Harry Vale of Monroe, Wisconsin, husband of Cress (Burkholder) Vale, died on January 3, 2020. He was a proud Norwegian, born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1927. He grew up near Sun Prairie, son of the late Ole and Jerona (Hermanson) Vale. He was a faithful Christian and member of several Methodist and Lutheran Churches throughout his life. He was predeceased by older brothers Olaf, Les and Ervin, younger brothers George and Russell, and granddaughter, Emily.
The Vale brothers were well known in their conference in basketball, football, and Harry’s life-long favorite, boxing (he tried a comeback at age 33, one last light-heavyweight bout in the open division of the Golden Gloves, then taught a next generation of boxers). After the military, Harry attended U.W. Platteville, where he met Cress; they later moved to Madison where he graduated in Ag Science.
Harry and Cress, both schoolteachers, raised their children in Durand, Illinois, where Harry taught high school vocational agriculture and also worked with veterans in on-the-farm training. Some highlights included numerous wins by his students for crop and animal judging and also a state championship in speaking. In 1962 the Farm Bureau recognized the Durand FFA Chapter as having the best cooperative program in the State of Illinois. In 1964 he was thanked by the County Superintendent for the Ag segment his students created for the County Schools TV Show. Harold once said, “We had a real outstanding Ag department, not because of me, but because of the boys in it.”
Harold tested his entrepreneurial spirit with forays into the sheep and cattle businesses; one big success came in 1970 when his Charolais Bull was a grand champion at the Illinois State Show and Sale.
After 16 years of teaching he became the Manager of the Lake Summerset Association and then wrapped up his career as an agriculture real estate agent in Southern Wisconsin. He was deeply honored to be recognized as Durand’s Citizen of the Year in 1978, saying in a related interview, “Marrying Cress was the best decision I ever made; she’s definitely the better half.” He and Cress moved to their farm near Albany in 1979 and then to Monroe in 2012. Harry took great joy in sharing in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He loved teaching the grandchildren to fish and mow the lawn, but really excelled in teaching them to drive in an old truck in a corn field, well before their parents had approved.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Cress; and three children and their families:
-Brad and Gabrielle Vale, their son Jake and wife, Nika, and Harry’s great-grandson, Kas, their son Brent and wife, Leslie, and Harry’s other great-grandson, Weston Harold.
-Tom and Karen Vale, their sons, Dan (fiancé, Casey Brye) and Eric, and their daughter Erin (Vale) Stauffer and husband, Tim.
-Elaine Vale and Dave Silver, their daughters, Rachel and Hannah and their son, Ben and wife, Lindsey, and Harry’s great-granddaughter, Leah.
Services in Monroe, Wisconsin:
Visitation at Shriner-Hager-Gohlke Funeral Home, 4 to 7pm on Friday, January 10, 2020.
Funeral at Monroe United Methodist Church, 11am, Saturday, January 11, 2020 with Rev. Dr. Don Kim officiating. Burial will take place in Greenwood Cemetery.
A memorial fund is being established to support some of Harry’s favorite organizations.