Leslie W. Harding

Leslie W. Harding (Les), age 81, son of Solomon and Amelia (Foos) Harding was born Jan. 5, 1936 on the same farm east of Park City, Mon- tana where his father was born, twenty-one years earlier. He passed away of natu- ral causes last week at his farm north of Bridger.

The family farmed near Park City for eleven years, where two more sons, Leonard and Malcolm, were born. They moved to a farm near Bridger, Montana in 1947. Les graduated from Bridger High School in 1954; soon after, renting his own farm land until he was drafted into the peacetime Army in 1959, attaining the rank of Specialist E4. At the end of service in 1961, he purchased the land he had been renting, moving to the farm in 1965, where he lived the remainder of his life.

Les was a bachelor until the age forty-six, devoting his life to the farm. He figured by then he would likely never marry. Susan (Atkin- son) Downs was working at the Bank of Bridger and it took him a while to get the courage to finally ask her to have lunch at the bowling alley across from the bank. They were married August 1981, bringing into his life, her two daughters, Jennifer and Nancy. The following year, their son Roger was born, fulfilling a wish Les had to pass on his legacy.

Les enjoyed tinkering in his shop, working with wood and metal, figuring out ways improve everything from farm equipment to furniture in the house. Once he retired in 2001, he liked nothing more than to be able to go out to the shop and spend a few hours. Les knew a thing or two about farming, taking excellent care of both his farm and his home. He remi- nisced often of all the improvements he made on the farm and about his inter- esting family history. As a second-generation Volga Riv- er German, he was proud of that heritage, recounting the days sugar beets were har- vested with horse and wagon - although he was very fond of his John Deere tractor, which made farming so much easier. Les was a mem- ber of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bridger.

Les is preceded in death by his father, Solomon, his mother, Amelia, and his brother, Leonard. He is survived by Susan, Jennifer, Nancy and Roger, as well as Roger’s family, Ame, Brax- ton (10) and Bailey (8), who brought a great deal of joy into his life. He is also sur- vived by his brother, Mal- colm (Sue) of Snohomish, Washington; nieces, Melinda (Rich) Biggs and family of Vancouver, Washington, and Melissa (Campbell) Mathew- son and family of Kirkland, Washington.

A memorial service will be held at the St. Paul Lutheran Church, 305 Pryor Ave, Bridger, at 10 a.m. Tues- day, July 11, 2017 with burial at 9 a.m. at Bridger Ceme- tery, prior to service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donation to the charity of your choice in memory of Les.

Condolences may be shared at www.smithfuneral- chapels.com.