Orrin Michael Hart

Orrin Michael Hart of Big Timber, Montana checked out of service (10-7) and assumed room temperature suddenly on Aug. 5. He was born in Billings on Feb. 16, 1937.

Infants don’t get to pick their parents and Michael arrived as the child of a pair of alcoholic and abusive parents who had a marked effect on his life during his formative years. As a youth, he was very insecure, socially inept, a poor student and an eventual high-school dropout. 

However, he always believed he was destined to become a solider and while still in high-school he served for a year as an armor crewman with the 163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Montana National Guard. 

He escaped from Billings in 1955 by enlisting in the Regular Army. During the next 11 years he rose in rank from Private to Sargent First Class (E-7). In 1966, he was appointed a Warrant Officer in the Army Adjunct General Corps in the field of Personal Management and Administration. In 1974, he completed an associates degree with the State University in New York. 

In 1975, he retired from active military service as a Chief Warrant Officer, W3. During his 20 years of active military service, he served overseas areas for 16 years which included multiple tours in the Republic of Vietnam. 

As a result of his military service, he was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, The Vietnam Service Medal with six Campaign Stars, The Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, The Republic of Vietnam Staff Service Medal and several other service medals. He was proud to have continued the traditions of his ancestors who served in most of the past conflicts of our country.

Upon his retirement from the Army, he gained employment with the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive in Alaska. 

He later did well as a building contractor. In 1982, he sought to further his education and in 1984 he received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Montana College (with honors). 

Michael then spent many years as a successful secondary history teacher in Montana, Arizona and Washington. He also served as an administrator of a high-school “At Risk Student” remedial program. In 1994, he became an educational consultant for strategies in dealing with “At Risk Students” for districts in western states.

Unfortunately, he was deeply affected by issues resulting from his years of military service in Vietnam. He was unable to always cope successfully with many problems which led to the failure of his first marriage and the estrangement of his children and family siblings.

In 1997, he married a talented retail management executive Jean A. Foster. Their marriage was a wonderful success and he believed she was the most beautiful, loving, caring, unselfish, loyal and kind person he had known in his lifetime.

He was a proud fourth-generation Montanan. He always viewed his life as a grand adventure. He engaged in many pursuits which included hunting and fishing in Europe, the far north in Canada, Alaska and later in Montana. He was a successful trapper, boat builder, fly fisherman and could tie beautiful flies. He was a voracious reader and lover of music from Bach to bluegrass.

Burial with military honors has taken place and he now rests with his brothers in arms. For whatever else he was in his life, he was ever a soldier. He is survived by his loving wife Jean A. Hart, PO Box 1602, Big Timber, MT 59011.


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