MISSOULA — Vincent C. Harrington passed away peacefully from natural causes on May 14, 2019m at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula with his wife of almost 57 years — who he referred to as his “pearl of great price” — by his side. Vince, the oldest of ten children, was born on Feb. 27, 1931, to John Cletus and Margaret (Ryan) Harrington in Sioux City, Iowa. The country was in the midst of the Great Depression when he arrived. Dad learned the importance of faith and family through the example of his parents, who were materially poor but spiritually rich. When his brother, Ray, returned from the Korean War and pursued a college degree compliments of the GI Bill, Vince followed his lead and graduated from St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kansas, in 1960. That degree changed the course of his life.
Not long after graduation, Vince spotted a dark-haired beauty at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Sioux City but was unable to catch her after Mass. While visiting a friend at St. Vincent’s hospital, he was introduced to a nurse, a young Montana girl named Nancy McInerney, who happened to be the mysterious woman from church. The old farm boy pursued her for a date until she finally said “yes,” and the rest is history.
Vince and Nancy were married on June 23, 1962, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Fairfield. His first son, Michael, was born in Cut Bank. Ten others would follow and claim Missoula as their birthplace. Saturday mornings were especially memorable when dad went to the store because they held the promise of Lucky Charms, Froot Loops, Cap’n Crunch and maple bars. Dad loved St. Joseph, but wasn’t exceptionally skilled in the world of carpentry, so we grew up thinking duct tape was the magical “fixer upper.” Every morning before school, he would line up vitamins with Dixie cups of orange juice for us kids and lead the family Rosary. He firmly believed the words of Venerable Patrick Peyton that “the family that prays together stays together.”
Vince was hired by Pfizer in 1963 and remained with the company for the next 33 years, covering western Montana from Eureka to Ennis, retiring at age 65 in 1996. He continued on as a consultant with the Pfizer Ambassador program through 2008. Vince thoroughly enjoyed his years with Pfizer, as they were filled with hard work, treasured friendships, tremendous loyalty, and much laughter. Although he had to travel frequently, he rarely missed any sporting events, school/church activities or bedtime stories. Family vacations consisted of traveling Montana or “big” road trips to his home state of Iowa.
Vince prayed devotedly, sacrificed immensely, loved deeply, and passed away gracefully. His entire family, including his brothers and sister, were able to let him know during his final days how much he was respected, loved, and cherished. We are grateful for such a wonderful gift.
Vince was preceded in death by his parents, John Cletus and Margaret Harrington; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, John and Avis McInerney; his brothers-in-law and their wives, John “Junior,” Bill (Jean), and Leo (Jody) McInerney; his sisters-in-law, Arletta McInerney and Nancy’s twin, Helen Bownes Munroe (Cramer and Bud); his sisters-in-law, Anne and Carol Harrington; and his brothers, John, Mike, and Paul. He is survived by his beloved wife, Nancy; his adoring children Michael (Mara), Missoula; Maureen Kirby (Patrick), Spokane, and children, Bobby, Tim, Tom, Bridget, and Mike; Kathleen Harvey (Gary), Missoula, and children, Zach, Ryan, Colleen, Maggie, Molly, and Maximus; Dan (Amy), Helena, and daughter, Grace; Colleen Irving (Kelly), Spokane, and children, Devin and Ty; Dennis (Stacy), Spokane, and children, Daniel, Gianna, Claire, Mary, and William; Tim (Holly), Missoula, and children, Ava, Giada, and Vincent; Tom (Heather), Missoula, and children, Declan, Caitrin, Keira, and Cormac; Megan, Santa Monica; Molly Gallo (James), Santa Monica; and Brendan (Andréa), Helena, and children, Finn and Dylan; his brothers and their wives, Ray (Pat); Jerry; Larry (Linda); Dennis; Jim (Cathy); his sister and her husband, Joan (Gus) Rysavy; and numerous nieces and nephews of the Harrington and McInerney clans.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Peter Szekely and Dr. Michael Reed for their care over the years, as well as Dr. Kasey Harbine and the staff at St. Patrick Hospital for their kindness and compassion during dad’s final days. The family is also grateful to Fathers Sean Raftis, Michael Drury, Joseph Carver and Michael Poole for taking care of dad’s spiritual needs as he prepared for his journey home.
A Rosary vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 420 W. Pine St., in Missoula. Funeral Mass and Rite of Burial will be held on Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Francis Xavier with a reception immediately following.
A favorite saying of dad’s came from an Irish headstone: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” Speaking of love, his last wishes included “take care of your mother” and “remember me in your prayers and I will be there.”