Harlan H. Wilhelm was born December 8, 1931 in a tent in Pryor, Mt on the Crow Indian Reservation to Homer S. and Edna Francis Wilhelm. He passed away May 18, 2017 at the age of 85 at the Schneidmiller Hospice House with his wife by his side.
Harlan (“Will” to his friends and family; “Sonny” as he was growing up) grew up helping his family run the local store, post office and garage. Working on cars, motorcycles, and other mechanical things was a way of life for him. He could fix anything. He graduated from Billings High School in 1949. He joined the Marine Corp in 1952 and was stationed in Barstow, California. He left the service as a Sergeant with the Provost Marshall’s office in 1955 and served in the reserves until May 1960.
After serving in the Marines, he went to college at Montana State College (now Montana State University) in Bozeman, MT on the GI Bill, graduating in 1959. One night, his chemistry lab partner needed a ride over the mountain to Livingston to visit her sister who was in the hospital. Will gave her a ride and met Jeanne Slaght. Jeanne thought her sister had finally snagged a decent boyfriend. A week later when Will called to ask Jeanne out, she checked with her sister who just laughed and said of course she could go because they weren’t dating; he was just her lab partner!
Will and Jeanne married September 27, 1956 in Livingston, MT. Their first daughter was stillborn November 30, 1959. Jennifer was born in 1961 and Heather in 1964. In 1966, the family moved to Post Falls, following one of Will’s professors, to work at a company called Clare Pendar. He served as president of the Kiwanis Club in Post Falls. In his career, he worked as a machinist in the Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene area until he retired.
Harlan was an avid hunter, fisherman, motorcycle rider, hang-glider, and private pilot. After the kids left home, Will and Jeanne traveled to fly-ins all over the country. He loved to read and tinker on various projects until his health starting failing. His passion was his children and grandchildren. He loved sharing stories of his childhood in Pryor. He also enjoyed playing the harmonica.
He is survived by his beloved wife of over 60 years, Beulah Jeanne Slaght Wilhelm; daughter Jennifer Huston (Mike); daughter Heather Westlake (Mel); 8 grandchildren: Timothy (Christi), Daniel (Rebecca), Deborah (Ian), Amanda, James (Elisabeth), Catherine (Chris), Michaela, and Ben (Rachael). They also have 8.5 great-grand children: Tayne, Thorin, Thea, Roman, Ruth, Noah, Elam, Declan, and Baby Scully due in July. He also leaves behind his red Doberman Zoe (Zo-Zo…one of the many beloved dogs he had in his life). Two brothers and two sisters, a sister-in-law and brother-in-law and all their families also survive. He is preceded in death by his parents, 2 brothers (Wayne and Gary), his parents-in-laws, a sister-in-law, and his daughter Deborah.
The memorial service will be May 27, 2017 at 1pm at the Community Presbyterian Church in Post Falls, ID
( www.pfcpc.org ). Interment will follow for family and friends at the Post Falls Cemetery. If desired, donations can be made to the Schneidermiller Hospice House in CdA, ID, www.hospiceofnorthidaho.org.