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John J. Harper ( Missoula, 1969 )

posted: Jan 1, 2002

John J. Harper, 52, died peacefully July 24, 2000 at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Denver after a long battle with cancer. John was born March 12, 1948, and raised in Lewistown, Montana. He graduated from St. Leo's High School in 1966 and served in the U.S. Marine Corps, touring Vietnam. After graduating from the University of Montana, John was a US Forest Service Smokejumper for 15 years. He trained in Missoula in 1969.A history buff, John compiled the history of Smokejumping for the Forest Service. Through his efforts, a display on Smokejumping was created at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He returned to Lewistown where he worked as a drug and alcohol counselor and as a paralegal. John enjoyed the ouitdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman.