Harold M. Laitala died on Monday, June 10, 2013 surrounded by his family. He was 90.
Harold was born on Jan. 18, 1923 in Lead, South Dakota to Peter and Lydia Laitala. He was the youngest of 13 children, with ten sisters and two brothers. His parents both died before Harold was seven and his older sisters raised him.
He graduated from Lead High School in 1941. A gifted athlete, he received a record-breaking 11 letters for school athletics. He twice led his football team to division championships and won numerous track and field honors, including the 1941 state championship for the discus throw. An extraordinary baseball player, he was invited to spring training to try out for the New York Yankees, but World War II intervened. Harold served his country in the U.S. Army Air Forces 509th Composite Group stationed in the Pacific.
After the war, Harold moved to Eastern Washington where he met his wife of over 30 years, Doreen Bettinson. They settled in Issaquah in 1963 and their seven children all graduated from Issaquah High School. Harold volunteered as a Cub Scout leader, Little League coach and umpire. With his wife, he proudly sat front and center for their children’s concerts, school plays and athletic events. He taught all his children to fish on the annual family camping trips that later shifted to the Washington Coast, which he loved. He was a great dad.
Professionally, Harold worked in the South Dakota mines and the Vancouver shipyards before establishing a career as a painting contractor. He founded Laitala Painting more than 50 years ago where his name meant quality work and craftsmanship.
A long-time resident of Issaquah, Harold was active in the Issaquah Elks, serving in many leadership positions. He was especially proud of the Tall Elks community service efforts.
In his retirement, he enjoyed traveling to South Dakota to see family and to check the progress of the Crazy Horse monument. He was a fan of John Wayne, Louis L’Amour and chocolate in all its forms.
Harold lost his beloved wife Doreen in 1984. He is survived by their seven children Terry (Jean) Laitala, Sherry Laitala Hamilton, Hestia Laitala, Tom (Stacy) Laitala, Diane (Robert) McClain, Mark (Jaime) Laitala, and Joan Laitala, and by his two sons Michael Laitala and Terry Laitala. He was very proud of his grandchildren Kimily Laitala Perrault, Lisa Templeton, Nick McClain, Rachel Laitala Clogston, Jake McClain, Randi Laitala Anderson, Mac Hamilton, Leah Laitala and Matt Laitala and he loved spending time with his great grandchildren.
Harold was admired, respected and much loved. He will be greatly missed.
Arrangements are being coordinated by Flintoff’s Funeral Home in Issaquah.