Robert Dixon Hopkins Harvey, longtime Baltimore business and community leader, died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday at his home in Towson. He was 94. A lifelong Baltimore resident and devoted fan of the Colts, the Orioles, and Johns Hopkins University lacrosse, Bobby had great love of and commitment to the City of Baltimore. This dedication was evidenced by years of service on the boards of many non-profit and educational institutions, as well as service on the boards of prominent Maryland and national corporations. Above all, he was a fair, quiet, determined force for his family and his community.
Bobby first visited Fishers Island in the early 1920’s as a small child. His parents built the family house, “The Steps,” in 1928 on the bluff between Isabella and Middle Farms beaches. He loved spearfishing off Isabella Beach, waterskiing, playing in the waves with his children and grandchildren, and engaging in competitive golf and tennis games – especially with family.
Bobby was born in Baltimore, on July 10, 1920, the oldest of seven children of Rose Lindsay Hopkins Harvey and Frederick Barton Harvey. He attended Calvert School, Gilman School, and was a 1938 cum laude graduate of the Hill School in Pottstown, PA.
Bobby went on to attend Princeton University, where he studied romance languages, graduating summa cum laude in 1942. At Princeton, he was a fierce competitor in lightweight football, baseball and ice hockey and a member of the Ivy Club. Following his graduation, Bobby entered the U.S. Army as a Captain, attending Yale’s Chinese Language School for four months to study Mandarin before serving in China from 1943 to 1946. He received the China/Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, and the Bronze Star for his military service in World War II.
Returning to civilian life, Bobby started his career in 1947 as a bank runner at the Maryland Trust Company. He rose through a number of positions at the bank until the Korean War began in 1950, when he was called upon to serve as assistant to the deputy director of the CIA.
In February 1953, Bobby married Nancy Criswell Gross, a teacher at Calvert School who grew up in Harrisburg, PA. Later that year he resigned from the CIA and rejoined the Maryland Trust Company, while also attending night classes at Johns Hopkins University to earn a business degree. He went on to obtain a degree from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Banking.
Bobby became president of the Maryland Trust Company at the age of 39. He went on to steer the bank through a series of mergers resulting in the creation of Maryland National Bank in 1961, and creating a statewide network that could support a strong commercial banking business. In 1966, Bobby became Chairman and CEO of the Maryland National Corporation, building the bank to be the economic hub of the state that it was upon his retirement in 1985. Bobby was known in banking and business circles as smart, strategic, and forward-thinking. He approached the banking business from a community perspective, mindful of keeping executive salaries reasonable, and creating and maintaining good jobs.
Bobby’s volunteer work first centered on the board of Johns Hopkins University, on which he served beginning in 1959, and serving as its Chair for 18 years – from 1968 until 1984. When ownership of Baltimore City Hospitals was transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984, Bobby was named the first chair of the board of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He remained a trustee of Johns Hopkins Bayview until his death. In the late 1980’s Bobby joined and eventually chaired the board of the Maryland Academy of Sciences, which later became the Maryland Science Center, and devoted much time and energy to the work of expanding science education throughout the city and state. He served on many other boards, including the Institute for Christian/Jewish Studies, the Maryland Health and Higher Education Authority, Calvert School, the Peabody Institute, Union Memorial Hospital and the Society of Executive Retired Volunteers. Bobby also served on a number of corporate boards, including the Arundel Corporation, USF&G, Noxell, Read Drug, and Baltimore Life Insurance Co.
Until late in life, Bobby maintained his love of athletics – running, skiing, playing golf and tennis, spearfishing and ice skating – into his eighth decade. He also maintained an abiding interest in Chinese language and culture, United States history and foreign policy.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Nancy Criswell Gross; one son, R. Dixon H. Harvey, Jr. of Sparks, MD; three daughters, Ellen D. Harvey of Philadelphia, PA, Anne N. C. Harvey of Coupeville, WA, and Jane W. Harvey, of Seattle, WA; one brother, Judge Alexander Harvey II, of Baltimore; two sisters, Ellen Harvey Kelly and Jean Harvey Baker, both of Baltimore; and seven grandchildren.
Bobby was a longtime member of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Baltimore, where services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 22.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Bobby’s memory to the Fishers Island Community Center, P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390 or St. John’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 505, Fishers Island, NY 06390.