Harold Phillip Matovich, 74, of Grass Range, died Thursday, October 11, 2018, of natural causes. He was born on June 12, 1944, in Jordan, MT, the son of Philip and Bette (Sult) Matovich. He grew up on a cattle ranch on Calf Creek in Garfield County, halfway between Mosby and Sand Springs. In addition to learning the survival skills needed for ranching, Harold developed an early love for music. He got his first guitar from a catalog store, and his mother taught him the basic chords. Largely self- taught, he became an accomplished guitar player and vocalist.
Flying became his second love, starting with a Taylorcraft. Altogether, he had 14 different planes, almost as many as he had guitars. He took flying lessons from Roland Albright in Roundup, and only had one unplanned landing in all of his flying years. He owned Mission Flying Service in Livingston a few years, but he also flew for Corporate Air, Weeden Construction and others, counting more than 30,000 hours in the cockpit. Sister Linda believes she was his first passenger once he was legally allowed to take passengers. But sister Carey knows she was his first passenger before it was really legal (his log book confirms this). He was a member of the Montana Pilots Association and the AOPA, and was a Montana Pilot of the Year after he spotted an SOS while on a winter night flight to Denver, and helped direct rescuers to a family stranded in the mountains.
He attended schools in Garfield County, graduating from Garfield County High School in 1962. He studied automotive mechanics at Northern Montana College in Havre for two years. There wasn't anything he couldn't fix or weld. In the late 1960's, he married Sharon LaFountain and they had two daughters. They divorced, and on November 23, 1991, he married Margie Edwards in Las Vegas, NV. In 2001 Harold and Margie moved to Grass Range, operating the Wrangler Bar & Café until they retired in 2015. During that time, they hosted over 100 monthly musical jams, delighting the local dancing community.
He is survived by his wife Margie of Grass Range, MT; daughters Charlotte (Howard) Eike of Malta, MT, and Joey (Chris) Joseph of Pompey's Pillar, MT; step-sons Ron Brewington of Judith Gap, MT, Brad (Kelly) Brewington of Billings, MT, and Lance (Diane) Loberg of Great Falls, MT; sisters Linda (Gary) Gershmel of Winnett, MT, and Carey Matovich (Robert Delk) of Columbus, MT; 12 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral Services for Harold P. Matovich will be held at 11:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2018, in the Grass Range School, with committal to follow in the Grass Range Cemetery.
Friends are asked to make memorials to the Grass Range High School Music Scholarship Fund or the charity of their choice and may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com.