Harold David LaCroix, 89, a resident of Gooding died, Sat. June 27 at his home.
Harold was born April 6, 1931 in St. Peter, Minnesota to Leon F. and Hazel (Hanson) LaCroix. He was the youngest son of seven children. His first six years were on his family’s farm. He loved to hunt game birds and rabbits, which his family counted on for meals. He attended school in St. Peter and graduated in 1949.
Hal’s life was one of learning to overcome impossible odds. Born with club feet, he spent his first 16 years in and out of hospitals with surgeries under an experimental program at the U. of Minnesota. He kept up his studies and lettered in football, baseball and basketball-always on the starting teams. When his dad went to work on the Alaskan Highway, he cared for the yard and the ½ block long garden, chopping wood and walking five miles both ways to get the horse. This trip was repeated to take the horse back.
Nicknamed “Lucky”, he attended Mankato State Teacher College, earning money with summer jobs and playing cards. He hitchhiked the ten miles to college each day. He also played semi-pro baseball for the Chicago Cubs minor league team in New Ulm, MN.
Dad wanted to become a teacher of History and Physical Education and to coach. When he ran out of money, he enrolled in Northern Pacific Railroad School in Minneapolis, where his tuition was paid when he agreed to work for NP in Montana. No jobs were open, so in August, 1951 he was optioned to the Union Pacific RR as a telegrapher-clerk out of Omaha, NE and sent to Blackfoot, Idaho. His first job was in Cokeville, Wyoming.
Dad met Mom at a baseball game in New Ulm. MN in 1947 and mom said it was love at first sight. They became HS sweethearts and eloped over Christmas vacation in January, 1951.
The railroad moved them all over Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon where Lynn, Cindi and Jeffrey joined the family. In 1958, they moved to Gooding. Working mostly nights, Dad coached Little League, Pony League and Pee-Wee ball, was assistant Boy Scout Master with the Methodist Church troop and was in the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He and mom played Bridge with family friends and took us fishing.
In 1973, Dad and Mom moved to Arco, Idaho where Dad became the RR agent. On weekends and vacation time, they went on the road exploring and exhibiting and selling Mom’s paintings at art shows and galleries all over the western U.S. and Canada.
Hal continued to play ball. He retired from the game at the age of 57, after organizing the “Over the Hill” team in Arco and was given the MVP award in the Annual Arco Southern Idaho Tournament. He became an excellent bowler and was adopted into the Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, MO, for his service to the sport through his ownership of the Lost River Bowling alley. He also began to play golf at Mackay, ID.
In 1989, he was sent to St. Louis, MO to learn and work with computers. He managed the main line trains in St. Louis and the largest freight yard in the world at North Platte, NB. He worked for the RR for 41 years and retired out of St. Louis in 1991 after becoming an activist against age discrimination, enabling all UP employees to retire early with an adequate buy-out package.
Dad and Mom became snowbirds, spending summers in their Arco home and winters in California and Arizona.
Oct., 1998, they moved back to Gooding. They joined the local historical society. Dad continued to bowl and golf.
Always open and friendly, Dad “never met a stranger” and was always eager to entertain family and friends with his unusual life adventures.
Dad is survived by two sons: Lynn (Debbie) of Bliss, Jeff and significant other-Lori Johnston of Gooding. Daughter: Cindi (Bill) Canine of Gooding. Grandchildren: Jeramiah (Melissa) LaCroix, Jason (Kari) LaCroix, Dana LaCroix, Nate LaCroix, Christopher (Brenda) Canine, Amber LaCroix and Josh LaCroix. Great Grandchildren: Steven, Colbey, Ivy, Gabriel, Lexi, Everly, Alexis, Aliah, Tyson, Cierra LaCroix and Emily and Benjamin Canine. Sister: Marie (Bernie) Burt and niece Lora Olson.
At Dad’s request, he will be cremated and no public services will be held.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Gooding Golf Course equipment fund, the Gooding Senior Center or the Gooding Historical Society.
A special thanks to Lynn for his loving care and being there for Mom and Dad so that they could remain at home.
Cremation arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service – Gooding Chapel.
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