Cover photo for Rex W. Hartford Sr.'s Obituary
1934 Rex 2024

Rex W. Hartford Sr.

July 5, 1934 — May 10, 2024


Friday night, May 10th, at 8:40 pm the journey of a lifetime came to a peaceful and resolute end for Rex Hartford Senior. His body finally catching up to his broken heart; broken from the loss of his lifelong companion of 75 years. Bessie, his wife of almost 70 years, and our mother, who passed away four months earlier. He tried his best to soldier on but could not recover from a broken heart. A sadness from which he simply could never recover was made light again when he joined my mother, and Jesus, as he passed through the gates of heaven. Late in life, Rex came to believe in Jesus’ sole work upon the cross for eternal life. He trusted and knew that it was by Grace alone through Faith alone in the saving work of Jesus. 

 Eph 2: v8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: v9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

 Rex was a farm boy from Hiram in Oxford County Maine, a township located on the Ossipee River on July 5th,1934. He attended school in Hiram, but the first chance he had, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Just after his enlistment, he married Bessie L. Cleaveland on February 27th,1954. He often told us that after getting married they celebrated by buying a bag of roasted nuts from a street vendor. The two of them returned to California where he served the majority of his enlistment stateside at George AFB in Victorville, during the Korean War Conflict.  He was a gifted mechanic and fabricator. You name it, he could fix it or fabricate it.  This talent worked to the benefit of the USAF, 831st Air Combat Support Group where he worked on fighter jets.

 Upon discharge from the Air Force in 1957, he landed in Casper, Wyoming. Casper became a home base for him and our mother as they did various stints of time in other areas of the country as his employment would change. Always to return to Casper. He attended 55 different schools for his mechanical career and worked on all types of large heavy machinery - Terex, Euclid, Waukesha, Caterpillar, and many others. Eventually, he found his niche as a maintenance supervisor in mining. He worked for Petrotomics Getty Oil in Shirley Basin, Wyoming, and was the last to leave, locking the gate when it closed in 1986. He later worked for a rock quarry mine in Paducah, Kentucky, and then on to his final working days at Barrick Gold Strike in Carlin, Nevada. Finally, they made their way back to Casper to live out their days in the Bessemer Bend area.

 Rex and Bessie truly lived a blessed life.  They had us three kids while making their journey through life and dragged us along.  We saw a lot of the country due to their desire to travel every chance they had.  Many memories were made, from running away from bears while camping to screaming down the road in an old beat-up International Scout he just bought, having the steering wheel pop off in his hands.  Funniest stuff ever. We think, however, the most significant dream they had was to have a cabin in the mountains.  And… they accomplished it! They, with the help of family and friends, pulled it off with excellence. They built that dream cabin on Union Pass in Dubois, Wyoming, and it still stands as a monument to a life well lived. Hopefully, we can maintain it as a lasting legacy, for generations to come. 

 For so many of us, he held a quasi-sage-like persona. If any of us had questions, it was - “I don’t know, ask Dad, or ask your Grandpa.” If it was mechanical or fabrication in nature, you would get an answer that you had better write down and get a patent on because it was usually gold.  I still catch myself thinking that I can “ask Dad.” He was one of the smartest, funniest, and strongest individuals we have ever known. Pretty good for a farm boy from the mountains of West Central Maine. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten and always loved.

 Preceded in death by his parents, William Bean Hartford and Harriet (Sargent) Stanley of Hiram, ME, his loving wife of 70 years, Bessie Hartford, sister Norma Ward, niece Joanne Perry, nephews Dale and Robert Perry, his uncle Clarence J. Sargent, aunt Bernice Stein, and his two lifelong friends, his cousins, Wayne Hartford and Conrad Hartford.  

Survived by his three children, Pamela Hagemann (Dan) of Sheridan, Wyoming, Rex Hartford II and Brent Hartford (DeeDee) of Casper, Wyoming, grandchildren Veronica Hagemann of Sheridan, Wyoming and Kristopher Hagemann of Casper, Ashley Filippone (Jared) of California, Jentry Hartford of Casper, Taylor Hartford of Washington, Austin Hartford of Colorado, and Mark (Teak) Schummer of Montana, and great-granddaughter Amelia Filippone. He is also survived by his sister Gloria Perry of Maine, brother Glen Hartford of Nevada, and many nieces and nephews.  

 A memorial service will be held for both Rex and Bessie at the family cabin in Dubois this summer.

 Memorial donations may be made to Mountain Plaza Assisted Living & Memory Care, 4154 Talon Drive Casper, WY 82604 or Enhabit Hospice, 907 N. Poplar, Ste. 277, Casper, Wyoming 82601. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to Mountain Plaza Assisted Living & Memory Care for their kindness and care.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rex W. Hartford Sr., please visit our flower store.

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