Local Obituaries

 

7-2314 Issue:

No obituaries this week


7-16-14 Issue:

Elva. G. Gessaman

Elva G. (Whitehorn) Gessaman, 88, passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at her home at Buffalo Hill Terrace in Kalispell, Montana.

She was born March 27, 1926, to Chester Arthur Whitehorn and Georgia Fern (Hathaway) Whitehorn, at the family farm north of Great Falls, Montana. She grew up on that farm, which her parents had homesteaded in 1916. After attending local rural schools Elva graduated from Fort Benton High School. She then worked in Great Falls, primarily at the J.C. Penney store.

Elva married Donald K. Gessaman on Feb. 3, 1951, at the Whitehorn family farm, after which they took up residence on the Gessaman farm north of Fort Benton. There they raised grain, cattle, and four children.

In 1980, they “retired” from the farm at Fort Benton, leaving it in the hands of the next generation. They moved to Polson, Montana, bought an apple and cherry orchard there, and worked harder than ever. Spraying, watering, pruning and marketing their fruit occupied their time. They also made some of the best fresh apple juice you’ve ever tasted.

During their years in Polson, Elva was very involved with the Polson United Methodist Church and the Polson Senior Center. She also volunteered at the Polson Country Store. Her home-baked whole wheat bread was legendary, and in great demand at the local bake sales.

All her life, Elva was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. She was a loving sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. Her gentle spirit and happy smile will be missed by all who knew her.

Elva was preceded in death by her husband, Donald K. Gessaman; her brothers Chester Arthur Whitehorn, Jr., Wallace Whitehorn, and Stanley Whitehorn; and her sisters Bernice Skaw, Virginia Wiederhold and Clara Walker.

She is survived by her brother Wayne Whitehorn at the family farm; sister Iris Halvorson, Great Falls; sons Bill and wife Debbie Gessaman, Lake Stevens, Wash., and Mike and wife Deb Gessaman, Fort Benton; daughters Jeanne and husband Ted Turner, Kalispell, and Janet and husband Dave Haugen, Fort Benton; 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on Monday morning, July 14, at the Polson United Methodist Church, Polson. Inurnment followed at the Lakeview Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Polson United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory. Memories and condolences may be sent to the family at www.groganfuneralhome.com.


Joan M. Cameron (revised)

Joan Mercedes Cameron passed away on July 6, 2014, at Park Place Care Center, Great Falls, Montana, due to complications from heart failure and cancer, while her husband, Raymond, was holding her.

Joan was born on Dec. 23, 1931, near Union Mills, LaPorte County, Indiana, the oldest child of her parents, Oliver and D. “Elizabeth” (Carpenter) Mandeville. Joan grew up near La Porte City, Indiana. She lived much of her childhood with her paternal grandparents, Orpheus and Marie Mandeville.

Joan was the widow of Carl Simmons when she and Raymond B. Cameron married on Oct. 11, 2008, in Fort Benton, Montana, and they made their home in Fort Benton.

Joan performed many types of jobs over the years. She helped her grandparents on their farm, which mainly grew produce. They also sold their fresh fruit and produce at a small stand at their home. Most of Joan’s employment was working in food service as a waitress, cook and restaurant owner. She did sewing work on car upholstery and on drapes. In her later years Joan was a personal care attendant.

Joan enjoyed sports. She played pitcher position on her softball team and taught softball to children. Joan was an avid swimmer. Joan and Ray loved to dance, and would dance at home when they couldn’t go out. Joan was skilled in painting pictures, sewing machine embroidery, and gardening.

Joan attended the Community Bible Church in Fort Benton and briefly taught Sunday School to children there.

Joan is survived by her husband, Raymond, and her twin daughters, Peggy (Robert) Johnson and Barbara (Lloyd) Allard, and another daughter, Debra L. Harlow. Joan is also survived by her sister, Jean Van Arman, brothers Gayle (Sylvia) Mandeville and Daniel (Vicki) Mandeville, half-sister Ann Elise Jakobsen, aunt Vi Neff, and half-brother Duane “Bud” Brennen.

Public viewing was held at the Cutler Funeral Home in LaPorte, Indiana. Graveyard services were Friday, July 11, at Union Mills Cemetery, Indiana. Joan was laid to rest next to her paternal grandparents. There was a reception following the service at the Community Center in Kings Ford Heights, Indiana.


7-9-14 Issue:

Peter V. Magnuson

Peter V. Magnuson, 96, of Florence passed away at home in the presence of his family and his wife of 69 years on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Peter was born March 21, 1918 in Geraldine Montana to Lena and Harold Magnuson. He attended school at Geraldine, graduating in 1936. He then went to college for two years in Bellingham, Washington, and later enrolled in radio school in Texas.

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1940 at Fort Missoula Montana and soon made the rank of Corporal. During his military career Peter specialized in diesel mechanics, achieved marksman status, earned the American Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Service Medal.

Stationed first at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and later on Adak Island in the Aleutians, Peter witnessed the Japanese air attack on Dutch Harbor that occurred on June 4, 1942, six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In 1944, Peter returned to Montana and married Joyce Knox on December 23, 1944. He was honorably discharged from military service in 1945. Shortly thereafter, the couple owned/operated a small dairy farm near Great Falls, Montana. During this time three daughters were born to them; Susan, Sandra, and Sara. Later the family moved to Geraldine where Peter was employed by the First National Bank of Geraldine. He and Joyce also established the well-known “Pete’s Photos” photography studio that they operated until Pete’s retirement in 1988; at which time they moved to Sheridan, Montana, then later to Florence to be near their family.

Among his many interests, Peter’s favorite hobbies were woodworking, photography, and sharing a good laugh; in his last years he enjoyed “texting.”

Peter was preceded in death by his parents Lena (Denny) Magnuson and Harold M. Magnuson, and is survived by his wife, Joyce (Knox) Magnuson; sister Mary (Magnuson) Gemmel of Helena, Montana; daughters Susan (Larry) Little of Geraldine, Sandra (Ted) Meinzen of Lolo, Montana, Sara (Vic) Sieglock of Havre, Montana; 12 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at a later date.

The family appreciates the wonderful care and compassion he received from Aspen Hospice, his in-home caregivers and from Dr. Laura Shelton and the staff at the Florence Family Clinic.

Memorials should be sent to Aspen Hospice of Montana, 107 Bell Crossing West, Stevensville, MT 59870.


Kelsey Jean Morris

Kelsey Jean Morris, 30, of Fort Benton, Montana, passed away on July 6, 2014. Visitation will be Thursday, July 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, July 11, 2014 at the First Christian Church in Fort Benton. Pastor Scott McNeely will be officiating. Burial will follow the funeral at Riverside Cemetery.

Kelsey was born at the Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls, Montana on May 19, 1984 to Rick and Brenda Morris. Kelsey participated and excelled in dance from her early childhood all the way through her high school years. Kelsey had a free spirit that allowed for a very daring, humorous and quick witted personality. Kelsey incorporated a competitive relationship with her brother when growing up, where oftentimes they would sit and compete at Super Nintendo for hours. Another great memory of Kelsey growing up was her admiration for WWF (World Wrestling Federation). You could always count on her watching each new episode weekly and later reenacting it with her brother. Kelsey loved the summers. She swam for Fort Benton Swim Team for many years, placing at the State meet a couple of times. Her passion for swimming led to a summer job as a lifeguard at the public swimming pool.

Kelsey later graduated from Fort Benton High School in 2002. An extremely bright student, but not totally sure of what career path she wanted to pursue, she attended one year of studies at Washington State University. Kelsey found a great love for the country, enjoying the peacefulness, cooking, and caring for her animals, which never could have been done without the support of a very special loved one, Travis Kassmier.

Kelsey, you will be forever in our hearts.

Kelsey is preceded in death her grandfather, Donald Morris; grandmother, Beverely Allen; uncle, Brian Winden; cousin, Mark Allen, and great grandparents. Kelsey is survived by her parents, Rick and Brenda Morris; brother, Karson Morris; grandparents, Harold and Bernie Winden; grandparents, Lloyd and Deanna Allen and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Memorials may be made in Kelsey’s name to the Dedman Foundation in Fort Benton or to the memorial of your choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Dennis Russell Ulmen 

Dennis Russell Ulmen, 69, lifelong resident of Big Sandy, passed away at the Big Sandy Medical Center on the morning of June 23, 2014, after a long illness.

Dennis was the only child born to Ethel (Cooke) and Clem Ulmen on June 6, 1945. He was the apple of their eyes and a happy child. He spent much of his childhood with his McNeill, Ulmen, and Cooke cousins. Whether in the Bear Paws or on the prairie, Dennis liked to be where the action was.

Dennis graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1963. After high school, he went to work as a fuel man for Farmer’s Union Oil in Big Sandy. Dennis enjoyed delivering fuel to the local farmers and ranchers. Dennis owned his own truck and hauled throughout the 80s and 90s, and later worked for Ezzie’s of Havre. A truck accident in 1987 left him with a broken back and years of pain. He retired in 2005.

Dennis was married to Janice Jurenka in 1975. They divorced. He married Christine Wortman in 1980, helping raise her two sons, Kole and Lacy. They later divorced.

Dennis enjoyed coffee, antiques, nice vehicles, driving around and watching television. He especially enjoyed watching bull riding, and the National Finals Rodeo.

There will be a memorial service on Monday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Big Sandy, with burial of ashes in the Big Sandy Cemetery.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Joan M. Cameron

Joan Mercedes Cameron passed away on July 6, 2014 at Park Place Care Center in Great Falls, Montana, due to complications from heart failure and cancer, while her husband, Raymond, was holding her.

Joan was born near Union Mills on Dec. 23, 1931 near Union Mills in LaPorte County, Indiana, the oldest child of her parents, Oliver and Drucilla “Elizabeth” (Carpenter) Mandeville. Joan grew up near La Porte, Indiana. She lived much of her childhood with her paternal grandparents, Orpheus and Marie Mandeville.

Joan was the widow of Carl Simmons when she and Raymond B. Cameron married on Oct. 11, 2008 in Fort Benton, Montana and made their home in Fort Benton. Before coming to Montana, Joan had lived in Indiana, Florida, Texas and for a short while in Idaho.

Joan performed many types of jobs over the years. Most of her employment was working in food service as a waitress, cook and owner. She did sewing work on car upholstery and on curtains. In her later years, Joan was a personal care attendant.

Joan enjoyed sports. She played pitcher position on her softball team and taught softball to children. Joan was an avid swimmer. Joan was skilled in painting pictures, sewing machine embroidery, and gardening.

Joan is survived by her husband, Raymond B. Cameron; and her twin daughters, Peggy (Robert) Johnson and Barbara (Lloyd) Allard, and another daughter, Debra L. Harlow; stepsons Carl Simmons Jr. and Russell Simmons. Joan is also survived by her sister, Norma “Jean” Arman; brothers Gayle (Sylvia) Mandeville and half-sisters Ann Elise Jakobsen, and Vi Neff.

A public viewing is planned for Friday, July 11, 2014 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Cutler Funeral Home in La Porte. Afterward, graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Union Mills Cemetery in Indiana. Joan will be laid to rest next to her paternal grandparents. There will be a reception following the service at the Community Center in Kings Ford Heights, Indiana.


Elva G. Gessaman (notice)

Elva G. Gessaman, age 88, of Kalispell passed away on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at Buffalo Hill Terrace in Kalispell, Montana.

Memorial services for Elva will be held on Monday, July 14, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Polson. Inurnment will follow the services at Lake View Cemetery. A full obituary will follow.

Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory.


7-2-14 Issue:

Lorena Towner 

Lorena Regina (Bedard) Towner was born April 18, 1912, to French-Canadian parents, Henry and Aurise Bedard, in Frenchtown. She was the sixth of nine children and grew up in a French speaking home. Lorena attended school in Frenchtown and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Missoula. On a visit to Fort Benton, she met Sam Towner, the love of her life. On Sept. 4, 1933, Lorena and Sam were married and made Fort Benton their home to raise their family. Sam worked at the Pioneer Mercantile. Their life centered around family, friends, dinners, visits, and her church. Lorena was an active member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and was the organist for many years. She was an active member of St. Elizabeth’s Circle and was active in the woman’s club and supported all of their activities.

Lorena had many great memories of being the Chouteau County librarian for 26 years. She loved the people she came in contact with and did her best to encourage any young person who wanted to read. She was proud of and very committed to the community of Fort Benton. Lorena enjoyed gardening, crocheting, playing pinochle and other card games, puzzles and sports. She had a sweet tooth and there was always a candy dish for visitors and a bit of chocolate hidden away for herself.

Reaching a 100 years old was a milestone, and family and friends gathered to celebrate her life. She loved the party and took great pride in boasting she was 100. Lorena made the transition from this life to MORE life Friday, June 20, 2014, at Missouri River Medical Center. She was 102 when she died, and we celebrate a life well-lived and well-loved. Funeral mass was held Thursday, June 26, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Burial followed in Riverside Cemetery.

Survivors include daughter, Laurie Koski (Steven) of Bend, Oregon; sons, Doug Towner (Mary Lou) of Ashtabula, Ohio, and Gary Towner (Kathleen) of San Felipe, Baja, Mexico; grandchildren, Lynn Czup, Greg Towner, Amy Towner, Chris Towner, Zack Towner, Jacob Koski, and Jonah Koski; nine great grandchildren; and one great great grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 64 years, Sam Towner.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Choteau County Library. Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Orval B. Thompson

Orval Bruce Thompson, 88, of Geraldine, passed away on June 20, 2014, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls of natural causes. At Bruce’s request there will only be a graveside service, which will be held at 1 p.m. July 12, 2014, at the Manchester Cemetery, between Vaughn and Great Falls. Cremation has taken place and arrangements are by Croxford Funeral Home. A community potluck to celebrate Bruce’s life will be held in Geraldine on July 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the Vet’s Hall.

Bruce was born in Oroville, Washington, to Charles S. and Gladys Shepherd Thompson on June 17, 1926. He grew up and graduated from high school in Dutton, Montana. He married Genevieve (Jenny) Dickson on April 9, 1950 in Great Falls, Montana. He attended the University of Montana. Bruce worked as an assistant manager at Safeway Stores in Chinook and Choteau. From 1956 until 1992 he owned and operated Thompson’s General Store in Geraldine.

Bruce was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War. He served in the Naval Reserve in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Air Force, and the Montana Air National Guard. Bruce was involved in the American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Shriners, Geraldine Volunteer Fire Department, Little League baseball, Montana American Legion Boys State and was clerk of the Geraldine School Board for many years. He was an active participant in almost all Geraldine community projects.

Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Gladys Thompson, sisters Joyce and Mary Thompson, and brother, Patrick Thompson.

He is survived by his wife, Jenny; daughters Connie (Sherwin) Smith of Choteau, Caro (Steve) Knecht of Helena and Janice Thompson of Great Falls; brothers Les Thompson of Geraldine and David Thompson of Ephrata, Washington; sister Heather (John) Balock of Melstone; grandchildren Danielle (Jay) Mooney of Kalispell, Brent (Trisha) Smith of Winnett, Sara (Beau) Decker of Sheridan, Kurt (Amy) Knecht of Helena; great-grandchildren Kori and Cyan Mooney, McKenzie and Keaghan Smith, Gunnar, Brody, and Kennedy Decker.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Bruce’s honor can be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. The family wishes to extend their sincere thank you to Montana Peace Hospice for the care given Bruce.


Mike D. Knecht

Mike D. Knecht, 63, of Great Falls, passed away June 26, 2014, at his residence in Great Falls after a courageous battle with cancer. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, July 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Knecht residence, 1601 22nd Ave S, Great Falls, Montana.

Mike was born Oct. 20, 1950, in Fargo, North Dakota, to Edwin William Knecht and Lois Enga Grindberg. In 1968, he graduated from Fort Benton High School. He later received a bachelor’s degree in business from the College of Great Falls. For 25 years Mike was an auditor for the State of Montana overseeing Workers Compensation and the Department of Transportation. He also worked part-time at ProBuild in Great Falls. Mike enjoyed NASCAR races, fishing and camping, working with wood, old cars, and traveling.

Mike is survived by his loving wife Jeanne and faithful companion Izzy Lou; sisters, Mary Beth (Lanny) Campell of Helena, Billie (Gordon) Peterson of Great Falls; brothers, Steve (Caro) Knecht of Helena, Tom (Doreen) Knecht of Harrison, Idaho; sisters-in-law, Carliene Baier, Corinne (Jerry) Gates, Lori Nelson, Bobbie Sue (John) Talmage, Lynn (Tony) Lutke; brothers-in-law, Dave (Robyn) Baker, Russell Baker, Ross McBurney; as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Edwin “Bill” and Lois Knecht; brothers-in-law, Lee Nelson, Ray Baier and Gary Starke.

The family has asked that memorial donations be made to: Sletten Cancer Center, 1117 29th St S, Great Falls, MT, 59405.


Inez Bramlette (notice)  

A memorial service for Inez Bramlette will be held at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 15. Burial will follow in the cemetery in Fort Benton.


6-25-14 Issue:

Lorena Towner (notice)  

Vigil services for Lorena Towner will be Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home. Funeral mass will be Thursday, June 26, at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton.

A full obituary will be in next week’s edition. Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com or PO Box 1326, Fort Benton, MT 59442.


6-18-14 Issue:

Richard Allen “Dick Brown  

Richard Allen “Dick” Brown, age 92, passed away May 14, 2014.

Dick was born in Wichita, Kansas in July 27, 1921. His parents were Rev. Daniel W. Brown and Edith (McEldowney) Brown. He married Agnes Jenkinson, his childhood sweetheart on July 19, 1942, in Fort Benton, Montana. They were married 56 years; she preceded him in death.

Dick spent time during WWII in the European theater and was in Germany when the war ended. He served in the Ozark Division, Headquarters Co., 102nd Infantry Division. After the war, he graduated from Montana State University in civil engineering. He worked for Armco in Helena, Montana, later moving to Spokane. Dick retired from H. Halvorson Construction Company in Spokane after 30 years.

Dick gladly served the church body utilizing his gifts in prayer groups, choir, solos, as well as serving on building and architectural committees. He served wherever he was needed.

Dick’s greatest joy was found in song. He participated in church and barbershop quartets, and the El Katif Shrine Chanters choir. He is remembered for his rich baritone voice harmonizing in song fests with family. He enjoyed fishing and teaching his grandchildren to drive the 7 ½ fishing boat. The family is grateful for the legacy and memories of Loon Lake.

Dick is survived by a sister, Alice Swindell in Springfield, Oregon; sons, Bruce Brown (Lee) of Chula Vista, California; Daniel (Jean) Brown of Vashon Island, and daughter, Barbara (Jay) Monti of Olympia. He has three grandchildren Damian Alhadeff, Seattle; Joshua Monti, Olympia; and Jaime (Monti) McKissick, Oklahoma; and seven great-grandchildren including, Nicholas, Jax, Josie, Landen, Barrette, Sparrow, and Ridge. Dick married Loretta Fruin Bergdahl March Brown in 1999. They enjoyed dining out and fly fishing together at Twin Lakes. Her children are Bruce, Jim and Rich Bergdahl. He is also survived by his beloved dog Andy. He was preceded in death by a brother, Darrel Brown of Spokane.

A family graveside service will be held in Spokane. The family requests donations be made to the Shriner’s Hospital of Spokane or your favorite charity.


Scott A. Peterson

The children of Scott A. Peterson will be holding a memorial service on Friday, June 27, 2014, at 11 a.m. on Fort Benton’s old bridge.

Scott A. Peterson was born on Nov. 18, 1960, to Ross and Phyllis (Frieling) Peterson. Scott passed away on Feb. 3, 2013.


Marshall Lloyd Fisher 

Marshall Lloyd Fisher, 93, WWII US Army Air Force veteran with the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and a longtime farmer and rancher, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2014, at Missouri River Medical Center.

Funeral services were held Monday, June 16, at Community Bible Church. Burial with military honors followed at Riverside Cemetery.

Marshall was a member of the Chouteau County Sheriff’s Posse for 20 years and after retiring from ranching/farming in the mid 70’s he moved to Fort Benton and continued working as a Montana State Stock Inspector for 20 years as well as assisting with the Choteau County Fairgrounds. Marshall enjoyed traveling and attended several reunions with former members of his flight crew from WWII. He also enjoyed watching WWF wrestling, riding horses, cowboy polo, and hunting.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 47 years, Winifred (Winnie) Fisher; parents, Albert and Eva (Warehime) Fisher; and three sisters, Hazel Ward, Gertrude Swears, and Dehlia Gibson; stepdaughter, Margaret Ann Potter and stepson, Doug Taylor.

Survivors include grandchildren, Rick Allison, Gary Allison, Douglas Taylor, Debbie Powell Taylor, Donna Rutherford, and Denise Taylor; and many nieces and nephews, as well as many longtime friends.


Darrell W. Teter  

Darrell W. Teter, 92, of Fort Benton, passed away in Lewiston, Idaho, on June 7, 2014, while visiting family.

Darrell was a WWII Navy veteran. He and his wife retired and moved to Square Butte in 1999 from Mesa, Ariz. They moved to Sunrise Bluffs from Square Butte in 2011. He is survived by five children – three daughters, Sharron (Bill) Gough, of Post Falls, Idaho; Delores (John) Bishop of Great Falls, Mont.; and Mardelle (George) Casteel of Grangeville, Idaho; and two sons, Wayne (Bette) Teter of Spokane, Wash., and Gilbert of Great Falls, Mont.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Maxine, in 2012.


Alan Leroy Carter

Alan “Al” Leroy Carter of Power, Montana, passed away suddenly on May 28, 2014, while looking at wheat fields on the farm where he worked.

Alan was born Aug 6, 1960, in Yuba City, Calif., to Leroy and Carol Carter. He attended Live Oak High School. Alan began work as a beekeeper with Big Sky Honey, which brought him to Montana in 1979. Alan lived in Chouteau County, where he enjoyed farming. He tried his hand at his own logging business before moving to Great Falls in 1986. He was a caregiver to friend Andy Kruger, which took him to many extravagant places like Hong Kong and Hawaii, where a tragic accident involving his friend landed him in jail for a year. Upon release he returned to Montana - “God’s Country,” as he called it. He worked as a bouncer at the Loading Zone, then retreated to Corvallis, Oregon. In about a year, he returned to Montana, where he resumed work as manager of the Playground/Loading Zone and also continued farming west of Power. In 2002, Alan was hired by Scattered Acres Farms, Inc., as farm foreman, where he lived, worked and became a part of the Vick family. He enjoyed the peaceful countryside where he lived and the variety of projects that he was able to do and oversee on the farm. There truly was nobody better or more full of pride at what they did than “Big Al.”

Alan is proceeded in death by his mother, Carol Carter; his father, Leroy Carter; and his stepmother, Patricia Carter.

He is survived by his three sisters, Lisa Sanders of Sacramento, Kathy Jimenez of Las Vegas, and Amy Schleigh of Sutter, Calif., along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and many more friends and loved ones.

A memorial service will take place on Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at the Community Center in Power, Montana, with a reception to follow.


Bobbie A. Stevenson 

Bobbie A. Stevenson, 70, passed away June 15, 2014, in Great Falls.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 25, at 2 p.m. at the Fort Benton Agricultural Center. Cremation has taken place under the direction of O’Connor Funeral Home.

Bobbie was born February 20, 1944, in Fort Benton. He is survived by his wife, two sons, grandchildren, brother, two sisters, and several special friends.

Donations are suggested to the Disabled Veterans of America, National Headquarters, PO Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH, 45250-0301.


6-11-14 Issue:

Terry LeRoy Marcussen  

Terry L. Marcussen, age 76, passed away June 3, 2014, from cancer. At his request there will be no services.

He was born March 11, 1938, in Great Falls, Montana, the second child of Roy and Sadie (Long) Marcussen. He was raised in Carter and graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1956. He enjoyed farming, fishing, hunting, carpentry, welding, gardening and cooking, and even won a local chili cook-off. He built a boat in the early 60’s he enjoyed with his family on the Missouri River and Tiber Dam Reservoir. He farmed with his dad for many years. He worked for GTA in Carter, and then was manager at Loma and Hinsdale, Montana. He worked a short time with father-in-law John L. Davison at the D & K Tire service station. He then worked as foreman for many years at Gysler, Melroe and Renn manufacturing. He also co-owned M & M painting.

He married Roberta Jean Davison on June 22, 1956. They would have been married 58 years. He is survived by his son, Robin (Denise) Marcussen, Fort Benton; daughters, Roxie (Ted) Lewis, Great Falls, Richele (Alan) Serfoss, Vaughn, and RaeLynn Bullach, Gillette, Wyoming; grandchildren, Joshua (Cassie) Marcussen, Jodi (Brandon) Knoles, Joseph Cartwright, Bryan (Erin) Cartwright, Nicole (Brock) Barnick, Jennifer Fief, Krystal (Scott) Baysinger and Kylie Bullach; great-grandchildren Celene, Chloee, Camie, Braydon ,Joshua, Jacobi, Aliyah, Bryce, Daerious, Christian, Bentley, Noah, Tanner, Corbin, Gracie and Barnick baby on the way. Also a favorite pet “Sparkie.” He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Lauretta Reynolds, an infant daughter, and beloved pets, Polly, Elizabeth, Tippy, Charlie and Chance.

Arrangements are by cremation by Benton Funeral home. Condolences may be sent to www.misermortuaries.com. Upon his request his ashes will spread by his immediate family at a later date. The family has requested memorials be made to Peace Hospice of Fort Benton, Chouteau County Cancer Support Group and the Dedman Foundation.


James “Jim” Robert Knedler 

James “Jim” Robert Knedler passed away June 3, 2014, in Fort Benton.

Jim was born October 13, 1925 to Harry and Hattie Knedler. In 1944, he graduated from Geraldine High School, then enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in the Pacific during WWII and served in many locations.

After the war, Jim returned to Geraldine and married Marcella Makich of Square Butte. He farmed north of Geraldine with his father and brother.

Jim and Marcella were active in the community. In their earlier years they were part of a dance band that played at the country dancehalls. Jim played the trumpet and Marcella was the piano player. Later in his life, Jim became famous for playing “Taps” at countless military funerals.

Jim was an avid pilot with his own piper cub airplane. He became a member of Flying Farmers of America. He downsized his airplanes and enjoyed the hobby of flying model planes. Jim and Marc pursued their love of history, attending auctions and many Montana historical sites.

Jim is survived by Marcella, his spouse of 67 years; son, Robert, of Geraldine; daughter, Brenda Freeman of Great Falls; grandchildren Brennan and Hayley Freeman; brother-in-law Max Makich and wife, Kathy, and their daughters. Nieces, Nancy Steel, Susan and Peggy Knedler and many friends. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, and brother, Lee (Bud) and Ann (Manley) Knedler.

Services were held Friday, June 6, at Benton Funeral Home, followed by burial with military honors at the Geraldine Cemetery.

Memorials to charity of choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


6-4-14 Issue:

Mary Ann Conn  

Mary Ann Conn, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and good friend, left us peacefully May 27, 2014. In those early hours, she joined her beloved “Charlie” and two daughters, Billie and Lynda.

Mary Ann was born on Oct. 31, 1924, in Neihart, Montana, to Charles and Mary Mattson Maki. She and her soul mate met while she was in high school at Neihart. They married on May 8, 1943, and shared their life for 70 plus years. Their union produced three girls, Betty - 1944, Billie - 1947, and Lynda - 1948.

They bought the homestead from Charles’ dad, Sam Conn, and remained there, farming together, raising wheat, oats, barley, and their three girls and their horses. Mary Ann loved her life on the farm; cooking, baking and caring for her family.

When a farm accident happened hooking up some machinery, and she lost a third of her left hand ring finger, at the emergency room, people didn’t know who they felt sorriest for, Momma, whose finger was cut off, or Daddy, who did the deed to his Honey. She was also feeling sorry for him.

Mary Ann was one special lady, always caring for someone who didn’t have a lot, making dinners for them or baking something for her friends. She always wore a smile on her face. She was a good woman with a huge heart, caring for her family and friends.

She was very much a part of her children’s lives. She was a Girl Scout leader, and was involved in 4-H. Many times she filled the car with classmates of her girls, taking them to football games or basketball games, or to Loma to roller skate. She enjoyed being involved with the children’s activities, and she joined in the roller skating. UPS never minded delivering to the family farm; there was always a treat for them - cinnamon rolls, fudge, chocolate cake, etc.

The First Christian Church played a huge role in her life. Living the Word of God, her favorite verse was “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” in addition to “The Lord’s Prayer,” a source of comfort with the loss of her two precious girls.

She is survived by her daughter, Betty McIntosh (BJ), a special brother Dudley (97), his love, Edna; two grandchildren, Lauri and Jennifer, and two very special great-grandchildren, Kayla and Hayden.

Mary Ann is preceded in death by her husband, her beloved Charlie; daughters Billie Burke (60) and Lynda Habel (59); and her loving parents, Charles and Mary Maki; four brothers, Ben, Ray, Byrd and Eddie; and one sister, Bernice McPherson.

Services will be June 4, 2014, at the First Christian Church in Fort Benton at 2 p.m. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in a duplex urn, special for her and Daddy.

Donations may be made to the donor’s choice. Then do a random act of kindness in her memory.

Condolences to the family may be shared at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com.


Alan Leroy Carter 

Alan Leroy Carter, 53, of Power, Montana, died May 28, 2014, of a heart attack. Benton Funeral Home is in charge of cremation, and a memorial service is being planned in Power, Montana, for later this month. A full obituary will be printed when a date is determined.

If you have a photo of Alan you would like to share, please send it via Facebook to Amilee Downey Vick.


5-28-14 Issue:

Donald Howard Linabary   

Donald Howard Linabary of Belgrade, Montana, 62, passed away on May 18, 2014, after a courageous battle with cancer.

“Don” was born in Casper, Wyoming on June 1, 1951, as the first child to Donald Howard Linabary Sr. and Shirley Joyce Miller Linabary. As a young child, Don’s family moved to Great Falls, Montana, where he attended school and graduated from CMR High school in 1969. A Vietnam era veteran, Don first enlisted in the Army Reserves while he was in high school. Upon his graduation Don enlisted for active duty with United States Army, where he was stationed in Nurnberg, Germany. After completing his service with an honorable discharge, Don lived in Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Spokane, Wash.; and Craigmont, Idaho; where he met his life partner Ramona Annette Johnson, and married Feb. 23, 1980. After the birth of their first child, Alicia, in 1981, the young family relocated to Don’s hometown of Great Falls. In 1983, they had their second child, Adam. During their years in Great Falls, Don worked in the grocery business as a produce manager. From 1986-1989, Don partnered with his wife as owner operator of a childcare facility. 1990 their family moved to Geraldine, Montana, until 1991.

For the next decade, the Linabary family lived in Fort Benton. Don worked for six years with Sykes’ Price Rite Food Farm as their produce manager. Don left the grocery store to establish a family operated building maintenance and home painting business. During this time, Don and Ramona added to their family through the adoption of two small boys, Gabriel and Samuel, from Sierra Leone, West Africa. In late 2001, Don accepted an opportunity in Bozeman and throughout the Galatian Valley to utilize his skills and love of building. It was a great joy for him to have his son, Adam, work with him.

In 2006, Don and Ramona hosted two children, Angelica and James, from Colombia, South America, through the “Summer of Hope Program” sponsored by Sacred Portion Children’s Outreach of Bozeman. As a result of their experience with the summer program and the love that developed for these children they decided to pursue adoption and brought them home in 2007. Don’s ability to love other people’s children made it easy for him to answer the call of adding four beautiful children into his family through adoption. He never hesitated when the opportunities were presented. He also took great pleasure in spending time with his grandchildren, who were very precious to him as well.

During Don’s lifetime he has had a great love for music, playing guitar and drums. In the later years he developed amazing skill with his guitar and was active in participating and leading his church worship team. Ramona and their children shared in this love through their involvement as well; his kids are following his example today actively in ministry in their family’s church, Saving Grace Christian Fellowship in Belgrade.

Don’s greatest passion was for his Savior Jesus Christ, who he met and started a relationship with at a very young age. He wanted to make certain that those he loved knew his Savior and would be joining him soon, and his love for people grew abundantly the further he got into his cancer journey. He made many new friends along with the old friends who have given so much support to him and his family during this difficult journey. Many people say that his smile illuminated a room when he walked in, even to the end. He has left an impact on many lives, and this will continue for a long time coming. This passage of scripture fit Don’s life mission: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” - Philippians 3:14.

Besides Don’s love for music, he enjoyed car restoration; his latest project was a 1966 Ford Falcon he occupied himself with in his last year until he could not any longer. He always had to be busy. He loved to fish and to go hunting and with his kids. He was a very good cook; just two months prior to leaving, he gave lessons to his kids to make some favorite recipes.

He was amazing working with his hands; artistic and good at designing. His skills ranged from making any little part to repair a small kitchen appliance, to building beautiful wood pieces. The week before he passed away he worked in his garage all week to finish a cabinet. He never liked anything left unfinished. Two weeks prior, he spoke and presented his two sons, Gabriel and Samuel, their home school high school diplomas, and the next day played hand drums with his sons and friends in his church worship team that he had organized. He held on to be able to do what was very important to him, even making the needed phone calls to express his love and say his goodbyes. Though we will miss his love and strong spirit so very much, we look forward to the day that we will all be rejoined with him.

Don was preceded in death by his father, Donald Howard Linabary Sr., of Craigmont, Idaho. Those family members still looking forward to seeing Don are his mother, Shirley Joyce Linabary of Fort Benton, Montana; wife, Ramona Linabary of Belgrade, Montana; children, Adam Linabary (Brianna) of Grangeville, Idaho; Alicia Caine (Gordon) of Wilcox, Penn.; and Gabriel Linabary, Angelica Linabary, Samuel Linabary, and James Linabary, all of Belgrade, Montana. Other survivors include sisters, Cheryl Koch of San Antonio, Texas; Sue Rowe of Atlanta, Georgia; Renee Perdue of Pallyup, Wash.; brothers, Jeff Linabary of Great Falls, Montana, and Terry Linabary of Craigmont, Idaho. Don’s grandchildren are Isaiah, Hudson, Emmaus, Bella, (Idaho); and Jordon, Trinity, Joshua, Allie, Caleb, Bradley (Penn.).

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, May 25, at Grace Bible Church at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be given online at http://journeyweb.net/give/, leave in comment “Linabary Family,” or write checks to Journey Church, 1794 E Baxter Ln, Bozeman, MT 59718 rather than in memo, with a separate note attached indicate “Linabary Family.”

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service - www.dokkennelson.com.


Eva Nita Rowe   

Eva Nita Rowe went to her heavenly home on Sunday, May 18, 2014, in Kalispell, Montana.

She was born Eva Nita Rupp on Jan. 25, 1926, in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, to John and Jessie Rupp. She was the youngest of three, joining brothers Ernie and Russell. The family moved to Carter, Montana, when she was three years old. Eva attended elementary school in Carter and went on to attend high school in Fort Benton, Montana. She married Donald Knudson in 1946 and they lived in California while Don was serving in the Army during WWII. After his discharge, they moved back to the Knudson family wheat farm at Shonkin, Montana.

After working numerous jobs in the medical and clerical fields, she was finally able to pursue her life’s dream to be a nurse. She went back to school at the Great Falls Vo-Tech and received her LPN license at age 49. Her first nursing position was at the VA Hospital in Helena. Then she worked at many of the nursing homes in the Kalispell area – North Valley Extended Care, Flathead County Nursing Home, Brendan House and Heritage Place. She had a heart for caring for others, and found her special niche in caring for the elderly, which she enjoyed until her retirement in 1988.

In a recent year, when asked what her favorite things were, Eva said: “the song of a meadowlark, visiting with my friends and family, sharing a cup of tea with a friend or family, watching and singing along with the Gaithers, lilac hunting – and the smell of the lilacs, looking at my clean house after cleaning it, and CATS!”

Next to nursing, Eva enjoyed most of all spending time with her family. She was preceded in death by her parents John and Jessie Rupp, brothers Ernie and Russ and daughter Donna Arganbright.

Those left to remember her with love and great gratitude are her daughters Diane Moore, husband Jim in Ulm, Montana; Doreen Miller, husband Dave in Kalispell, Montana; and Kay Barstad, in Billings, Montana; her beloved grandchildren Jason Moore of Ulm; Jennie Webb, husband Jimmy Joe, children Jimmy and Levi of Condon, Montana; Darin Arganbright, wife Anna, children Taylor, Donna, Johanna and Isaac of Fort Benton, Montana; Kevin Arganbright, wife Kerry, children Jake, Landis and Eli of Carter, Montana; Ben Miller, wife Darcy, children Wyle and Fitz of Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin; and Alissa Christensen of Billings, Montana; numerous nieces and nephews, and her current resident kitty Annibell.

A family graveside service will be held on Friday, May 30, at the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton, and a memorial service will be held at the Ulm Bible Church on Saturday, May 31, at 11 a.m.


Ronald L. “Sam” Watson  

Ronald L. “Sam” Watson, 65, passed away at Benefis Healthcare on Monday, May 12, 2014. The cause was complications from severe pancreatitis. Cremation has taken place with burial to follow in Fort Benton cemetery in June.

Born March 13, 1949, in Fort Benton, he grew up on the family ranch near Virgille. He graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1967, where he was a Longhorn standout on the football team. He attended one year at the College of Great Falls before deciding to enlist in the Marines to serve four years in Vietnam. Later he studied theatre and sociology at the University of Montana in Missoula. As a chef he worked at the Heritage Inn, Scheffi’s and Cub’s Den. Before retirement, he worked at NEW in Great Falls for 11 years. In retirement, he enjoyed his garden, time spent with his family, and taking care of animals. Throughout his life he was known as an artist, animal lover, and all-around kind and gentle man. He is dearly missed.

Survivors include his daughter Jayme Klehfoth (Alex), ex-wife Susan Settera, brothers Ken Watson (Judy), John Watson (Lorraine), Gordon Watson (Joann) and sister Leona Moura. He is preceded in death by his parents Leon and Ione Watson, brother-in-law Ken Moura and his constant cat companion, Jerry Garcia.

Memorials contributions are suggested to the Great Falls Animal Foundation.


Isabel Theresa Streit

Isabel Theresa Streit passed away May 26, 2014, at Cambridge Court in Great Falls.

Isabel was preceded in death by her loving husband of 64 years, George Streit.

A memorial service will be held at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Benton Friday, May 30, at 10 a.m., with Bishop Michael Warfel presiding. There will then be a graveside service, followed by a reception at the church.

Isabel Nagengast was born on Sept. 8, 1921, and grew up on the family farm east of Fort Benton. Isabel graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1940 and then entered into nursing school at the Columbus Hospital in Great Falls to become an RN. She enlisted and became a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps as a nurse, serving during World War II in France and England from 1943 to 1947.

Isabel married George Streit in 1947. They farmed east of Fort Benton until retiring in 2008.

Isabel and George are survived by four sons, Leonard (Brenda) Streit of Chester, Joseph (Joanne) Streit of Fort Benton, Tom (Guyla) Streit of Great Falls, and Steven (Edna) Streit of Saco; two daughters, Mary (James) Kassmier of Fort Benton and Terry Streit of Butte; sisters Barbara Reed and Rose Marie Otey; stepmother Rose Nagengast of Fort Benton; and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Isabel was preceded in death by her husband, George; and her father and mother, Geoge Nagengast and Josephine Bogner Nagengast.


5-21-14 Issue:

Norma (Jones) Jackson   

As the first lilacs of spring began to bloom, Norma (Jones) Jackson, 92, passed away peacefully in Missoula on May 17, 2014, surrounded by her loving family. Visitation will be open to the public on Wednesday, May 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Croxford Funeral Home. Her funeral service will be held Thursday, May 22, at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, with burial to follow at Highland Cemetery.

The granddaughter of an Irish immigrant homesteader and a lifelong resident of north central Montana, she was born in Great Falls on Nov. 29, 1921, to Gladys (Seney) and D. Walter Jones.

Her father’s work as a Great Northern telegrapher and depot agent took the family to Fort Shaw, Loma and Carter, where she first met the love of her life, Norman. She was in the fifth grade and he was in sixth. Following graduation from Fort Benton High School in 1939, Norma attended Great Falls Commercial College and was employed in the offices of the Boy Scout Council and Sears.

Upon the completion of Norman’s 18 month tour of duty as a P-38 fighter pilot in North Africa and Italy in World War II, they were married on July 9, 1944. Following his discharge from the service, they returned to Carter and farmed for the next 56 years. Norma was always busy with activities such as the Teton Bench Hobby Club, the Carter Neighborhood Club, Eastern Star and the Rainbow Advisory Board, and being a 4-H leader and election judge. She spent countless hours crocheting afghans for family members. She enjoyed cooking, calligraphy, travel, dancing and bowling with the Dust Bowlers at Benton Lanes. She especially treasured being a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, homemaker and good friend to many. Norma lit up a room with her smile. She had a wonderful sense of humor, a positive disposition, a spring in her step and a song in her heart. Everybody who knew her loved her dearly.

She is survived by her four children Julie Jackson of Missoula, Kathie Hein of Reardan, Washington, Ed Jackson of Bozeman and Rick (Julie) Jackson of Bozeman; granddaughters Tiffany (Ryan) Clouse of Reardan, Washington, Natalie (Joe) McGrath of Clear Lake, Iowa, and Ellie Jackson of Bozeman; great grandchildren Connor and Parker Clouse and Lindy McGrath; and several nieces and nephews.

Norma was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Norman, her brother Bud Jones and her son-in-law Doug Hein.

Memorials may be made in her name to Hospice of Missoula, 800 Kensington, Suite 204, Missoula, MT 59801.


Phyllis Tanner Dickson

Phyllis Tanner Dickson (1929-2014) died peacefully at her beloved Four Sisters Ranch on May 14th. We are grateful for the wonderful life she had but will miss her deeply.

Phyllis leaves behind her husband, Jim, daughter, Nicole, son, Scott, her sisters, Doris, Mitzi, Connie and their families as well as many dear friends.

She had a zest for life that we will carry in our hearts.

“If you’re feeling fancy free, come wander the hills with me/Look at cliffs and clouds with quiet eyes, watch the eagles soar ‘neath the bright blue skies/This my dear is our rendezvous, and I want to spend it all with you.”


Michelle Hajenga

Michelle Hajenga, 48, of Fort Benton, passed away Tuesday, May 13, 2014, of natural causes.

She was born to William Goyke and Jeannette “Brandi” Collins on September 10, 1965, in St. Paul, Minn. Michelle graduated from Stanford High School and later went on to earn her LPN nursing degree from the University of Montana Great Falls.

Michelle loved caring for people and devoted her life to doing just that. She left an impression on every life she touched. She always had a place and kind moment for any and all strays that wandered into her path.

Michelle’s memory will be carried on by her son, Wally Hajenga (Kayla Sanders) of Lewistown and the three grandchildren Wally and Laura Hammond blessed Michelle with; Braxton, Karley, and Pyper, all of Lewistown; her daughter, Marie Hajenga of Butte; her mother, Jeannette “Brandi” Collins of Laurel; her sisters, Cheryl McDowell and her children Aaron, Jamie (Clinton Stark), and Corina of Sacramento, Calif.; and Kellie Mikkola (Mel) and their children Brandon and Blake, of Great Falls, Montana.

Michelle will also be remembered by countless friends who knew her for the love and compassion that she exhibited every day.

Memorial services have already taken place and burial will follow at a later date.


5-14-14 Issue:

Justin Matthew Fatz

Justin Matthew Fatz, 43, of Missoula, passed away Wednesday, April 30, 2014.

Justin was born in Great Falls and received his formal education at Carter Elementary, Fort Benton Junior High and C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls. In 1993, he attended the Cornish College of Arts in Seattle. His love of acting took him to Los Angeles, Minnesota, North Dakota, Hawaii, Senora, California, and Missoula. Along the way, he was a waiter, maitre d’, bartender, casino attendant ... to supplement his one true love, acting!

Justin is survived by his mother, Jane Buxengard of Missoula; sister, Laura Buxengard and her son Jude of Bozeman; along with Uncle Lyle Fatz and Aunt Dorothy von Hultum, and family members.

A Catholic Mass and celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 19, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. There will be other celebrations in June and July.

Justin was a great fan of Facebook. You can visit his page at Justin Fatz Monkey Club to receive updates.


5-7-14 Issue:

Jim Renville

James “Jim” Renville, age 76, a longtime Chouteau County resident, passed away at 9:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls. He had been battling leukemia and lymphoma for over 10 years. He will be dearly missed by those who knew him.

Jim was born in the Chouteau County Hospital on Oct. 19, 1937, to Jim and Lucie Renville. He was the eldest of four children and was raised in Loma, Montana. Jim received his primary education in Loma and graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1955. He followed in his father’s footsteps and began working for the Great Northern Railway. In 1957, he traveled to Detroit and came home with a brand new “57 Chevy” - the source of many a dust cloud in local counties.

On Aug. 28, 1961, Jim started a three-year career working for “Uncle Sam” as a Military Police officer in the U.S. Army. He was known for bringing home army satchels filled with pecans while stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia - a contributing factor in the choice of his Alpine pecan casket! While golfing on base one day, he had the pleasure of meeting Dwight Eisenhower - leading one to believe that sometimes a severe slice can be a good thing! Jim also was chosen as a member of the Honor Guard at the Tacoma Dome for a visit from President Kennedy. During this three-year span, he visited all 50 states and traveled to six different countries.

Jim met his future wife, Debbie Petet, in a small café in Renton, Washington, through a mutual friend. He quickly became a regular customer - eating countless bags of peanuts and drinking Coke. They were engaged on Feb. 14, 1962. After buying wedding supplies at a rate of one item per payday, they were finally able to get married on June 7, 1963.

Jim and Debbie moved to Fort Benton in 1964, where Jim returned to work for the Great Northern Railway. They had two children, Jodi and Scot. Jodi was diagnosed with leukemia in 1970. This led Jim to quit his railroad job and start working as a fuel truck driver for Cenex, which allowed him to be home with his family. Following Jodi’s death in 1973, Jim returned to work for the railroad. Jim took on a number of roles that coincided with Scot’s interests. He was a Boy Scout leader, served on the board for the Benton Gators swim team and avidly followed many other activities. Jim also served several terms on Fort Benton’s city council. After a merger in 1980, the new Burlington Northern Railroad cut the jobs in Fort Benton, forcing Jim to work in Great Falls. Rather than moving and forcing their son into a new school partway through his freshman year, Jim opted to drive back and forth until his son graduated.

Jim and Debbie moved to Great Falls in 1986. Jim quickly became a favorite in the neighborhood due to his love of blowing snow for the neighbors in winter and sharing his roses with them in the summer. Jim and Debbie’s home was often a stopping point for friends and family. Scot remembers calling home while in the Navy and hearing his friends’ voices in the background on many occasions.

While working on a train derailment in 1995, Jim suffered a heart attack. Shortly after his recovery, Jim and Debbie sold their house and bought a “King of the Road” 5th wheel. They spent the next seven years living in various RV parks. They really enjoyed this time of their lives and the many wonderful friends they met “living on the road”.

Jim retired from the railroad in 2000, after 42 years of service. This new-found free time allowed them to move into the RV park at Fort Benton, where Jim was able to care for his aging mother until her death in 2002.

In 2003, Jim and Debbie decided to move to Chester, where they could spend more time with their two grandsons. They greatly enjoyed being close enough to spend many hours together - both babysitting and attending all the boys’ events. True to form, Jim continued his giving, neighborly ways by plowing snow and spending time with his new neighbors. He often commented on how he had been spoiled by having such great neighbors.

In 2005, Jim was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In 2009, the Renvilles moved back to Great Falls, as Jim needed more medical care. He found old railroad friends and many special friends, who helped support many local businesses through coffee sales.

On March 3, 2014, Jim was told he had developed aggressive Lymphoma (stage 4) and responded as he had to every challenge in his life. “Let’s get started” and “Bring it on” were two of his common phrases. After 10 years of frequently painful times, Jim died peacefully on April 30, just 20 hours after being admitted to Peace Hospice. The family is grateful to God for this last measure of “His Grace.” Imagine Jim’s thoughts as he opened his eyes to see Jesus and his beloved daughter, Jodi, again.

Jim was an avid sports fan throughout his life and enjoyed both playing and coaching softball, basketball, volleyball and golf. He was good at any type of card game, but was a sought after partner for any pinochle game. In his later years, he enjoyed dominoes and Greed (a dice game).

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; one daughter, Jodi Renville; one sister, Myra Johnson; and four brothers-in-law, Don Johnson, Lloyd Larsen, Lee Southard and Edward “Pun” Arcand.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Debbie Renville of Great Falls; a son, Scot/Shawna Renville of Chester; two grandsons, Seth and Samuel; two sisters, Rose Larsen of Billings and Beverly Southard of East Glacier; seven nieces/nephews; two “daughters,” Gina Rocker of Tucson, Arizona, and Cecelia Wall of Twin Falls, Idaho; and many “grandkids.”

A small family gathering was held Sunday night in Great Falls to share favorite memories of Jim. Many happy stories were shared, some of which were previously unheard escapades.

A simple graveside service was held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014, at the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton. Longtime friend Mike Kropp gave the committal message and the Fort Benton Veterans provided Jim’s military rites.

A “Celebration of Jim’s Life” service took place at 11 a.m. in the Ag Center. The service highlights included Jim’s grandson, Seth, playing guitar and singing “Hallelujah.” Scriptures read by nephew Justin Larsen focused on the “Good Samaritan.” Jim’s son, Scot, read a poem entitled “If Tomorrow Starts Without Me.” Good friend Frank Witt read Jim’s obituary. The touching message was shared by Jim and Debbie’s longtime friend and ordained minister, Mike Kropp. The service ended with a video presentation, “Treasured Memories,” that Denny Bradley and Scot prepared. A tasty luncheon, catered by Chandee Bomgardner, allowed for some fellowship time following the service.

Memorials are suggested to the Great Falls Rescue Mission, the Good Neighbors program, or donor’s choice.


Daniel Handford

Daniel Handford, 66, a farmer and rancher from Loma, passed away Tuesday, April 29, at Missouri River Medical Center.

Funeral services were held Monday, May 5, at the First Christian Church in Fort Benton. Burial followed at the family farm.

Survivors include his wife, Mary (Fowler) Handford; daughters, Angela (Rick) Shinaberger of Loma, Glenda (Joe) Horner of Great Falls, and Barbara (Ken) Martin of Big Sandy; son, Dan Handford of Great Falls; brother, Mike (Debbie) Handford of Oregon; sister, Sue (Buzz) Robison of Geraldine; grandchildren, Paige Held, Madison Held, Robert and Samantha Shinaberger, Quintin Pegar, Tayler and Sadie Held, and Lisa Pegar; step grandchildren, Joey Horner, Josh Horner, Jake Horner, Kasey Martin, and Lane Martin; and great granddaughter, Eleyna Powell.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ernie and Marion Handford, and brother, Art Handford.

It’s never goodbye. We will see you again. We love you.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Agnes Graham

Agnes Graham passed away Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at the age of 87 at a local care facility of natural causes.

Agnes was born March 17, 1927, in Great Falls to Anton and Mildred Seidl. She attended Great Falls schools and later married Paul “Pat” Graham. They spent many years in the Great Falls area early in their married life while her husband worked for the City Bus Lines. After the City Bus Lines was no longer in service, they moved to the Loma/Fort Benton area and ran a family farm and ranch operation. Agnes was a very important part of this operation and worked very hard through the years being a good cook and all-around ranch hand. Later when “Pat’s” health was failing they moved back to Great Falls to be closer to medical facilities.

They had three children, Irene Sheldon (Earl), Roberta Strizich (Ron), and Garry Graham. Agnes is survived by her stepdaughter Roberta Strizich and stepson Garry Graham. Agnes’s siblings were Theresia Harpine, Sylvia Ladd, Earl Seidl, Odesa Seidl, and Vernon “Ernie” Seidl. Vernon Seidl is the only living brother. She has numerous other nieces, nephews, and grandchildren and great grandchildren who will miss her greatly!

Funeral services will be at the Benton Funeral Home on Thursday, May 8, at 1:30 p.m., with burial at Riverside Cemetery.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


4-30-14 Issue:

Dorothy Schott

After a courageous battle with cancer, Dorothy Schott, 71, of Highwood, went home to be with the Lord on April 23, 2014. A memorial service was held Saturday morning, April 26, at the Fort Benton United Methodist Church, with a luncheon following at the Highwood Hall.

Dorothy was born Sept. 4, 1942, in Bozeman, to Wayne and Shirley Sterling. They eventually moved to Great Falls, where she graduated from Great Falls High in 1960. While attending the 1960 state fair, she met the love of her life, Richard Schott, and they began their life together on Dec. 30, 1961.

Although Dorothy was a “city girl”, she loved her home at the base of the Highwood Mountains. Dorothy was always the life of the party and enjoyed getting together with her family and friends. She was active in the bowling and golf leagues and loved her “job” of babysitting the Townsend girls. Later in life, after going to cosmetology school, she opened D’s Shear County in Belt in 1989, which she operated until 2012.

After raising her two sons, Dorothy was excited to have four granddaughters. She made it a point to remember every holiday, event and special day in their lives. From day one, the girls knew that their “Grammy” loved them unconditionally.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her daughter, Kelly, and her parents.

She is survived by her husband, Dick; sons, Keith (Karen) of Broadway, Michael of Portland, Ore.; four granddaughters, Whitney, Kourtney, Krista and Kylie; and her loyal companion, Stoli Ann.

Memorial donations may be made to the Fort Benton United Methodist Church, PO Box 218, Fort Benton, MT 59442, or to Peace Hospice of Montana, 1101 26th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405.

Condolences to the family may be shared at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com.


Inez Bramlette

Inez Bruthello Anderson Bramlette died April 22, 2014, at Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton of natural causes. She was 99 years old.

Memorial services will be held this summer at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton. Before the death of her husband of 58 years, Thomas Glen Bramlette, they jointly decided to combine their ashes. Half of their ashes will be scattered over the hill where the yellow bells bloom on the ranch, and the other half will be buried in the Masonic lot of the Riverside Cemetery following her memorial service.

Inez was born January 9, 1915, in the town of Geraldine, Montana. She was the sixth child of ten born to Sigfried Silan and Inez Euphemia (Friedlund) Anderson. On the way home after her birth, traveling in a horse drawn sleigh, a great Montana blizzard threatened the very lives of Inez and her parents. This was the first survival incident of many that were encountered during her growing up years on the homestead. After graduating from Geraldine High School in 1933, she attended Great Falls Commercial College. Inez enjoyed working in retail at The Paris of Montana in Great Falls and later in Fort Benton at Woodward’s Dry Goods.

On Sept. 1, 1938, at the Fort Benton United Methodist Church, Inez married Thomas Glen Bramlette in a double wedding ceremony with her sister Ethel Anderson and Joe Vielleux.

Her married years were spent between working the ranch nine miles south of Fort Benton and their town home on Front Street. She was a lifetime member of the Order of Eastern Star, Bethany Chapter 42, the United Methodist Church, and the Home Demonstration Club of Fort Benton. Inez enjoyed church and masonic activities as well as cooking, gardening, card games, and family. She was the quintessential housewife and hostess to her family and friends. There was always a full meal for anyone at any time. Her great-grandchildren called her “Grandma Snackshop”.

Survivors include her son, General (retired) Bruce Glen Bramlette and his wife Miriam (Doles) of Fort Benton, daughter Lynda Bramlette Smith of Plano, Texas, and her brother Eric Anderson of Geraldine. Along with a multitude of extended relatives, Inez is also survived by five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. They include Elaine Fox of Couer D’Alene, Idaho, and her daughters Lindsey and Kelly Jo; Karen Shaw and her husband Kevin of Fort Benton and their children Kaylee, Bryant, Macee and Riley; Robyn Lewis and her husband Kipp of Havre and their daughters Addyson, Ellyn and Malyn Inez; and Bramlette Smith of Plano, Texas, and son Jonah Glen; and Anika Vaughan of Plano, Texas and son Lucas.

Inez was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Thomas Glen Bramlette, and three brothers and five sisters, Arnold, Henry and Carl Anderson, Ellen Booth, Doris Apple, Esther Rudine, Ethel Vielleux and Edith Harvey.

Memorials may be sent to: The United Methodist Church 1201 Choteau, Fort Benton MT 59442; or The Shriners Hospital for Children, 911 W 5th Ave, Spokane WA 99204.


Georgia Lee Lorney

Georgia Lee Forney (GG), loving wife and mother, left us on April 28, 2014. Memorial services will be held at the Great Falls Elks on Thursday, May 8, at 11 a.m. The family requests that donations be sent to the Great Falls Elbon Club, 20 3rd St N, Great Falls MT 59401. Come join us and celebrate a wonderful lady.


4-23-14 Issue:

Clarence Joseph “Speed” Steinbacher

Clarence Joseph “Speed” Steinbacher, 91, of Fort Benton, passed away at the Missouri River Medical Center on Thursday, April 10, 2014. A service will be held at a later date.

Speed was born to John and Mary Steinbacher at their home in Montague on May 24, 1922. He was the fifth of nine children. Speed attended school in Montague and graduated from Geraldine High School in 1942. On graduation day, Speed enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. He was called to active duty in January 1943 as an aviation cadet. He graduated 2nd lieutenant and pilot. In 1944 he was shipped overseas. His tour took him to England, France and Germany. Speed flew a C-47, Gooney Bird, ferrying supplies, towing gliders, carrying paratroopers and evacuating the wounded. He was discharged from the service in November 1945. Speed was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

Speed returned to the farm in Montague after the service. He and his family had a band that played in the Montague Hall. Speed played the saxophone and drums. Everyone that knew Speed remembers him playing the spoons. All he needed was a tune to play along with.

On December 30, 1946, Speed married his “Lovey” Lenore Frieling. They lived in Fort Benton their entire married life. Although they never had their own children, they had many nieces and nephews to fill their lives. A few of these were nieces Sheila, Rhonda and Tracy, who helped Speed and Lenore through the last decade of transitions in their lives together.

Speed worked many jobs in his life, including being a farm hand, running an elevator, crop adjusting, sales, school bus driving and working for the City of Fort Benton in the water plant and as a grounds attendant. He enjoyed bowling and playing bingo.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Lenore, brother-in-law Jim (Donna) Frieling of Dutton, sister-in-law Shirley Yirsa of Big Sandy, sister-in-law Dorothy (Dave) Stovall of Fort Benton, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Speed was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Lawrence, Robert, Leonard, Daniel and John Steinbacher, and Catherine Soper, Mary Alice Wing and Lillian Nagengast.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Speed’s name may be made to the Missouri River Medical Center, Immaculate Conception Church, or a charity of your choice.


Robert Earl Davison

Earl Davison, 81, of Highwood, died Monday, April 21, 2014, at Benefis East Hospital after succumbing to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, April 24, at 2 p.m. at the Highwood Community Methodist Church.

Earl was a rancher in the Highwood Mountains for all of his married life. He and his wife, Jean, would have been married 60 years on July 1 of this year.

Earl’s family knew that he would give his life for any of them without hesitation. However, his greatest desire in life was to glorify God. His love and devotion to God were transparent to all. Though Earl’s love for God touched innumerable lives, his humility and tenacity were what made him an exceptional man.

Everyone knew of his love for preaching, but Earl’s influence on his children was most often taught by example. The way Earl lived his life was his greatest gift to his family and those that loved him. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Earl is survived by his wife, Jean; sons Bill (Debbie) Davison, Mike (Lynn) Davison, and Mark (Cheryl) Davison; daughters Julie (Mark) Pennewill and Rebecca (Kirtus) Hunsaker; and brother Fred Davison. He also has 14 grandchildren (Sam, Luke, Zeke, Sarah, Jessica, Aaron, Rachel, Tyler, Levi, Dakota, Maverick, Chase, Adam, and Brooklyn) and five great-grandchildren (Lewis, Natasha, Elliot, Jerod, and Riley).

He is preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Bessie Davison; and brother Bill.

Condolences may be left online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com.


4-16-14 Issue:

Donald Scott Love, Jr.

Donald Scott Love Jr., 74, returned to his Heavenly Father and eternal family on April 10, 2014 in Ogden, Utah. Don passed away peacefully with family surrounding him following heart surgery.

Don was born August 23, 1939, in Philadelphia, Penn., of goodly parents Donald and Harriett (Sowers) Love. He was the oldest of four boys. Don attended schools in Philadelphia. At the age of 11, his father passed away while they were delivering a milk route. Don at that time went to the Hershey School for fatherless boys in Hershey, Penn. Upon returning home, the family moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he graduated from Atlantic City High. He attended trade schools and college in Montana and California.

In 1957, Don joined the Air Force. After serving in North Africa, Don was assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, where he met his beloved wife, Shirley Ann Lench. They were married in Oct. 1960, and their marriage was solemnized in the Los Angeles, Calif., temple in October 1983.

Don worked at the Anaconda Co. both in Great Falls and Butte as a journeyman electrician and was a proud member of the I.B.E.W. Local 233. Following closure of the Butte pit, Don worked for many commercial contractors both in Montana and Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1982, the family moved to California. While in California he worked on several projects including the Muppet Theater in Disneyland and the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. He then was hired by McDonald Douglas, which was acquired by Boeing, for whom he continued to work until he retired in 2003 and returned home to Montana to live in Fort Benton.

Don was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He served in many different callings in the church, and found great joy in his service at the Los Angeles temple. He truly enjoyed working on his family history and was always encouraging others to learn of their family genealogy. Don loved his family and would do anything he could to help someone.

Don is survived by his wife Shirley and four children: Donald III (Meldee) of Centerville, Utah, Lisa Thompson (Clinton) of North Salt Lake, Utah, and Susan Guillen and Nancy Taylor (Jason), both of Paso Robles, Calif. Don is also survived by his brother Merel of Essex, Maryland, and Philip of Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as nieces and nephews and numerous cousins. His father, mother and his brother David preceded him in death.

Don is blessed with 11 grandchildren: Jessica Jensen (Jason), Heather Anderson (Alan), Andrew Wendt (Carly), Zachary Wendt (Kelsey), Melissa Guillen, Alexandria Paris-Walker (Greg), Courtney Paris, Erika(Steven) Brown, Emily Taylor-Plale (Stephen), Brittani Taylor-Blackner (Bryce), and Nathan Taylor.

A special blessing of seven great-grandchildren are Jacob and Abby Jensen, Luke and Hazel Anderson, Anika and Brayden Brown, and Aria Guillen, with two more babies announced.

Services are to be held Friday, April 18, 2014, at the LDS Church in Fort Benton, Mont., at 11 a.m. Viewing will be one hour before the service. Interment at Highland Cemetery in Great Falls, Mont., will follow the services.


Mary Ann Downs Schipf

Mary Ann Schipf, 88, of Missoula, passed away on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls. She had fought valiantly against ovarian cancer for more than one year and now rests peacefully with her Lord.

Mary Ann was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on July 18, 1925, to Bruce and Johanna Uithoven Downs. Mary Ann married Robert (Bob) George Schipf on August 19, 1952, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Together they moved all over the United States, including North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Iowa, California, Oklahoma and Illinois, before finally settling in Missoula in 1968. Mary Ann worked as a lab technician before marriage and in Missoula worked as a Welcome Wagon lady. She also volunteered at Saint Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula for more than 40 years. Mary Ann was involved in several clubs, including Friendship Force, Soroptimists, and Missoula International Friendship Program. As a member of Friendship Force, and also with family, Mary Ann traveled the world, visiting all continents except Antarctica. She also hosted many foreign visitors at her home.

Mary Ann was preceded in death by her husband Bob, sister Martha Stocking, and her parents.

Mary Ann is survived by her sons John (Annette) Schipf of Highwood and Jim (Annette Piccirillo) Schipf of Bozeman, and daughter Karen (Chris) Roholt of Riverside, Calif. Mary Ann was a proud grandma to Kirsten (Dane) Brady, David Schipf, Kathryn Schipf and Ruby Schipf. She is also survived by Donald and Patricia Schipf and family of Mahopac, New York, the Norton family of New Jersey, and her extended Swan family of Highwood, as well as friends worldwide.

As per Mary Ann’s wishes, there will be no public memorial service. Mary Ann and Bob’s ashes will be scattered at the Schipf-Swan Ranch in Highwood at a later date. Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com.

The family suggests in lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to the Providence Montana Health Foundation in Missoula (http://montana.providence.org/donate/providence-montana-health-foundation/donate) also known as Saint Patrick’s Hospital, or Peace Hospice of Great Falls (https://www.benefis-payments-online.org/donate).


Clarence (Speed) Steinbacher

Clarence (Speed) Steinbacher, 91, passed away on Thursday, April 10, 2014. A service will be held at a later date. A full obituary will be in next week’s paper.


4-9-14 Issue:

Cr. John Margaris

Dr. John Margaris, of Great Falls, passed away in his sleep on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

A funeral service was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Great Falls Saturday morning, April 5. Burial followed the service at Highland Cemetery. Visitation was held at O’Connor Funeral Home Thursday, April 3, and Friday, April 4.

Dr. John was born in Great Falls on Oct. 16, 1924, to Louis and Lola Margaris, immigrants from Greece.

He graduated from Great Falls High School in 1942. During his first year of college, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in General Patton’s Third Army. After he was honorably discharged from the Army at the end of World War II, he went to work for the Montana Trading Post, working in various stores in Montana and Alaska. He was also an adventurer, travelling to Europe, the Middle East and India after the war.

With the encouragement of his friend, Carl Kimble, he decided to go to college at the College of Great Falls. He worked as a laboratory technician for Dr. McLaughlin and eventually decided to become a physician. He attended the University of Utah School of Medicine from 1953 to 1957, and then served an internship in Ogden, Utah, for one year, before entering into general private practice in Big Sandy, Montana, in 1958.

He married the love of his life, Rosemary Kalafat, on Oct. 24, 1959. They moved to Fort Benton in 1962, where he had a solo practice until moving back to Great Falls in August of 1969, where he proudly opened his new medical office in Riverview.

For the next 26 years, he and Rosemary faithfully cared for thousands of patients. He was a strong advocate for the freedom of private practice throughout his career, and was famous for his many speeches warning of the looming threat of government interference with the practice of medicine at the monthly medical staff meetings at Columbus and Montana Deaconess Hospitals, as many of the physicians who know him would attest. He was truly a voice of one crying in the wilderness. He served as president of the medical staff at Columbus Hospital from 1977 to 1978.

In September 1995, he closed his practice in Riverview and then worked part time at the Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton, and at the Native American Center Medical Clinic in Great Falls for several more years before retiring completely.

He was a man of principle and high moral standards and was never afraid to offer his opinion on the way things should be. In addition, he was very devout in his Christian faith and was always thankful that God had provided and cared for him throughout his life.

John is survived by his four sons, Dr. Melchisedek (Barbara), Emmanuel (Pam), Mark, and Christopher; brothers James (Dee) of Great Falls and Bill (Des) of Kalispell; grandsons Adam and Zach; granddaughters Helen and Christine; and multiple nieces and a nephew.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother; sister Ann Yarmey; wife Rosemary; and uncle George Christ.

Memorials are suggested to the Great Falls Rescue Mission.

Condolences may be left online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com.


Robert Gasvoda

Funeral Services for Robert J. Gasvoda will be 2 p.m. Thursday, April 10, 2014, at the United Methodist Church of Big Sandy, with Pastor Ross Rettig presiding. Burial will follow at the Big Sandy Cemetery with full military honors.

Robert J. Gasvoda, 78, a lifetime south-east farmer and rancher, passed away early Saturday morning, April 5, 2014. Robert was born Dec. 23, 1935, to Matt and Elizabeth (Delp) Gasvoda in Fort Benton, Mont. He attended Lower Dog Creek School and attended Big Sandy High School, graduating in 1954. After graduating from high school, Bob served his country in the U.S. Army for two years.

On June 10, 1962, he married Georgia “Joan” Galbavy, and to this marriage was born a daughter, Bethli Joan, infant son baby Lester, and sons Peter and Bruce Gasvoda.

Bob (as so many knew him) is survived by his wife of over 51 years, and his two sons Peter and Bruce, who are continuing the tradition of the Gasvoda Farm of over 100 years. He is also survived by his three beautiful granddaughters, Faith, Hope and Ashlynn, who were the joy of his life.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Bethli; his infant son baby Lester, brothers Donald and Tom, and his nephew Gerry.

Bob was a member of Farmers Union, a board member of Cenex Cooperative for many years, and a life member of the U.S. Veterans Association.

Bob will be greatly missed by all who knew him, and it will take our community time to get used to not seeing Bob and his faithful friend and companion “Hooch” buzzing down the road.

Memorial donations can be made in Bob’s name to the Big Sandy Library building fund, to the Big Sandy Medical Center, or to the donor’s choice.

Services are in the care of Holland & Bonine Funeral Home of Havre, and condolences can be left at www.hollandbonine.com.


Maxine Koller

Maxine O. Koller (Fyfe) of Fort Benton will be laid to rest with her late husband, George R. Koller, on April 12, 2014, in Fort Benton. Preceded in death by her two brothers, William (“Bill”) and Earl Fyfe and a great granddaughter, Taylor Rae Peterson, Maxine died the evening of Nov. 14, 2013, at her residence in Fort Benton after a long degenerative and debilitating illness.

Maxine was born in Sweet Grass, Montana, in 1926, and was married on June 5, 1952. In the late fifties, Maxine and George relocated for a few years to Blythe, Calif., and in the early sixties returned to Montana, living briefly in Geraldine before establishing what became their permanent home in Fort Benton.

Mrs. Koller was a member of the Catholic Church and participated as a member of the Altar Society. She retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1985, and had also worked as an office clerk at the Missouri River Medical Center.

She is survived by her three children, Dennis, Richard and Gina, nine grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

After a nine o’clock rosary service, funeral services will be held at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Benton at ten o’clock in the morning, Saturday, April 12, with a gravesite service to follow at Riverside Cemetery.

Memorial contributions to the Dedman Foundation or the Ambulance Fund, Fort Benton, are encouraged.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


4-2-14 Issue:

Howard John Axtman

Howard John Axtman, 82, well-known John Deere equipment dealer, farm equipment appraiser, and longtime resident of Fort Benton, passed away at his home from natural causes on Monday, March 31, 2014, surrounded by his family.

Services for Howard will include a vigil and rosary Sunday, April 6, at 7 p.m. and a funeral mass on Monday, April 7, at 11 a.m., both at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at 1223 16th St. in Fort Benton. Internment will follow the funeral at the Riverview Cemetery.

Howard was born on Friday, April 13, 1931 in Balta, North Dakota, to John M. and Barbara (Senger) Axtman. He was the fifth of seven children and grew up on the farm enduring the hard time of the Great Depression. He attended grade school in Balta, learning to speak English there. His father took a job working for the Great Northern Railroad in Great Falls, Montana, in 1939, where they lived for many years. Howard attended school in Great Falls, and as a freshman he attended St. Edwards Catholic Seminary near Seattle, Wash., for a little over a year before returning to Black Eagle. As a youth he worked delivering groceries for a local market and learned how to drive. He had a paper route with the Great Falls Tribune delivering a record 268 papers in the Black Eagle area every morning, and then sold the Leader evening paper in downtown Great Falls. Howard moved to Fort Benton, where he attended high school, graduating in 1949. During his time at FBHS, he met the first love of his life, Patricia St. Peter, who he married in late 1950 while in Seattle, Wash.

Howard joined the U.S. Navy and served during the Korean conflict from late 1950 through late 1953, being stationed in Kodiak, Alaska and Tokyo, Japan. He was honorably discharged as an Engineman 3rd Class in San Diego, Calif., and headed back to his new family in Fort Benton as well as his job with the John Deere implement dealership. He became the dealership manager in 1955 and acted in that position until 1986, when he left to move “up the hill” and started his own business, Axtman Farm Equipment.

His first wife Patty passed away in April of 1969, and he met the second love of his life, Delores Marie Cook from Big Sandy, and they were married on Dec. 13, 1969, until his passing on Monday.

Howard was community minded and believed in serving and supporting his town. He worked with and belonged to many organizations including: charter member of the Knights of Columbus Marion Council, Boy Scout troop leader and scoutmaster for 18 years, life member of Fort Benton Kiwanis Club, charter member of Fort Benton Jaycees, civil defense director from 1962 to 1967, Fort Benton city council eight years, mayor of Fort Benton four years, president of the Montana Hardware and Implement Dealers Association, chairman of the Montana League of Cities and Towns, charter member of the Chouteau County Tractor Pullers, chairman of the Chouteau County 4-H premium fund for 12 years, member of the Immaculate Conception Church Parish 67 years, and advisor to the Helena VoTech Center diesel tech department. He also helped and contributed to many civic projects over his lifetime in Fort Benton with his time and talent. He believed in our youth and gave many of them the opportunity to work and earn money and experience.

Many people will remember Howard for his hobby over the last 40 years - his garden and all it yielded. Howard and Delores loved to raise all the great vegetables they could during the summer, both in the Shonkin Mountains and in his “secret” garden near Fort Benton. They enjoyed giving this bounty away to family and friends. If you were ever on the list, you know. From potatoes to pickles, he enjoyed giving.

Howard is survived by his wife of 44 years, Delores, sons Roger (Deanna) and Russ of Fort Benton, Rodney of Raleigh, North Carolina, and daughter Ann Marie (Dan) Mills-Low of Huntley. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren: Thad, Coleman, Brittiany, Andelyn, Rodney, Emily, Sam, Kayle, Kelly, Kylan, Corbyn and Keyara; and nine great-grandchildren: Alyssa, Dane, Hayden, Morgan, Emilia, Nicole, Kaleb, Jordan and Dylan. Howard has remaining brothers, Ed (Delores) Axtman of Canyon Ferry, Montana, and George Axtman of Arizona.

He was preceded in his passing by his parents, wife Patty, infant son Michael, brother Harry, and sisters Victoria Morger, Delores Brown and Hildegard Axtman.

Howard was a man of his faith and had a strong belief in Jesus Christ our Risen Lord. He will be missed by his loving wife; our Dad, Granddad and great Grandpa, but know he is going before us marked with the true sign of faith.

The family wishes to thank the forever caring caregivers from Peace Hospice for all they did for Howard these last few months. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to any of the following: Peace Hospice, PO Box 804, Fort Benton MT 59442; Florence Dedman Animal Shelter Foundation, PO Box 1282, Fort Benton MT 59442; or a charity of the donor’s choice.


Edna Beth McSweeney

Edna Beth McSweeney, 81, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Fort Benton, Montana.

Edna was born on January 11, 1933, to parents Elmer and Clara Feigel in Malta, Montana. She graduated from Malta High School and went to Nursing School in Havre, Montana. She married Steve McSweeney in Fort Benton on Feb. 23, 1952, and he was fond of saying that he married her before she had time to think it over. Edna was a devoted nurse at the hospital in Fort Benton for 33 years, during which time she touched countless lives with the combination of her practicality and gentle bedside manner.

Edna was an excellent cook and baker, and her house was always open to friends and family. Many neighborhood children grew up eating her cookies and digging through her gardens. She rarely had a harsh word to say about anybody, but once in a while when riled she would get a fire in her eyes which reminded everyone that Edna was no pushover. She was fiercely loyal to her family and was a loving, compassionate, and supportive mother. Her friends and family often called her “Saint Edna” due to her gentle nature.

Edna was talented at creating crafts, which will continue to be treasured throughout the community. None of her children or grandchildren inherited this gift. She also volunteered extensively in the community and won the pie contest at Fort Benton Summer Celebration multiple times. The loss of her pies will be mourned at every McSweeney holiday. Later in life, she was referred to by the family as “9 Lives Edna” due to her ability to bounce back from multiple health scares, and it was just like her to pass unexpectedly in the early morning hours.

Edna is survived by her children: Donna Agnew (Stuart), Albuquerque; Deb Friesz (Gene), Fort Benton; Dennis McSweeney (Reva), Helena; Dean McSweeney (Joan), Seattle, and special niece Patty Dalke (Lonnie), Great Falls. She was predeceased by her husband, Steve, and her oldest daughter, Diann Bishop.

Edna is also survived by five grandchildren: Jesslyn Button, Adrian Miller (Jordan), Rachel Agnew, Sean McSweeney, and Connor McSweeney. She had six granddogs and two great granddogs who will miss her ability to sneak food to them under the table. A special thanks to Susie Hankins for her friendship and caring.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, April 5, at 11 a.m. at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton, followed by a reception in the basement of the Catholic Church.

Donations may be made in Edna McSweeney’s name to Make-A-Wish Foundation.


Stanley Michael Tichenor

Stanley Michael “Mike” Tichenor, 53, passed away Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at his home in Surprise, Arizona, the results of vascular disease.

Mike was born May 1, 1960, in Circle, Montana, to Stanley Eugene and Esther C. (Berg) Tichenor. He attended several schools in Montana, graduating from Broadwater County High School in Townsend, Montana, in 1979. He attended DeVry University in Phoenix, graduating in 1981. He returned to Townsend and joined his parents at the Townsend Star, where he became an accomplished award-winning photographer. He published the Three Forks Herald and later moved to the Oregon coast, where he ran Mike’s Gift Shop.

Moving to the state of Washington, he met his wife, Susan Sperry. They were married in 1991. Their daughter Paige was born on May 18, 1992. While on Whidbey Island, the couple initiated and published the Inside Real Estate, a newspaper for real estate investors. He also managed a printing shop.

The family moved back to Montana in 1999 and Mike joined his parents at the River Press in Fort Benton. He purchased the River Press in 2000, and continued to publish it until 2007 when he sold the business. He continued to work for the current publisher until 2010. He spent a year in Helena and moved with his daughter to Arizona in 2011, where he brokered hot metal printing products of type, cases and other print memorabilia until his death.

Mike was preceded in death by his father, Stan, and his maternal and paternal grandparents.

He is survived by his daughter Paige of Arizona, his mother Esther, his sister Teresa (Richard) Sabala, and brothers Stephen and Timothy, all of Helena; and also numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.

Cremation has taken place and a family memorial is being planned at a later date.


Jack Marshall

A memorial service for Jack Marshall will be held on Saturday, April 5, at the Big Sandy High School auditorium at 2 p.m. Jack passed away on March 11 after a short illness.


3-26-14 Issue:

Wallace Earl Morger

One of Montana’s and Fort Benton’s native sons has been called home. Wally Morger passed away on March 24, 2014, just one month short of his 91st birthday. Though born an only child, Wally leaves a vast legacy of family and friends.

Wallace Earl Morger was born at St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton on April 24, 1923, to Dagmar S. (Peterson) and Earl R. Morger. A fourth-generation Benton native, Wally came from pioneering stock: Charles and Billy and Maryann Rowe, and the Davis Brothers - Ed and William. His grandfather, Frank Morger, was an Upper Shonkin rancher and later mayor of Fort Benton. His grandmother, Ruby Davis Morger “commuted” from St. Louis by steamboat before settling here.

Wally attended Fort Benton schools, a proud graduate of the Class of 1941. He was a Longhorn through and through; his nickname “Stuffy” acquired from a football coach who referred to him as Short Stuff. Wally was in football, basketball, and track, played trumpet in the band and was in various drama productions. He then attended Montana State Normal School in Dillon with aspirations to be a high school history teacher and coach, but WWII diverted those dreams and that education. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and originally was assigned to an electrical engineering school, but as the Pacific Theatre heated up, Wally was sent to train with the Fifth Marine Division and fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. He saw both flag raisings on Iwo Jima.

After the war, he returned to Fort Benton to help run his father’s tavern, Morger’s Bar, and then acquired one himself - The Farmers’ Inn on Front Street. They were both destroyed in a fire on June 6, 1949. He married Victoria Axtman that same year. Wally and Vicky raised nine children. They were organic gardeners before it was popular, providing for their children with what they grew, gathered, or what Wally fished or hunted. Education was also very important to them as evidenced by all nine of their children attending college. Wally served on the local school board for eight years after his wife Vicky, who had been a school board trustee, passed away in 1980. He was proud to be named “Montana’s Father of the Year” in 1984 on Norma Ashby’s Montana Television Network show.

Wally did lots of jobs from surveying to highway work, town deputy marshal, water plant attendant, and school bus driver, among others. But he most enjoyed wheat farming in the Egly area and his work as a Star Route rural mail carrier for 41 years with the “short route” southeast of Fort Benton and the “long route” to the north.

In the later season of his life, he met Muncie Kacso in 1993. They fell in love, and she also shared his love of Fort Benton. Together they led the project to restore the rip-rap on the levy, volunteered at the information center, supported community concerts and all Longhorn sporting events. They were named Lifetime Longhorn Boosters.

But perhaps the most important role Wally played was that of WWII veteran. As a member of the VFW and American Legion, the Marine Corps League, and as a community speaker/parade Grand Marshal, he encouraged and reminded all of us that freedom isn’t free. Whether it was the “Toys for Tots” program, a new recruit, or a veteran coming home to Fort Benton, Wally passed that baton of patriotism, courage, and service to countless Montanans. That baton was taken up by his son Randy with a career in the U.S. Air Force, along with five grandsons who have all served their country in Afghanistan. He was honored by the Marine Corps League of Montana with its “Commandant’s Marine of the Year” award in 2012. If he were here, he would just love to hear people say with his passing “that old soldiers never die … they just fade away.”

Wally is survived by his wife Muncie, and children Valerie Morger (Mark Pyrak), Fort Benton; Randal Morger, Fort Benton; Venetta Morger (John Wood), The Woodlands, Texas; Darcy Morger-Grovenstein (Glenn), Prescott Valley, Ariz.; Shane Morger (Geri), Ventura, Calif.; Lisa Morger Miller (John Miller), Poplar; Brian Morger, Great Falls; and Wallis Morger Bryan (Van Bryan), Bozeman. He was predeceased by his first wife, Victoria, and his youngest daughter, Audra Morger Bonilla (Gregory), Helena.

His grandchildren include Erin Bley, Tessa McGree (Tom), Jenna Chenette (Justin), Emily Meester (Dave), Levi Morger, Capt. Dashiel Morger, Tenley Huste (Ken), 1LT Morgan Wood (currently serving in Afghanistan), Chief Warrant Officer Whitney Grovenstein, 1LT Emory Grovenstein (Ashley), Ezekiel Grovenstein, Lacy Grovenstein, Trey Morger, Taryn Morger, Jordan Miller (Adrian Button), Gerald Miller, Victoria Miller, North Bryan, Shayne Bryan, and Grayson Bonilla. Along with six great grandchildren, he was also very fond of Muncie’s children and grandchildren as well.

Viewing is Friday, Mar. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Benton Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Mar. 29, at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton, followed by graveside services at the local Riverside Cemetery. Friends and family are invited to a luncheon reception to be held at the Sunrise Bluffs in Fort Benton beginning at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday. Miser Mortuaries is handling the funeral arrangements and Rev. Ross Rettig will officiate at the services.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to any of the following:

Peace Hospice, PO Box 804, Fort Benton MT 59442, who gave Wally such wonderful and loving care in his final weeks,

The Victoria A. Morger - Audra Morger Bonilla Scholarship Fund, PO Box 385, Fort Benton 59442, which provides scholarship assistance to deserving FBHS graduates,

The River & Plains Society, PO Box 262, Fort Benton, dedicated to preserving and interpreting this area’s rich heritage, or

The Great Falls Marine Corps Reserve’s annual “Toys for Tots” campaign, 1120 Ave. C Northeast, Great Falls, 59404, which funds Christmas presents for needy children across Northcentral Montana.

“Papa Wally - every time we see the sun rising over Fort Benton’s old bridge, or casting its last rays on the “FB” on the hill, we will think of the legacy you have left us in this last best place - the Birthplace of Montana. Semper Fi!”


Pamela Jean Scheele

Pamela Jean (Coffman) Scheele, 58, of Loma, Montana, died peacefully on March 21.

You are invited to share memories and stories at our celebration of life service on Saturday, March 29, at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Fort Benton. Cremation has taken place.

Pamela was born on Dec. 18, 1955, in Cody, Wyoming, to James and Jackie Coffman. She grew up and graduated in Chester, Montana. Pam married Raylen Scheele on Dec. 24, 1973. They celebrated their 40th anniversary in December. Pam enjoyed needlework and road trips to craft shows selling Ray’s handmade items.

She is survived by her husband Raylen, sons Eric Scheele of Great Falls and Aaron Scheele of Bismarck, North Dakota, her father James Coffman of Lewistown, brother Jim (Susan) Coffman of Joplin and sister Lori (Rod) Coulter of Brusett, Montana, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Jackie Coffman.


3-19-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week.


3-12-14 Issue:

Joyce L. Nottingham

Joyce L. Nottingham, 92, went to be with her Heavenly Father on March 8, 2014, after passing away at Eagle Cliff Manor in Billings, where she had resided for the past two and a half years.

Joyce was born Feb. 16, 1922, in Gletworth, Saskatchewan, to Taylor and Marie Sykes. At the age of eight, the family moved to Sunburst, and in 1934 to Chester. In 1938 the family settled in Fort Benton.

She married Ed Nottingham in Fort Benton on June 2, 1943. They resided there until 1981, when they were transferred with the Case Company to Burley, Idaho. Upon Ed’s death in 1984, Joyce returned to Billings with her daughter for a year and then to Fort Benton. In the late 1990s she returned to Billings to be near her daughter and son-in-law, where she resided at West Park Village.

She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, and three brothers.

She is survived by her daughters Raedene (Doug) Stovall of Billings; Trudel (Buzz) Wiedemann of Tualatin, Oregon; and son Kip (Connie) Nottingham of Richland, Wash.; sister Opal Enquist of Great Falls; and sister-in-laws Ruth Sykes of Fort Benton; and Mina Anderson of Coos Bay, Oregon.

She has five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

A family graveside service will be held this summer in Fort Benton.

Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.cfgbillings.com through “Our Families.”


Robert Melvin Ranes

Robert Melvin Ranes died Feb. 28, 2014, at the age of 88.

Mel was born to Frank and Mary Ranes in Dixon, Montana, on May 18, 1925. He grew up in the Big Sandy area and out in the Bear’s Paw Mountains.

Mel joined the Navy in 1945. After his discharge, he met and married Carolyne Green. Together they raised three children. Carolyne died from cancer.

He married Dana Nelson on May 18, 1991.

He was an operating engineer for 50+ years, building roads all over Montana.

Mel was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, and five brothers.

Survivors include his wife of 23 years, sons Larry (Shirley) of Billings, Doug (Marji) of Arizona, and daughter Patti (Jeff) of Seattle; sisters Maggie of Columbia Falls, Barbara (Tony) of Billings, and brother Donald (Nancy) of Colorado; six grandchildren, one great grandson, and many nieces and nephews, and one special nephew, Richard (Debbie) of Great Falls.