Floyd was born April 14, 1925 in Keighly, Kan. to Charles and Grace (McCreary) Veach. He was the youngest of seven and the last one to pass on.
He grew up in Latham, Kansas where he attended school, helped his father in his machine shop, and ran a trap line. He also worked summers on relatives’ farms. At 17 Floyd went to New York and joined the Merchant Marines. Within weeks he transferred to Marines and went to San Diego for another Boot Camp. Floyd was part of the 5th Tank battalion at Fort Pendleton, spent time in Hawaii, then the Tank Division headed to Japan. Before his ship reached Japan, the bomb was dropped, the war was over and he was among the first troops to occupy Nagasaki, Japan.
Following his honorable discharge in 1947 Floyd settled in Riverside, Calif. where he did some farming, helped establish an airport (still in use) that he was paid for in flying lessons and received a pilot’s license. He also continued prize fighting for a short time, something he’d begun in the Marines. There he met Leona Mae Wray and after two weeks courtship they were married February 2, 1947.
In 1951, Floyd and Leona moved to Kalispell, Montana to join ventures with some siblings. There he began a lifelong love affair with hunting and fishing. They lived in several locations including Paradise, Little Thompson River, Colburn, Idaho, and finally settled in Heron in 1957, where he built a home. Floyd worked on the building of the Noxon dam. He bought a logging truck and after a serious crushed ankle accident he started driving log truck full time for Lyman Claridge in Thompson Falls. While in Heron Floyd was a 4-H leader, bus driver, active in NRA and hunted and fished to his heart’s content. In 1973 they moved to Thompson Falls where he’d worked for many years by then.
During his career of driving Thompson River Road he hauled double and triple loads of logs on a regular basis and on June 18, 1972 he hauled 7 loads down the river. This haul was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1977 as Largest Road Load. It also resulted in Chevrolet contacting LHC about a commercial with Chevy pickup, which he made pulling 5 loads in 1973.
Over a long period of time he traveled every year to Washington State with best friend and truck boss, Joe Milner to fish in the ocean. They pulled boat and freezer behind their campers and returned with fish for a year. Floyd also fished many other locations in Montana and Canada over the years. He hunted deer, elk and bear and taught all his children and grand-children to hunt, fish and to love Montana the way he did. He also competed in many Logger Day celebrations, usually throwing the ax, in Northwest Montana and N. Idaho.
After Floyd retired from hauling logs, he worked in the LHC shop doing body work and other things until his retirement. In 1990 he moved to his current residence on the river to fish and garden and enjoy his leisure. He also did some part time work for Roger Claridge at TRL watering mill grounds and hauling parts. He developed his riverfront into a lovely place for his family to come and enjoy. He and Leona enjoyed several RV trips – to Kansas, Alaska, and many nearer locations. He spent his later years fishing the Clark Fork River, gardening, and then taking care of his beloved Leona in her illness.
Floyd was preceded in death by his wife, of 59 years, Leona; also by six siblings, daughter, Janet Stobie, and great-grandson, Christopher. He is survived by daughter Della (Tom) Van Valkenburg, son Jimmy (Debby) Veach, son-in-law Dyke Stobie, all of Thompson Falls, and son Paul (Marge) Wray of New York. He has left numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will miss him dearly.
Graveside services will be held at Whitepine Cemetery Saturday, July 20 at noon. A picnic will follow at Jim and Debby Veach’s home at 20 North Shore Dr., Thompson Falls. Memorials can be made to local VFW Post 12113, POB 661, Thompson Falls, MT 59873.