A famous writer once wrote: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”.
No statement could be more applicable to Dad than that is. In his view “things” were only had
to share, and wealth to help those in need.
A true Montana Mountain Man, at least in the eyes of his kids, Dad was born July 25th, 1939 in
Great Falls, one of 13 children to Lee and Grace McOmber. He seemed to have lived an idyllic
childhood more akin to the 19th century than the 1940s and 50s. He was prone to regale his
family with stories of hard work and modest circumstances. Tales of cutting ice blocks from the
lake in the winter to be stored in the ice house for ice cream in the summer; getting out of school
in the spring to work on the ranch bucking hay and doing chores; and the perennial favorite of
riding horses to the school house in the Montana winters, that would become so severe that he
would end up carrying his horse to and from the school – up hill – both ways
His teen years were spent with work and playing sports with a little school mixed in – details of
any mischief he got into never seemed to be highlighted in his childhood recountings, although
one would assume there may be a rich history on that topic waiting to be unearthed. He spent
his High School years in Dear Lodge playing football and basketball. In his senior year, he led the
varsity basketball team to a district title as the team’s top scorer receiving high accolades in the
press and among peers.
After school, at the age of 19, Dad chose to enter the United States Airforce as a Communications
Specialist where he spent 11-years working in the cutting-edge field of computers; long before
PCs where invented and nerds were cool. The highlight of his professional career was working
on the team that helped install the computer systems in Cheyenne Mountain, the super highsecurity
nuclear bunker in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
During his time in the Air Force he was assigned to many locations of service. It was during a stint
in Great Britain that his life would change forever. At a friend’s wedding he saw a young,
beautiful, dark-haired English woman – he couldn’t stop looking at her; he was smitten at first
site. Mom was wondering who the ‘Yank’ was that kept staring at her. Dad finally worked up
enough nerve to talk to her. She agreed to a date and after a short courtship Jill Day and Charles
McOmber were married in Elstow, Bedford, England on September 1st, 1961. Dad always
referred to Mom as the Love of his life, and she was and still is.
Dad and Mom wanted a large family and shortly thereafter their first child was born. They
christened him Kevin John. The twins Lorrie Ann and Mark Charles soon followed. All born in
England. Dad’s Airforce duties took the young family to Germany and then to Mississippi where
Ronald Alan was added to the burgeoning brood. Their next port of call was Sacramento,
California. Troy Adam soon arrived as child number five. Shortly after that the family headed to