Obituary for Melvin Gale Harkness - East Idaho News
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Melvin Gale Harkness

March 26th, 1942 - September 8th, 2023

Melvin Gale Harkness loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away unexpectedly on Friday, September 8, 2023.

Gale was born on March 26, 1942, in Roberts, Idaho to Earl and Marcia Barzee Harkness. He started dating Shirley Colby and in 1975, they welcomed their son, Travis. On April 9, 1977, Gale married the love of his life, Shirley, and became the father of Patty, Ricky, Richard, and Pam. Family has always been important to Gale and he has taken an active role in his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren’s lives.

Gale was an avid reader, and you could always find him reading with a cup of coffee in his other hand. When he wasn’t reading, he loved his outdoor adventures prospecting, camping, fishing, floating the river, and watching games surrounded by his family. He was loved by all he met and a father figure to many. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who knew him.

Gale is survived by his wife of forty-six years, Shirley Harkness; brother, Robert Harkness; his son, Travis Harkness; his stepchildren: Ricky Cortez, Richard Cortez, and Pam Cortez; and his adopted son, Bradley Wright; 23 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Marcia Harkness; his stepdaughter, Patty Cortez. his siblings: Patty Raymond, Wayne Harkness, Dorothy Messick, and Myles Harkness.

Memorial services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, September 15, 2023, at Coltrin Mortuary, 2100 First Street, Idaho Falls. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the services. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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