Our hearts broke on January 14, 2022, when our beloved Van/Dad/Popo/Grandpa/friend died. Harold Van Dye was 75; born in Cut Bank, Montana, to Harold B. Dye and Ruth VanDemark Dye on March 3, 1946. He grew up in Cut Bank with his sister Leslie. Van and Leslie were close; she liked horses, he did not. Van built forts, Leslie dropped a rock on his head. Van left Cut Bank without looking back.
Van’s dad wanted him to be a doctor, so Van went to law school. He was independent and a contrarian in the best sense. He served as deputy county attorney for civil matters and later was partner in Milodragovich, Dale and Dye, PC. He practiced as a sole practitioner and with the firm of Dye & Moe, PLLP. He achieved AV (Preeminent)-rating by national attorney rating firm Martindale-Hubbell. Law was an exciting challenge for him and he loved the creativity required of an attorney. In 2021, the State Bar of Montana honored Van for his 50 years of practice.
Van was licensed to practice law in Montana and federal courts including before the United States Supreme Court. He put his business degree to work as debtor/creditor specialist especially in bankruptcy. He proudly served in recent years as the judge-appointed attorney representative to the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Ninth Circuit.
Over years, Van was active in Toastmasters, Adventure Cycling, Missoula Planning Board, counsel to Missoula City and County Local Government Study Commissions, Van Dye Classic, Girls’ Group, State Bar of Montana Bankruptcy Section.
Van was a study in patience. He was optimistic, happy and smart as a whip. A great storyteller, you were lucky if you heard tales of the Hi-Line, county attorney’s office, Hell’s Angels. Blessed with a kidney donation from his son John, he was a kidney transplant patient - this did not discourage or slow him down. He was the tour director for the family: he traveled and camped out with his children and their cousins and friends; loved Spain and Portugal with Elizabeth, Tom, Winnie and Nancy. He designed many road trips, including to Griz championship games, and the ocean-kayak trip which was the most excellent adventure with Nancy. He loved music and the magical music tour with his brother-in-law Jim that included many music halls of fame, and, for balance, the football hall of fame. During the pandemic, he perfected guitar playing and singing for Sunday suppers. Fishing for salmon and halibut in Alaska with his son-in-law Tom and brothers-in-law was a golden memory for him.
Van’s pride was his children Elizabeth, Travis and John. He supported them in all choices, even those he may not have been consulted on. He attended lots of Ciaran’s soccer games. He loved visiting Eva. He was especially close to his granddaughter Winnie and amazed, delighted and proud of her path.
Van is predeceased by his parents and his sister. He is survived and beloved by his wife of nearly 45 years, Nancy, children and grandchildren: Elizabeth, Tom Lohof and Winnie (Missoula); Travis, Megan Ashton and Ciaran (Missoula), John, Aria Duax and Eva (Milwaukee). He is loved and missed by his extended family, in-laws, nephews, nieces, bowling compatriots and his close friends Mike and Opal. Cremation has taken place and a celebration for the guy who “never met a beer he didn’t like” will be held in the summer, fall or when safe.
If you are so inclined, Van would appreciate your responsible vote that would not be for a Republican. He supported many charities and would appreciate donations (can be made online) to United Way for the benefit of the Coordinated Housing Solutions Fund, 412 West Alder, Missoula, MT 59802 or Heifer International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202. Peace to Van and to all.