Harrie B. “Rusty” Markham Jr.
GLADSTONE — Harrie B. “Rusty” Markham Jr., age 85, passed away Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Lakeview Assisted Living in Gladstone.
Rusty was born May 29, 1931 in Escanaba, the son of Harrie and Ethel (Dewey) Markham Sr.
Rusty grew up on fox and mink ranch south of Escanaba. He graduated from Escanaba High School in 1949, when his interest in flying led him to enlist in the Air Force. After achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant, he married his wife Delores (Laviolette) in 1954 and continued a military career that took him to Texas, Kansas, and back to the U.P.
Switching from the Air Force to the Air National Guard, he moved his family to Illinois, where he piloted a KC-135 tanker and served as a commander of the 108th Air Refueling Squadron and a Flying Training Supervisor at O’Hare International Airport. Multiple sclerosis prematurely ended his career at age 45.
Retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel, Rusty returned to his beloved Escanaba River and built his home. Rusty and Delores were married nearly 63 years and enjoyed the outdoors: canoeing, hunting, riding horses, smelting, looking for morels, and appreciating the changing seasons. They sailed often in the summers and spent many winters in their camper in Arizona.
During the last 6 years of his life, Rusty resided at Lakeview Assisted Living in Gladstone, where he had many friends. He never lost his love of flying, often talking and reading about planes. With his upbeat disposition, he rarely complained and was loved by many. Though he will be missed by all who knew him, many are consoled knowing he can finally fly with new wings.
In addition to his loving wife Delores, Rusty is survived by two sons, Jeffery (Brenda) Markham of Gladstone, and Stephen Markham of Iron River; three daughters, Kathy (Mike) Bladow of Marysville, Mich., Jeanne (John) Lindberg of Gladstone, Mich., and Janet (Daniel) Cronkright of Midland, Mich.; one brother, Grant (Nancy) Markham of Farmington, N.M.; one sister, Janet Gustafson of Gladstone; thirteen grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Family will receive friends Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Military Honors will be presented by the Gladstone American Legion Post 71 and the U.P. Funeral Honors at 3:15 p.m. at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 4 p.m. at the All Saints Catholic Church in Gladstone with Rev. Fr. Brian Gerber officiating. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Markham family. Please visit www.skradskifuneralhomes.com where you can leave a message of condolence to the family