Harold De Lisle(1919 - 2013)

Harold W. De Lisle

Great Falls, Montana —Harold Winfield De Lisle passed away early in the morning on August 29, in his sleep, at the Beehive of Great Falls, after a long illness. He is survived by his sister, Carol De Lisle Meyers (Edward) of East Brunswick, NJ, his son Hayes M. De Lisle of Great Falls (Janet), his daughter Lesley A. De Lisle Kinder (Thomas) of Boulder, Colorado, his granddaughter Casey Dawn De Lisle of Calhan, Colorado, and his grandsons Peter M. Kinder and Scott T. Kinder of Boulder. He was predeceased by his parents, Winfield S. De Lisle and Ida Scudder De Lisle, his wife Louise Markley De Lisle, of Westfield, NJ and Boulder, CO, his brother Robert J. De Lisle of Red Bank, NJ, and his two sisters, Helen De Lisle Marzillier and Hazel De Lisle Weston, also of Red Bank, NJ.

Harold was born and raised in Colonia, New Jersey, the eldest of 5 brothers and sisters. He served in World War II as a navigator and engineer on a Martin Maurader (the B-26), flying 29 missions until he was shot down over Italy in the winter of 1944. Risking his own life and gravely injured, he saved the lives of the pilot and co-pilot by putting on their parachutes sending them out of the plane before it crashed. Rescued by partisans, he spent more than two months in a cave 30 miles outside Rome. On Easter Sunday, he and his flightmate tried to make it to Vatican City, where they hoped to find refuge. Unfortunately, they were caught and after spending several days and nights in an SS prison, he was shipped off via train to Stalag Luft III, a POW camp for US airmen (and also the camp made famous in the movie "The Great Escape"). After surviving nearly two years there, in late January 1945, the prisoners were forced to march for over a week in snow, sleet and freezing conditions to another camp where, in late April of 1945, they were finally liberated by Patton's army.

After the war, Harold worked at NJ Bell as an engineer for Bell Labs and, after retiring in 1978, continued to work as a contractor for various telephone and communications companies until his retirement at age 75. During retirement, he continued to vounteer and keep active, in particular helping as a partner in his daughter's running race business, the Boulder Backroads Marathon and Half Marathon in Boulder (where he and his wife Louise retired in 1995), helping measuring race courses, setting up signage, and managing the finish lines for the 3,000+-person events.

He will be sorely missed by all who knew him, and whose lives he touched through his gentle, thoughtful and caring manner, He was truly one of the "Greatest Generation." No memorial services are planned, nor are donations requested.

Funeral Home

Schnider Funeral Home
1510 13th Street South Great Falls, MT 59405-4501
(406) 727-1368

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Sept. 8, 2013