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Harry Ellsworth Swain
Harry Swain

March 6, 1919 - Nov. 9, 2008

Harry E. Swain passed away early Sunday morning, Nov. 9, 2008, at the Valley Health Care Center. He was born in Billings, March 6, 1919, the son of James R. and Esther E. Swain, the first of three children.

Harry graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1937. During his high school years, he was a running back on the football team. His favorite sport activities include hunting, fishing, bowling and especially golf. He was a charter member of the Laurel Golf Club.

Harry worked for the Montana Power Company as a lineman until he was inducted into the Army on April 7, 1941. After his basic training, he was assigned to the 52nd Signal Battalion. During WWII, he participated in several campaigns in the South Pacific. He applied for Officer's Candidate School and graduated a 2nd Lieutenant, April 1, 1943, in Brisbane, Australia. He returned to the 52nd Signal Battalion and after several campaigns was promoted to Captain.

Harry received the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy on Luzon, Philippine Islands, through his leadership and close supervision under combat conditions from Jan. 9, 1945, to May 1, 1945. Harry was discharged from military service in October 1945.

Before Harry was inducted into the military service, he was dating Kathryn A. Schmauch of Roundup. They agreed to get married after he was discharged. They were married Oct. 23, 1945, until her death Feb. 20, 2007.

Harry went back to work for The Montana Power Company as a lineman for two years, and then he and his best friend Vaughn Morris started their own business called Swain & Morris Utility Line Construction. It involved pole line and underground electric line installation. They were in business from 1947 to 1979. Harry retired at that time.

During this period, he became a 32nd Degree Mason of the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry. He was also a lifetime member of the Elks and a member of the American Legion.

Harry is survived by his brother, James R. Swain, Jr.; his sister, Jean E. Grimm; nephews, James D. Swain, William Schmauch, and Kenneth Grimm; "his boys," great-nephews, Josh, Eli and Jimmy Swain; niece; Patti Wood; sister-in-law, Ruth Schmauch; and several cousins.

The Swain family would like to thank the staff on the Sunnyview Wing at the Valley Health Care Center for the excellent care given to Harry during his stay from April 2005 to November 2008.

Visitation will be 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Graveside services with military honors and Masonic rites will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting

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