Stillman Jacob Harding

Stillman Harding Stillman Harding

Stillman Jacob Harding (778th)

24 October 1918 - 23 March 2017

Stillman Jacob Harding, passed away March 23, 2017 at the age of ninety eight in his home in Willard, Utah.  He was born October 24, 1918 in Willard to Ettye Isabelle Dayley and Benjamin Dwight Harding.  He was the seventh of eight children.  The flood of 1923 caused the family to move to Brigham City for a few years before returning to Willard where he remained until after graduating from Box Elder High School in 1936.

He began working for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) assigned to the Willard area due to the flood of 1936.  The initial work was to build a dike north of town and to divert the canyon water to the dike.  They established a camp at the foot of Willard Peak and terraced the hillsides in hopes of preventing another flood.  In 1937, he was assigned to drive trucks and supplies from Salt Lake to various CCC camps all over Utah and Nevada.  Then he was assigned to the CCC Camp in Jericho where he dug post holes, built corrals, drove trucks and was eventually trained as a medic, hospital orderly and worked in the hospital at camp.  After two and a half years in the CCC, he was forced to "retire."

He attended Weber State College for two quarters, paying his way by working for the National Youth Association at the college.  He also worked various odd jobs around Willard.  In 1940 he joined the Utah National Guard—222nd Field Artillery, Battery A, in Brigham City, Utah.  Their first assignment, after being federalized, was in San Luis Obispo, California.  Stillman was there when Pearl Harbor was bombed and the United States joined World War II.  For two years he served stateside with the Utah National Guard.  In October 1942 he was sent to flight school and became a pilot assigned to fly B-24s in the Mediterranean Theater of Operation.

During his military service, Stillman married ‘the girl next door.’  Madalynne Fae Duvall Cook moved across the street from his home in Willard when she was seven and he was eleven.  They married January 7, 1944 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple while he was on a weekend military pass and she had the same weekend off from nurse’s training.

Stillman’s first B-24 crew crashed during a training flight in Pocatello, Idaho killing two crew members.  He was then assigned to a crew that flew their B-24 to Italy by way of Nebraska, Florida, Trinidad, Brazil, West Africa, Tunisia and finally a temporary base in Gioia del Colle, Italy.  Their fourth sortie was a mission to bomb the Marshaling Yards in Weiner Neustadt, Austria.  It was on this mission that he lost his left thumb and almost lost his left leg.  He spent the next thirteen months in hospitals and was told he would never walk again without a leg brace and crutches.  Everyone knew that was wrong.  He was discharged from the service July 1945 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

He and his wife lived in Ogden where Stillman worked for the Maid 'o Clover Dairy for several months before obtaining a job with the Federal Aviation Agency working as an Air Traffic Controller in Salt Lake City.  He helped write the manuals and set up a training center for air traffic controllers in Salt Lake.  In 1961 he moved his family to Alexandria, Virginia while he worked in Washington DC.  He retired in 1971 after thirty six years of service to the FAA.

Moving his family back to Utah he lived briefly in Ogden before moving to Salt Lake City and working for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Editing Department.  Among other things, he helped write and edit class manuals of all types.  His last major job was as editor of the new green hymnbook published in 1985 including adding a scripture reference for each hymn.  He retired a second time in 1987.  In 1996 Stillman and Madalynne built their dream home in Willard, Utah on a piece of his family's original farm, he lived in Willard ever since.

Stillman loved traveling in his self-built motorhome, as well as those commercially built which he later purchased.  He had a beautiful tenor voice probably inherited from his Welsh Ancestors in Willard who helped start the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  He loved to sing and his children loved to hear him sing.  He loved his family and he loved his church.

Stillman spent many hours in service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He served as the first bishop of the Orchard 2nd Ward in Bountiful, Utah and as the first bishop of the Mount Vernon Ward in Alexandria, Virginia.  He also taught many classes, was a member of Stake High Councils, served in many positions in the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) and was a stake missionary.  He and his wife Madalynne served a full-time mission in the Washington Tacoma Mission from 2001 to 2003.  He served as a Temple ordinance worker in the Salt Lake City Temple for many years.  It is thought that his favorite calling was one he began at the age of ninety two when he was called to teach the eleven boys in Primary.  He said, many times, that his goal was to instill a testimony of Joseph Smith into the soul of each boy so they would never have room to doubt that Joseph was a true prophet in this dispensation.

He was preceded in death by his wife Madalynne in 2004; his parents; six siblings – Erma, Dale, Cora, Margaret, Eliza & Elva; his daughter Lynette; and his granddaughters, Tanja, Tamilie, ToiLyn, Staci & Starlynn.

He is survived by his children, Jaelynne (Kent) Hathaway, Richard S. Harding, Marilyn (Jim) Stephens, Sheralyn (Pete) Barger, Karalyn (Lynn) Dummer, Lynae Burke, and Robert C. (Lisa) Harding; twenty six grandchildren, forty seven great-grandchildren, six great-great grandchildren, his sister Nadine Haun and a host of nieces, nephews and wonderful friends.

Family and friends celebrated his life in a service held Friday, March 31, 2017 in the Willard 4th Ward building at 80 N 100 W. in Willard, Utah.  A viewing was held Thursday March 30th from 6-8 pm in the Willard 4th Ward building and again Friday March 31st from 9:30-10:30 prior to the service.  Burial followed in the Willard City Cemetery with Military Honors Accorded by the Combined Veterans from Box Elder County.