Marie was born to Herman and Jantje Kragt in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on August 11, 1923. Her family immigrated to the United States and she spent her early years in in Northampton, Massachusetts. She followed her parents to Beverly Hills, CA in the early 1950s and her love affair with Southern California began.
Marie’s long and varied career as an Early Childhood Educator culminated when she retired from her position as Administrative Director of the Anna Bing Arnold Children’s Center. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she oversaw the conversion of 3 homes in the neighborhood surrounding the growing campus of California State University at Los Angeles. The center served the preschoolers of university students, while their parents were in class. Utilizing Child Development majors as the teachers, the innovative programming applied Marie’s unique approach to training that became the model for the Cal State University system’s Children’s Centers.
Marie moved from Los Angeles to Wood Ranch, Simi Valley, CA to be close to her daughter in the mid 1980s. Her volunteerism is an inspiration. A lifelong learner, Marie involved herself with many classes at the Simi Valley Senior Center. From ceramics to Tai Chi, Marie kept fit and her mind active. As a member of the VIPs (Visually Impaired Person) support group, Marie kept up her affiliation with the Braille Institute, Santa Barbara that supported her through her challenges with macular degeneration.
As a docent at Strathern Historical Park, Marie loved sharing her growing knowledge of the Chumash Indians and the pioneer history of Simi Valley.
Marie sat on the boards of local organizations Simi Valley Council on Aging, the Neighborhood Council, and the Christian Science Church of Simi Valley. She was an active member of the AAUW, participating in several events throughout the years.
At the age of 80, Marie attended 2002 Simi Valley Leadership, where she learned the inner workings of her community and reveled in the new contacts.
Up until 2015, Marie used the Dial-a-Ride to get to meetings, canasta card games and lunches with friends.
An avid traveler, Marie loved cruises and tours and always came home with lovely stories of her adventures.
Preceded in death by beloved husband, Jesse Marsh Harvey, Marie Kragt Harvey is survived by her children: Laura Burgess Olsen (John) Simi Valley, CA; Jeffrey Earl Burgess (Sandy) Vancouver, WA; Robert Whitney Jennison (Maryann) Coventry, CT; Richard Stanley Jennison, Nantucket, MA; and Pamela Jessica Wilkinson (nee Harvey) (Randy) Flagstaff AZ, 10 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.