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Harold Ray Donaldson

June 23, 1934 April 30, 2020
Harold Ray Donaldson
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Obituary for Harold Ray Donaldson

Harold Ray Donaldson of Denton passed away peacefully of natural causes at the Central Montana Medical Center on April 30, 2020. A fun-loving character with an ever-present twinkle in his eye, he will be greatly missed.

Born on June 23, 1934 in Lewistown, MT to John and Eleanor (Gilkey) Donaldson, Harold grew up with older siblings Howard and Phyllis on the family farm east of Denton. A fun-loving and mischievous child, he was surrounded by a close-knit circle of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. He was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church. 

Family was always immensely important to Harold, a trait instilled by his loving and amiable parents. Photo albums reveal a childhood filled with Sunday gatherings, picnics on the Judith, Collie dogs, Hoosac Community Hall Christmas pageants & dances, and long days in the field. 

Harold graduated from high school in 1952. He loved boasting to friends from larger cities that he’d graduated eighth in his class; he’d then reveal that there were only eight students in his class. He very much enjoyed the social aspects of high school. At parent-teacher conferences Eleanor regularly heard, “Harold’s such a bright young man--if only he’d apply himself!”  

As soon as he graduated, Harold was farming. He put in long, grueling days on a tractor with no cab, standing most of the time. Just when he’d finish the summer fallow, the weeds would be popping up where he’d begun...and he’d be back out there, immediately starting the whole process again. It seemed like he was perpetually on that tractor all summer long, fitting in some occasional haying in-between. (He bought a new red Versatile in 1974, which greatly improved his farming capabilities and quality of life; no longer was he busy all summer long summer fallowing.) 

In 1962, Harold met the love of his life, June Sciuchetti, at Lewistown Supermarket where she was a checker. On January 16, 1967, the two eloped to Coeur d’ Alene, ID followed by a two-month honeymoon down the Oregon and California coasts and throughout the southwest. Upon their return, the newlyweds lived in a small apartment above Redman’s Hardware Store in Denton. They purchased the Goettle place--which Harold’s grandparents had originally owned--in 1969, moving east of town into the house Charles and Anna Donaldson had built in 1929.  

On June 27, 1970, Harold and June were blessed with a baby daughter they named Lynn Rae. Wherever Harold and June went, Lynn went. They were quite the trio--spraying weeds, picking rocks, feeding cows, moving equipment to Danvers, and harvesting. 

An attentive and devoted husband and father, Harold treasured watching Lynn grow up. His quick wit and sense of humor made even boring days fun. Lynn remembers Sunday drives, road trips throughout Montana to places like Zortman and Virgelle, annual trips to Flathead Lake, and picnics and gatherings with neighbors and relatives. It felt like a storybook childhood. 

Harold had a deep and abiding love for Montana. Other than his family, Harold’s greatest joy was showing others the secret wonders of his stomping grounds. His love of life was infectious, and it was never on better display than when he would take his visitors to see the Arrow Creek Breaks, the Dry Falls of the Missouri, or the road to Bear Springs & Judith Landing. We will all miss his quick smile and ever-present twinkle in his eye as he showed his friends the wonderful country he called home. 

He was a very curious man who loved meeting people and learning all about them. A natural story-teller, he loved telling--and hearing--a good story. He never knew a stranger for long; strangers quickly became friends, and nearly every friend he had remained a lifelong one.  

If you showed up at Harold and June’s door, you could count on being seated at the kitchen table and poured a hot cup of coffee or cold glass of lemonade--and were probably served a sugar cookie or two.

We’ll all miss looking out that picture window at the North Moccasin, watching pheasants dart through wheat or stubble. Throughout December, Harold cheerfully made Tom & Jerry’s for everybody in the countryside who stopped by...and stop by they did! A regular cast of characters rolled in annually to have a Tom & Jerry at the kitchen table with Har.  

He had a musical chuckle that came so readily into every conversation. According to Harold, life was to be enjoyed. He appreciated every day to the fullest and will be greatly missed. 

Harold is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, June; daughter Lynn (Dan) Vermillion of Livingston; brother Howard of Denton; grandchildren Charlie, Chase Madeline and Ben Vermillion; and more than two dozen very special nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Cremation has taken place.A memorial service will be held at a later date due to coronavirus. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor can be given to the Denton Ambulance Fund or the charity of your choice.

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Event Information

Cremation has taken place. Services will be announced and held later.

Memorial Contribution

Donor's Choice

Denton Ambulance Service

PO Box 1047
c/o Denton Endowment/Ambulance Fund
Denton, MT 59430

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