The attack on Pearl Harbor came that fateful morning in 1941, he was drafted and less than a month later found himself at Fort Lewis as a new recruit. Tony was first stationed in Alaska were he served as a ski instructor preparing troops to invade Norway. Within days of the Battle of the Bulge he was on a ship bound for Germany. Upon arrival in Europe, he was sent to France, where he guarded German prisoners of war until the war ended in 1945. He made his way back to Montana and his love. They were married February 6, 1946.
In their 63 years of marriage they made their home in Great Falls, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Bigfork, Worland, Hot Springs and Libby.
In the course of his lifetime he worked at a large variety of jobs. He found employment as a valet, milkman, farmer, truck driver, farm hand, babysitter, rancher, cowboy, sheep herder, firefighter, hop picker, sawyer, apple picker, soldier, sugar beet topper, millworker, dock hand, ski instructor, guard, gas station attendant, salesman, mechanic, snow plower and highway foreman. But to Tony those were all just ways he supported his family, the jobs he felt most passionate about were those of husband, father and grandfather.
He thoroughly enjoyed being a grandparent and even as they grew to adulthood, he was extremely good at keeping up with the grandchildren's adventures as well as the additions to each of their families.
He had a natural talent as an engineer and his creations were awe-inspiring. He refurbished, repurposed and restored long before it was fashionable to do so. In retirement, he especially enjoyed restoring Mercedes Benz vehicles. At one time, there were ten of them, beautifully restored, parked in their front yard. Yard sale-ing became a full time hobby, and his weekend was complete if he managed to score a bargain. An avid reader and fisherman, he enjoyed hunting, wood getting and the outdoors. Gardening was a favorite pastime and he generously gifted friends and neighbors with the bounty.
The last several years, he battled asbestosis, a disease that makes each breath as precious as it is exhausting to take. He passed away at his home Thursday, September 22, 2016.
He is survived by his brother Duane Hedahl of Great Falls; one daughter, Allyson Nixon of Libby, and two sons, Kris Hedahl of Libby and Mark (Diane) Hedahl of Thompson Falls. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and ten great-great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Rosemary, parents Eddie and Alice Hedahl, brother Kermit (LaVerne) Hedahl, sisters Gladys (Orris) Olson, Erma (Paul) Shaffer, and Donna Hedahl, son-in-law Doug Nixon, grandson Ty Hedahl and great-great-grandson Steven Allestad.
At his request a private memorial service will be held on the banks of the Kootenai River and Tony and Tina will once again be united.