Howard Merle Hedges (1918 - 2012)

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Howard Merle Hedges, born June 28, 1918 in Dillon, Mont. passed away March 6, 2012 at Meadowlark Manor in Whitehall.

Howard was the 2nd oldest of 10 kids. His mother and father were Walter Emmet Hedges and Virgie May Swaggerty. Howard was the last one to pass of the 10 brothers and sisters.

Howard was raised in the Blacktail in Dillon and moved to Bozeman about 1930. He worked on the construction of Old Faithful and at various jobs in Bozeman until he joined the Navy in World War II. He served on the Jonathan Harrington supply ship mostly in the Gulf of Alaska.

Howard met his wife Jody in Everett, Wash. and they married on April 27, 1944. After the war, they moved to Bozeman for a short time, and then moved to the South Boulder in the fall of 1946. They resided in the beautiful South Boulder valley for about 50 years. He ranched and raised everything from cattle to sheep to hogs to chickens.

Howard was on numerous boards and associations such as the REA, Stockgrowers, Madison Wool Pool and South Boulder Grazing Association to name a few.

While on the ranch, Howard and Jody developed many friendships over the years, playing lots of cards and square dancing almost every weekend.

During all this, his three children were born, Barbara Jane in 1945, Deloris Ann in 1946, and Michael Dennis in 1947.

They sold the ranch in about 1991 and moved in to Whitehall where they resided for 16 years. They moved into Meadowlark Manor in 2007 and lived there until their passing.

Howard and Jody celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on April 27, 2010. Jody passed away a few months later and Dad stayed at the Meadowlark Manor.

Dad was one of the last of "the Greatest Generation," which says it all about the kind of husband, father and grandfather that he always was in his entire life.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jody; his parents, Walter and Virgie Hedges; and his nine brothers and sisters.

He is survived by children, Barbara and Bill Brown of Whitehall, Deloris and Fred Forcella of Terry, Mont., and Mike and Bev Hedges of Cardwell; grandchildren, Kim (Mike) McLean of Whitehall, Ken (Sydnee ) Brown of Phoenix, Shane (Maggie) Hedges of Washington, D.C., Jason Hedges of Helena, Tammy (Rick) Henderson of Whitehall, Tracy (Stephanie) Forcella of Terry, Mont., Tawni Heard of Butte, Raymond and Sherry Hehn of Puyallup, Wash., and Jackie Hehn of Puyallup, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Megan, Casey, Zach, and Sammi McLean, Chris, Colleen, Kim and Sam Handerson, Brad Welch, T.J. Heard, Bailee and Brooke Brown, Jack and Katie Hedges, Brandon and Brittney Hehn, Jessica and Bradley Hehn, Justin, Riley and Tyler Forcella; and great-great-grandchild, Addy McLean.

Also surviving are sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Jessie May (Tom) Todd, Francis Jean Dillinger, Ken Rogers, Chuck (Angie) Rogers, and Dick Rogers.

Visitation will be at K&L Mortuary from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 8. A service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, March 9 at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Whitehall with the Reverend Waveland King officiating. Interment will follow at the Whitehall Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to a local 4-H club of your choice.

K&L Mortuaries of Whitehall is assisting with arrangements.
Funeral Home
K & L Mortuaries
109 West Second
Whitehall, MT 59759
(406) 287-3271
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 8, 2012
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