Leonard Louis Thackeray, 86, of Havre died Friday, June 9, 2006, at
Northern Montana Care Center after suffering a stroke. He had battled
Parkinson's disease for several years.
Viewing will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday with his funeral service
beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Holland & Bonine Funeral Chapel with
Pastor Adam Harris officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow
at Highland Cemetery. A fellowship luncheon will be held at Calvary Baptist
Church, 1204 Cleveland Ave. in Havre.
Thackeray was born Sept. 4, 1919, in Havre to Lena Ledig Thackeray and
Jack Thackeray. He grew up with his brothers John, Fred, Webster and Raymond
on the family ranch in the Bear Paw Mountains. He attended a country school
near the ranch, where he was a school spelling bee champion. The boys had
the run of the Bear Paws and Beaver Creek on Sunday, their day off.
His mother taught him to play the accordion, and he performed with
friends at country dances. He remembered trailing cattle from the ranch at
the head of Bullhook Creek into Havre and a train trip to the stockyards in
On April 19, 1942, he was inducted into the Army and served in the Army
Air Force during World War II. Most of his service was as a medical
technician at the Santa Ana Army Air Base in California. One his favorite
stories was of when he shared a drink with Air Force legend General J.H.
Doolittle, whom Thackeray helped care for at the medical facility there: the
general had a shot of Four Roses and told Thackeray to have a glass, too.
He loved cars and was an excellent mechanic. During the war, servicemen
at Santa Ana were encouraged to work at the docks when they were off duty.
He earned enough helping load ships to buy a 1932 convertible to tour the
At the end of the war, Thackeray was sent to the Philippines, where he
served until he was honorably discharged Jan. 4, 1946. He took the train
back to Montana and said he knew he was home when he started to see magpies.
Thackeray said he had seen enough of the world during the war and rarely
left Montana once he was discharged.
After the war, his best friend, Art Evert introduced Thackeray to Thurza
Kenny, a registered nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital in Havre. Evert was
married to Thurza's sister Viola. Leonard and Thurza were married June 4,
1949, in Havre.
They lived on the family ranch until after their first two children were
born. Thackeray worked on a ranch near Havre and later for the Great
Northern Railway for a brief time. In 1954, he was hired by the Montana
Highway Department, where he worked until his retirement in 1978. After
retirement, he worked for Bergren Transmission for a few years.
He was active in the VFW and was a member of the honor guard. He loved
to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies at the courthouse and was a
frequent volunteer at the club. He served as the post historian for a time
and enjoyed keeping the scrapbook. He was also a member of the Havre Eagles
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother John Thackeray.
Survivors include his wife, Thurza, of Havre; children, Stephen
Thackeray of Havre, Lorna (Gary Moore) Thackeray of Billings, Garnet
(Richard) Bergren of Havre, Karen (Jack) Kamla of Colorado Springs, Colo.,
and Barbara (Ken) Adelblue of Billings; seven grandchildren; brothers, Fred,
Webster and Raymond, all of Havre.
Memorial contributions in Leonard's honor can be made to Bear Paw
Hospice, 30 13th St. W., Havre, MT 59501 or to the Veteran Honor Guard, P.O.
Box 497, Havre, MT 59501.
Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine