The NLEOMF joins Americans everywhere in mourning the loss of Paul Harvey. The beloved ABC News radio broadcaster died on February 28, surrounded by family members in Phoenix. He was 90 years old.
A longtime friend of the Memorial Fund, Mr. Harvey understood the significance of the nation’s monument to fallen law enforcement officers in a deeply personal way. That was because of his father, Tulsa (OK) Police Officer Harry Aurandt.
On December 19, 1921—in the midst of a crime spree that had all of Tulsa’s officers on the lookout—Officer Aurandt and Tulsa’s chief detective, Ike Wilkinson, were driving on a road five miles from the city when they spotted a suspicious vehicle and stopped to investigate. Without warning, they were ambushed by four desperadoes, all with criminal records and all out on bond. Although Harry raised his arms as he was directed to do by the bandits, they shot him anyway, one bullet piercing his liver, another his lung. Detective Wilkinson fired back, but he was also seriously wounded. Despite his critical injuries, Harry held courageously to the wheel of the car and managed to drive himself and Ike to a farm house about a mile away.
Ike Wilkinson survived the shooting, but permanently lost the use of his legs. Harry Aurandt, at the age of 48, was not so lucky. He died the day after the attack with his wife, Anna, by his side. Son Paul was just 3 years old.
Eleven years later, at the age of 14, Paul got his first radio job, at KVOO in Tulsa. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943 and received an honorable medical discharge a few months later after a training injury. After his military service, Paul Harvey Aurandt shortened his name to Paul Harvey and moved to Chicago, where he began doing his twice-daily, 15-minute news commentaries. In 1976, Mr. Harvey began a five-minute daily broadcast called “The Rest of the Story,” which became his signature tagline. In recent years, his “Paul Harvey News and Comment” program attracted 22 million listeners daily.
Even with great fame and popularity—he was a runner-up in the 1969 Gallup Poll of the most admired man in America—Paul Harvey never forgot his Midwestern roots … or his father’s sacrifice. He supported many of the Memorial Fund’s efforts over the years, and he was a featured speaker at the 1992 Candlelight Vigil at the freshly dedicated Memorial in Washington, DC. A clip of his remarks can be found on the NLEOMF You Tube channel.
Mr. Harvey’s wife, Lynne Cooper Harvey, died in 2008. He is survived by son Paul. Rest in peace, friend.