Quentin Vitt: ‘I wasn’t afraid of anything’

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  • Quentin Vitt at his residence in Kalispell on Friday, Aug. 17. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    What the South Fork of the Flathead River looked like before the entire valley was flooded after the completion of the Hungry Horse Dam. (Bureau of Reclamation photo)

  • Quentin Vitt at his residence in Kalispell on Friday, Aug. 17. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    What the South Fork of the Flathead River looked like before the entire valley was flooded after the completion of the Hungry Horse Dam. (Bureau of Reclamation photo)

Quentin Vitt keeps a stern face as he talks about his time in the military. And he doesn’t smile much when he talks about his beautiful, sprawling property off U.S. 93 South in Kalispell that he and his wife Donna worked so hard to earn and keep. He doesn’t even smile when he talks about any of the old cars he clearly adored.

He does, however, crack a big grin when remembering the summer he spent suspended hundreds of feet off the ground pulling bolts from the Hungry Horse Dam during the construction project.

That was only one job he held in three summers of working at the dam alongside his father. First, he helped clear land that would later make way for the awe-inspiring endeavor. The second year, he helped construct the power station and on his third and final summer working on the project, he got the job he really wanted — being suspended in mid-air working on the dam itself for hours on end.

Finding that thrill has propelled his life since. Vitt grew up in Columbia Falls and met his wife there as she was walking along the road one day and he offered her a ride. Later, when he was in the military, any time anyone needed someone to climb up high he would surge to the front of a crowd of unwilling soldiers and offer his services.

“I wasn’t afraid of anything,” he said.

After his stint in the service ended in 1954 Vitt moved back to the Flathead Valley with his wife Donna and settled in Kalispell. For a while they ran a ranch, but when the toll of Quentin’s years on the dam and in the military caught up with him, they exchanged their big ranch for a smaller piece of land south of Kalispell and opened a real estate brokerage firm. They had three children, and now have over a dozen grandchildren. They are now retired and still live on Vitt Lane.

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