The world has lost a good man. I wish I'd been able to spend more time with Uncle Harlan, but am so grateful for my time spent him when I was a child living in Montana.
He would design and build the most gorgeous sports/racing cars using parts from the many discarded cars at his dad's automotive repair shop in Pryor. But darn it all, I never got to ride in one! His love of cars and their restoration never went away. I suspect he left behind a few cars he had plans for when he died.
He could be playful with little kids like me, too. I remember fondly the time when he snatched the sun hat off my head and wore it himself as we rowed across Ennis Lake. Wouldn't give it back till we arrived on the other side of the lake despite how silly he looked in a little girl's hat and my repeated protestations. Then he immediately swooped me up in the air "to see if there are any rattlesnakes up there" on a high rocky ledge -- with me screaming in a mixture of delight and fear, just the reaction Uncle Harlan had hoped for, I'm sure!
A more sublime memory was when I was 4 years old and was able to attend his wedding to the most gorgeous bride I think I've ever seen. Aunt Jeanne was absolutely stunning in a form-fitting, lace gown (if my memory is correct). Maybe it's because it was my first wedding making a huge impression on me, but no wedding I've attended since then has been as glorious. Through the years, my brother Gary and I often talked about it.
When I started getting to know Uncle Harlan in recent years during many long phone calls, it was such a joy. He was able to tell me so much about his early life and the lives of many family members I never really knew. Among other fascinating details, I learned that his mother, in her teens, had driven the school bus in rural, mountainous Carbon County, Montana. And that the "school bus" was actually a big old wagon pulled by a team of horses!
I also learned from Aunt Jeanne what a devoted husband he was caring for her whenever she was sick. They certainly had a long, enduring marriage that produced wonderful daughters, many grandchildren, and even a few great-grandchildren!
Uncle Harlan was so lucky to have all of you and your love in his life. My heart and prayers are with you as you adjust to this big loss.
[Niece and cousin] Lee Ann in Oregon
I'm thinking of all the family at this time of loss and praying for the Lord to grant you peace and comfort as you move through this difficult time. Dad also sends his condolences and prayers.
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