Pub. 2 2022 Issue 2

Harold Mildenberger It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of Harold Mildenberger. He will truly be missed by all. Harold Mildenberger, born August 18, 1932, went to rest August 4, 2022, at home, on the family ranch up Gird Creek. Harold was surrounded by his wife of 70 years, Marilyn, daughter Debbie Peterson, son Brad Mildenberger and Tanya, and six grandchildren. The ten greatgrandchildren, and several nieces and nephews, were not present but there in spirit. Harold was the goer of all goers. He was born in Carson, North Dakota, and moved to Montana at age five with his mother, Pauline, and father, Phillip. Harold’s father worked for the railroad, and his mother was a strawberry picker. At age six, Harold didn’t see much future in picking berries. By age nine, he monopolized all the paper routes, plus he collected past due accounts for a 70% take. He formed the “black eye club" – you worked for him, or you got a black eye. By age ten, he had his own car. He was a true Capone of his time, pulling his cotton candy machine to and from fairs, parades, and reservation “smoker” events. He loved to step into the boxing ring to knock someone out for a few extra bucks. Harold couldn’t wait to fight in the Korean War. On January 1, 1951, he enlisted in the Navy. He was sent to the Aleutian Islands, where he trained to fly PBYs, and was assigned to the carrier USS Princeton. Harold’s boxing career took off when he was selected for an open bout in Anchorage, Alaska. After a swift knockout, he was approached by a Navy boxing recruiter who asked him to train in San Diego. His knockouts continued, and while training for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, a crushing right uppercut broke his hand and ended his hope for a medal. After healing, he continued boxing and earned the San Diego Tribune headline “Mildenberger Defeats Faulkner to Claim the AllNavy Golden Gloves Championship.” In 1955, Harold returned to the Bitterroot Valley and sold cars for Charlie Stevens. In 1956, he decided to venture out and create his own dealership, C & M Motor Company, which originally specialized in selling Oldsmobiles and Ramblers. Soon thereafter, he became the youngest Cadillac dealer in the United States, and he went on to sell all six General Motors lines. In 1980, Harold’s son Brad joined him at the dealership. Now, the dealership is called Mildenberger Motors, and is still family-owned and operated. Harold loved challenges. He bought and sold over sixty ranches across several states. He built hotels, drilled oil wells, operated casinos in Nevada as well as lumber mills, vineyards, and apartments across the West. Yet, in the end, he loved the action of the car business and the peace and quiet of cattle ranching. His favorite property of all was The Stock Farm, his 18,000-acre, beautiful, sprawling cattle ranch. His vision with his son, as well as Charles Schwab and many others, made it possible to have The Stock Farm Club that we all enjoy so much today. Yes, Harold had a big personality and blazed a wide path. It was drive hard and all work, every day. He truly was a great Dad and mentor. We never thought we would miss the phone ringing, sometimes as early as 5:30 a.m., with his bold voice saying, “Let’s hit it!” CELEBRATION OF LIFE 31