Cover photo for Harold "Hal" Vosen's Obituary
Harold "Hal" Vosen Profile Photo
1940 Harold 2020

Harold "Hal" Vosen

May 11, 1940 — October 9, 2020

Harold (Hal) Clayton Durham Vosen 1940-2020


Hal passed from this world after a brief illness compounded by a fall in which he injured his neck and spinal cord. Memorial services are scheduled for 12:00 MT time, Saturday, October 24, 2020, in Heron, Montana, at the United Methodist Church under the direction of Pastor Bill Warren.  A graveside service is planned for July 2021 at the Heron cemetery.  


Those who knew Hal/Clayton appreciated his twinkly eyes, his love of people, his good humor, his kindness and his willingness to spend time working on community projects.  His life of faith, family and service leaves a priceless legacy behind and we treasure his memory. 


Harold Clayton Vosen was born in southern California in the spring of 1940 to Christine Clayton Durham and Harold Alderson Durham.  After his sister arrived, his mother moved them back to the Blue C Ranch in the Heron Montana area to live with her family while she sought a teaching certificate. As a young child he was known as Piper and later went by Clayton, his middle name. He spent his early years living in a log cabin with his Grandma Mariam and following his Grandpa Earl through the green forests of upper Idaho and northwestern Montana surrounded by his maternal aunts, uncles and many cousins.  He had numerous forest adventure stories involving fish, bears, dogs and hornets to share with his children from those days. 


After the war ended, Clayton’s mother taught in Kellogg, ID, where she met and married a young miner, Ralph Vosen, who adopted Clayton and his sister Phoebe.  The family moved to Spokane, WA, where Ralph worked for Kaiser Aluminum and they added another sister, Rosemary. Clayton attended Grant School and then Lewis and Clark High School graduating in 1958.  He went to the University of Idaho in Moscow where he became known as “Hal” and majored in forestry with a minor in range conservation.  Hal graduated in 1962 and soon after began working for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on their traveling interdisciplinary field mapping team in Oregon, the Missouri Breaks, the Four-Corners region and throughout Colorado. 


In 1965 Hal married Lynne Patton of Spokane, WA. They began married life in Jordan, MT, but soon moved to Denver, CO, Farmington, NM, and finally Malta, MT, where they had three children, Christina, David and Victor.  In Malta he joined the National Guard and became an officer in the armored cavalry (tank) division.  He also joined the local Toastmasters speaking club, an activity he continued for more than 50 years.  With his wife, he was active in the Jaycees and served as a youth leader at The Little White Church.  For the U.S. bicentennial celebration, he grew a beard which was awarded the most luxurious and most body! 


In 1976 Hal transferred to the Havre, MT, BLM office. He continued his service in the National Guard and Toastmasters, played intramural softball, and joined Van Orsdel United Methodist Church where he was baptized with his youngest son and taught jr. high Sunday School. The family spent many happy weekends at their cabin in the Bear Paw Mountains with friends and family.  While in Havre, Hal became better acquainted with his Vosen relatives in the Kremlin area. He attained the rank of Major the year he turned 40 and attended his first Yellowstone Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church as a lay delegate along with the whole family who enjoyed the big city of Billings. 


In 1980, Hal transferred to southeastern Montana where he served at the Miles City BLM District Office, Big Dry, and Powder River Resource areas as a range conservationist until his retirement in 2000.  The move shifted him to the U.S. Army Reserve where he served as a rank advancement training officer throughout Montana and continued as a tank commander.  He retired from the military reserve in 1991. 


Throughout his career with the BLM, Hal worked fighting fires. The combination of military service, Toastmaster events, field work and fighting range fires meant that Hal was often away in the summer, but he still remained supportive and active in community, church, and family activities. The family vacation often returned them to his roots visiting relatives in Spokane, Colville and the Heron/Sandpoint area for camping and fishing as well as battling noxious weeds wherever he found them.  Every year he planted a vegetable garden and nurtured trees and perennials in his yard.  Hal also loved to hunt.  In the fall he hunted for deer and antelope and in the winter, he hunted for Christmas trees.  


In the Miles City United Methodist Church, he served as annual conference lay delegate, adult and high school Sunday school teacher, infinite committee positions, and along with Lynne was a youth group leader for over a decade.  He loved music, singing bass in the church’s chancel choir and performing for time in their barbershop quartet.  He served as president of the Miles City Community Orchestra Trustees, on the Community Concert Association board, in the American Legion, and as charter representative for Boy Scout Troop 222. He was very proud of his service as Lt. Area Governor and Region 5 Lt. Governor for Toastmasters International and also served as a local officer when needed. In his later years he became active in the Montana Native Plant Society and was key in establishing the Montana Heritage Plant List. 


In 2006 after several summers in Clark Fork, ID, Hal and Lynne moved to their retirement home on the Cedar Bench Tree farm next to his Clayton grandparents’ Blue C Ranch.  In their new community, Hal became active in the Pend D’Oreille Chorale and Orchestra, the Heron and Clarkfork United Methodist Churches, Northern Idaho NAMI, the American Legion, Heron Players community theatre, and various local conservation efforts such as the Scotchman Peaks Initiative and the local 50-mile highway yard sale.  Hal and Lynne hosted many friends and family at their home and travelled extensively to visit grandchildren in Montana and Minnesota.  They also reunited with childhood friends through the Grant Park Elementary School Association.  In 2012 Hal was reconnected with his biological father’s family and travelled to California and Nevada to meet cousins and his half-sister Patsy. Sadly after 49 years of marriage, Lynne succumbed to gallbladder cancer with her family by her side.


In 2015 Hal met and married Carol Sue Bailey who had also recently lost a life partner.  Together they made their home in Heron and Priest Lake and travelled the world, visiting Portugal, Ireland, England, France and twice to Normandy for the reenactment of the WWII Allied landing.  In the US they traveled to Chattogue Island in Virginia, Yachats and Gold Beach, Oregon, and various hot springs throughout Montana and Idaho.  They shared a love of college football and the Seattle Mariners baseball.  Hal and Carol recently celebrated their 80th birthdays and 5th wedding anniversary. 


Hal’s gifts to his family, friends and community of his time, knowledge, thoughtfulness, humor, peacemaking and kindness will be sorely missed. Love you to the moon and back, Papa!


Memorials can be made to the Heron United Methodist Church, Heron Senior Community Center, Heron Library or the charity of your choice.  The family would also like to thank the Homehealth team at Clark Fork Valley hospital, the doctors and staff at Sacred Heart ICU and neurosurgical floor, St. Luke's rehabilitation hospital in Spokane, Bonner General ER and med-surg ward, and the staff at Lifecare in Sandpoint for all of their extraordinary care, professionalism and healing focus on Hal in the last few months amid the challenges of Covid19. 


Hal is survived by his wife, Carol Bailey of Heron, and two stepsons Erin (Jennifer) Ayles of Pasadena, MD, Scott (Nancy) Ayles of Frederick, MD and their children; his children Christina (Mark) Ostendorf of Miles City, MT, David (Elyse) Vosen of Duluth MN, and Victor Vosen of Heron, MT; grandchildren Nolan, Rosemarie, and Carson of Mizpah, MT, and Abigail, and Zipporah of Duluth, MN; his sisters, Phoebe Daniels of Spokane, Patsy Durham Aldrete of San Fernando Valley, CA, and Rosemary (David) Daniel of Metaline Falls, WA; his sister-in-laws Kendal (Miguel) Ferrera of Spokane and Rae Belle (Roger) Gambs of Atascadero, CA; nieces Stacie (Dan) Olson, Rachel (Mark) Richardson, Maria (Mike) Vandervert, and nephews Charles Daniels, Jim Daniels, Rodger Gambs, Shaun (Teresa) Daniel, Miles (Jeni) Daniel, and Lance Daniel and numerous cousins including Alan (Kathleen) Clayton of Sagle, ID; Roger (Irene) Clayton of Golden, CO; Audrey (Tim) Webb of SW WA, and Paula (Will Savage) Clayton of Whidbey Island, Robert (Susan) Chapman of Hawaii, Meg (Bill) Mader of PA; Sandy Compton, Chris Compton, Kent (Cindy) Compton and Sue Compton of Heron; Lorraine (Ralph) Beck of Kremlin, MT; and John Vosen of NE; and their children and children’s children. 


He was preceded in death by his wife Lynne, his parents Ralph and Christine Clayton Vosen of Colville, WA, a sister (Lisa) Ethel Elizabeth Durham Hutchison of southern California, a nephew Keith Andrews of Riverton, Wyoming, and several cousins including Pete (Lynne) Chapman of Seattle and Velma Jean Hoelke Jensen and her husband Leonard of Heron, MT.

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