Harold E. Hoem

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Harold E. Hoem, 92, was born April 13, 1926, to Arne and Grace Hoem. His legacy is one of love and laughter. He had two special talents which were especially cherished by those who knew him. He never hesitated to say ‘I love you’ and he expressed his love through gentle, warm-hearted teasing that could make even strangers laugh at his good-natured comments. He could expand any lackluster true story into the most thrilling tall tale told in the state.

Through his childhood, he worked summers on ranches in the Big Timber area, first as a boy riding horseback to deliver lunches to cowboys, and later as a cowboy himself. While he competed in tag-team roping, he bragged most about his bull-riding skill. Not one home movie shows him actually riding a bull; every one shows him flying from them!

While still in high school, Hal hitchhiked with his grandmother Addie Hoem to Billings, where he enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in Okinawa and in Korea and served as infantryman, rifleman, grenade launcher and bugler.

During his time in Korea, he ran through enemy fire to obtain morphine for fellow soldiers who had been wounded in battle, then ran back through the bullets to administer the morphine. For that act of heroism he was awarded the Bronze Star. On his wall now hang four Bronze Stars. Over many years he told many stories about how each Star was won, but no one can guess which one of the stories Hal told may have been the true ones! He also received a Combat Infantryman Badge; Army of Occupation Medal (Japan); Victory Medal; Asiatic Pacific Service Medal; and a Good Conduct Medal.

On his return to Big Timber, Hal became the youngest under-sheriff in the state of Montana at that time. The duty he most enjoyed was escorting young ladies home from the train station when they arrived in town late at night.

In 1954 he went into business with Bill Donald, Sr., and together, they built dams and leveled farmland throughout the Big Timber, Melville, Harlowton, Martinsdale, Two Dot and Lennep areas. Once, a driving miscalculation caused their bulldozer to end up on its side. Hal quipped, “This would be a good time to grease ‘er up, don’t you think, Bill?”

Over his career as a heavy equipment operator, Hal role-modeled integrity and an excellent work ethic. Though he was well known for his leisure-time tall tales, when it came to business, his word was good and his integrity trusted.

Hal is survived by his daughters Dinae Hoem and Renee Hoem; his sister Dolores Hoiland; sister Lois Stevens and husband Harlan; cousins Sarge and Raymond Hoem; niece Stacy Goins and husband Dick; niece Allyson Briese, children: Ryal and Jaydy; niece Melissa Gavne and husband Jeff, children: Colton and Paige; niece Mitzi Robbie and husband Scott, children: Boe and wife Miranda and child Piper; Ty and wife Kelsie; and nephew Curtis Bjorndal and wife Stacy, children: Shelby and Evonne. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Doris McComb, and his wives Betty Hoem and Mickey Hoem.

Celebration of his life will be held June 15, in Big Timber, Montana.

Harold’s daughters want to express our profound gratitude to Sarge Hoem, Donna Keller, Sarah Shapiro-Hurley, Stacy Goins and the entire staff of Boulder Meadows Assisted Living for their countless generous acts of kindness lavished on our father over many years.

Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel and memories may be shared at www.dahlfuneralchapel.com.