Alexander Luna of Lakeside died of a heart attack in the very early morning of Jan. 5, 2019. As the result of a mower accident a few years ago, he had been suffering from extreme back and leg pain that greatly affected his mobility.
Alexander was also known as Alejandro, Al, Alex or Hando, and he leaves behind a large host of broken-hearted family and friends, including his wife, Cora, of Lakeside, children, Rene of Denver, Carlos of Bigfork, and Lita and Orlando of Los Angeles; daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.
Al was lovingly known for his many “short stories” so, as my father’s daughter, I feel compelled to share his story.
Born in 1931 in Kansas to Mexican-American parents, he attended Topeka High School, lettering in football and playing basketball and baseball. He married Cora Barron in Topeka in 1952; they celebrated their 66th anniversary last Halloween.
As an Air Force tech sergeant specializing in radar, he served during the Korean War. While in, he toured Morocco and Alaska remotely, then was stationed in various mid-west U.S. sites, landing in Lakeside in 1963.
He fell in love with Montana and remained, raising his family until reaching his 20 years of service. After retiring from the U.S. Air Force, he served as an electrician at the Anaconda Aluminum Plant in Columbia Falls for 22 years.
While he always held a full-time job, he also worked odd jobs to further support the family. He had a large list of lawn mowing/landscaping customers throughout Lakeside, pumped gas at the old Lakeside station, and labored at the Rollins chicken farm. At the air base, he ran the movies, the bowling alley with its adult and kids leagues, regularly drove his shift’s bus to the top site of Blacktail Mountain and drove us kids to Saturday morning catechism in Bigfork (in all kinds of weather and road conditions). “Big Al, the kiddies pal,” was also a volunteer girls basketball coach for Lakeside Elementary and a umpire/coach for Lakeside/Somers Boys Little League Baseball. He owned and managed the Lakeside Trailer Park (a job that will now transfer to the family).
In our adult years we, his children, have thanked him for passing on to us his love of family, animals, sports, music, movies, art, and laughter. Also for teaching us to respect and honor the church, an education, an occupation and diversity in people.
He holds the reputation of an extremely skilled/hard worker, a happy, cheerful, good-natured and optimistic family man (known for his laugh) who would help, if he could, anyone or anything in need.
For example, he proudly donated land for the Lakeside QRU a few years ago.
He was a soft-hearted dad who would get a lump in his throat when he would see a “Kodak moment” on TV of a child or an animal, or when proudly speaking of his children’s or grandchildren’s accomplishments or work ethics.
Al not only worked hard, he played hard too. He considered most of his volunteer activities as playing but he also loved Flathead Lake.
While swimming, boating and fishing, he was in heaven in Lakeside … and now he’s in heaven with relatives who have previously passed, waiting to see us all again.
A “short story” for you dad! You will be terribly missed, we love you Hando!
On Friday, Jan. 11, at St. John Paul’s Catholic Church in Bigfork, a 9 a.m. rosary and viewing is scheduled, followed by a Mass at 10 a.m. and a friends and family gathering at 11 a.m. Please come and share your “short stories” about Hando with us.
There will be a short burial of ashes at the Bigfork Community Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12
Arrangements are under the care of Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home and Crematory.