Harvey Lee Clemans
June 24, 1936 - June 1, 2014

Harvey Lee Clemans

Harvey Lee Clemans (June 17, 2014)

Gifted artist, respected educator, and beloved family man, Harvey Clemans was known for his warmth and sense of humor. His strength and determination were apparent throughout his life, particularly as he fought to live as long and as well as he could with Parkinson’s Disease. His friends and family will keep alive the memory of his creative energy and deep kindness. 

Watercolors by Clemans are held in numerous private collections and were part of many Southern California art exhibitions, including the highly regarded Watercolor West juried shows. Internationally, his work was included in exhibitions in Japan, New Zealand, India, and at The Museum of Modern Art in Guadalajara, Mexico. Clemans created carefully observed but beautifully composed landscapes and still lifes, favoring subjects with emotional or historical resonance. 

Clemans was born in Oklahoma where he spent just the first few months of his life before his father, Robert (Leroy), and mother, Elsie, moved the family to Southern California in search of work during the Great Depression. Clemans attended El Monte High School and went on to receive a B.A. and M.A. in Art/Education from Los Angeles State University. He completed further graduate studies at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Clemans married his first wife, Shirley, in 1960, and raised two daughters in Newport Beach.

For over thirty years, Clemans conducted very popular courses at Golden West College. He also taught at California State University, Fullerton and in Cambridge, England. Highlights of Clemans’ world travels include a six-month sabbatical through Europe; a Fulbright Scholarship to India; and, as Huntington Beach’s Outstanding Artist of the Year (1988/89), a visit to Anjo, Japan. Clemans remarried in 1989 and traveled with Susanna to many places including Africa, the Near East, Russia, and Scandinavia.

His energetic spirit extended to distance running (he ran the original route of the Greek Marathon), playing competitive tennis, and enjoying rowdy games of ping pong with family. His dedication to community was reflected through his long involvement with Christ Church by the Sea. Clemans never stopped teaching and learning, studying with such luminaries as Rex Brandt, Millard Sheets, Robert E. Wood, and Milford Zornes. After retirement, he continued to share his love of art with students and friends, especially enjoying the Salon Group.

Harvey is survived by many devoted friends and family, including his wife, Susanna; his sisters, Wanda Horton, Elayne Doran, and Doris Thurber; his daughter, Cheryl Clemans, and granddaughter, Louise; his daughter, Gayle Clemans, son-in-law, Dave Seaver, and granddaughters, Samantha and Charlotte Seaver; stepdaughter, Jill Tracy, and grandchildren, Emily and Nick Koreivo; stepdaughter, Karen O’Sullivan, and grandchildren, Ryan, Shane, Kyley, and Danny O’Sullivan; and stepson, Jeff Tracy, step-daughter-in-law, Tricia Tracy, and grandsons, Max, Alex, Tanner, and Griffin Tracy.

A service will be held at Mesa Verde United Methodist Church (1701 W. Baker St., Costa Mesa) on July 5 at 1 p.m. Donations can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (www.michaeljfox.org) or The Harvey Clemans Art Travel Grant (www.gofundme.com/HarveyClemansGrant).

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