Orval Harden, 97

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Orval Harden, 97, died peacefully at home in Grand View, on Feb. 18, 2005.

Graveside services will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in Mountain View Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Rost Funeral Home.

He was born in Cherokee County, Kan., in 1907, the fourth child of John William Erastus Harden, and Cora Ann (Belk) Harden. He joined two older sisters, Lola and Leona, and a brother, who died shortly after he was born.

He worked in his father's tire store in Sabetha, Kan., in his youth, and acquired a Model T, which he drove to Idaho for a visit when he was 16 years old. His family said that "as he lay on his back at Riggins watching a pack train high up on the mountain coming around the trail, he vowed he'd be back."

He graduated from Sabetha High School, and the College of Agriculture at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

While attending college, he worked at a tire shop and in 1930 met a young graduate nurse, Mada Cathern Furry. They were married in October 1931, although, his family said, she had to promise to move to Idaho.

He was still a full-time student and working when his first son, Duane, was born in 1932. He graduated in June 1933, and in July they visited family in route to Idaho -- tenting along the way.

They lived in New Plymouth while Orval worked at Cabarton for a logging contractor. When winter snows shut them down they moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he built houses with his father, and took his Civil Service exams.

Their second son, Hugh, was born in 1934 in Des Moines, which he had described to his family as "a hard depression year."

In March 1935 Orval went to work for the old Bureau of Farm Management and Costs. That job had him in north Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

He then went back to school for graduate work at Iowa State University in July 1937. Their third son, Hal, was born at that time.

"Orval seemed to think he could make a more honest living working in the private sector," his family said, so in September 1937 the family moved to Phoenix where he attend trade school and learned the plumbing trade.

In 1938 they moved to Nampa, where Orval worked as a plumber and Cathern worked as a nurse.

They later bought a plumbing business in Grand Junction, Colo., but business was poor, so Orval took another government job in Amarillo, Texas. Several moves later, in 1940 in Blackwell, Okla., their fourth son, Harvey, was born.

They again headed for Idaho, and partnered with another family to purchase and farm 80 acres south of Meridian, while Orval also worked as a plumber. That farm was eventually sold and the family moved to a better farm near Emmett, where, in 1945, his fifth son, Quentin, was born.

Meanwhile, Orval bought a plumbing shop in Emmett. Eventually, commuting the old road over Freezeout Hill got a bit tiresome and they had a farm sale and relocated across from the Floating Feather Airport, within ten miles of Boise. There they farmed, grew the plumbing business and for a while he had over 20 plumbers working for him. They moved the plumbing business to Fairview Avenue, past Orchard, built five houses, and installed panel radiant heating systems from Juntura, to Sulfur Creek, to Grand View, and worked into the well drilling business, eventually selling the plumbing shop and keeping the drilling business.

They completed their family with Orval, son number six.

They lived over 20 years in the same spot near Eagle, during which time the boys grew up.

In 1965 they emigrated to central British Columbia, settling at Burns Lake. Orval and one driller operated two rigs drilling wells from Vanderhoof to Prince Rupert.

Then Orval and Cathern were allowed an agricultural lease on Crown land near Terrace, which they had to develop to acquire title.

Orval sold out and retired in 1976.

In 1983 they moved to a place on the Moyie River near Yahk, B.C., and continued their snowbird life, traveling to California and Mexico in the winter.

Cathern died of cancer in 1988, and Orval moved his residence to Saskatchewan.

Orval advertised for a pen pal in the Sabbath Sentinel, and a friend of Dorothy Childs challenged her to write Orval. Written correspondence between Saskatchewan and Oklahoma soon turned into phone conversations. After a while, Dorothy gave Orval permission to visit and in 1991 two people, each missing happy, lifelong loving mates, were soon married, his family said.

They continued traveling but now the path from Mendham, Sask. to Bay of Angels, Baja California, was a circuit that included Dorothy's family in Oklahoma.

In 1999 Orval's macular degeneration forced them to settle down near family. They rented the Heinbach place west of Grand View, and in 2002 moved into Grand View to have neighbors closer.

Orval is survived by: his wife, Dorothy; sons Hugh (Gloria) of Mountain Home, Hal (Warrine) of Wenatchee, Wash.; Harvey (Pat) of Sandpoint, Quentin (Kathy) of Bonners Ferry, and Orval (Alinder) of Centennial, Colo.; 13 grandchildren; and 21 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Cathern, his firstborn son, and a grandson.

Memorials in Orval's name may be made to the Rimrock Senior Citizens Center, Grand View, ID 83624.