Harley Leroy Huntley
November 4, 2021
Harley Leroy Huntley was born July 10, 1937, in Sturgis, South Dakota, to Darold L. Huntley and Ruth I. Eckenrode. He passed from this life on August 23, 2021, in Thompson Falls in the care of Cherry Hills. Harley is survived by his half-brother, a half-sister, nieces, and nephews.
Harley migrated with his mother to Thompson Falls at a very young age, approximately two years old. He attended local schools and participated in athletics. Upon graduating from High School in 1955, Harley left his family home and entered active duty with the United States Marine Corp on August 3 of that same year. His total service lasted 21 years 3 months and 12 days. He served in the Vietnam War and served two tours of combat duty. His total foreign or overseas service included 4 years 5 months and 21 days.
While he served officially as a combat photographer, the heralded Major General Ngo Quang Truong of the Republic of Vietnam awarded Harley the Cross of Gallantry and the Silver Award for his dedicated experience and high competence while under heavy enemy fire. Harley would sometimes recount his responsibility to defend his unit in fierce battle in which he was required to terminate more than 100 charging enemy and confiscated numerous enemy weapons.
Such gallantry took its toll, however. He would sometimes share the evidence of fierce combat showing the film cases he carried in his knapsack during combat that stopped bullets meant for him. The scars he carried inside were deeper. He belatedly received a full combat disability as a result of his war time service.
Harley was a good man and a gentle soul. He could be an exquisite wood worker and a fine metal worker. He often practiced random acts of kindness such as delivering a handmade wooden, rocking baby cradle for a newborn in Missoula and scores of other places. He was a generous man who always looked out for others. He would often buy children bicycles whenever they grew out of one. He was known to visit a restaurant to give all the employees with kids under 14 or 15 years old money for each child to help buy Christmas presents. Harley's kind conduct left a small but important impression on a generation of children about paying generosity forward especially where they might find a need
At one time, he frequently would visit a restaurant and provide homemade fudge for all the employees from a little store in Noxon and say, "The 'fudge fairy' is here." Several years ago, Harley bought shoes for a couple of the staff at Minnie's, nobody asked him to, he just thought they needed new shoes, so he bought some.
He's given vehicles to those that needed them.
Few who knew him can forget how well he tended to his wife, Eileen Stone, in her final years. That kind of love and thoughtfulness was reciprocated by many of his friends in the community during his final few weeks as they rallied to Harley's support particularly Barb Saint, Brock Perkins, Dr. Randy Lovell and his staff, the staff of Clark Fork Valley hospital, Mike Crosby, Mary Hutchings, and many others in the community who acted to help and protect Harley at a critical time.
At Harley's request cremation has taken place under the care of Sunset Hills. A brief graveside service is scheduled at the Thompson Falls Cemetery at noon, Thursday, November 11, 2021, with military honors, Bob Crowder officiating. A brief open house reception is planned at Thompson Falls Christian Church, to which the community is also invited. Harley would prefer that you humbly help someone in need and remember him when doing so, or by contributing to the Wounded Warriors Project.