John Caldwell(1921 - 2014)

John 'Jack' Howard Caldwell

Helena —John (Jack) Howard Caldwell died peacefully February 18th at age 92 with his family at his side after a brief illness.

Jack was born April 1, 1921 in Frankstown, PA. He graduated from Hollidaysburg High School and worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad before enlisting in the Army in 1942. He was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers and saw duty in the European Theater. During the war, his unit kept the airfields in good working order for the Allied Forces. He was awarded the WWII Medal and 4 stars for his faithful duty. In 1947 he was sent to Fort Richardson, Alaska, and spent his tour surveying the Alaska Roadnet.

In February 1947 as a 1st Lieutenant, he met Elizabeth Meshnik on an ice-skating blind date. It was love at first sight, when Elizabeth discovered he could skate backwards. They married in St. Peter's Church in Anaconda that fall and celebrated their 66th anniversary November 29, 2013. Their marriage was blessed with four children.

During his twenty-year military career, he was assigned to posts in England, California, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Missouri and Okinawa, where he retired in 1964 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At that time, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He attained both his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees while on active duty.

After retiring from the Army, he was employed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls for 16 years, principally as an analyst in the Comptroller division. He was a supporter of Great Falls Central High School and was elected to the Central Round Table Hall of Fame in 1974. He also served as a member of the Retirees Council at Malmstrom and volunteered regularly at the Malmstrom Museum. His favorite activities in retirement were golf and travel, and he and Elizabeth spent winters in Tucson and golfed in Senior Tournaments around the US. He also enjoyed fly fishing, cross country skiing and hiking to the chalets in Glacier Park with friends and family. After 48 years in Great Falls, Jack and Elizabeth moved to Helena in 2012 to be near family.

Jack was preceded in death by his brothers Tom and Clyde, sisters Fern and Leona and his son-in-law Don McGonigle. He is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth, and children Chris McGonigle of Helena; Carolyn Caldwell, Maine; Ken Caldwell (Eleanor), Virginia; and Connie Caldwell (Jeff Sauter), Texas. He also leaves two grandchildren, Megan Gittings (Chris) and Tim McGonigle (Tiffany) and three great-grandchildren, Samaire Gittings and Jack and Liam McGonigle.

The family will receive friends starting at 10 a.m. with a funeral Mass to be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, 1502 Shirley Road. Cremation will follow the Mass and Interment with military honors will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison. Memorials in Jack's name are suggested to the Hospice of St. Peter's Hospital c/o St. Peter's Hospital, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601 or Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, 1502 Shirley Road, Helena, Montana 59602. Please visit to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Jack.

Funeral Home

Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home & Crematory
3750 N Montana Ave Helena, MT 59602
(406) 442-8520

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Feb. 23, 2014