Hap passed away peacefully of cancer, on August 26, 2017, in the presence of his loving family. Hap was born on July 22, 1922 at Ridgeway, MT to William F. Meade and Minnie (Blades) Meade. His parents ran the post office in Ridgeway. After finding an abandoned baby antelope, Hap took the laces out of his shoes, tied the antelope’s legs together and carried it home on his favorite pony “Peaches”- keeping the antelope as a pet for about 3 years. He later sold “Peaches” to buy his first tenor saxophone. He lived in Ridgeway until age 13, moving to Brainerd, Minnesota, where his parents owned the Pine Ridge Resort on Wise Lake. He worked as a “Hotty” for a mason until the age of 17. Having a love for music and dancing, Hap spent most of his earnings at various dance halls in the Brainerd area.
Prior to joining the war effort, Hap worked with the Army Air Corp at Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, WA., building B17 Fortress Airplanes. After boot camp, on military leave, Hap returned to Broadus, MT to propose marriage to Thelma J. Robison. He married the love of his life on July 13, 1944, in Ekalaka, MT, where his brother Bud lived. A brave vet of the Pacific Theater, Hap served two years in the Mariana Islands, on the island of Saipan. Working as a carpenter, as well, he built barracks for the enlisted service men and officers. He achieved the rank of Corporal Tech 5. During that time, he supervised the motor pool, where he dispatched 6X6 trucks to retrieve 500# Block Buster Bombs for the Port of Saipan. As the dispatcher, he was successful in having 12 Japanese soldiers surrender to him, while he was at the bomb disposal area. He received a Service Medal. In his spare time in Saipan, he built token souvenir bombs and sold them to the soldiers and Marines in port. Returning from the service in 1946, Hap picked up his bride and returned to Boeing Aircraft and worked one year.
Hap & Thelma moved back to Belle Fourche, SD, where he built a home. He then moved to Miles City, MT, where his first son, Lester was born in 1949. Moving on to Moscow, Idaho, Hap built two more homes, before returning to Brainerd, MN. While working at the family resort, his second child, Melody, was born in 1951. In the fall of 1951, they moved to Belle Fourche, SD, to build two family homes. In 1953, their son, Randy was born. Returning to Miles City, Hap had an opportunity to form another band, the “Night Owls” and continued his love of carpentry. While his band was playing at the Crossroads Inn, the Holy Rosary Hospital Administrator asked Hap to work as the hospital’s cabinet maker, where he worked for 26 years.
During his life in Miles City, Hap built two single homes, one quad-plex and one duplex. Hap & Thelma also lived for three years in Billings, returning to build the duplex. Hap enjoyed playing music (his band’s name was changed to the “Melo-Tones”), traveling to MN to fish at the resort, playing poker, hunting deer in Montana, buying and selling cars (always excited about seeing the newest models).
During retirement, Hap & Thelma traveled to Hawaii, Alaska, Branson, MO, Washington D.C., Texas & California. Hap was a very loving father & husband, making sure they lived in a nice home and had whatever was needed to enjoy life. This included painting bicycles, a 1948 Plymouth and a refrigerator that needed to be painted turquoise to match a counter top stove surface.
Hap was preceded in death by his parents, William & Minnie Meade, sisters; Blanch Olson, Nellie Helgerson & Alice Nolan, brother; Bud Meade. Hap is survived by his wife Thelma, son; Lester (Carla) Meade of Billings, daughter Melody (Bob) Haynes & son Randy Meade of Miles City; five grandchildren: Vicki (Glenn) Larson of Saginaw TX, Travis (Jessica) Haynes of Billings, MT, Spencer (Rachel Long) Haynes of Miles City, Tonya (Tony) Veches of Boise, ID & Kerri (Gregg) Salarz of Missoula, MT; nine great-grandchildren- Axel, Ares & Iris Larson of Saginaw, TX, Amelia, Destiny & Austin Haynes of Miles City, Brogan, Camden & Dresden Veches of Boise, ID, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place and a celebration of his life will be at a future date. Should you desire, please make a donation to one of the following: VFW & Elks Lodge in Miles City or the American Cancer Society