Harry Warden: Life Long Democrat will be missed

Life long McCall Democrat Harry Warden died Aug. 13, 2019. He lived to 99 years and 8 months old and in those years touched many people in our community. He is survived by his loving wife, Lois of 78 years. 

For us Valley County Democrats he was the person in the room that represented the “Greatest Generation”. He risked his life as a bomber pilot over Burma as part of the flying tigers to defeat fascism. 

Harry was the first to give a check to candidates and causes. For those younger than Harry he gave us strength when we got discouraged. If Harry was still fighting injustice with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes so could we. He was our link to the honorable tradition of FDR’s New Deal that put people above money interests. 

In 2013, Harry and Lois were awarded a lifetime Democrat Award at the Annual Valley County Picnic. In 2016, Harry was concerned about coming to the Valley County Democratic Presidential Caucus. His mobility had deteriorated, but he wanted to cast his vote. With a seat arranged near the door, Harry was able to cast his vote. 

Harry was missed at the Valley County Democratic Picnic this year and many tears were shed when the attendees were told about his passing. When you get discouraged and suffer political losses, Harry’s livelong, continued commitment is a tonic to any breath of cynicism. He is dearly missed. Our love goes out to Lois and Harry’s family in this time of grief. 

Full Obituary Star News THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2019

What an amazing and full life you have lived. A life with a million different chapters: adventures, careers, family, cities, other countries, and a special, quiet little town.

Long-time McCall resident Harry Warden, well known and beloved, died Aug. 13, 2019. Harry lived to 99 … and 8 months.

He was born January 4, 1920 in Riverdale, California, and was the only child of Harry Warden, Sr. and Hazel Clifton Warden. Harry’s early years were spent in Gardena, California, where he attended the local elementary school.

He lived in Compton, California, during his high school and junior college years and attended UCLA until joining the U.S. Army Air Corps pilot training program in 1942.

While awaiting orders, Harry met his future wife, Lois Martin, who was also attending Compton Junior College and conveniently lived right next-door to his parents.

In June 1943, he graduated from the Army Air Corp advanced pilot training program as a second lieutenant at Luke Field near Phoenix, Arizona. Harry was then assigned to Tonopah, Nevada, to train in the Bell Cobra P-39 fighters.

In December 1943, he trained in the Lockheed P-38 fighter and was then sent to join the Flying Tigers in the China-Burma-India theater. While in Karachi, India, those orders were canceled, and he ended up flying the four-engine B-24 bomber, surviving 28 combat missions, often under enemy fire.

Upon his return to the U.S., he and Lois were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Madelia, Minnesota. Harry and Lois returned to California where he was stationed in Long Beach to deliver new C-54 and B-17 aircraft being made there.

During the Korean Conflict he was recalled as a captain in the Air Force. He was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada ,and at Perrin Air Force Base in Sherman, Texas.

After the war, Harry returned to UCLA and completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. He taught for 33 years for the Los Angeles Unified School District teaching in the historically under-served areas in central Los Angeles.

Harry and Lois made their homes in Tarzana, Reseda, and Westlake Village in California. Harry was a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts and his two sons became Eagle Scouts.

He taught Sunday school in California and was an active member of the McCall Community Congregational Church in McCall.

Each year Harry recounted his captivating stories of World War II with McCall middle and high school students, leaving a lasting imprint. The last 30 years of retirement were spent in his beloved McCall, enjoying the mountain scenery, fresh air, and friendly small-town life.

Harry is survived by his loving wife of 74 years, Lois, his daughter Carol Benedict and her husband Nate (Tucson, Arizona), daughter Joan Brundige and her husband Eric (McCall), son Bob Warden and his wife Janet (Louisville, Colorado), son John Warden and his wife Dianne (McCall), granddaughter Nancy Cease and her husband Craig (Littleton, Colorado), grandson Nathan Benedict and his wife Tiffany (Phoenix, Arizona), granddaughter Natalie Young (McCall), granddaughter Stephanie Young (Los Angeles), granddaughter Erin Brundige (Boise), granddaughter Katie Warden (Tulsa, Oklahoma), grandson Harry Warden and his wife Taylor (Oklahoma City, Oklahome), grandson Patrick Warden and his wife Stephanie (Arvada, Colorado), and granddaughter Ronda Warden (Denver, Colorado).

Harry is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Emily and Claire Crease, and his newest great-granddaughter Seraphina Benedict.

Harry’s celebration of life will be at the McCall Community Congregational Church, Saturday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. Harry was selfless, resilient, and a strong supporter of women’s rights and environmental action. He cared deeply about equal rights for all.

He has been such a good example for staying active, being engaged, and for taking care of himself.

In lieu of flowers Harry requests donations be made to the McCall Community Congregational Church, and in honor of Harry, try a signature “Harry’s Sandwich” at FoggLifter Cafe.

Thank you for always being there and thank you for loving us.