Hales Angelo Scalese was born on September 10, 1919 at home on the family homestead north of Galata below the Sweetgrass Hills. He was the youngest of four children born to Frank Scalese (born in Italy) and Dell Hales Scalese. He attended Grandview and Eide Schools.
Hales was a hired man in the stockyards in Galata when he met a local schoolteacher, Ambjorg Jeppesen. They married on September 1, 1940 in Cut Bank. He worked at the Ross Ranch and Amby taught school in Liberty County. When Mr. George Ross purchased a herd of registered Hereford cattle, Hales became a stockholder in the company that was formed, Hereford Limited, along with James Mirrielees.
Their daughter Karen Colleen was born in 1941 and Harold “Sonny” Thomas in 1943. When Uncle Sam called his number in 1944 to serve in the great world war, he traded his share of the cattle company and passed his physical in Butte. But when he reported to Fort Douglas in Utah, they sent him home with a 4-F rating (physically unable to serve.) So, he went to work at the Strode and Prescott Ranches until Hales and Amby decided to try it on their own in 1945. They bought their house and moved it to its current location on what became the Scalese Angus Ranch. Their youngest son, Steven Hales, was born in December of 1952.
They raised sheep until “frequent visits from Mr. Coyote” forced them to sell the sheep. Hales became proud to raise thoroughbred registered angus cattle on the ranch. He preferred raising black angus cattle…except for Ol’ Red. Hales was also a masterful water witcher and helped many friends and
neighbors over the years find water. He was a cowboy, never to be out without his good hat on. He happily ranched well into his late 80’s with his son Steven.
Hales and Amby enjoyed visiting friends and neighbors up and down the Hi-Line. They loved to dance and were the last ones waltzing across the floor when the rest of us were tired and had sat down. They showed up to visit, tell stories and stay late and drive home even in the middle of the night. They loved life and each other and we all aspire to have the lifelong love they shared.
Hales loved westerns, the Lawrence Welk Show and he loved to read until he lost his sight to macular degeneration. Hales only liked two kinds of pie (hot and cold.) He became quite a political and historical commentator in his later years. He was known to be a kind a gentle man who was fun to visit with and enjoyed by so many people.
After Amby died in 2006, Hales spent a lot of time at his daughter Karen’s house and as her sidekick on roadtrips and visits to lots of family events and parties. He moved into the Glacier Care Center in 2017 and was very popular among the staff, who are feeling the loss of a great man as deeply as his family is.
Hales was tough, surviving a heart attack in 1949 and a run-in with a Coca-cola truck and their Izuzu Pup in early 80’s. He was born in the midst of the last once-in-a-century pandemic (Influenza) and survived the next once-in-century pandemic (COVID.) He remained in good health until suffering a broken hip last week.
Hales passed away on Wednesday, March 31st at his residence, the Glacier Care Center in Cut Bank, surrounded by his grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Ambjorg Jeppesen Scalese in 2006, his daughter Karen Sloan, his siblings, Frank, Thomas and Teresa Ward, nephews Wesley Jeppesen, Wally Meissner, & Joseph Ward and nieces Sally Evans, Lenora Smith, Ardyce Jensen, and Karen Forseth.
Hales is survived by his sons Harold “Sonny” Scalese (Karen) and Steven Scalese (Diane Claxton,) Grandchildren Larry (Beth) Scalese, Linda (Rod) Keller, Michael Hales Sloan, K’Lynn (Zach) Harris, Michael (Arlin) Claxton, and Sonya Claxton, Great-Grandchildren Jordan (Chelsea) Keller, Cody Keller, Allison Scalese, Tyler Scalese, Bree (Chris) Skinner, Tom Maney, & Montana Heron, Willam Hales, Katherine & Amelia Harris, and Malina and Amari Claxton, and Great-Great Grandchildren Trevon and Kaiden Benson, Dylan & Brayden Keller, Ryker & River Hales Keller, and Tofer Skinner, in addition to numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
A graveside service will be held on Monday, April 5th at 2:00 PM at Grandview Cemetery. All are welcome and please bring a chair if you need one.