USATF Masters Track & Field Chairman, Rex Harvey, passed away Sunday afternoon in Prescott, Arizona after suffering from a heart attack at the age of 73.
“Rex’s passing is a tremendous loss for the organization,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “His unwavering passion and tireless commitment were evident in every aspect of the sport that he touched. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Harvey, an Iowa native, devoted his life to track and field having served as the World Masters Association Vice President, an At-Large Executive Board Member and Games Committee Member.
In 2016, after being elected USATF Masters Track & Field Chair, Harvey said, “I grew up in a very small town. My introduction to the great wide world beyond that town was through track and field. It has shaped and directed my life in a wonderfully positive way.”
Harvey began participating in the sport at the age of 12. He attended high school in rural Redfield, Iowa, where he won 17 individual state titles and four team state championships. He then went on to compete for Iowa State University where he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and was a Big 8 Conference runner-up six times in the pole vault. Harvey was awarded an M.S. from the University of Southern California while serving as a U.S. Air Force officer during the Vietnam conflict. He continued a successful engineering career for twenty-eight more years with over 15 patents in his field. He designed and holds patents of several nozzles for aircraft engines, and also helped design several nuclear reactor power plants.
As an open athlete, Harvey was a member of six USATF international teams and a 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials finalist. He is a five-time World Masters Athletics World Champion and broke the World Record in the M45 Decathlon in 1991, which he held for seventeen years.
Harvey has been very prolific completing 161 decathlons. He has won numerous awards including the prestigious USA Track & Field President’s Award, the David Pain USA Masters Service Award, the USATF National Masters Administrator of the year, three-time USATF National Masters Combined Event Athlete of the year winning 13 National Championships in a row in the Decathlon. He has been inducted into the Iowa State Track & Field Coaches Hall of Fame and USATF National Masters Hall of Fame for both Athletic and Administrative accomplishments.
In addition, he has been inducted into the USATF National Officials Committee Hall of Fame for outstanding service to the sport as a technical official and served as an official for over 25 years at the Drake Relays.
Contributed by USATF; USATF Masters Track & Field Committee