Harry Theodore Cleveland, 97, died peacefully on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, in Pensacola, FL. He was born on February 16, 1920 in Middletown, CT and spent his childhood and young adult years in his beloved New England. Harry's lifelong sales career culminated in his 25-year tenure with SmithKline Pharmaceuticals, until his retirement began in 1985.
Harry served his country as active duty in the US Army from 1942-45, serving as a Lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps.
Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Elliott E. Cleveland and Grace Arnold Scanlon. Over the course of his long and full life, he experienced the joy of two marriages, but also the sorrow of both of these wonderful women preceding him in death.
Harry met Elinor Hylen Cleveland in Boston where she worked as a Dietician at Beth Israel Hospital and he was continuing his sales career. They married in 1953 and enjoyed 39 wonderful years of marriage, raising a family together, and beginning their retirement, until Elinor's untimely death in 1993. After over a decade of being a widower, Harry met and married Beverly Weston Cleveland when he was 84, and they loved life together, traveled, and enjoyed their expanded family for 10 years, until Beverly's passing in 2014.
Harry and Elinor started their family in Medford Lakes, NJ, an idyllic lake community in southern New Jersey outside of Philadelphia, where Harry was beginning his career with SmithKline. In 1971, the Northwest Florida sales territory became available, and the Cleveland family moved to Gulf Breeze, when children Carol, Bob and Dave were teenagers. Harry was dedicated to his family and community, and continued his tradition of involvement and volunteerism with Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church (where he served on boards and sang in the choir), the Gulf Breeze Hospital Auxiliary (where he served for 25 years, including a term as President), and the Gulf Breeze Library (where he was his own best customer, often buying more books than he sold to others!).
Harry loved sports of all kinds and he and Elinor became ardent FSU fans as their children became alumni. Later, he shared Beverly's passion for Auburn and they enjoyed cheering the Tigers on together. Harry loved to cruise and travel and jumped at any chance to share albums full of photographs and memories from Europe, Alaska, New England, Hawaii and other ports of call. He was a life long learner, and was an avid reader. His friendly and "never met a stranger" personality made it easy to love the man that many came to know as "Sweet Harry".
He is survived by his children, Carol (C.J.) Smith, Bob (Debi) Cleveland and Dave (Lisa) Cleveland. Harry ("Pa") also leaves behind seven grandchildren: Matt (Mandy) Smith, Kaely (Jon) Frye, Kent ( Samantha) Cleveland , Scott (Stacy) Cleveland, Grey Cleveland, Lauren Cleveland and Carleigh Cleveland. He is also survived by six great grandchildren: Amelia, Caroline and Elinor Frye, Chandler and Charlotte Smith, and Ada Louise Cleveland.
A memorial service will be held in the Sanctuary at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church on Saturday, August 5, 2017, at 10:00 AM, with the family receiving visitors at a reception immediately following in the church Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Gulf Breeze Hospital Auxiliary or Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church, Meals On Wheels.
Rose Lawn Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. You may offer condolences and sign the guest register at www.roselawn-fh.com