Victor Keisling, 88, born in Havre, died on Oct. 19, 2008.
Funeral services for Victor will be at the First Baptist Church, 8th and Warren, in Helena, on Oct. 27, with a reception at 11:30 a.m. and services at 1 p.m. Interment at Sunset Memorial Gardens to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Salvation Army. Local arrangements have been entrusted to Hagler-Anderson Funeral Home. It was at the beginning of the Greatest Generation, although no one knew it. Victor was born on April 24, 1920, in Havre, the second of four children of John and Donnie Kiesling. The strict, no nonsense German upbringing from his father and the love, compassion and creative influence of his mother, combined with the hard times of the Great Depression to forge the character of our father, friend and mentor. Laudable attributes of loyalty, honesty, independent action, self reliance, a strong work ethic, and constant striving for excellence were immediately recognized by those who met him. More subtle personality traits of kindness, consideration, respect for others, love of God and nature, generosity, playfulness, and a bit of that German stubbornness were revealed to those who knew him better. He graduated from Havre High in 1937 in the top of his class and was the point guard on the “almost state champion” Blue Pony basketball team. Four years later he graduated from Montana State University in Bozeman with a degree in engineering, working summers, coaching high school, and taking out loans to pay for his education without assistance. A new job with the Boeing Corporation in Seattle was followed by Pearl Harbor and he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash., in 1942. He attained the rank of captain in the 613th Air Engineer Squadron, and served in the Pacific theater with action in Tinian, Saipan, Palau, and Okinawa, usually landing on the beach in the third wave to secure and open the airfields. In 1946 he was honorably discharged from the military with the Asiatic Pacific Medal and three Bronze Stars. He moved to Helena to work for the Montana Fish and Game Department. Victor was hired by the FAA Airports Division in 1955 and stayed at the Helena office until 1973 when the office was moved to Salt Lake City. A move to Denver was required in 1976 and he retired there four years later as Chief Airports Engineer. He supervised numerous airport construction and modernization projects throughout the intermountain west. Victor married his high school sweetheart, Gladys Wieneke, on Jan 12, 1946. One year to the day, Victor Junior (Jeannie) arrived, followed at biyearly intervals by Donnie (Paul Fanshaw), and Karen (John Kaiser). He had six grandchildren: Shannon Kiesling Antonsen (Michael), Adrienne and Clark Kiesling, Kaitlin and John Kaiser, and Darin Seibel. He was thrilled by the recent birth of his greatgrandson, Kellen Antonsen. Sadly, he was preceded in death by his beloved Gladys in 1996 after 50 years of marriage, and in 2008 by his younger brother, Robert Kiesling, of Helena. He is survived by sisters Nina Pettyjohn of Washougal, Wash., and Betty Lu Kulp of Bellevue, Wash. Vic was an avid outdoorsman and spent countless days hunting and fishing throughout Montana. He was a crack shot, and could drop a running antelope at 200 yards or routinely bag a “double” on ducks, grouse or pheasants. Many happy hours were spent stalking the “wily trout” on the Big and Little Blackfoot, Prickley Pear and the Missouri. He taught by example, and family members and relatives who accompanied him soon learned his lessons of nature appreciation, conservation, and sportsmanship. He is at peace now with Gladys, loved, sorely missed, but never forgotten. Another member of the Greatest Generation is gone.