Robert Chester Haraden Military History

June 10, 1922- April 2, 2023


Robert Chester Haraden Military Service.

Robert Chester “Bob” Haraden was born June 10, 1922, in Bar Harbor, ME, to Shirley Edwin and Sylvia Hazel Brewer Haraden. He has one sibling, a younger brother, Gerard Edwin Haraden. Robert Haraden wrote of his father, “My father was the Assistant Cashier at the First National Bank in Bar Harbor. He was in the Navy during WWI and got involved in a government training program for veterans at the bank where he worked for 35 years. He also sold life insurance. He somehow acquired two nice automobiles during the Depression and leased them out, with chauffeur, to wealthy summer people who came to Bar Harbor without a car. For five summers during the 1930s, my mother, with Dad's help, ran an ice cream/bakery shop across the street from where we lived. Later, after WWII, my mother rented rooms in our home to tourists in the summer. Thus we survived the Depression.”

Bob graduated from Bar Harbor High School in 1940. He writes, “After high school, I stayed around Bar Harbor for a year at odd jobs, took some extra courses at BHHS, worked on the Sunbeam, a missionary boat along the Maine coast, worked on noxious weed eradication in park and around island. Early fall of 1941, I went to Hartford, Conn. and worked for Colt Firearms Co, making machine guns and 77 MM cannons to save some money to go to Northeastern University for a year starting summer of 1942 and joined Naval Reserve. I was called to active duty in summer of 1943 and assigned to Tufts College in Medford, MA.” Bob served in the Pacific Theater until 1946. His military career is chronicled later on this page. Following his discharge, Bob enrolled at the University of Maine, graduating in 1949. His brother, Gerard, also attended U. of Maine, graduating in 1951. Both studied Civil Engineering.

Bob married Adelaide Alice Cleaves on April 27, 1946, in Swarthmore, PA. She is the daughter of Carl Schury & Catherine Cleaves. Carl was born in Bar Harbor, Catherine in Old Town. Carl graduated from University of Maine in 1912. They spent their first married winter in Chesuncook, a half Indian village at the remote north end of what was to be the lake behind Ripogenus Dam; access is difficult even today.

Above: Adelaide’s senior entry from 1940 Swarthmore High School yearbook.


Bob and Adelaide have three living sons: Carl Colin, Richard Scott (1951-51), Stephen Robert and Peter Laurence.

Bob had a distinguished career in the National Park Service. Among his positions were assistant superintendent at the Rockies’ Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. In September 1968, Bob became Superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway serving until January 23, 1972. In 1979, Bob was NPS Class 1 Area Superintendent for Big Bend National Park in Texas. From 1980-86, Bob was Superintendent of Glacier National Park.

Bob Haraden Obituary

Robert “Bob” Haraden passed on to his next adventure on April 2, 2023.

He was born June 10, 1922, in Bar Harbor, Maine and stayed there through high school. He never forgot his Maine roots and returned yearly for many years. Throughout his life he had one foot in Maine and one foot in the West claiming dual citizenship. After working for the Colt Firearms Co. at the start of WWII to save money to go to college, he spent one year at Northeastern University in Boston before joining the Navy where he was trained as an Electronic Technician. He served as a Radar Maintenance Technician in the South Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Gilbert Islands CVE 107 during WWII.

Following three and a half years in the Navy, he returned and married Adelaide Cleaves of Swarthmore, PA in 1946. They spent the next three years at the University of Maine where Bob earned his degree in Civil Engineering with certification as a Registered Professional Civil Engineer. He was a founding member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in Maine.

The next six years he worked as an Engineer with the Maine State Park System. His next adventure came when he joined the National Park Service in 1955 in its Design & Construction Office in Philadelphia, PA. Responsibilities included all design and construction in Parks in the eastern half of the country including the Caribbean where he worked on the initial planning for the newly established Virgin Islands National Park. The following assignment found Bob as the Chief Park Engineer at Rocky Mountain National Park in CO and later in the same position at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in CA.

A change in career direction came in 1967 when he became Assistant Superintendent at Grand Teton National Park in WY and later Superintendent at Natchez Trace Parkway in MS, AL, and TN. During this assignment he helped establish the Gulf Islands National Seashore along the coasts of MS and FL. After an Assistant Superintendency in Yellowstone National Park, he became Superintendent of Big Bend National Park in TX then finally at Glacier National Park, MT from where he retired in 1986.

While at Glacier he traveled to India to join an advisory team to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi regarding the establishment of the Biosphere Reserves. In 1982 he received the Interior Department Meritorious Service Award and in 1985 the National Park and Conservation Association Stephen T. Mather award for outstanding stewardship of the National Parks. Bob especially cherished this recognition since the nomination came from Glacier Park employees.

Retirement years were spent in Bozeman, MT with summers at their cabin at Seeley Lake, MT, foreign travel, and an annual fall trip back home to Maine.

He was a member of Rotary Club for many years and had served on the Board of Trustees for the National Parks and Conservation Assoc., the Southwest Parks and Monuments Assoc., and the Christian Ministry in the National Parks. In addition to volunteer work at Yellowstone National Park, Bob also helped with the Bozeman Senior Center, the Eagle Mount Cross Country Ski Program, and Meals on Wheels. During the last 4 years, Bob and his family have appreciated the staff at Wyndstone Assisted Living for their excellent care.

He was preceded in death by Adelaide, his wife of 71 years, their infant son Ricky, and his brother Gerard and wife, Jane. Survivors include son, Carl, of Bozeman, MT, son Stephen and wife, Linda of Billings, MT, and son Peter and wife, Cara Lee of Pendleton, OR where Peter works for the US Forest Service as a hydrologist. Additional survivors include nine grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren well as two nephews Tom and Jim.

A memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church Bozeman on May 27, 2 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 West Graf, Bozeman, MT, A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, 9250 East Castilla Avenue, Suite 203, Greenwood Village, CO 80112, The Employees and Alumni Assoc. of the National Park Service, Educational Fund, 470 Maryland Drive, Suite 1, Fort Washington, PA 19034. Ashes will be put to rest near Adelaide’s in Yellowstone.




From a magazine article about Bob Haraden.

Bob Haraden, who started delivering Meals on Wheels 29 years ago, says the group can always use another driver.

Bob Haraden gave three years of service to the US Navy in the early 1940s, and 30 years to the National Park Service. He retired in 1986 and moved to Bozeman, where he's given nearly as much time, 29 years and counting, to volunteering for Meals on Wheels.

A man of long commitments in service and in life, his most enduring has been his marriage to Adelaide Cleaves Haraden. On April 27, they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. In June, they'll both turn 94.

When asked about that longtime pledge, he shrugged his shoulders. “It turned out we're both compatible mostly. Sometimes I'm right, and sometimes she thinks she’s right.”

“Bob’s quite a guy, very energetic and delightful to be around. I have trouble keeping up with him," said Gary Matthews, Haraden’s partner for the past year on the Tuesday morning Meals on Wheels run through northwest Bozeman. The two have known each other for 42 years, since Haraden was assistant superintendent at Yellowstone National Park and Matthews worked for Mountain Bell. Matthews is 75.

“Bob has got a great sense of humor. When we started volunteering together, I pointed out that he'd outlived his first two volunteer partners, and I hoped we could break that trend.” He laughed. “We take turns driving,“ Matthews continued. “The one who drives is the one who gets there first on Tuesday mornings to load up the meals. Bob has a heck of a work ethic.”

He always has. When he recalls his years with the National Park Service, he speaks mainly of how lucky he was to end up working for the agency, and luckier still to spend most of his career in the parks instead of in regional administration offices. Haraden grew up in Bar Harbor, Maine, in the shadow of Acadia National Park. He served in the Navy in World War II just as his dad had done in World War I.

Haradens have always defended America at sea. During the Revolutionary War, ancestor Jonathan Haraden was a privateer captain of two ships which captured many British prizes. Jonathan Haraden's brother, Nathaniel, was commanding officer of the most famous Navy ship of all, the USS Constitution. from 1801-03, During World Wars I and II, the Navy deployed destroyers named for those Haradens. but Bob Haraden spent his time on the USS Gilbert Islands, an escort carrier that provided air cover for the invasions of Okinawa and Borneo. His war service as a radar technician was honored in June 2012, when he was one of 94 Montana World War II veterans to participate in the first Big Sky Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

After the war, he earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Maine. He thought he’d end up working for a highway department, but his visit to a 1949 university job fair changed his life.

“The director of the Maine state parks had come to campus looking for one person: an engineer," he said. “We talked and the idea appealed to me, and that's how I got in to the parks. Throughout my career, I always looked forward to Monday mornings and going back to work. I just can't imagine anything else I would rather have done."

He joined the National Park Service in 1955, serving first as an engineer in the agency's eastern design office in Philadelphia. Among his early jobs was scouting out camping and picnic sites on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. The 15,000-acre site became the nations 29th national park in 1956.

Three years later, Haraden became chief park engineer at Rocky Mountain National Park.

“I was a little worried about bringing Adelaide west,” he recalled. “She was from Maine and grew up in suburban Philly. I wasn't sure things were going to work out at all. But as soon as she saw the Rockies, she said, ‘This is home.’”

The couple would spend time at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, and Big Bend National Park in Texas. But the Park Service also sent them to three more parks in the Rockies’ Grand Teton and Yellowstone, where he served as assistant superintendent, and Glacier, where he was superintendent from 1980-86.

“Every time we moved it was a new adventure, and that made for a full life I think”, Bob said. In his living room are pictures from that career, including one of Haraden, Sen. Alan Simpson and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush touring Glacier.

Haraden and Adelaide moved to Bozeman in 1986. “We knew Bozeman from our Yellowstone days,“ he said. “It was where we came to shop, and two of our three sons went to MSU. We’ve been very happy here, and Bozeman’s been good to us."

Almost immediately, Haraden began volunteering for Meals on Wheels. “It‘s an easy way to give back to the community, and I meet so many interesting people."

For five years he was a volunteer guide at Yellowstone‘s Museum of the National Park Ranger at Norris, and he helped out the cross country ski program at Eagle Mount for 12 years. “I’m not good enough to work there now,“ he said with a hearty laugh. He’s been an usher at his church, Hope Lutheran, and still helps out some when the congregation serves meals at the Community Cafe. Haraden is modest about everything. He wouldn‘t have said much at all about volunteering if he hadn't been pressed. But when he gave it some thought, his refections were noteworthy. “Volunteering is probably as important as being in a paid job. It makes the world go around, you know. What would things be like if nobody volunteered for anything? You’d have to find your own seat in church, and there’d be nobody to take up the offering. I see some people who don’t volunteer, and I feel sorry for them in a way. I think volunteering is enjoyable, and you get to meet people and make new friends."

Betty Heaser, right, a Meals on Wheels staffer for 17 years, makes sure meal containers are correctly loaded for the drivers and that clients get their birthday cards.



Bob was interviewed in connection with his selection for the Big Sky Honor Flight to Washington DC. Here is an except from the interview which appeared in the 2011 Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

“Joining the Navy was a natural fit for Bob Haraden.
“I was brought up on the ocean,” said the 89-year-old who grew up in Bar Harbor, Maine. “My dad was in World War I in the Navy. I had ancestors who were sailing people. I was always attracted to the Navy. Who would want to be in a trench with people shooting at you?”

“Haraden enlisted in the Navy Reserves in 1942 and served until 1946. He did radar maintenance on an aircraft carrier. The ship, the USS Gilbert Islands, was what they called a “baby carrier,” he said. It was 550 feet long and held 1,100 people. (Here is a link that provides a daily diary of the combat role of the ship during 1945.)

“Where Haraden was stationed on the ship, he was one step away from being outside. “If I ever felt a little queasy, which would occasionally happen, I would just step outside and gulp fresh air,” he said. “The guys who operated the radar equipment, they were in a darkened room looking at a screen. I felt sorry for them.’

“After his stint in the Navy, Haraden earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Maine and began a career with the National Park Service.

“Throughout his career, Haraden worked in national parks across the country: Rocky Mountain in Colorado, Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California, Grand Teton in Wyoming, Big Bend in Texas, and Yellowstone and Glacier in Montana.
“I can’t believe how lucky we were,’ said Haraden, who retired in 1986. ‘I just can’t imagine a better opportunity than being in the parks for 30 years.’

“And that deep love of water that runs in his family has followed him into retirement. The Bozeman vet and his wife have gone on cruises around the world – to the Panama Canal, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and up the Columbia River. The couple also has a cabin at Seeley Lake.

“This upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., won’t be a first for Haraden, but he’s still looking forward to seeing the World War II Memorial for the first time with some fellow ‘broken-down fogies,’ he said. ‘It’ll be a lot of fun.’”

Robert Haraden granduation invitation from Bar Harbor High School, 1940

Robert C. Haraden, third from right, back row. From 1944 Northeastern University Boston yearbook, Prism, Nu Epsilon Zeta chapter of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

Robert C. Haraden, second from left, front row. From 1944 Northeastern University Boston yearbook, Prism, Student Union.

Robert Chester Haraden, from 1949 University of Maine yearbook. Prism.

Gerard Edwin Haraden, brother of Robert Chester Haraden, from 1951 University of Maine yearbook, Prism.

1939 Junior class at Swarthmore High School, Swarthmore PA. Adelaide Alice Cleaves is at left end of second row.


Robert Chester Haraden

US Navy

Acknowledgement: Much of the information and photographs of the USS Gilbert Islands was generously shared by Adam Lewis. His highly researched web site contains a wealth of information. I am in his debt.

Bob joined the US Naval Reserve in 1942 and attended Northeastern University for a year before going on active duty. He was a “Plank Holder” of the USS Gilbert Islands CVE 107, an escort carrier. He was a radar maintenance technician. The ship was built by Todd-Pacific Shipyards Inc., Tacoma, Wash. Initially named St. Andrews Bay. Keel laid 29 November 1943, launched 20 July 1944, commissioned 5 February 1945. Decommissioned 21 February 1947, at Norfolk, VA. Here is a picture from the commissioning brochure provided by Adam Lewis.

A few details of the ship at commissioning: CLASS - COMMENCEMENT BAY
Displacement 11,3730 Tons, Dimensions, 557' 7" (oa) x 75' x 30' 8" (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/38AA 36 x 40mm, 20 x 20mm, 33 Aircraft.
Machinery, 16,000 SHP; Allis-Chambers, Geared Turbines, 2 screw
Speed, 19 Knots, Crew 1066.

The complete brochure can be found at:

Here is a summary of the USS Gilbert Islands 1945 wartime Pacific cruise written by Adam Lewis.

“It became apparent to the Marine brass that once the battle zone shifted to the mid-Pacific and then near to Japan that there would be no land-based Marine air squadrons within reach of the ground Marines until an airbase could be captured. Unless something happened, all close air support (CAS) would have to come from the Navy. The Marine Corps brass believed strongly that Marine air should support Marine ground units. They argued successfully to have their own carriers with specially trained CAS units. Thus in June 1944 VMTB-143 reformed at the MCAS Goleta to train for this carrier duty aboard the Gilbert Islands. Training was intense. Not only were they to become carrier qualified, but the 3-man crews were expected to be proficient in bombing, rocketing, depth charging, strafing, torpedoing and aerial defense.

“GILBERT ISLANDS (CVE-107) was launched 20 July 1944 the Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Tacoma, Wash.; sponsored by Mrs. Edwin D. McMorries; and commissioned 5 February 1945, Captain L. R. Rice in command.

“After shakedown training, GILBERT ISLANDS departed San Diego 12 April 1945 for exercises in Hawaiian waters. She sailed 2 May with an escort carrier force that closed Okinawa 21 May. Her aircraft (24-31 May) blasted and strafed concrete dugouts, troop concentrations, ammunition and fuel dumps on Okinawa. In the following days she helped neutralize outlying Japanese airfields and installations with repeated bomb and rocket attacks. Five of her Marine pilots were killed in action. She departed Okinawa 16 June to replenish at San Pedro Bay, thence to Balikpapan, Borneo. She gave air cover to Australians storming that shore 1 July and remained 4 days to attack all targets in sight. With the Australians securely established, she returned to Leyte 6 July.

“GILBERT ISLANDS departed San Pedro Bay 29 July to screen logistic ships replenishing 3d Fleet striking forces along the coast of Japan. On that station 15 August she joined a task group that included nearly all the 3d Fleet and heard Admiral Halsey's laconic direction: "Apparently the war is over and you are ordered to cease firing; so, if you see any Jap planes in the air, you will just have to shoot them down in a friendly manner." After replenishment at Okinawa, she departed 14 October to
participate in a show of air strength during occupation of Formosa by the Chinese 70th Army. She was then routed onward via Saipan and Pearl Harbor to San Diego, arriving 4 December 1945. She remained in port until 21 January 1946, then set course for Norfolk where she decommissioned 21 May 1946 and was placed in reserve.”

A larger version of the map is here:

1945 USS Gilbert Islands Cruise map

The details of the 1945 Cruise can be found here:

Here is a picture of the ship and crew in January 1946. A zoomable version can be found here:

Bob Haraden is on the back row, 15 in from the right side. He is marked with a red arrow.


Haraden Photo Gallery

Elwilda (Alwilda) Blanche ( “Lillian”) Griffin Brewer-12/7/1861-1/1/1920
Lillian was a sister of Alvina Frances Griffin who married Levi Benson. She married Chester Brewer. Chester and Lillian were maternal grandparents of Robert Haraden. Photo ca. 1885

Chester Brewer--(10/22/1856--2/18/1918)--about 1885. He married Lillian Blanche Griffin. Chester and Lillian were parents of Sylvia Brewer Haraden, Robert Chester Haraden’s mother.
Alvina Griffin Benson (1860-1934)

Elwilda(called-Lillian) Blanche Griffin Brewer (1861-1920). Sister of Alvina Griffin Benson. She was maternal grandmother of Robert C. Haraden.
Lillian was an aunt of Ruby Benson Brown, mother of Lois Brown Winter.

Sylvia Hazel Brewer (1899-2002), a cousin of Ruby Benson. Her mother was Lillian Blanche Griffin Brewer (1863-1920). Father was Chester S. Brewer (1856-1918). Sylvia married Shirley Edwin Haraden. Photo about 1903.

Benson-Reunion 1936;
Ruby Brown hosted a reunion of her family at Sunny Acres Farm in Wrentham, MA where she raised chickens and prize-winning gladiolus bulbs. Lois Brown is on the far left, Bud Brown is in the back by the left hand porch pole, Frank ?, Charles Gordon & Margaret E. Follansbee, then Ed Benson standing by the right hand pole, Ruby Brown is in the almost back row in the middle (polka dot dress), her father Levi is seated fourth from the right, Doris Brown is on the grass in the front right. Alice and Ralph Brewer are standing 3rd and 4th from the left, Alton and Ruth Howe Shurtleff 5th & 6th and Maude Shaw 7th. Small boy in front could be George Shurtleff, son of Ruth. Other Bensons, Browns, Griffins, Shaws, and Follansbees were there.Photo contains Ralph and Alice Brewer, uncle and aunt of Robert Haraden.
Bob Haraden at Yellowston National Park, 1975
Bob and Adelaide Haradenm 1975
Adelaide & Bob Haraden with sons, October 11, 2011
(l-r) Peter, Steve, and Carl.
April 24, 2006, Adelaide & Bob Haraden's 60th wedding anniversary
(l-r) Peter, Steve, and Carl.
Bob Haraden and Rosemary Moss Ingraham with Hall and Roberta Marie Moss Hoffman. Marie and Rosemary are nieces of Preston Griffin: daughters of Preston's sister, Mary who now live in Alberta. 1996 Bozeman.
Gerard Edwin Haraden, U. of Maine, 1951.
Bob Haraden

Shirley and Sylvia Haraden, 1956

Sylvia Haraden and Pat Oakes, 7-26-95

Robert Haraden about 1938, Bar Harbor wharf, age 16. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Sylvia and Shirley Haraden with Lois Brown and Gerard Haraden, 1934

Sylvia Brewer Haraden, mother of Robert C. Haraden, about 1915

Sylvia Hazel Brewer, Maud Shaw, Martha Jennie Griffin Follansbee, Alvina Griffin Benson, Alwilda Blanche (Lillian) Griffin Brewer
Front: Ethel M. Follansbee, ?, Gordon Follansbee, c. 1915


Benson-Reunion 1936;
Ruby Brown hosted a reunion of her family at Sunny Acres Farm in Wrentham, MA where she raised chickens and prize-winning gladiolus bulbs. Lois Brown is on the far left, Elton "Bud" Brown is in the back by the left hand porch pole, Frank ?, Charles Gordon & Margaret E. Follansbee, then Ed Benson standing by the right hand pole, Ruby Brown is in the almost back row in the middle (polka dot dress), her father Levi Brown is seated fourth from the right, Doris Brown is on the grass in the front right. Alice and Ralph Brewer are standing 3rd and 4th from the left, Alton and Ruth Howe Shurtleff 5th & 6th and Maude Shaw 7th. Small boy in front could be George Shurtleff, son of Ruth. Other Bensons, Browns, Griffins, Shaws, and Follansbees were there. Photo contains Ralph and Alice Brewer, uncle and aunt of Robert Haraden.