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Harold ‘Babe’ Reach

Posted: Thursday, Nov 8th, 2012

Harold “Babe” Reach was born on April 23, 1919 into a family of coal miners in Bibb County, Ala. He passed away Nov. 4 at his home in Pinedale. In the late 1920s, work brought his family to Meeker, Colo. Lying about his age, Babe went to work in a coal mine in Palisades, Colo. at age 13. In the early 1940s, mining was booming in Alaska, so Babe packed up and headed north. Stopping in Rock Springs to visit his brother who had been hurt in a mining accident, Babe met Leda Hawks, who was working as a nurse’s aid. He and Leda married on May 2, 1942 in Paris, Idaho. He never made it to the mines of Alaska.

In 1944, with one son Toby and another baby on the way, Babe was sent to Germany, where he served as a staff sergeant in a bomb reconnaissance. While serving in Germany, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

After returning from Germany, the family, which now included second son Gary, moved to Pinedale. Babe ran a gas station and Leda had a café, which is now the Patio Grill.

The early ‘50s found him with his own construction company building ditch systems for irrigation. He was also awarded the contract to remove timber and build the site that is now Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park. He always said this was the easiest money he ever made. He got paid $1,500 an acre to clear 40 acres. One acre had only one tree. In the mid ‘50s, he prospected for uranium in the Gas Hills, where he discovered several rich veins of the mineral. After selling his claims, he purchased Bill Bayer’s ranch on Pine Creek then later land from Charlie Bayer. Third son Terry was born in 1956.

After selling the ranches, he began developing land. In the early ’70s, he partnered with John Sulenta and Joe Hicks to form the Redstone Corporation.

To say Babe enjoyed hunting would be an understatement. He especially loved sheep hunting. He completed two grand slams and just needed a dall sheep to complete a third.

He always said he had a wonderful life and had no regrets, “No one ever lived a better life than I have.”

Survivors include sons Gary (Deanna) and Terry (Shannon); grandchildren Monte, Amber and Jordan; and great granddaughter Kylee. He was preceded in death by wife Leda, son Toby, granddaughter Maysie, parents, brother James and sister Lois.

A graveside funeral service was held Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Pinedale Cemetery. Reverend Jami Anderson conducted the services.

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