Courtesy of Paul Harvey Jr.
Paul and Lynne Harvey pose by her 1938 Nash Lafayette Coupe. Though Lynne preceded Paul in death by almost a full year, friends report Paul never stopped driving the car until his death in 2009.
I have heard so many behind-the-scenes stories since we relaunched Missouri Life in 1999 that I decided to start writing some down. I have to admit I came up with the idea based on one of Missouri’s two world-famous radio commentators and broadcasters. No, I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh, America’s number one talk show host who hails from Cape Girardeau. I’m talking about Paul Harvey, whose daily broadcast The Rest of the Story aired on more than 1,100 radio stations for thirty-plus years.
I knew Paul Harvey had Missouri ties, but I didn’t know how many until I started digging into his life story. I knew he had a farm near Kimmswick, south of St. Louis, that he called Reveille. He had a lifelong love and sweetheart, his wife Lynne, whom he called Angel. Their marriage produced a son, Paul Harvey Jr.
I recently visited the new Paul Harvey museum, which is inside the World’s Largest Toy Museum in Branson. There, I talked with the owners, Tom and Wendy Beck, about my research into Paul Harvey’s Missouri connections.
“Let me see if I can get Paul Harvey Jr. on the phone and you can talk to him directly,” Tom said. Fifteen minutes later, I was on the phone with the only child of Paul and Lynne. A few minutes later, it felt like we were lifelong friends. It was delightful to hear Paul Harvey Jr. recap the love story of his parents.
“My dad met my mom in St. Louis in 1940 when they were both working for the radio station KXOK,” he told me. “She was a well-known radio broadcaster and personality, and my dad came on to KXOK as program director. They actually met on the elevator and my dad, thinking fast, asked if she could give him a ride to the airport. She wasn’t exactly sure what to say but agreed and they stepped into her 1938 Nash Lafayette Coupe. On the way to the airport, she asked Paul, ‘What time does your flight leave?’ And Paul replied without a hitch, “What flight?
They were married within the year.
Mary Hostetter, owner of The Blue Owl in Kimmswick, one of Paul Harvey’s all-time favorite restaurants, put it this way: “Everyone who knew them knew they were not only lovers and best friends—they forged a partnership that propelled and sustained Paul’s long career.” And that ’38 Nash was seen rolling around Kimmswick nearly up until the day Paul Harvey died in 2009.
Mary’s favorite memory of her famous customer goes back to the Flood of 1993. “The entire town was under water except for a few buildings, including our restaurant,” she says. Paul surprised her when he came up to The Blue Owl in a boat and called out in his distinctive voice, “Got any pies, Mary?”
Paul Harvey Jr. was an integral part of the Paul Harvey radio show and the writer behind the scenes of the worldwide broadcast, The Rest of the Story. Paul Jr. also filled in many times for his father on both shows. “All our big family gatherings were in Missouri,” he says, even though the show had made them world travelers.
Paul Jr. now owns three farms in three different Missouri counties. “There’s Reveille, which is in Jefferson County, and farms in Maries and Franklin counties,” he says. “The farm in Maries County, just north of Rolla, goes back to a great, great—I don’t really know how many greats—grandfather who came over from Germany in the early 1800s.”
Now here’s “the rest of the story” about the farm in Franklin County: “My mom’s dad was very concerned when he heard about Paul and Angel’s plans to get married,” Paul Jr. says. “He told them both, ‘I don’t have much confidence in this radio thing. It might not take off.’ So he drove my dad out to Franklin County and showed him a farm that was around two hundred acres. They pulled up to the farm gate and got out and my grandfather told my dad, ‘Now when this radio thing fails, you’ll have something to keep you going.’ ”
Fortunately for all of us, he never needed to make use of that gift. But from all I’ve discovered about Paul Harvey, I think he would have been a happy man on the Franklin County farm as long as Angel was by his side. Anyone who listened to Paul knows he closed every show with a resounding, “Paul Harvey—Good Day.” To Paul, every day was a good day.