Photography

Earl J. Halverson

July 5, 1927 ~ January 5, 2022 (age 94)

Obituary

Earl J. Halverson

 

Earl J. Halverson passed away on Jan. 5, 2022, at the age of 94. He was born on July 5, 1927, in Billings, to Earl Oscar Halverson and Goldie (Gullickson) Halverson. He was the middle child of the family with two older siblings, Victor and Dorothy, and two younger siblings, Shirley and Robert. His infant sister Alice Marie died before he was born.

Earl attended school at Broadwater Elementary, Hawthorne School, Lincoln Junior High and Billings Senior High School. While at Hawthorne School, he decided he would eventually become a math teacher. He enlisted in the Army in November 1944 and graduated early from high school at age 17 when he received his orders for active service. After his honorable discharge in 1946, he returned to Billings and attended school at Eastern Montana College, majoring in education. He participated in football, basketball, and track and field. He was the sports writer for the EMCOE, the student newspaper, and a member of the Intercollegiate Knights Service Fraternity. He graduated from college in the spring of 1952.

Earl was always a hard worker, starting with his first job at age 8, selling newspapers in downtown Billings. After the family moved to Billings Heights when he was 10, he helped his father, who was a truck gardener. Earl spent many hours hoeing weeds, harvesting crops and delivering the produce to stores and restaurants around Montana with his father. He worked a variety of jobs during high school and college: at Firestone Tire and Rubber, as a golf caddy at Hilands Golf Club, parking cars at the fair, and as a bellhop at the Northern Hotel and at the Grand Hotel.

Earl met his future wife, Jewel “Julie” Mattson in college. She was wearing a football uniform and selling tickets to the football game. He always said he knew immediately that she was the one for him. They were married on Aug. 16, 1952, and moved to Harlowton, where Earl taught seventh grade and coached football. After two years, they moved back to Billings, where Earl was a math teacher at Lewis and Clark Junior High and later at Lincoln Junior High. After Earl received his master’s degree in educational leadership, he became an assistant principal at Lincoln Junior High and then at Lewis and Clark Junior High. He retired in 1981.

After he retired, Earl spent several years caring for his mother, who was a resident of Valley Nursing Home. He continued to volunteer at the nursing home after her death and was honored as the Volunteer of the Year in 1992. He also took care of an elderly cousin for many years, visiting her twice a day to read the newspaper to her in the morning and her mail in the afternoon. He was an exceptional caregiver for Julie through her battle with breast cancer in 1997 and a stroke in 2008. Julie became his caregiver when he started to have issues with memory loss. Her sudden death on Feb. 9, 2019, devastated him but he was able to rally and took pleasure in honoring her memory by watering the flowerbeds she had planted and tended for so many years.

Earl was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, and Julie, his wife of 66 years. He is survived by his immediate family: Mark Halverson and his wife, Edee Edwards of West Halifax, Vermont, Lori Cornish and her husband, Don Cornish of Billings, and his beloved grandson, Spencer Cornish of Belgrade.

Memorials may be made to Montana Masonic Foundation, 425 N. Park Avenue, Helena, MT, 59601 or a charity of one’s choice.

A celebration of Earl’s life will be held in the summer.

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