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Ben Francis Harrison

Silver State Post of Deer Lodge, Montana

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Ben Francis Harrison of Clinton, age 87 passed away Sunday, October 25, 2015 in Missoula.

Ben was born on October 2, 1928 to Benjamin and Alma Harrison in Deer Lodge, and graduated from Powell County High School. He then attended Western Montana College in Dillon, where he was a star basketball player and was named to the Western Basketball Hall of Fame. While attending college there, Ben studied science, math, and education; and later, he received his Master's Degree in Education at the University of Montana.

Ben met the love of his life-Bette Hagarty-while attending Western Montana College, and they were married in 1952.

During the Korean War, Ben served in the Army Artillery, and in 22 months, advanced from second lieutenant to Captain. He was honorably discharged. Ben also served for many years in the National Guard.

Between 1953 and i960, Ben and Bette's three sons-Jim, Dan, and Dave-were born in Deer Lodge. In his home town, Ben taught science and served as Principal of two schools. During his teaching years, he spent summers driving a dump truck for Inland Asphalt of Washington.

Also, while living in Deer Lodge, Ben was a member of the ELKS, advancing to the position of Exalted Ruler.

In 1976, the couple moved to Clinton, where Ben served as Superintendent of Clinton Schools for the next 18 years.

After his retirement in 1994, Ben spent time camping with his family; and hunting with his sons and friends. His greatest love, besides his wife and family, was hunting and in 2006 he shot a Big Horn Sheep that made the Boone and Crockett record book.

Ben was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ruth Richey, and father and mother-in-law Pat and Fern Hagarty.

He is survived by his wife, and sons-Jim (wife Patti) and grandchildren Chris, Shawn, Jamie; Dan (wife Melody) and granddaughter Jackie; and Dave (wife Sharon) and grandsons Mike and Josh. Also surviving are seven greatgrandchildren, with two more on the way.

Funeral Service Mass was celebrated Saturday, October 31, 11 a.m., at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bonner. A reception followed and burial took place at 3 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge with Military Honors provided. Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home. Messages of condolence may be sent to

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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