Harvey and Irma will always be remembered for their generosity, loving natures and gentle devotion.
Wait, not that Harvey and Irma.
Harvey Schluter was born in 1913. When he was 27, he met a 16-year-old girl named Irma. In 1942, when Irma turned 18, the pair married. Similar to the recent hurricanes sharing the couple’s names, the duo has been a force to be reckoned with, changing lives wherever they went—but in a good way.
Aside from bringing two children into the world, the Schluters also fostered more than 120 kids during their 75-year marriage. They shared a soft spot for children who had been abandoned by their birth parents, and also cared for many kids were physically or developmentally disabled, as well.
While they only legally adopted one of their foster children, many of the now-grown kids still consider Harvey and Irma to be their parents. Dale Jorgenson, now 54, grew up with the Schluters and has fond memories of helping with the younger kids in their home. He also expresses special recollections of his time with Harvey.
“Me and Dad, we used to, on Sunday, we used to harmonize with each other in the basement,” he told The Spokesman-Review. “That was a blessing.”
The devastating hurricanes sharing the loving couple’s names is a complete coincidence.
In 1953, weather forecasters gave female names to tropical storms. They began with the letter A and went through the alphabet for each new storm. Every year, they started over with an “A” name. By 1979, male names were included.
Eventually, they created six lists of names. Each year, scientists alternate beginning with a masculine or feminine name. When a storm causes a great deal of damage, that name is retired.
In past seasons, Irene followed Harvey on the list of tropical storm names. However, in 2011, Hurricane Irene caused widespread destruction. Irene was retired, Irma took her place and the rest, as they say, is history.