Like his life in the military, Denny Hague’s life as a civilian is a story of service.
He flew more than 100 missions for the Air Force in Vietnam and won three Distinguished Flying Crosses. He later joined–and eventually became commander of–the Washington state Air National Guard, serving more than 20 years and rising to the rank of major general.
His record as a community leader is no less extensive. He has been a member of the North Idaho College Board of Trustees, president of the Kootenai Medical Center Foundation, a member of the Kroc Center Advisory Board and president of the Coeur d’Alene Rotary Club. He has also served as president of the Committee of Nine, a blue-ribbon panel appointed to recommend uses for McEuen Field in Coeur d’Alene, and as a member of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a group representing abused children.
The Hague family’s association with North Idaho goes back more than 100 years. Denny’s paternal grandparents, Walter and Alice Hague, met at the University of Idaho and married around the turn of the 20th century.
Alice became a clerk for the school district in Kellogg, where her parents had moved in the 1890s. She and Walter had one son, Bruce, who would marry Agnes Donahue in 1935 and two years later become the father of a boy named Dennis (but always called Denny).
Denny graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1954 and entered the University of Idaho. He dropped out after two years but returned two years later. He married Carolyn Blackburn of Twin Falls in 1959 and graduated from Idaho in 1960 after being elected to the student body Executive Board. He had taken two years of ROTC training and elected to receive an Air Force commission on graduation. Eight days later he was called up for active duty.
On Christmas Eve of 1965, Denny left for his tour of duty in Vietnam. He flew Douglas A1 Sky Raiders with the 1st Air Commandos. After his Vietnam tour, he remained on active duty for a year, becoming a Sky Raider instructor in Florida and later moving to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane.
In 1967 he joined the Washington Air National Guard. He and Carolyn had moved to Coeur d’Alene to raise a family. They had four children: Mike, Melissa, Scott and Kristin.
While meeting his National Guard obligations, Denny flew two years for Pan Am. He was then furloughed and hired by Blue Cross of Idaho as a district manager. He later became a partner in the Harris-Dean Insurance of Coeur d’Alene, still performing his National Guard duties.
In 1975 Denny and Carolyn purchased a small cabin on Lake Coeur d’Alene for $13,000. A family member estimates such a property today would command nearly $1 million.
The Hagues still have the lake property. Their three living children (son Scott died of cancer in 2005) all reside in the Coeur d’Alene area, as do all nine of their grandchildren.
“Denny returned to Coeur d’Alene and has remained here because of the people, the physical beauty and his family’s history in the area,” says daughter Kristin Hague-Gorringe. “He is committed to playing a role in the continual well being of the beautiful city he has called home for 70 years.”