Mr. Harry Lee Overstreet - Berkeley Architect, Politician, Activist
Harry Lee Overstreet

Harry Lee Overstreet, NOMA 1938 – 2019

Mr. Harry Lee Overstreet– well-known Berkeley architect, politician, and civil rights activist– died on November 24 at the age of 81 years old.

Harry was born in 1938 in Conehatta, Mississippi. Preceding him in death are his parents, Joe and Cleo Overstreet, and brother Joe Overstreet.

Harry was a loving father of four and grandfather of three. He resided in Berkeley with his sister LaVerda O. Allen and son Anthony (Tony) Overstreet. His most memorable moments included spending time with his children, grandchildren, his nieces and nephews. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, honest opinion, intelligence, creativity, and loving personality.

Harry is survived by his four children Tony Overstreet, Harry Overstreet II, Nile Overstreet and Niah Overstreet; grandchildren Naomi Overstreet, Myah Overstreet and Harry Overstreet III; the mothers of his children Maxine Overstreet and Yolanda Davis-Overstreet; his long-time companion Joyce Gordon; his sister LaVerda Allen; and nieces and nephews.

Mr. Overstreet’s legacy lives on in the San Francisco Bay Area. He and long-time business partners Hans and Tim Gerson developed Gerson-Overstreet Architects in 1968, where he was the managing minority partner. Harry, Hans and Tim designed the renovations and retrofitted prominent public institutions including schools, housing complexes and cultural centers across northern and southern California.

The legacy of Gerson-Overstreet dates back to the design of the reconstruction of the Palace of Fine Arts. Gerson-Overstreet’s most notable projects include Boarding Area A at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, the Mechanics Institute Library, the Martin Luther King Jr. Swimming Pool in the Bayview District, the Bayview Opera House, and two underground tunnels connecting the SFO parking garage to the South Terminal that are decorated with steel panel artwork designed by artist Joe Overstreet.  

He was a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and served as the 14th President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). He is credited for the initial emphasis placed on students during his term.

Harry was an active community member in Berkeley. He served on the Planning Commission for the City of Berkeley, NAACP, and was an advocate for the desegregation of the Berkeley Unified School District.

His memorial service will be held on December 12th, 2019 at McGee Avenue Baptist Church, 1640 Stuart St., in Berkeley, California at 11:00 AM.