Videos: Ironworker killed in crane mishap was 'building America'
Robert Harvey once told his father: “Dad, you drive a Pepsi truck. I’m building America.”
Harvey, 28, an ironworker, was killed Thursday when a portion of the huge Goliath crane being disassembled at the former Fore River shipyard broke loose and crashed to the ground.
His life ended less than a mile from the Quincy Point neighborhood where he grew up.
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His father, also named Robert was home when someone from the Daniel Marr Co., a subcontractor working to dismantle the crane, called to say there had been an accident.
Harvey rushed to the shipyard, where two members of Iron Workers Union Local 7, his son’s union, gave him the news.
Harvey said he knew the men were ironworkers because of the style of their boots, and he assumed as they approached him that the news would not be good.
Ironworkers gathered outside the shipyard as news of Harvey’s death spread, and Harvey’s father was touched by the respect shown as his son was taken away in a medical examiner’s van.
“The police chaplain said a prayer. Police officers, firemen and ironworkers – there had to be 40 from all over – lined up silently as the van left,” Harvey said.
A fellow ironworker and a member of Congress called Harvey “ one of the best.”
U.S. Rep. Steven Lynch, D-South Boston, is a former member of Local 7. A section of the shipyard is in Braintree, which is in Lynch’s district.
On hearing the news, Lynch got in touch with his union friends.
“Bob Harvey was absolutely loved by everyone I talked with,” said Lynch, who plans to attend Harvey’s wake.
Harvey worked as a connector. Connectors perch themselves on steel beams, connecting them to each other as they are hoisted by cranes.
“Physically, it requires great skill, balance and upper-body strength,” Lynch said. “There’s a lot of climbing involved.”
He was the best among an elite group of ironworkers, and highly respected,” Lynch said.
Harvey trained to be an ironworker soon after his 1998 graduation from Quincy High School. He was an outstanding member of the school’s hockey team.
“He loved his job, and he loved hockey,” his father said.
Harvey scored the first goal for the Presidents against Needham in the state championship at what was then the FleetCenter.
The family celebrated Harvey’s birthday in July. Harvey and his wife, Jennifer were looking forward to their second wedding anniversary next month. They had known each other since grade school.
Harvey idolized Bobby Orr, and for his birthday his father gave him a hockey shirt with Orr’s number 4.
He had season tickets to Boston Bruins games for years.
“You could say he bled black and gold (the Bruins’ colors),” his father said.
The couple lived in a rented house in North Weymouth and were eager to buy their own home.
“They were looking seriously for the last six months,” Harvey’s father said.
Harvey “just loved his job,” his dad said. “He used to come over once a week with pictures of himself way up on the outside of a tall building. His mother would flip out.”
Harvey and his wife lived in a two-unit apartment building on Hayden Street in West Quincy before moving to Weymouth. Marie Regan, who lived in the same building, remembered Harvey as “a very nice kid.”
“He always asked if you ever needed anything,” Regan said. “He’d give me a ride to the store every once in a while. ...He used to help me fix stuff, if the light bulbs went out or whatever.”
Staff reporter Jack Encarnacao contributed to this story.
Robert Sears may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.