Harry William Geldard died of natural causes on Aug. 4, 2014, at his home in Havre, Montana. From his 91 years of life, what stands out is his candid character, the love he had for his wife, the support of his large family, his strong opinion (chuckle) and his love of storytelling.
Harry's life began in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 19, 1922. He was born to Henry and Edith Geldard. He spent his early years in Seattle, growing up with two older sisters, Gladys and Helen. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Nov. 10, 1942.
While on a double date, Harry decided he liked his friend's girl, a dark-haired beauty from Kremlin, Montana. Harry asked his friend if he would mind if he pursued that particular girl. His friend was about to ship out and didn't mind. Soon after, he and this special girl, Alice Marie McMillan, got engaged, and they married on June 26, 1943. Their whirlwind of a romance and marriage left his father wondering if the marriage would last even six months. Harry proudly referred back to that story many times, especially since his marriage lasted over six decades. Sadly, shortly after their 63rd anniversary, Alice passed away and left Harry feeling a huge loss ever after.
While they were married, Harry and Alice faced the joys and challenges of raising seven children. With their first, Harry was still out to sea while his wife was pregnant. Harry's service in the Navy ended Oct. 2, 1945.
As years progressed, Harry worked several jobs to support his wife and growing family, namely at Northern Montana College in Havre. He was a janitorial worker and supervisor, groundskeeper and head boiler man.
Harry enjoyed many hobbies, including golfing and playing cards. He especially loved hunting and fishing. While engaged in these activities, he spent much of the time telling stories. One of his favorite stories was when his ship was struck by a torpedo. Another ship rescued Harry and several other men from amidst the wreckage. Thankfully, Harry survived such harrowing experiences to go on with a full life.
Harry is survived by children, Carol Butterfield, Judy (Mike) Owens, Theresa (Vic) Stearns, Mickey (Judy) Geldard, Nancee (Orville) Wise and Rita Campbell. He is also survived by daughter-in-law, Linda Geldard, as well as 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Harry was preceded in death by parents, Henry William Geldard and Edith Marie Geldard; siblings, Gladys Triol and Helen Metzger; wife, Alice Marie Geldard; stillborn children, Nita Sue Geldard and Edith Marie Geldard; son, Chuck Geldard; son-in-law Gale Butterfield; and granddaughter, Brenda Richardson.
A vigil will be held on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m., at Holland & Bonine Funeral Chapel. A funeral service will be held Friday, Aug. 8, at 2 p.m. at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church. Memorials can be sent to St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church or St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic School. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Harry's online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for his family.