In his early years, Giles was known for his escapades with his friends, building cannons and blowing off the door to a friend’s basement. He and his brothers also raised tame deer and skunks. He was a hunter and fisherman from a young age and he and his friends enjoyed an annual float down the Bennetts branch of the Susquehanna River on New Year’s Day. Giles graduated from Penn State University with a degree in forestry and wildlife management. He enlisted in 1968 in the Army, serving in Vietnam as a demolitions expert. He was among the first troop withdrawals and spent his last year in the army as an instructor in Hawaii.
Following his discharge from the service, he returned to his hometown where he was reintroduced to high school classmate, Janet May Dick. Within months Janet proposed to Giles, and they were married on April 29, 1972. That afternoon, they packed all their worldly belongings in a 1964 Rambler Station Wagon and headed west. After exploring the area for 2 ½ months, they settled in Spokane, Wash. where Giles was a cab driver, a nature photographer, and a travel agent booking African big game hunts. Giles and Janet moved to Missoula, in 1977, where he started work in the log home industry and as a building contractor. He traveled to both Japan and China building log homes. The family, now including daughter Jessica (b. 1983), moved to Thompson Falls in 1992, where Giles worked for National Log Homes. When the company closed, he went to work for the Forest Service as a Weed Suppression Technician.
Giles was a multi-faceted, multi -talented, artistic man. His interests included pottery, drawing, music, hunting, fishing, reading; he was a naturalist, fostering his daughter’s interest in plants. The newspaper’s crossword puzzles, Sudoku and Cryptoquote as well as Jeopardy were conquered daily and no one could beat him at trivial pursuit. Giles was an involved 4-H parent during Jessica’s school years, developing his interest in horseback riding with her encouragement.
Giles was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in April 2010. As was always his practice, he continued to live his life on his terms. He worked for the Forest Service throughout. During his last few years, he indulged his wife with an Alaskan cruise, and a trip to Las Vegas with longtime friends. He was comforted by the births of his two grandsons.
Giles passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 8. He is survived by Janet, his wife of 40 years; daughter Jessica, her husband Kevin Bushnell, and their children William Henry and Joseph Howard; brothers Joseph in Delaware and George in Pennsylvania; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services were held Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Thompson Falls Christian Church.