Garold Dean Spire was born 27th of August, 1921 on the Boulanger Ranch near Pawhuska Oklahoma. He passed away on September 11, 2020, age 99, in Billings, Montana, after a brief illness. Garold had been living with his son and his wife, Drs. Gari and Betty Spire in Billings in his final years.
His parents were Jessie Harkrader and May Bismarck (Mark) Spire, were harvesting at the Boulanger Ranch at the time of Garold’s birth. Garold had an older sister, Lucille, a well know artist in the Las Vegas area, and a brother, Ken, who worked in aerospace industry.
Mr. Spire’ Father, Mark, died in a drowning accident when Garold was just 10 months old. His Mother and the 3 children went to live with Mark’s Sister and her husband, Dr. Lucille Spire-Blachly and Dr. Dallas Blachly, in Oklahoma City. Mr. Spire recently joked that he had been under the care of two physicians all his life, first with Aunt Lucille and Uncle Dallas, and later with son Gari and Daughter-in-law Betty, both doctors also.
He enlisted in the Army in December 1941 and the Air Corps in August 1942, in Tulsa OK.
Mr. Spire married Elnora Adams in Carroll, Arkansas on January 2, 1948. They remained married for 70 years until she passed in 2018. He returned from his station on Adak in Alaska, when his son Gari was born, and was reassigned to Malmstrom air base in Great Falls, MT. Elnora and their small family joined him and there they fell in love with Montana. There, the younger children Kari, Tari, and Lari were born.
He was reassigned to Japan and received awards for his distinguished service on extending the life of aircraft engines.
Mrs. Spire asked him to request a tour of duty to Arizona, for the mild weather and so she could be closer to relatives. But soon, Mr. Spire, always interested in new and different places, took his family with him on tours of duty in Europe, with a year in Germany, a year in England, and two years in France. While there, he adopted Shari Lonn Spire. The family took long vacations all over Europe, and all have memories and stories of the adventures.
They returned to the states and were reassigned to Arizona. There, Mr. Spire instituted a system to document maintenance of aircraft for which he received a commendation. Mr. Spire led his family in building a beautiful desert home there during the kids’ High School years. After another tour of duty in the Philippines and Vietnam Mr. Spire retired from the service in the late 60’s a senior master sergeant. Many friends kindly called him “Sarge”.
Dad studied entomology and briefly worked with the state of Arizona as an agriculture inspector after retiring. He later took on a project for Lockheed Aerospace, making the tank farm for jet aircraft, improving the maintenance turnover time by re-engineering the fuel tank and fuel delivery inspection systems. Mr. Spire had entered the Air Force Cadet training program to become a pilot, but after the war, the program was shut down, and the cadets were dismissed. Undeterred, he became a licensed pilot and taught his wife to fly as well. He rebuilt many aircraft over the years, including one in Honduras to help his son, Gari finish medical school there.
In the early 1980’s he won a BLM bid on property near Beaver Creek, Montana, negotiated a land trade for a parcel that would become his dream home site. He built the “lodge” from the trees he felled and milled himself, from that same property. He and his wife completed it, with some occasional help from his family and friends. It remains an off-the-grid home, complete with solar panels for electricity, a rainwater catchment system, and a unique elevator, to bring people and groceries up from the garage. There he continued his passions for cooking, hunting dog training, fishing and flying for decades.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, and by his adopted daughter, Shari Lonn Copeland.
He is survived by four of his children, Gari, Kari, Tari and Lari, several nieces and nephews, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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