(from left) Jamie McFarlin (sister), Joey Harvey, Janie Harvey (mother), Cyndi Harvey Dunaway (sister), Ginny Pirtle (sister). Credit: Courtesy / Margaret Grotte

Joey Harvey was a larger-than-life, 33-year-old sports fanatic, who graduated from Mississippi State University before moving to San Antonio where he worked for Spurs Sports & Entertainment for over a decade. His outgoing, welcoming, friendly personality made an impact on so many San Antonians during his short time here on Earth, and he will be missed dearly.

Thinking back on our time together, I keep coming back to the (unofficial) SS&E Hamburger Club. From 2012 to 2019 we had a dedicated club of four employees who were loyal members of the Hamburger Club (colloquially known as HBC). On the third Thursday of every month, we would go to lunch to try a new hamburger around town. 

Although we compiled a comprehensive list of the 68 best (and worst) burgers of San Antonio, the real memories were in the rituals. The choice of where we went each month rotated among the four members, and whoever’s turn it was to choose also got to invite a guest. There were plenty of rules for guests, too. You could only be a guest one time, and you better say yes when invited. It was a great way to meet other employees throughout our company and to see more of San Antonio. 

The member choosing the restaurant also had to drive, so a clean car was a must. Once we arrived at the chosen restaurant, we’d all order a hamburger. No meat substitutions were allowed, but you could choose your own toppings, and two of us would usually split a side order of fries. 

While we waited for the food to be brought out – and before anyone could take a bite – we’d have to say the official Hamburger Club pledge. After a few bites, we’d start discussing the taste, the presentation, the sauce, and anything else that made this particular burger stand out from the others. We’d pull out our official rankings and each place and add the burger to the growing list. Finally, Joey would post a picture of the burger to his social media channels, along with its ranking, and we’d head back to the office with bellies that were way too full. 

Joey absolutely loved the HBC, and when I think back on all my memories of him, I know those monthly lunches will be some of my favorite. 

We kept the club going remotely during the pandemic and after Joey moved away. He continued his passion for sports in El Paso, where he accepted a job as director of sales and service for UTEP Athletics in fall 2020. Even though his time there was cut short, he quickly made his mark just like he had in San Antonio.