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Harold William 'Gil' Gilden Jr.

| October 30, 2009 12:00 AM

Harold William “Gil” Gilden Jr., 76, of Libby died Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 at St. John’s Lutheran Hospital.

He was born on July 6, 1933 in a log cabin at Crystal Lakes outside of Fortine, the son of Harold W. and Helen B. (Klinke) Gilden. He graduated from Lincoln County High School in 1952, and then entered the U.S. Army. He attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an officer. Later, he was stationed in Geinhausen, Germany as a captain during the start of the Korean conflict.

He married Joretta ‘Jo’ Bandy of Greenfield, Calif., in 1954 and they left for Frankfurt, Germany, where he was stationed until 1958. They were married over 45 years.

He had a lifelong interest in guns. He was a marksman for the Army, shooting for the Army’s European team and becoming an alternate for the 1956 Olympic team. He was a Smith & Wesson man and an avid gunsmith. He was also a scholar of the Civil War and read extensively on all aspects of the armies of the North and South.

Family and friends will remember Mr. Gilden as a true Montanan who had a deep commitment to public service. He was a founding member of the Libby Volunteer Ambulance. In 1975, he received the Libby Chamber of Commerce Service Award for outstanding efforts to better the community.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Scott.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Joretta Gilden of Libby; daughter, Leslie (Mark) Osteen of Baltimore, Md.; sons,  James (Amy) Gilden of Libby; and Gregg Gilden of St. Regis; sisters, Penny (Bruce) Wood of Elliston; and Candace (Ragnar) Pettersson of Bothel, Wash.; grandchildren, Cameron Osteen of Baltimore;  1st Lt. Nathan Gilden of Ft. Riley, Kan.; Lane Foster, Carlie Gilden, Allie Gilden, Jaime Gilden and Corey Moor; an uncle, Peter Klinke; aunts, Janice Neuman and Deloris Deyerle of Helena; and cousins, John Gilden of Spokane, Wash.;  Del Drury of Libby; and Don Gilden of Idyllwild, Calif.

Services were scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the First United Methodist Church with Pastor John Farquhar officiating. Burial was scheduled to follow at the Libby Cemetery.

Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Libby handled arrangements.