Bertha, and an older brother, Leo. Some of his fondest childhood memories included walks to the local gas station to watch Al Capone's gang drop guns into the vats of oil after being used in various "activities." He relocated with his father and siblings to Los Angeles where he graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1945. Upon graduating cum laude from the University of Southern California in June 1950 with his bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry, Harvey attended the College of Puget Sound, where he earned his master of science degree in organic chemistry in June 1952.
Harvey married the love of his life, his bride of 58 years, Lorna Bryant, of Corvallis, Ore., on the 12th of Sept. 1953. Lorna passed away on Sept. 30, 2011, after battling Alzheimer's disease.
He served in the United States Army until December 1956, during which time he worked at the Walter Reed Medical Center, achieving the rank of corporal. Following his military service, he earned his doctor of chemistry degree from Oregon State University in June 1962, where he was also a member of the OSU College of Chemistry's faculty prior to accepting a position at the University of Maine at Farmington. From 1969, he was a professor at UMF, and retired to professor emeritus in 1990. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in the field of chemistry. In January 1996, the Harvey Aft Excellence in Chemistry Award was established in his name, which is awarded annually to a student that demonstrates excellence in the field of chemistry. While at UMF, he performed a great variety of research. Among his areas of specialty were tree bark utilization, which led to advances in the repopulation of forests following disasters, and defining the chemical structure composition of the color red, for utilization of food and clothing dyes, which is notable, as he was red-green colorblind.
Dr. Harvey Aft will be remembered for his love of knowledge, of his family and of all living things, great and small.
Harvey was preceded in death by his wife, Lorna, his granddaughter, Ashton, his sisters, Sarah and Bertha, his brother Leo and his parents. He is survived by his twin sister (older by 20 minutes!), Rae, his children, Wendy, Theresse, Robert and Adam, grandchildren Christian and Erin Wilson, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to honor Harvey and his late wife, Lorna, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the University of Maine Farmington's Nordica Auditorium in Merrill Hall with Rob Lively officiating. A reception with light refreshments will follow at the Ferro House, 242 Main St, Farmington. Donations may be made in Dr. Aft's memory to the Franklin County Animal Shelter, 550 Industry Road, Farmington, ME 04938, or the Harvey Aft Award for Excellence in Chemistry, c/o Pat Carpenter, director of gift planning & stewardship, 242 Main St., Farmington, ME 04938. Arrangements under the care of Adams-McFarlane Funeral & Cremation Services, 108 Court St., Farmington. Condolences may be sent for the family at www.adamsmcfarlane.com