Order of Premontre, Premonstratensians, Norbertines, and White Canons

R. D. Harvey H. Toonen, O. Praem.

Birth: November 25, 1916

Death: November 8, 2004

House: St. Norbert Abbey

Our brother Harvey Herbert Toonen was born in Green Bay , on November 25, 1916.  After graduating from St. Norbert High and his freshman year at the college, he joined the Order in 1935.  While in simple vows, he became a member of the Southeast Catholic faculty in 1938, professing solemn vows in 1940.

In 1942 Harvey was transferred to Archmere, where in addition to teaching Spanish, he functioned as athletic director from 1944 until 1950.  Summers were spent at the University of Wisconsin where he earned an M.A. in Spanish in 1948.  In 1950 he joined the Central Catholic faculty and when that school became Premontre in 1955, he was appointed librarian. To qualify for that position he took night courses in Library Science at the U.W. Extension in Oshkosh . 

In 1960, Harvey was appointed principal of Premontre, a position he held for 9 years in conjunction with being prior of St. Michael Priory, the adjoining faculty house.

Taking a break from administration, Harvey spent 1969 perfecting his Spanish at the University of Valencia in Spain and in 1970, returned to teach at the college.

From 1973 until 1979 Harvey did pastoral ministry at St. Cecelia Parish in Clearwater , Florida while living at “Sunshine Priory” in Seminole.  He returned to assist at Old St. Joseph Parish at the college in 1980 and St. Willebrord in Green Bay .  In 1985 he was appointed the Associate Director of Formation at Padres Norbertinos in Lima , Peru , a position he held for two years.

In 1986 Harvey began ministering to the Hispanic people of the Green Bay Diocese where he helped build a sense of community among the many Hispanics who had moved into the area.  Presiding at Mass, visiting the immigrants, developing personal ties and trust, meeting educational and sacramental needs became hallmarks of his dedication to this outreach ministry.

Harvey was a very congenial man, deeply committed to the Order and its ministries. He was a fun-loving, cheerful man with a heart open to everyone.  Along with fishing, hunting and golf, Classical and Western music held a special place among his many interests, as did gardening and the fresh produce he grew that delighted everyone at common table.

In his final year, ever faithful to his religious convictions, Harvey wheeled himself to choral prayer daily, oxygen mask in tow, until his death of heart failure Monday, November 8th, 2004 at the age of 87.

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