Harold Tutvedt, 89

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Harold Tutvedt went to Heaven to be with the love of his life on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.

Harold was born in a leased farm house with no power or running water just off Clark Drive in West Valley. He was the second child of Norwegian immigrants, Hans and Andora Tutvedt.

During his lifetime he would go from farming with horses to driving the big green auto steer combines that he loved so much.

Harold attended Flathead County High School, and at the urging of his FFA instructor, Henry Robinson, decided to attend Montana State College in Bozeman, MT. Each year, he completed his finals a few weeks early to make it back to the farm in time for planting. He went on to graduate in 1951, and returned to the farm full time.

Harold met the Love of his life, Shirley Phillips, in his living room; she was a friend of his little sister who had come out to visit for the afternoon. They married in 1954 and moved back into the farm house on Clark Drive that Harold had been born in – on the condition that he added indoor plumbing before she moved in.

Family came first for Harold. The more family the better - he deeply loved each of his five children and delighted in his six grandchildren as well as his many nieces and nephews. Over the years, he counted many of the farm hands living on the ranch and community members as family. Each of those people will remember the depths of his kindness and generosity. He loved family gatherings and did everything he could to bring everyone together each year, encouraging the family to grow and expand at every turn. After losing two of his own children in their infancy, he was committed to celebrating every child. He loved watching his family grow and seeing his kids and grandkids have children of their own. Much to his disappointment, none of his family members chose to adopt children from China.

Family was his first love, and agriculture was his second. Year after year, he focused on building and expanding the farming and ranching operations, and garnered great joy from mentoring young ranch hands. He crisscrossed the state with his lifelong friend, Doug Wise, always on the hunt for more cattle, regularly in increments as small as one. At its peak, the ranch included 1,300 mother cows and many more lightweight feeder cattle. The amount of work involved in securing pasture was staggering, and Harold was never afraid of hard work or the long hours that came with the work he loved.

Harold’s business intelligence and sense for numbers made his ambitions possible.

His eyes were always on expansion, and he was never afraid to borrow money to expand the farm onto more land, or find more reliable ways to harvest.

Serving family and community was a principle that was firmly instilled in Harold and his siblings. He served on the West Valley School Board for 15 years and oversaw the transition from five one-room school houses to a combined School District One. He was a committed member of the Rotary Club of Kalispell and Stillwater Grange. He also spent time serving on the Kalispell Chamber Board, West Valley Fire Department Board, and the State Advisory Committee to the Montana Experiment Station.

In 1984, Harold was given the chance to serve on the first Glacier Bank Board of Directors, helping the bank go public and become what it is today. Being a part of GBCI was one of the great honors of Harold’s life and in his 16 years on the board, he never attended a meeting without reading every word of the prep materials. He never forgot that he was the son of immigrants and always believed he needed to work harder to earn his spot.

While his accomplishments are many, Harold will be remembered for his kind and generous spirit, his commitment to always maintaining a positive attitude, his love of the people around him, and his incredible work ethic.

Harold’s spirit lives on when we all show undeserved kindness, in the community service of his children and grandchildren, and in the love of tractors of his towheaded great grandsons.

Harold is survived by his children, Bruce Tutvedt (Sandy), and Sarah McClure (Daniel); daughter-in-law Linda Tutvedt, son-in-law, Gary Needleman (Lauren); grandchildren, Valerie Gravage (Dugan), Emily Grossman (Seth), Nathan McClure (Elizabeth), Colin McClure, Andora Tutvedt, Joel McClure; great grandchildren, Toston Gravage and Fairfax Gravage; dear friend, Tamara Kaufman.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Hans and Andora Tutvedt; his wife, Shirley Tutvedt, sister, Doris Knox, brother Paul Tutvedt; and children, Bradford Allen, Eric John and Andora Jan.

Harold’s family would like to send a special thanks to staff and caregivers at Buffalo Hills Terrace and Frontier Hospice for all of their loving support.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Stillwater Lutheran Church in Kalispell.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the: Harold Tutvedt Scholarship Fund, c\o Flathead Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1422, Kalispell, MT 59903.

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