Nick James Herak III, 73 , passed away on May 21, 2017. He was born in Missoula, MT, on January 8, 1944. He was the first of nine children born to Nick Herak, Jr., and Viola (Sullivan) Herak of Charlo, Montana.
Nick attended school in Charlo, graduating in 1962. After two years at Carroll College in Helena, he transferred to Gonzaga University in Spokane, graduating in Business in 1967. He qualified for Officer Candidate School (Fort Knox, Kentucky), and then served in the Army for two years, receiving an honorable discharge as First Lieutenant in 1969.
Nick worked with the Summer Youth Program of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in the early 70s. He later attended Law School at the University of Montana, and then returned to his beloved Mission Valley to farm.
While serving in the military Nick had met his future wife and lifelong love, Karen Kleinklaus. They were married on August 13, 1977, in St. Joseph Catholic Church in D’Aste, MT. They farmed near Charlo for the next seven years.
In 1984 they moved to St. Ignatius, where Karen was teaching in the elementary school. For the next several years Nick commuted to Missoula to work as a financial advisor. Eventually he moved his office to St. Ignatius.
Nick also went into business with his brother Marty in 1996. Working closely over the years, they built a successful real estate business, with properties in St. Regis, Charlo, Polson, Ronan, and St. Ignatius.
In 1999 Nick and Karen bought their dream property at the base of the Mission Mountains southeast of St. Ignatius. Living in that beautiful place was one of their greatest joys.
Nick was devoted to his family, friends, and community. A grandchild of hardworking immigrants from Ireland and Croatia, he took seriously his role as eldest child and eldest son. He and Karen became a welcoming center for the family, hosting holiday events winter and summer. He took special pride in putting flowers on family graves each Memorial Day. For decades he served as July 4 th parade marshal in Charlo and St. Ignatius.
He was also passionately involved in progressive politics. A veteran and a strong Bernie Sanders supporter, he believed that communities must work together for greater economic fairness and for the common good. He was an avid historian and reader, with hundreds of books that reflect his varied interests.
Nick was preceded in death by his parents, his brother George, and many extended family members. He is survived by his wife Karen and his seven remaining siblings: Mary Herak Sand (Rob) of Missoula, MT; Julie Bryher Herak (Melissa) of Basin, MT; Martin Herak (Roxy) of Charlo, MT; Theresa Herak Doyle (Dan) of Polson, MT; Agnes Herak Meyer (Chuck) of Las Vegas, NV, John Herak (Lenora) of Dixon, MT; and Tom Herak of Charlo, MT. Nick is also survived by his Uncle Don Herak (Spokane, WA), his Aunt Emmabell Carter Herak (Carson City, NV), and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Rosary and visitation will be 7 p.m. Friday, May 26, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Charlo, with the doors opening at 6:30. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 27, at the same location, followed by burial with full military honors in the Catholic Cemetery in St. Ignatius and a meal/celebration of his life at the Charlo Senior Citizens’ Center.
Memorial donations may be made in Nick’s name to the Life Savers Animal Rescue (P.O. Box 643, Polson, MT 59860), the Mission Valley Animal Shelter (36251 N. Reservoir Road, Polson, MT 59860), or a charity of your choice.