Local Obituaries

 

6-29-16 Issue:

Pamela Ellen Counts Seright

Pamela Ellen Counts Seright, 59, passed away on June 11, 2016 at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah from respiratory failure due to COPD.

Pam was born in Butte, Montana on December 11, 1956. She grew up mainly in Butte and around Montana, but also lived in Germany, California, Colorado and Arizona. She was the daughter of a hard rock miner, and Pam was moved from one place to another often growing up. Her childhood was exciting to her as she loved moving from place to place the most, because it meant another adventure with new places and new people to meet. Pam loved people and was very social throughout her life. A lover of good food and socializing, she enjoyed fishing, barbecuing and socializing with friends often. Pam had a wonderful smile that could light up a room. Pam was also an avid animal lover, always rescuing animals whenever she could. Whether it was a litter of kittens or litter of skunks, they all meant the same to her.

She is survived by her special friend of 14 years, Brian Day; five children, Brandy Johnson (Quinn), Donna Cook (Richard), Raychel Cook (Chad), Johnny Seright (Velda) and Cecilia Bjornestad (Adam); 14 grandchildren, Andrew, Nathaniel, Richard, Dalton, Kiera, Kaitlyn, Emmitt, Ahnna, Connor, Hestin, Emma, Matrim, Alicia and Samantha; two older brothers, Dennis Counts (Dee) and Bernard Counts (Sharon); two older sisters, Sandra Shaw (Hal) and Kay McTavish (Tim); one younger brother, Richard Counts, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband of 23 years, Raymond Seright; brother Lewis Lundy and her parents Lewis “Bud” and Wilma Counts.

Funeral services will be Saturday, July 2nd at 2 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Fort Benton, with interment to follow at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton.


6-22-16 Issue:

Janet Patricia Remington Shaw

Janet Patricia Remington Shaw of Fort Benton, Montana passed from our presence June 15, 2016 at the Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton after a long battle with COPD. She was 71.

Janet was born in Great Falls, Montana on February 18, 1945 to Lois and Allen Remington of Highwood, Montana. Janet attended the first three grades of school in Highwood, but in 1953 the Remington family loaded their livestock, equipment and family into several trucks and a bus and then traveled the Alcan Highway to Delta Junction, Alaska, where the family homesteaded on the Clearwater River.

Janet attended school at Ft. Greeley for several years as her parents proved up on the property and built the Clearwater Lodge. Afterwards, her time was split between the homestead in Alaska and the farm in Highwood. Janet attended Belt High School for two years and then spent her last two years in Highwood, graduating in 1963.

Janet married Kenneth “Larry” Shaw in February of 1965 and returned to Alaska. She worked several jobs, usually more than one at a time: The Delta Wind, driving bus, running the ASCS, Diehls department store and managing the Clearwater Lodge for several years after her parents’ health began failing.

Janet and Larry later divorced and Janet moved back to Montana, first living in Great Falls and then Fort Benton in 1990. In Fort Benton, Janet worked for United Grain Corp, Peavey Grain and NQI Grain Inspecting while also helping out at the Banque Club.

Janet enjoyed fishing, darts and bowling and was the secretary for the Monday night mixed league for several years until her health failed. Anyone who knew “Patti” knew she was 5’ tall and petite, but could quickly turn 10’ tall and bulletproof.

Janet is survived by her daughter, Kathy Reed (Rob) and son, Darin Shaw (Corinna), both of Billings, Montana; and sons, Kelly Shaw (Lorna) and Kevin Shaw, both of Fairbanks, Alaska; sister, Pam Von Bergen (Bruce) of Moccasin, Montana; brother-in-law Vince Gossick of Lewistown; 9 grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; a very sad little poodle, Bonnie; and her very special friend, confidant and soulmate, John A. Diekhans of Fort Benton, Montana.

Janet was preceded in death by her parents and sisters; Lois Olsen, Bobbie Vegoren, Judy Gossick and Gail Dickson; and two little poodles, Buster and Ebony.

Services were held Saturday, June 18 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton, followed by internment at Riverside Cemetery. Cremation has taken place with Benton Funeral Home handling arrangements. Memorials may be made to the Dedman Animal Shelter or a charity of one’s choice.


Betty Ann (Betsy) Hightower Gaylord

Betsy Gaylord, 68, of Yelm, Washington died peacefully at home Monday June 6, 2016.

Betsy was born September 9, 1947 in Conrad, Montana to Jim and Elsie Hightower. She and her mom went right out to the Loeffler farm, west of Conrad, to wait for her dad to come down from the ranch west of Dupuyer. It took more than three weeks due to poor weather. This was the first of many stays at her grandparents’ ranch, which she talked about later in life with great joy!

Betsy spent her childhood in Choteau, Montana, attending grade school and high school through her sophomore year there. She then joined the rest of her family in Fort Benton, Montana, graduating from FBHS in 1965.

Betsy married Ken Gaylord on April 20, 1968 and they recently celebrated 48 years together. Betsy graduated from the University of Idaho in 1971 and immediately started teaching English and coaching women’s sports.

She spent nine years teaching before she decided she could make a bigger impact as an administrator. She earned her MA in Educational Leadership from the University of Wyoming and began her nine-year career as a high school principal in Guernsey, Wyoming. Betsy was a great believer in education and the public school system. She truly enjoyed young people and strongly encouraged all people to find their dream and achieve it.

Betsy then left education and became a manager in insurance for 15 years. Then Ken decided to pursue his dream of bar/restaurant owner. Betsy supported Ken and they became owners of Jennie’s Bar and Grill in Yelm, Washington. She truly enjoyed working with people and of course all the fun “bar events.” She ended her career scoring standard test essays and especially enjoyed the English Common Core.

Ken and Betsy had two children, Troy and Shannon. She loved spending time with her kids, especially outdoors. Betsy truly loved the outdoors and of course taking pictures of all of her adventures. She spent a lot of time hiking, camping and, later in life, kayaking. She loved her kayaking trips with the “ladies” and the crazy fun they had on and off the water. She shared that love of kayaking with her family and was especially pleased to kayak with her grandchildren.

Betsy had an adventurous spirit and truly lived life to the fullest. She was blessed to travel many places and genuinely enjoyed each trip and sharing her trips with friends and families through pictures and funny stories.

Betsy is survived by her husband, Ken of Yelm, WA; daughter, Shannon (Brent) Bakich-Grasser; grandchildren Matthew Bakich, McKinley Bakich, Jacob Bakich, and Joshua Bakich, all of Wisconsin; sisters, Shirley (Corey) Embleton of Fort Benton and Barb (Tom) Evans of Loma; sister in-law, Sharon Hardy of Missoula; her Aunt Jean McKee of Deer Lodge and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A private family service will be held at a later date in a place she loved. Memorials in Betsy’s name can be made to a charity of your choice.


Geraldine (Gerry) Unterseher

Geraldine (Gerry) Unterseher of Havre, formerly of Chester and Fort Benton, passed away peacefully on Friday, June 17, 2016 in the company of her daughters.

Born on Feb. 5, 1931 in Dickinson, North Dakota, Gerry was the third and youngest child of Anna and Leroy David. She was raised and educated in Dickinson. While earning a teaching degree, she met Arnold (Spike) Unterseher. They were married on June 9, 1951.

Gerry taught for several years before stepping away from her career to raise her four children. After an absence of 23 years, she returned to teaching in Chester, Montana in 1976, eventually retiring in 1991.

Gerry was an avid reader, enjoyed solving crossword puzzles and was an excellent seamstress. She will always be remembered for being a great cook. Every meal made from scratch, homemade bread, and Sunday fried chicken dinner with pie for dessert.

Gerry is survived by her daughters, Cindy Lamb of Havre and Peggy Unterseher of Roundup. She is also survived by her son, David (Joyce) Unterseher of Butte and six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her brother, Wayne David of Washington state, also survives her.

Preceding her in death were her parents, her husband Spike, daughter Debra VanHemelryck, sister Bernice, and beloved son-in-law Bruce Lamb.

Graveside services will take place Friday, June 24, at 1 p.m., at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Fort Harrison in Helena, Montana. The family requests that memorials in Gerry’s honor be directed to the American Cancer Society.

Thanks, Mom, for providing us with an example of patience, tolerance, loyalty and grace.


Barbara Gilbert (Rerun with service information)

On April 3, 2016, Barbara Elizabeth Wurth Gilbert passed away at the age of 95. She was surrounded by her family in Fort Benton, Montana.

Barbara was born in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1920, and graduated from St. Mary High School. On April 5, 1945, she met her future husband, Robert Bruce Gilbert, from Dillon, Montana, who was stationed in Camp Campbell, Kentucky. They were married at the end of 1945, and moved to Helena, Montana, where her husband Bruce (now deceased) was an attorney for the Veteran’s Administration Department.

Upon her arrival in Montana, Barbara served as the assistant secretary to the Montana State Senate. As Bruce travelled the state for his job, Barbara happily raised their children. It was in 1953 that they found Fort Benton, which would become their home for the rest of their lives. Ultimately they raised their four children, who all graduated from the local high school.

Throughout her life in Fort Benton, Barbara stayed very active in the American Legion Auxiliary, the Saint Elizabeth Altar Society, and service to the Immaculate Conception church in Fort Benton. Most Sundays she was responsible for delivering the Catholic host to those who couldn’t attend the Mass, and she was a frequent volunteer and visitor at the local hospital and the Sunrise Bluffs Estates.

There was nothing more important to Barbara than the well-being and happiness of her family. She is survived by her children, Rick (Heather), Hub (John), Jackie (Stan) and Mark (Joanne), her six grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her two brothers and two sisters. Her only remaining sister Mary resides in Concord, New Hampshire. She will be missed by all.

The family wishes to thank the staff of the Missouri River Medical Center for their kindness and care. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Old Church Restoration Fund, Box 868, Fort Benton.

Services will be held Monday, June 27 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Benton. Arrangements are being made by Benton Funeral Home.


Barbara (Bobbie) Jane Leinart (Rerun with service information)

Barbara (Bobbie) Jane Leinart, formerly of Fort Benton, slipped peacefully away in Billings on Sept. 9, 2015, surrounded by her family. She was 89.

A graveside service will be held Monday, June 27 at 10 a.m. at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton.


6-15-16 Issue:

Connie Tanner Erbsen

Connie Tanner Erbsen, 80 of Denver, Colorado passed away suddenly April 28, 2016. She was born January 20, 1936 in Great Falls, Montana to John R. and Mary Fontana Tanner.

Growing up in Geraldine and on the family ranch at Lonetree, Connie spent most of her life as an active and loved member of the Denver travel community, a former partner at Cherry Creek Travel. After experiencing the world with her travel partner, Warren, escorting groups and visiting almost every continent, her heart was always at the 4 Sisters Ranch at Lonetree.

Connie is survived by her beloved husband, Warren M Erbsen; three sons, Bill Erbsen, David (Sue Murray) Erbsen and Michael (Shawna) Erbsen; grandchildren, Colleen (Jarrod) Murray, Christina (Christer) Sonheim, Jeremy Erbsen, Tanner Erbsen, Trevor Erbsen, Brittney Casper, Alexis (Collin) Murray Greene and Brittany Murray; six loved great-grandchildren; and sisters, Doris Davis and Mitzi (Jim) Holt. She was preceded in death by a sister, Phyllis Dickson.


Clarice L. Qunell

Clarice Lucille Qunell, 76, of Geraldine passed away Tuesday, June 7, 2016, at Benefis Hospital, surrounded by her family.

Clarice was born Nov. 15, 1939 to Leroy and Evelyn (Scofield) Westfall in Minot, ND, the youngest of eight children. Clarice married the love of her life, Jerome “Jerry” Qunell on June 4, 1956, at St. Margaret’s Church in Geraldine. She worked at First National Bank of Geraldine for a short time. In the mid-‘60s, the couple bought and ran Jerry’s Café in Geraldine, where Clarice was known for her cooking, but also waited tables and generally ran the place. After leaving the restaurant business, she became a full-time housewife and raised the family’s eight children. Three of her sons, Jerome, Mike and Don, boxed for a combined 10 years, and Clarice traveled with the team to all of their matches. In 1984, the couple moved to a farm 20 miles northeast of town, near the famed Hole in the Wall, before later moving back to the home Jerry bought in 1951, and has owned ever since.

She was proud of her family, and was a fixture at her children and grandchildren’s sporting events whenever she could make it.

She was preceded in death by her parents; six siblings; two infant sons, Allen and Henry; and a daughter-in-law, Sandra Qunell.

Clarice was never happier than when she was surrounded by her loving family, children Jerome Qunell Jr., Mike Qunell (Dora), CAnn Cornell (Scot), Sarah Qunell, Don Qunell (Rockie), Margaret Howard (Mark), Pam York (Tom), Kelly Qunell (Rosa); 21 grandchildren and 24 (and counting) great-grandchildren, all of whom survive her, and nearly all of whom joined her on Saturday to celebrate her and Jerry’s 60th wedding anniversary in Geraldine. She is also survived by her husband, Jerome, and a sister, Joyce Johnson of Minot.

A vigil service was held on Friday, June 10 at St. Margaret’s Church in Geraldine, followed by a funeral service at the church on June. 11.


Marcella Knedler (notice)

Marcella Knedler, 90, of Great Falls, passed away Dec. 12, 2015. A Memorial Service will be held Tues., June 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM at Croxford Funeral Home, 1307 Central Ave., Great Falls.


6-8-16 Issue:

Kennith Levi Lehman

Kenneth Levi Lehman, 73, of Carter, passed away June 3, 2016 after a battle with cancer.

A public visitation will be held on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Schnider Funeral Home. A graveside service will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton at 3:00 p.m. with Pastor Joe Jordan officiating. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Kenneth was born to Levi and Mary Lehman, the youngest of three children. He was raised on a ranch in Harrison, Idaho. After graduating from Kootenai High School, he trained horses with Monte Foreman in Golden, Colorado, and then rode bareback broncs in rodeos.

He married Irene Carpenter on December 25, 1963. They ran the Warming Hut on Mt. Baldy, Sun Valley, then worked on an Appaloosa horse ranch in St. Ignatius, Montana. They spent a year working on the Carpenter dairy farm, where their son, Jamie, was born.

Kenneth worked on a dairy farm in Mud Lake, Idaho, before moving to Harrison, where they bought a ranch. Their daughters Wendy and Debbie were born there. He supplemented the income by working at St. Maries’ Plywood mill before buying logging trucks. He was married to Irene 25 years.

In 1990, Kenneth married Debbie Sue Gruwell and they lived on their family farm. After their divorce he worked on the Harrison’s ranch in Dillon, Montana, before moving to Fort Benton where he worked for Maughan Farms. He also worked for the Carter Water District.

Ken loved hunting and fishing. He was a cowboy at heart.

He is survived by daughters, Wendy (Rob) Truax and Debbie (Ben) Baldwin; grandchildren Tabitha (Robbie) Larson, Jenna Truax, Jessica Hodgeman, Matthew Hodgeman and Jasmine Hodgeman; and sister Lenore (Charlie) Kephart.

He was preceded in death by his son Jamie; brother John; and his parents.


Bette C. Huffman Brunson

Bette Johnson, age 95, went home to the Lord on June 4.

She was born to Emil and Gretchen (Abrams) Johnson January 4, 1921 at Fort Benton, Montana. She grew up on the family homestead north of Fort Benton and attended the Gilstrap School and graduated from Fort Benton High in 1939. She attended college for two years in California, returning to Montana upon the death of her mother.

She married Russell Huffman January 5, 1943. After his discharge from the Army Air Corps, they settled on the family farm north of Fort Benton, raising their two children, Linda and Brad. After Russell’s death in 1960, Bette moved into Fort Benton and worked for Dr. Welty. In 1966, she moved to Missoula to return to college, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics. During this time, she met and married Dr. Royal Brunson and continued to reside in Missoula.

Bette enjoyed traveling to many different countries, spending time in her flower gardens and being with her family. She was a 68 year member of Bethany Chapter Order of Eastern Star and volunteered for many years at Community Hospital in Missoula. Royal passed away in 1999.

She was proceeded in death by her mother and father, her brothers Emil Jr. and Leonard, and by both her husbands.

She is survived by a daughter, Linda (Jim) Daugherty, son Brad (Connie) Huffman, her grandchildren, Damon (Michele) Kegel, Jeff (Monica) Huffman and Dawn (Craig) Olivo, 12 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Any memorials may be sent to a charity of choice. Graveside services will be held at the Manchester Cemetery on June 13, 2016 at 2 p.m.


6-1-16 Issue:

Willis B. Haagenson

Generous beyond compare, thoughtful, forever true, always thankful, more fun than anyone we’ve ever known, what will we do without him?

Willis B. Haagenson was born on June 8, 1916 in Hamlet, North Dakota to Ella Battleson Brown and Edward Mitchell Brown. He was the fifth child, following Inez, Ellsworth, Fern and Earl. His mother passed away during the flu epidemic before he had reached his first birthday. He was taken in by his mother’s sister, Isabel, a brave, unmarried young woman of 22 years. She took him to prove up on a homestead in what would later be called Peerless, Montana. A true pioneer, she lovingly raised him alone until she married the neighboring cowboy, Ben Haagenson, taking baby Willis with them on their honeymoon.

Within two years “Nonie” joined the family and two years later Isabel passed away, leaving her young family, Willis, 5 and Nonie, a toddler. Ben raised the two while owning and operating a number of dry goods stores in Montana and North Dakota. Willis always remembered Ben Haagenson as the finest man who ever lived. During those years Willis attended school in Williston; while in high school he gained two baby sisters, June and Mary Ann, when Ben remarried. By age seven he began spending his summers as “head cook” for his “bachelor uncles” on the farm near Peerless. Those adventures supplied him with a lifetime of stories of bank robbers, moonshiners, stashed suitcases full of money, all night poker games, horse races, fist fights and shooting contests. These men would later give him his start in life selling cars, doing window display and accounting work at Battleson Brothers Chevrolet, where they routinely worked 7 a.m. to midnight, 7 days a week. A young Willis lobbied his uncles and worked out a schedule where everyone got alternating Sundays off.

He met Marie Larsen at a dance in North Star, Montana. One look at her and he knew he was in trouble. Since she would have nothing to do with him, Willy decided to dance with her roommate, and when he walked her home he found out where Marie lived; he always said he chased her until she caught him! Willy and Marie married in 1939 and within three years Ella Marie, Benny and Bruce came along in short order. During the war they moved to Bremerton, WA and lived in government housing on the naval base. Willis welded on naval ships at night, and watched the kids during the day while Marie taught school. During those years they made friendships that were closer than family and lasted their lifetime.

When the war ended, they all pooled their ration stamps and the friends who had shared so much had an epic party to celebrate – one they laughed and reminisced over for decades. Following the conclusion of WWII, they returned to the Montana prairie that was calling them home. Marie taught all three of their kids 1st grade through 8th grade in a one room schoolhouse while they built a life on the farm. While there, Willy was very active with the kids’ activities, including Boy Scouts and 4-H; they were lifelong members of the Scobey Methodist Church. He loved going to farm auctions and always brought home a hay rack full of treasures, collecting friends and horses along the way.

Within two years of an empty nest, daughter Kandy surprised them and joined the family. In 1961 they left farming and began again as new parents to build a life in Highwood, MT, returning often to visit dear friends in Peerless and Scobey. In Highwood they worked side by side at the school for 20 years, Marie teaching and Willy as custodian and bus driver. The year they retired, they were honored to be asked by the graduating Class of 1981 to serve as Grand Marshals and participate in graduation in cap and gown.

In retirement Willy continued to be active in many Highwood organizations, including Commercial Club, the Community Hall board and the volunteer fire department. Every summer he raised a huge garden, and helped to raise many grandchildren. He always loved his horses, and usually raised a calf or two, putting up hay during his summer vacation. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his friends, kids and grandkids and spending time at the lake. He loved helping Marie with her pottery business and for 15 years they traveled around the state doing craft fairs and bazaars. Willy was head salesman and people schmoozer, selling pottery and making special deals (giving it away).

He and Marie traveled many places together and filled photo albums with a record of their adventures. Their last and favorite was a trip to New Zealand. Everyone was welcome at Marie & Willy’s and the coffee was always on; they loved nothing more than visiting with friends, an impromptu dinner from scratch or a game of cards. Christmas was his favorite time of year, but a born storyteller and generous to a fault, every day was like Christmas at Willy’s.

In 2006 Willis and Marie moved into a condo on the Missouri River in Great Falls, where they enjoyed meeting wonderful new neighbors and friends. Of all the hats he’d ever worn the one he took most seriously was caring for Marie. Even though they didn’t get out as much as they’d like, they entertained everyone who crossed their threshold in their new home, continuing their story with the same humor and enthusiasm as when they’d begun their lives together. When Marie went home in June 2010, Willis continued to amaze and entertain us, living on his own until his 98th birthday. That year his grandson Jim bunked with him until Willis moved across the driveway to live with Kandy and Lewis in 2015. Sudden kidney failure unexpectedly took him home March 6, 2016, when he peacefully slipped away on an angel’s wing surrounded by his heartbroken family. We will never be the same, Pop, and we love you. See you later!

In eternity he joined wife Marie, son Bruce, son-in-law Wayne Michel, granddaughters Heather Haagenson and Twila Michel, and grandson Tim Michel. He is survived by sisters June Hommas, Polson, MT; Mary Ann, Colorado; daughter Ella Marie Michel, Billings; son Ben (Janet) Haagenson, Billings; daughter-in-law Melodee Haagenson, Billings; daughter Kandy (Lewis), Great Falls; grandchildren Terry (Linda) Michel, Billings; Vickie Michel, Billings; Jim Haagenson, Great Falls; Trish Haagenson, Great Falls; Dawn (Steen) Andreasen, Fort Benton; Darcie Beauvil, CA; Don (Jennifer) Haagenson, WA; Lacey (Keegan) Watson, Billings; Kristie Haagenson, NV; Troy (Jennifer) Haagenson, ID; Garrett (Vanessa) Zanto, Great Falls; Kellen Zanto, Great Falls; 18 great grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren.

A memorial service and celebration of Willy’s 100th birthday will be held on Wednesday, June 8. Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Northwest Family Fellowship, 300 23rd Ave NE, Great Falls.


Tomi Crawford

Tomi Crawford (Peggy Ann Pearson), born Feb. 4, 1960, in East Helena; passed away Jan. 15, 2016, in Portland, Oregon.

A graveside memorial service will be held at Fort Benton’s Riverside Cemetery on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 11 a.m.


5-25-16 Issue:

Lynn Culver

Lynn J. Culver, 98, Bismarck, died May 20, 2016, at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center, Bismarck.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 27, at Church of St. Mary, 806 E Broadway Ave., Bismarck, with Rev. Msgr. Gene Lindemann officiating.

Cremation has taken place. There will be no visitation.

Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bismarck.

Lynn was born April 30, 1918, in rural Stark County on the farm his father homesteaded in 1906. Although he had many professions over his lifetime, he always had the heart of a farmer and enjoyed watching the growth of his own flowers and plants.

His parents were Edward Delos and Elizabeth Emiline (Walker) Culver. He was the seventh child in a family of five girls and five boys. Though he was just a young man when he lost his mother, he raised his youngest sister Shirley from the time she was 11 up until she married.

He graduated from Versippi High School and attended Dickinson State Teachers College for seven quarters. He took courses from other colleges, eventually earning his bachelor’s degree at Ashland University in Ohio. Following his graduation he served as an adjunct instructor at Ashland, teaching business courses.

His early employment included government work in Washington, D.C. Later, after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corp in World War II, Lynn began his career in insurance while establishing a local agency in Bismarck. He and his brother Raymond worked as district managers for Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. of Madison, Wisconsin, which later became the American Family Group. In 1955 he accepted employment with the Milbank Mutual Insurance Co. of Milbank, South Dakota, where he served as treasurer and managing officer from 1960 to 1971. He then became associated with the Shelby Mutual Insurance Company of Shelby, Ohio, where he served as a director of the company and of its subsidiary companies. His work there consisted of managing the investment portfolios. He retired as vice president of investments in 1985 and returned to Bismarck.

During his insurance career he was active in a number of national insurance organizations. He served as president of the National Conference of Mutual Insurance Companies and on the executive board of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. He earned the designation of CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter).

Lynn loved to travel. Over the years, he visited Kauai many times, often accompanied by his daughter Virginia and other various family members. He also traveled to Columbia and England. He shared in a vacation cruise to the Caribbean with his brother Gordon. In addition, he made countless trips to Montana to visit siblings, relatives, and his daughter and her family for holidays and celebrations.

Lynn played golf for many years. The game gave him an opportunity to spend time both with his brothers and friends. He loved reading, often books political or historical in nature.

Over the last eight years, Lynn resided at Valley View Heights, where he established many friendships. Both residents and staff enjoyed his cheerful whistling as he walked the halls every day.

Lynn was a true extrovert. He genuinely enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones. He was a mentor and inspiration to his nephews and nieces. His generosity touched many organizations and people. He always had a positive attitude and a heart of gold. He impacted the lives of all people that he met until his death on May 20, 2016 at the age of 98.

Survivors include his daughter, Virginia (Ed) Onstad who reside at Fort Benton, Montana; granddaughters, Danielle (Mark) Smith and Scotti (Jesse) Wood of Fort Benton, and Misti and Tavia Onstad (Ryan Wafer) of Portland, Oregon; and great-grandchildren Ameya Smith and Jagger and Dashel Wood. Also surviving is brother, Gordon, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Katherine, his parents, his sisters Mabel, Helen, Vivian, Gladys, and Shirley; and brothers, Donald, Clifford, and Raymond.

Go to www.eastgatefuneral.com to share memories of Lynn and sign the online guestbook.


Bill Tope

William “Bill” Tope, age 62, passed away at home on April 24, 2016, surrounded by family, after a courageous fight with lung cancer.

Bill was born on Jan. 8, 1954, in Great Falls, Montana; he was the son of late William J. and Alice D. Tope. He was raised in Fort Benton, Montana, where he went to school. Bill moved to Alaska in 1976, with his brother, Rocky, where he married his wife, Cheryl, and raised both of his children.

Bill worked in housing construction for many years, moved into mechanical construction, and ended up in the oil industry with Udelhoven Oilfield System Services for the last 11 years. Bill was an avid fisherman on the Kenai River for many years, where his son Jesse’s fishing passion was cultivated, amid four-wheeling with his friends. He spent his final years of his life making improvements on his residence in Eagle River, Alaska.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William J. and Alice D. Tope; as well as his brother, Tom Tope.

Bill’s burial will take place at the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, 2016, and his celebration of life will be held in the 4-H building at the Chouteau County Fairgrounds immediately following at 1:30 p.m.

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl of Eagle River; son, Jesse of Eagle River; daughter, Haley and her husband Tommy of Chugiak, Alaska; grandson, Jackson; and granddaughter, London. He is also survived by his brother Rocky of Mesa, Arizona.


5-18-16 Issue:

Tyler Ross Meeks

Tyler Ross Meeks, a great-grandson of the West, went to the sand hills on Thursday, April 28, 2016, from his home in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. Ty was born Nov. 29, 1983 in Great Falls and attended schools there until 1998 when he moved to Highwood with his parents for high school.

During Ty’s school years, he was a remarkable athlete and superb downhill skier. After his high school career he began to fulfill his wanderlust and love for adventure, first cowboying for ranchers in the Highwood area then working as a packer and guide in the Big Country. He spent two summers with Mule Shoe Outfitters in Glacier Park, a season in the Wrangell St. Elias Range in Alaska, two seasons working for Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters, a season at Capitol Reef National Monument in southern Utah, two seasons at the Box R Ranch in Cora, Wyoming, and a season for Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters south of Big Timber, Montana. While Ty was not on horseback, he always landed on his feet, working construction in the offseason for Sletten Construction, for the Baker Boys at Craftmaster Cabinets, for his grandfather at Henen Land Surveying, or pounding nails in Big Sky or Bozeman. Every winter for 27 years, no matter where Ty lived he made it to Showdown Ski Area for one day of downhill fun.

At the Box R in Cora, Wyoming, Ty met the love of his life. Gillian Elizabeth (Libby) O’Flaherty and her mother were visitors there from Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire. Skilled horsewomen of the New England variety, they came to Wyoming to ride the working horses of the West. The first meeting between Ty and Libby was one of interest, and in the second season the Zane Grey novel came true. The love and commitment was incredible as the remarkable duo traveled the country from California to Maine to New York City, with Libby doing freelance commercial art work and Ty picking up jobs as they went. Finally, Libby talked Ty off a horse for good and into Farrier School in Bozeman. From there they set up shop in the Paradise Valley south of Livingston until disaster struck Tyler in March 2014 with a brain tumor. After emergency surgery in Great Falls, they journeyed east to Libby’s home turf and Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, whose expert doctors helped Ty fight a most deadly illness for over two years. Amidst treatment in June of 2014 Ty and Libby were married at Libby’s family home in New Hampshire and they marched courageously through treatment together. When Libby’s nieces fell victim to circumstance, Ty and Libby gained custody of the two girls and formed a wonderful family in the face of deadly illness. After two major surgeries and two years of sickness, Ty’s body gave out at their home in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Tyler is survived by his loving wife Libby of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, parents Lyle Jay Meeks of Highwood and Valerie Henen Cooper (Mark Cooper) of Great Falls, brother Jared Meeks (Celeste Maxwell) of Highwood, grandmother Marge Henen of Great Falls , mother-in-law Ginny Boyd of Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire, father-in-law Tom O’Flaherty in Vermont, and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his grandmother Shirley Meeks Lucas, grandfather Donald Henen, grandfather Vern Meeks and step-grandfather Ted Lucas.

His family and friends will miss his big smile, keen sense of humor, cooking, fire starting “advice,” rhythm on the dance floor, his work ethic, and so much more. Goodbye Tyler, we love you and miss you dearly.

A memorial celebration of Ty’s life and luncheon will be held at the Highwood Community Hall at 1 p.m., Saturday May 28, 2016.


5-11-16 Issue:

Denise Gemar

Denise (Mace) Gemar, 66, of Carter, passed away May 2, 2016, surrounded by her family. She was born October 11, 1949, in Missoula as the first of six children to Gene and Miriam Mace.

Denise graduated from Seeley-Swan High School where she excelled in track & field. She graduated from Northern Montana College where she competed in cheerleading and was student body secretary, majoring in Physical Education and Health.

In 1970, Denise married Les Gemar of Great Falls. Twins Landon and Gentri were welcomed in 1975. Throughout their education, Denise never missed an activity and cherished the time she spent watching them grow.

Together, Les and Denise farmed north of Carter for many years. After farming, they began a new chapter as owners/operators of a federal contracting business, in which she continued as president and CEO until her death.

Denise enjoyed quilting, photography, golfing, and most of all, spending time with her three granddaughters.

Denise is survived by her husband of 45 years, Les; her daughter Gentri (Ed) Engelke; and her granddaughters Landri, Macei and Jet. She is also survived by her brothers Mark (Ronda) Mace, Kirk (Kim) Mace and her sisters Lori Mendenhall, Gina (Dave) June, and Lisa (Rick) Agard; sister-in-law Kari Gemar and numerous nieces and nephews.

Denise was preceded in death by her son Landon; parents Gene and Miriam Mace; and in-laws LeRoy and Lois Gemar.

A funeral service was held Saturday, May 7, at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton.

Memorials may be made to Camp-Mak-A-Dream, PO Box 1450, Missoula, MT 59806; Peace Hospice of Montana, 1101 26th St. S., Great Falls, MT 59405; or the charity of your choice.


Richard Cassutt (Services reminder)

Funeral services for Richard “Dick” Cassutt, who passed away on March 27, will be held on Friday, May 13, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton.


5-4-16 Issue:

Patti Dunn

Patti passed into the hands of her maker surrounded by her loving family on April 22nd at Billings Advanced Care Hospital of Montana in Billings.

Patti was born on May 24, 1964 in Brinkley, Arkansas, to Edward H. and Paula Y. Slaughter. As a girl Patti lived with her parents in New York and Virginia before settling in Georgetown, Texas.

She was a 1982 graduate of Georgetown High School. Patti attended Austin Community College. Patti married Darrell Dunn on May 7, 1988. To this union a much-loved son, Ethan Edward James Dunn, was born on April 29, 1993.

Patti had many talents and was employed by Journey’s End Jewelry. After Ethan started school she became an employee of the Florence school district and Georgetown schools in Texas. She was exceptionally good at working with at-risk and problem students.

Patti and her family moved to Geraldine, Montana, in 2009, where she made many treasured friends.

In addition to being a loving wife and mother, Patti had many interests. She was passionate in her love of horses and dogs. Her creativity found an outlet making jewelry to give as gifts to her friends, and her beautiful handmade greeting cards.

She was a proud member of the Painter Brothers Unit 102 American Legion Auxiliary. For several years she served as the courtesy director and made many beautiful cards for people. Patti also insisted on being in charge of the decorations at the Vet’s Hall. Nothing made her happier than to sprinkle glitter and glitz around for various occasions. At the time of her passing she was the acting 2nd Vice President of the unit.

Patti was preceded in death by her father Edward H. Slaughter. She is survived by her husband Darrell Dunn and son Ethan Dunn of Geraldine. She is also survived by her mother, Paula Slaughter of Florence, Texas, and her sister and brother-in-law Kim and Danny Wood with their sons of Florence, Texas.

Cremation has taken place. Services will be held on May 14 at 2:00 pm in the United Methodist Church. A memorial service will be held in Florence, Texas on June 18.

Memorials can be sent in her name to the Painter Brothers Unit 102 Auxiliary, Geraldine Memorial Ambulance or the Diabetes Association of America.


Rita Kurth

Rita Ramonde (Slowey) Kurth passed away at the age of 86 on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

Born in Clarendon, Texas, on March 15, 1930, to parents Russell J. and Carol Mae (Webb) Slowey, Rita spent most of her childhood in Geraldine, Montana, where she met her husband along with many lifelong friends.

In 1952, Rita received her Registered Nurse’s certificate, after undergraduate studies at Montana State University during 1948-1949 and attending St. Patrick’s School of Nursing in Missoula, Montana from 1949 to 1952.

She married Lloyd Samuel Kurth, Jr., “Sonny” on February 4, 1954. Rita spent her life by the side of her loving husband, raising their three boys and keeping the household while he traveled around the world as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. Though a stern disciplinarian, friends and family will always remember her as good-humored and quick to laugh.

Sonny’s military career prompted the family to move around the country often, making their home in places from Fairbanks, Alaska to Warner Robins, Georgia. This ensured that Rita worked as a nurse in many different and sometimes unconventional capacities, including Frontier Nursing in Kentucky, which required her to ride a mule to visit patients, nursing equipment in tow.

Even after retirement in 1974, Sonny and Rita continued to tour the United States, owning over seven homes all over the country, including a ranch in Murray, Kentucky and a summer home in Seeley Lake, Montana. They spent time traveling between their homes and visiting their family and friends across the US.

She is survived by her three sons, Gary (Patty) of Midlothian, Virginia; Jeffery (Paola) of San Antonio, Texas; Casey (Mary Lynn) of Taiwan; six grandchildren; three great grandchildren, sister, Donna Holland and two cousins Bill and Bob Patterson. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lloyd Kurth and her parents Russell and Carol Slowey. A service will be held in her memory on July 9, 2016 at noon at Riverside Cemetery, Fort Benton, Montana.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Denise Gemar

Denise Mace Gemar passed away Monday, May 2. A funeral service will be held Saturday, May 7, at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton at 11 a.m. There will be a full obituary in next week’s River Press.


4-27-16 Issue:

No obituaries this week


4-20-16 Issue:

Floyd “Skip” Chenoweth

Floyd E. “Skip” Chenoweth, Jr., 79, passed away peacefully on April 17, 2016 in Fort Benton surrounded by family.

Graveside services with military honors will be Friday, April 22, at 2 p.m. at Riverside Cemetery.

Floyd was born to Floyd E. Chenoweth, Sr. and Almira Rice Chenoweth on January 24, 1937 in Baltimore, Maryland. He joined the US Air Force in October 1954. Floyd served for 20 years and retired in June 1974. He married Carol Weiss in December of 1963. Together they had two daughters, Dionetta and Dawn. They divorced in 1974. On August 9, 1980 he married Kay Larson Milledge.

Skip enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and playing his guitar.

After serving in the military Skip worked for Brogan-Robinson Lumber. He moved to Fort Benton where he welded for Renn, operated a TV repair shop, and worked 19 years as the Loma Postmaster.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Kay; daughter, Dionetta (Lance) Cossin of Akron, Ohio; stepdaughters, Loni (Steve) Witt of Loma, Judy (Robert) Price of Rolling Hills, Wyoming, Lynda (Carl) Cole of Hutchinson, Kansas, and Kendra (Brett) Buen of Gillette, Wyoming; grandsons, Matt DeBorde, Danny DeHart, Cody and Casy Glennon, Richard Break, and Odin Buen; and a granddaughter, Stephanie DeHart.

He is preceded in death by his parents and daughter, Dawn.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to DAV (Disabled American Veterans), 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


4-13-16 Issue:

Richard Cassutt

Richard J Cassutt, rancher, implement dealer, appraiser, husband, and father transitioned on March 27, 2016, from natural causes.

Richard was born March 10, 1930 in Conrad, Montana, the eighth child of a struggling family. By his fourth year illness and finances caused the breakup of his biological family. He was taken in, adopted, and raised to manhood by the Burds, a family of means and philanthropy. Following graduation from Montana State College, Bozeman, he returned to the Burd Ranch where he raised livestock for most of his twenties.

His career migrated to selling Case equipment in Cut Bank, Montana. During this time he courted and married Alice Joyce Bradley, to whom he was married over 50 years.

Richard and Joyce opened Case D&J Implement in June, 1962, in Fort Benton, Montana. They sold Case until 1980. They next opened Cassutt Realty and for 35 years Richard appraised farms and ranches across the state.

Richard was an active member of the Fort Benton community, participating in plays (The Music Man), Chouteau County Search and Rescue (furnished his airplane), Chouteau County Shrine Club, Fort Benton Community Band, Scout Master Troop 47, and Benton Lodge 25 AF&AM. Richard was a 50-year member of Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, Valley of Great Falls, and played the tuba for many years in the Algeria Shrine Temple Band.

Richard is survived by his wife Joyce, and sons Michael (Carolynn) and Kelly (Teresa). His daughter Patricia preceded him in death in 2012. He was delighted to participate in the lives of his grandchildren Christopher, Melissa, and Helena.

Please join the Cassutt family in celebrating Richard’s full and interesting life on Friday, May 13, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton. Following services a reception with light refreshments will be held in the church basement.

The family directs donations be made in Richard’s memory to shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/donate.


Cristina Maria Ionita

Cristina Maria Ionita, 83, of Carter, passed away Friday, April 1, 2016 at a local care facility in Great Falls. A funeral service will be held Thursday, April 14 at 11 a.m. in the Rose Room Chapel at Croxford Funeral Home, with a visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow at the Carter Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Grand Union Hotel in Fort Benton at 2:30 p.m.

Cristina is survived by her daughter, Margarete (Dennis) Nottingham; grandson, William Nottingham; and great-grandchildren, Gabriel, Samuel and Henry Nottingham.


4-6-16 Issue:

Mary Leaf

Mary Leaf, 90, of Fort Benton, passed away peacefully on March 31, 2016 at the Missouri River Medical Center. Funeral mass will be Friday, April 15, at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Burial will follow in Riverside Cemetery.

Mary Ann Towery was born on January 1, 1926 in Elkton, South Dakota to William and Marie Towey. Along with her four brothers and sisters, the family moved to Moorhead, Minnesota in the early 1930s. This is where she spent her early childhood until graduating from Moorhead High School in 1944. Mary attended business college in Moorhead and worked at the Fargo Foundry as a switchboard operator. While working at the State Theatre in Fargo, North Dakota, she met the love of her life, Don Leaf. They were married on February 2, 1947 in Moorhead.

In 1951 Don and Mary packed up their three small children and ventured west to Missoula, Montana. Dan was employed by the Northern Pacific Railroad and Mary worked for Super Save Grocery. The family remained in Missoula until 1962 when they moved to Great Falls for a short year. In 1963 they found their true home in Fort Benton. Here they finished raising their family and Mary worked at Benton Pharmacy for 21 years until retiring in 1984. This is when her true career started. Mary loved garage sales and flea markets. She and Don would travel to Minnesota every summer to collect her treasures for selling in the Montana antique shows. She loved her Madam Alexander doll collection. Throughout her long and full life Mary was devoted to her family and her Catholic faith.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Evelyn Monkkonen; and brothers, Donald, Rex, Thomas, and Russell “Bud” Towey.

Survivors include her loving husband of 69 years, Don; brother-in-law, Gordon (Daisy) Leaf; children, Michael Leaf, John (Marcia) Leaf, Kathy (Doug) Knight; grandchildren, Lissa (Chad) Bergman, Jon (Deneice) Knight, Kristi Knight, Ryan Leaf, Jeffrey Leaf, and Brady (Sara) Leaf; and nine great grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Dr. Karl Guter and the incredible nursing staff at the Great Falls Clinic. Their care and support allowed Mary many quality years. The Missouri River Medical Center also provided tender and comfortable care for Mary. Thank you.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Mary’s name are suggested to the Chouteau County Cancer Support Group, PO Box 213, Fort Benton, MT 59442.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Roberta Marcussen

Roberta Jean Davison Marcussen, 76, of Fort Benton, passed away on April 3, 2016 in Great Falls.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, April 11 at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton with the Rev. Timothy Ljunggren of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church officiating. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery. Arrangements are by Miser Mortuaries.

Roberta was born in Fort Benton, Montana, to John L. and Marabeth B. Davison on May 21, 1939. She went to school at Fort Benton High School. She married Terry L. Marcussen on June 22, 1956 in Havre. She worked as a pharmacy technician for Benton Pharmacy for 35 years. When she earned her pharmacy tech certification her score was in the top ten in the nation. In the early years she also taught kindergarten in the basement of her home, worked at Rudy’s Shoe Shop, and was a dental assistant for Dr. Welty and a pharmacy assistant at Rexall Drug. She was involved for many years with the Fort Benton swim team and was a lifetime member of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Roberta is preceded in death by her mother and father, husband, infant daughter, and her loving cats Polly, Elizabeth, Charlie, Tippy, and Chance.

Roberta is survived by her son Robin (Denise) Marcussen; daughters Roxie (Ted) Lewis, Richele (Alan) Serfoss, and RaeLynn (Tom) Barbula; brother Jack (Shirley) Davison; sisters Shirley Lenington, Bobbie MacKenzie, and Georgia (Ronald) Nye; grandchildren Joseph Cartwright, Josh (Cassie) Marcussen, Bryan (Erin) Cartwright, Jodi (Brandon) Knoles, Nicole (Brock) Barnick, Krystal (Scott) Baysinger, Jennifer Plante-Fief, and Kylie Bullach; and great grandchildren Celene, Camie, Chloee, Braydon, Joshua, Jacobi, Aliyah, Bryce, Daerious, Max, Christian, Bentley, Noah, Tanner, Corbin, Gracie Rae, and Arabella; and her beloved cat Sparkie.

Memorials may be given to the Dedman Foundation of Fort Benton and Peace Hospice of Great Falls and Fort Benton.

The family of Roberta wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Angel Johnson, Dr. Anna Earl, and all the nurses, caregivers and volunteers at Peace Hospice, especially Michele Knack; and to all her wonderful friends at the Golden Eagle Plaza and the Pulmonary Therapy Department at Benefis West.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Barbara Gilbert

On April 3, 2016, Barbara Elizabeth Wurth Gilbert passed away at the age of 95. She was surrounded by her family in Fort Benton, Montana.

Barbara was born in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1920, and graduated from St. Mary High School. On April 5, 1945, she met her future husband, Robert Bruce Gilbert, from Dillon, Montana, who was stationed in Camp Campbell, Kentucky. They were married at the end of 1945, and moved to Helena, Montana, where her husband Bruce (now deceased) was an attorney for the Veteran’s Administration Department. Upon her arrival in Montana, Barbara served as the assistant secretary to the Montana State Senate. As Bruce travelled the state for his job, Barbara happily raised their children. It was in 1953 that they found Fort Benton, which would become their home for the rest of their lives. Ultimately they raised their four children, who all graduated from the local high school.

Throughout her life in Fort Benton, Barbara stayed very active in the American Legion Auxiliary, the Saint Elizabeth Altar Society, and service to the Immaculate Conception church in Fort Benton. Most Sundays she was responsible for delivering the Catholic host to those who couldn’t attend the Mass, and she was a frequent volunteer and visitor at the local hospital and the Sunrise Bluffs Estates.

There was nothing more important to Barbara than the well-being and happiness of her family. She is survived by her children, Rick (Heather), Hub (John), Jackie (Stan) and Mark (Joanne), her six grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her two brothers and two sisters. Her only remaining sister Mary resides in Concord, New Hampshire. She will be missed by all.

The family wishes to thank the staff of the Missouri River Medical Center for their kindness and care. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Old Church Restoration Fund, Box 868, Fort Benton. Services are currently being planned for the weekend of the Summer Celebration.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


3-30-16 Issue:

Richard “Dick” Cassutt (Notice)

Richard “Dick” Cassutt, 86, passed away on March 27, 2016. Services pending. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of the River Press.


3-23-16 Issue:

Emma P. Beirwagen (Full)

On March 1, 2016, Mom’s prayers were answered at last and she moved into her mansion in Heaven. She missed her 96th birthday by 18 days. She’s now rejoicing with Jesus and her husband Arthur.

Emma Paulina Radke was born on March 19, 1920 in Expansion, North Dakota, to Carl and Louisa (Reinhardt) Radke. She was the seventh of eight children, all of whom proceeded her in death. She was a real survivor. At birth she weighed 4 pounds, and in the days before incubators, she was placed in a shoebox on the oven door. Unable to even take milk, she was fed chalk water. Her father died when she was just two. At the age of eight or nine, she suffered spinal meningitis and was paralyzed for about a year. Undaunted, she went on to play basketball in high school as a 4’9” guard!

She and Arthur Oskar Beirwagen of Loma, Montana, were married on June 15, 1941. During WWII Mom followed Dad to his army posts. It was at one of those posts that they both accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In 1949 they adopted a baby girl whom they named Judy LuMarge. In 1946 they purchased a farm near Loma, and lived and worked there until they retired. When the Great Falls Rescue Mission got started, she and Dad became intensely involved. Dad served every spot on the board for over 21 years. Dad preached there and both would sing, sometimes gospel songs she had composed herself, while Mom played the piano. They had designed and built a new home from 1965 to 1967, and when they moved to Fort Benton in 1988, they moved the house into town, too! Dad passed away after 52 great years together.

Besides being a wife and a mother, Emma helped with the farm work. She loved to cook and bake - always trying a new recipe. Her sewing skills were phenomenal. She could take pattern parts from several different patterns and create a beautiful outfit. She made Arthur’s suits, shirts, and ties; even a beautiful wedding dress for a friend. She crocheted until arthritis in her fingers no longer allowed it. She enjoyed teaching Bible Club, Sunday School, and had Bible studies in her home in Fort Benton. She put her cooking skills to use at Camp Lewtana from 1958 to 1960. She also served as Deaconess at the Community Bible Church in Fort Benton. She worked with children at AWANA at the Community Bible Church into her 90s. She continued playing with and delighting in her great grandchildren until the very end.

Emma is survived by her daughter, Judy Beloate, grandson Lael Andara (Sabrina) and great-grands Addison and Aidan; grandaughter Erinn Addy (Joe) and the great-grands Damaris, Gideon, Rachel, Autumn, and Shawnathan, who shared his birthday with Emma. She’s also survived by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law Louis and June Beirwagen and 12 nieces and eight nephews.

Preceding her in death: sisters Alma Goetg, Erna Adolf, Hulda Machau, Frieda Hildebrandt, Ida Beirwagen, and brother William Radke.

We love you and miss you.

Memorials may be made to Great Falls Rescue Mission (Cameron Building fund) or Community Bible Church in Fort Benton, Montana.

Condolences can be made to misermortuaries.com


Donald L. Wright

Don Wright passed away painlessly on Sunday, March 6, 2016. Born in 1937 to Jack and Maxine Wright, he was raised on a ranch along the river’s edge in Loma, Montana. Don grew up riding horses, raising cattle and tending the farm. He attended school in a one-room schoolhouse in Loma through sixth grade and rode the school bus into Fort Benton for high school, where he played football and other sports, and later graduated.

It was in Fort Benton that Don started working for the co-op. He married his first wife, Bev Prodger, and the two had a son. He married his lifelong partner, Sharon Briese, in 1965, and shortly thereafter adopted her son. In 1968 he brought his family to Snohomish, Washington, where he transferred to the Snohomish Co-op. This was where he shined. Over the years, he cultivated many, many friendships and became an icon in the community. He knew everyone and then some. After 42 years, he retired from the co-op … twice.

Throughout his life, Don enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, travelling in the motorhome and spending time with his dogs. He was a member of the Granite Falls Eagles and the Snohomish Kiwanis and was a Snohomish City Council member. Don and Sharon hosted a foreign exchange student from Greece, and also opened their home for caring for foster children. He dearly loved his granddaughter and had so much fun with his great-grandchildren.

Don was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, brother – Clint and son – Kirby. He is survived by his bride – Sharon, his sons – Greg (Brian) and Mike, his granddaughter – Jessica (Josh), his great-grandchildren – Ahnner and Juliann, his sisters – Nancy and Deb, and several in-laws and nieces and nephews.

Don was laid to rest during a private burial at G.A.R. Cemetery in Snohomish, Washington. Friends and family members are invited to a memorial service in his honor at Thomas Family Farms in Snohomish on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 1 to 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Seattle Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Last Wish Foundation or the American Cancer Society.


Bernadine Winden

On March 16, 2016, Heaven welcomed Bernadine Winden while our hearts are broken. We know she is happy to be with her family. Bernie passed away at Highgate Senior Living in Great Falls.

Funeral mass will be Wednesday, March 23, at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton. Burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery. A reception for family and friends will be in the church fellowship hall.

Bernie was born September 1, 1926 in Schefield, North Dakota. She was the second of six children born to Anton and Barbara Selinger. Bernie and Harold were married October 24, 1949 in Dickinson, North Dakota, of which five children were born. She was an active homemaker, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish, Flower Growers Club, and many others. She worked at various jobs including school cook and caretaker, owner and operator of Fort Benton’s “Tastee Freeze” for 10 years all while raising five children.

Survivors include her husband of 66 years, Harold; daughters, Brenda Morris, Barbara Buck, and Jackie (Lynn) Goldhahn; son, Jerry (Robyn) Winden; sister, Marcie (Ron) Tessier; nine grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by a son, Brian; granddaughter, Kelsey Morris; parents; brothers, George and Richard Selinger; and sisters, Mary Neville and Clara Rauning.


3-16-16 Issue:

Ramona Warehime

On March 10, 2016, the Lord lovingly took Ramona Catherine (Proper) Warehime, 87, into his arms.

A vigil service was held on Friday, March 11, 2016 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Stanford. The funeral liturgy was held on Saturday, March 12 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church as well. Schnider Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

Ramona was born in her Grandmother Todd’s home on May 31, 1928 in Geyser, Montana to Catherine (Todd) and Frank Proper. She went to elementary school in Geyser and Square Butte, attended high school at the Ursuline Academy in Great Falls, and received her teaching degree from what is now the University of Great Falls. She taught elementary school for two years in Square Butte.

On June 2, 1949, she married Harold Warehime at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church. They have three children; Ted (Kathy) Warehime of Minot, North Dakota, Sherry (Clay) Berger of Glasgow, and Roxanne (Larry) Berg of Judith Gap, and spent 66 wonderful years together. Their life began in a little trailer in Pendroy, Montana, while Harold worked construction. After leaving construction, they went to work at the O’Day ranch, where Ramona cooked and Harold farmed. Three years later Ramona and Harold moved to the Sullivan (Strand) ranch, where they spent 22 years farming and ranching, in Square Butte. In 1978, they purchased the Sundown Inn Supper Club and retired in 1988.

Ramona enjoyed golfing, dancing, and spending time with her friends and family. She was active in the church, as she was the president of the Altar Society at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church. Ramona also served as the Vice President of Fort Benton Ladies Golf Association. She loved nothing more than being with her family.

Ramona was preceded in death by her mother, father, stepfather Harold Golladay; half-sister Madeline (Proper) Daniels, and half-brother Ray Gardner.

She is survived by her loving husband; two half-sisters, Florence (Proper) Whitfield of Stanford and Nadine (Proper) Peterson of Minneapolis, Minnesota; her children, six grandchildren, Mark (Berger), Amanda (Jason) Warehime Isaak, Debra (Tyler Mills) Berger, Alex (Matt) Warehime Kosanda, Trent Berg, and Trevor (Brittany) Berg, four great-grandchildren, Logan Isaak, Ellie Kosanda, Brodie Isaak, and Emmy Kosanda; and many caring friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her honor to the Stanford Ambulance Service, Stanford, MT 59479 or Peace Hospice, 1101 25th St S, Great Falls, MT 59405.


Teresa Regan

Teresa Ann Regan, 54, of Great Falls, was called by our Heavenly Father March 9, 2016, surrounded by family and love.

A memorial service will be held in July. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Schnider Funeral Home.

Teresa was welcomed into this world in Great Falls on February 28, 1962, and grew up in Geraldine, Montana, until she returned to Great Falls, where she began her family. She was the fourth oldest daughter out of six daughters born to her parents Jim and Jean Regan. She always strived to find a way to better her life and soul from where it stood, which gave her the drive to graduate from Culinary Arts School in 2014.

Her love of cooking was only comparable to that of a grain of sand in the desert for the love she had for her family and friends. Teresa traveled far from her roots to loan her loving personality and heart of gold to those who meant most to her, which sparked her love for travel. No love could overpower that until her daughters Miranda and Mariah were brought into this world. Her girls were her world, and everyone who knew her knew that her girls were her true calling in this life.

Anyone who was blessed enough to have their lives touched by Teresa knew that their hearts had only grown after meeting her. She will be missed dearly, but knowing she is in the presence of her Maker only warms our hearts as the days pass without her beautiful soul.

She is survived by her daughters, Mariah Holbrook and Miranda Zampich; sisters Barbara, Brenda, Tina, Tracy, and Shelley; three grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Teresa was preceded in death by her grandparents, parents, and sister Bonnie.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.SchniderFuneralHome.com.


3-9-16 Issue:

Emma Beirwagen

Emma P. Beirwagen, 95, died March 1. Visitation was Saturday, March 5, at Community Bible Church in Fort Benton, with funeral services following.

Memorials may be made to the Great Falls Rescue Mission and Community Bible Church.


3-2-16 Issue:

Paula Reynolds

Paula Josephine Reynolds (aka Paula Anderson and Paula Carmean), 61, of Havre, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday February 24, 2016 in Havre. A celebration of her life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday March 3, 2016 at First Lutheran Church in Havre with Pastor Tanner Howard officiating. Graveside services will be held at 2:30 p.m. at Highland Cemetery. Paula’s family has requested that memorials be made to the Victoria Reynolds College Fund, in care of Independence Bank in Havre. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Paula’s online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for her family at www.hollandbonine.com.

Paula was born on June 18, 1954 in Havre, Montana to Archie and Helen Anderson. Paula grew up with two siblings on the north side of Havre in a ranch style home her parents built during a five-year period of her childhood, as they had money and time. She developed an early appreciation and dedication to hard work and perseverance that proved to last a lifetime. She attended school in Havre and graduated from Havre High in 1972. She attended Northern Montana College, graduating with a degree in cosmetology. She worked at PJ’s for several years for Jerry and Penney Bergren. While bartending at the 300 Club, she met Steve Carmean in 1978. They were married on October 10, 1980. Together they welcomed a daughter, Tylyn Arleen Carmean on December 12, 1982. They first lived in Havre and later moved to Michigan and North Dakota. While in Michigan, Paula worked as a beautician.

They later moved back to her hometown and Paula went to work at the Havre Daily News in the advertisement department. Steve and Paula eventually divorced. She continued to live in Havre and work at the paper in advertising, a department she would later manage, and a profession that would become her livelihood.

In 1995, she met Ron Reynolds and they married. They welcomed Victoria Helen Reynolds on February 17, 1997. Paula was overjoyed by the blessing of a second daughter. Paula and Ron later divorced. After working at the Havre Daily News for more than 20 years, Paula went to work in advertising at the Blaine County Journal in Chinook for Keith and Keri Hanson. She and Keith had worked together for many years previously at the Havre Daily. She worked for the Journal for over 10 years and was still employed there at the time of her death.

Paula loved the variation and flexibility of her job. She always said she didn’t think she could do a “regular job.” Always on the go with her to-do list in hand, she had a knack for organization and balance, not just in her work, but in her life. In recent years, she often traveled to Big Sandy, Fort Benton, and throughout the Hi-Line. She loved to “make a day of it.” She loved to make a good road trip even better, by adding some local history, local shopping, and time with family. She loved people. It has been a family joke that she has friends for 100 miles in every direction.

Paula was straightforward and no-nonsense. She had a zest for life that was infectious. Constantly coming up with new ideas, whether it was a trip she wanted to take, a new recipe to try, a project for her yard or yours, how to decorate a room, or how to upcycle one of her latest treasures, her enthusiasm for life was inspiring and unshakable. In the last few years, Paula became very involved and loved serving any way she could at her church, First Lutheran. She enjoyed weekends of making lefse, and rarely turned down the opportunity. When it came to home decorating she had an eclectic taste and style all her own. The year she decided to paint her porch plum and her fence turquoise, we doubted her unique choices. But like usual, she went on to prove her vision, and it looked great!

One of her favorite hobbies was to recycle. And to gently and sometimes not-so-gently persuade others to reduce their carbon footprint as well. She was thrilled to check each and every item to find out if she could recycle it. A room in her basement became devoted to sorting and storing the items until the monthly recycling day.

Paula loved spending time with her family. She cooked Sunday dinners and was excited to call or text the menu she was planning for. She was always game for yard sales, the farmers market, music in the park, a good trade fair, or a Law & Order marathon. When the fair came to town, that was her “thing.” Many evenings were spent there taking in all of the festivities. She said it was a tradition that her mother started with her and she dutifully passed it on to us. There was a special place in her heart for animals and they knew it. She knew owning a pet was for the duration of their lifetime and she was devoted to providing the best life possible. She always had a hundred things to do at home, but typically she could be found helping someone else. She had a servant’s heart to the core and shared her joy by blessing others.

Last year, Paula was over the moon when her granddaughter Halle Josephine Turner was born. “Halle Jo” and “Grandma Jo” spent several mornings a week together. Truly the apple of her eye, she loved to teach her things; to wave “bye-bye,” to be “SOO Big,” try new foods, or climb the stairs. In one short year they had cemented a bond built on a lot of love, laughter, and a little bit of mischief.

The time before Paula’s passing was filled with joy and the things she loved most … cooking, pets, recycling, some home projects, and time spent with her family.

Her parents Archie and Helen Anderson, an infant brother Lester Anderson, and a half-brother Raymond preceded her in death.

She is survived by her two daughters Tylyn Carmean Turner (Ryan Turner) and Victoria Reynolds, both of Havre; two granddaughters, Halle Turner of Havre, and Zoey Turner of Belgrade Montana; one brother Allen Anderson of Burbank, California; two nieces, Kelly The Boy of Havre, and Lita Moog of Joplin, Montana; and beloved great nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.


Dorothy Darrow

Dorothy Irene Burchett Barnes Darrow passed away February 25, 2016 at the age of 96.

She was preceded in death by her sisters, Audna B. Greene (Gaines) of Denver, Colorado and Lola Smid of Everett, Washington, as well as daughter Charlotte Barnes Brogdon of Great Falls, Montana, and son Dennis George Darrow, who was lost at birth.

She is survived by children Wanita Barnes Parker (Spencer) of Crescent City, California, Clarice Barnes of Kalispell, Montana, Allon Barnes (Tracey) of Lewiston, Idaho, Georgeanna Ardiss Darrow Hartung (Ron) of Kalispell, Montana, 14 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and 8 great-great grandchildren.

Dorothy was born on March 9th, 1919 in Geraldine, Montana. Her grade school years were spent at South Eagle Butte School House. She often walked three miles each way in the spring and fall and was sometimes allowed to ride the horse, when her Papa wasn’t using him for farm work. During the winter time, she stayed with the teacher. In her high school years at Fort Benton, Dorothy boarded with different families before graduating in 1937. There, she also spent a short time working for Montana Power Company. In that same year, she married Wade E. Barnes. They worked at several farms near Great Falls and Portage, Montana. Dorothy and Wade had four children before divorcing in 1948.

In June 1949, Dorothy and George Darrow were married in Missoula, Montana. They had two children and spent most of their married life living in Kalispell, Montana, where Dorothy worked for Immanuel Lutheran Home and privately for many families. Upon their move to Deer Lodge, Montana she worked for Galen and Warm Springs, eventually giving it up to take care of her mother, Cora A. Burchett, who passed away in 1972.

After George retired, he and Dorothy enjoyed their time traveling to visit friends and family. She was a member of the FOE for many years, Kalispell VFW Post 2252, Crescent Rebekah Lodge #22, and attended Central Christian Church in Kalispell.

A public viewing was held Monday afternoon, February 29th at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home in Kalispell, followed by a graveside service at Glacier Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Central Christian Church in Kalispell.


Valerie Scheid

Valerie Adela Scheid, 65, of Fort Benton, Montana, passed away surrounded by family on February 24, 2016, at the Intensive Care Unit at Benefis in Great Falls due to multiple health complications.

In keeping with her wishes, no services are being held.

Valerie was born February 9, 1951, in Endicott, New York, to Martin and Charlotte Burmeister. Her family moved to San Diego, California, in 1956.

Valerie married John Pitman in 1967. They had one son, Jeffrey.

Valerie later married Daniel Bourne. They had three sons, Daniel, Jason and Clayton.

During her first marriage, Valerie lived for a while near the beach in San Diego, but she was not a fan of big cities, and she moved to a rural area in San Diego County, where she raised many animals. Her second husband, Danny Bourne, had a cousin, Steve Kohler, who was running Steve’s Supper Club in the Chouteau House in Fort Benton. Steve had health issues and asked Danny if they wanted to run the supper club, so Val and Danny made the move to Fort Benton in the 1970s.

Val liked Fort Benton and sent postcards to family and friends with an aerial view of the town, showing where she lived now. Although the Chouteau House later closed, Val stayed in Fort Benton for the rest of her life. Her parents and her brothers moved to Fort Benton in the 1980s, and her sister moved to Montana.

In Fort Benton, Valerie married Kevin Albrecht. They had one son, Michael Burmeister.

Later, Valerie married Bill Scheid. He passed away after they were married less than nine months.

Through the years, Val held a variety of jobs. She was a medical receptionist in San Diego. She cooked and served food at the Sunrise Bluffs and at the Three-Way Café in Fort Benton, and at the bar in Carter. Later, she worked as a nurses’ aide and as a CNA at the Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton. After her fourth husband, Bill Scheid, passed away in 1998, Valerie went to college in Havre for two years and earned a degree to become an RN. She worked as an RN at MRMC in Fort Benton from 2000 to 2012.

Valerie enjoyed her cats, camping, reading mystery and fantasy novels, and talking with family.

Valerie was preceded in death by her father, Martin Burmeister, and three of her husbands, John Pitman, Daniel Bourne and Bill Scheid.

She is survived by her children, Jeff (Lori) Pitman of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Danny (Shawnda) Bourne of Winchester, Kentucky; Jason (Jessica) Bourne of Denver, Colorado; Clayton (Maria) Bourne of Anchorage, Alaska; and Michael Burmeister of Great Falls, Montana; her grandchildren, Devin Pitman of Colorado Springs, Dylan, Tyler and Kyle Bourne of Winchester, Dexter Bourne of Denver, and Maxim Bourne of Anchorage; her sister, Cathy (Joe) Bourne of Billings, Montana; her brothers, Marty Burmeister of Fort Benton and Tim (Connie) Burmeister of Fort Benton; her mother, Charlotte Burmeister of Fort Benton; her third husband, Kevin Albrecht of Great Falls; four nephews and two nieces, and seven great nephews and two great nieces.

Condolences may be shared with the family at CroxfordFuneralHome.com


Daniel Roddy

Daniel Mark Roddy died on January 16th following a short battle with an aggressive cancer. He was 62. Except for the years spent pursuing his education and beginning his agronomist career, Dan lived the majority of his life on the Roddy farm east of Fort Benton. He was the third generation of his family to reside on the 1917 homestead.

Born to Cecil and Patricia Roddy in 1953, Dan was the second eldest of four siblings. His education began at West Wayside, a one room school several miles from the family farm. He graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1971, went on to receive an undergraduate Liberal Arts degree from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and thereafter a Master’s degree of Agronomy from Montana State University.

Dan spent his entire adult life expanding his education in agronomy through consulting with a network of progressive farmers as well as farming himself. His influences and leadership will provide long lasting effects to a large group of friends and associates around the state of Montana and beyond. The good friendships he formed with longstanding clients were important and extremely gratifying for him, and represented a huge component of his life. He was a great thinker, mentor, and communicator, always welcoming challenges and providing creative solutions.

On a more personal level, Dan embraced life to the fullest. He loved living in a rural place that supported his passion for agriculture with strong ties to his family’s history. Most of all, he loved working in collaboration with his son on their personal farming efforts.

Dan is survived by his partner Shelly Heilweil, his son Marcus, three siblings, Jan, Shayla and Dave, and a myriad of relatives and friends, all of whom know how much they loved Dan and will miss him - for his radiant smile, affability, and for the all too short time he shared with them.

A private family service will be held later in the spring. In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family requests donations sent to The Benefis Health System Foundation, supporter of Peace Hospice and the Gift of Life Housing Centers in Great Falls.


2-24-16 Issue:

William (Bill) Kindzerski

A. William (Bill) Kindzerski, 86, of Hamilton, passed away Friday, February 19, 2016 at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. He was born May 23, 1929 in Scobey, Montana to Mary Mymka and John E. Kindzerski.

Bill grew up working the family farm outside of town. He graduated from Scobey High School in 1948. That fall he enrolled in college at Montana State University in Bozeman. After a two-year enlistment in the Army, he returned to MSU to finish his education. A lifelong Bobcat fan, Bill earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education and served on the Alumni Board for four years. He later earned his Master’s Degree in physics from New Mexico Highlands University.

In 1957, he moved to White Sulphur Springs to begin his teaching career. It was there he met his bride of 54 years, Virginia Snow. Bill and Virginia were married on July 16, 1961 in Hamilton. They moved to Fort Benton that fall to teach. Bill enjoyed a successful career teaching, driving bus, and managing concessions. He taught math, chemistry, physics, and computer science until his retirement in 1993. In 1998, Bill and Virginia retired in Hamilton.

Bill was an active member in his community who devoted countless hours the Chouteau County Fairgrounds, Fort Benton Ag Museum, Upper Missouri Wilderness Waterway Cruise Co., Daly Mansion and the Five Valleys Accordion Club. He was a member and past president of Kiwanis. He enjoyed dancing, ice fishing, and hiking. Throughout his life, Bill found his greatest enjoyment outdoors in his garden. Each year, he started many of his plants inside when there was still snow on the ground and carefully cared for them until fall. Gardening eventually led him to Cook’s Garden, where he worked for the last 13 years.

Survivors include his wife Virginia of Hamilton; daughter Jane (Lynn “Skeeter”) Mason of Hamilton, sons Mike of Lewistown, Montana, and Allen (Valerie) of Auburn, Washington; grandchildren Seth, Colter, Anilynn, Kaitlyn, Jessica, Nathan, Kasey, and Daniel; brother Stanley (Mary Ellen) and sister Elizabeth. He is preceded in death by his parents and sister.

Funeral services were held Monday, February 22, at 2 p.m. at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton with graveside and military honors at Hamilton Riverview Cemetery. A reception followed at Daly-Leach Chapel.

The family suggests that memorials be made to the Haven House, 316 N 3rd St, Suite 162, Hamilton, MT 59840. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com.


Olive Sanborn

Olive Sanborn, 98, of Hurley, South Dakota, died Monday, February 15, 2016 at the Pioneer Memorial Nursing Home in Viborg, South Dakota. Visitation will be held Wednesday, February 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home in Fort Benton. Graveside services will be Thursday, February 25, at 2 p.m. at Riverside Cemetery.

Olive Claire Carnahan was born in Fort Benton, Montana on March 12, 1917. She was the child of John and Clara (Withee) Carnahan. The family moved to South Dakota when she was a small child. She started school in the Withee School District #22 east of Hurley, South Dakota, and she graduated from Hurley High School in 1934.

In 1939 she and Elmer Sanborn were married and they farmed near Hurley for some years. During those years she continued her education and graduated from Freeman Junior College. She enrolled at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, her dream always having been to be a teacher. Her first teaching experiences were in a couple of country schools in Turner County.

In 1964 she and her husband moved to Montana, where he farmed and she taught in the hometown school for several years before moving to Libby, Montana, where she taught in the Libby School system. She graduated from the Montana University system with a Bachelor of Science degree in education with majors in education, history, and social sciences. She also continued graduate studies and earned her Masters Degree in education with a major field of art from the University of Montana.

She returned to Freeman, South Dakota to teach in the Junior College, where she set up and began a formal art department at the college, while also teaching history and government.

She and her husband continued to spend their summers in Montana, and finally moved back to Montana permanently. Eventually they retired to live in Hurley where her husband, Elmer, died in 1994. After that time she spent several summers in Montana and enjoyed several trips.

She was a member of the Harmony Presbyterian Church and served on Session and was active in the women’s organization of the church.

She loved teaching and she loved flowers. For many years her home was filled with African violets, and in her yard she raised iris, which created pleasure for all to see.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


2-17-16 Issue:

Shirley Meeks Lucas

Shirley Meeks Lucas, 83, of Highwood and Great Falls, died Feb. 9 at Great Falls Peace Hospice.

She was born Oct. 28, 1932 in Browning. Shirley graduated as valedictorian from Browning High School in 1950. She married Vern J. Meeks in August, 1950.

Shirley and Vern lived in Great Falls for many years. She was an active volunteer with Cub Scouts, St. Gerard’s Altar Society, Great Falls Central Mothers’ Club, and was a member of several coffee groups.

Vern took a job in Kalispell where they lived for several years. After Vern’s death, she moved back to Great Falls, attending the College of Great Falls and earning a degree in elementary education in 1976.

Shirley worked at 1st Interstate Bank. She married Ted Lucas in 1988 and moved to his ranch in Highwood. She enjoyed 27 years on the ranch. While there, she was active in the Highwood Women’s Club, the Chouteau County library board, and was a docent at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center near Giant Springs. Even after Ted’s death in 1988, she enjoyed sharing her lovely ranch with her children and numerous grandchildren.

Shirley was an avid traveler, cruising through the Panama Canal, the Volga River in Russia, and the Hawaiian Islands. She also visited Australia, the Holy Land and many parts of Europe and most of her own country. She was even caught kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

Shirley was a strong, generous and loving person. Her friends from the bank, the “Good Old Girls,” had coffee every month.  She also enjoyed Friday lunches with childhood friends from Browning, and seeing Broadway-in-Great-Falls shows with her friends from Highwood.

Shirley was pre-deceased by her husbands, Vern Meeks and Ted Lucas, and her beloved son, Lyndon Meeks.

She is survived by sons, Lyle J. Meeks, Highwood; Landis Meeks (Juanita), Cut Bank; daughters Pam Fenton (Ross), Kirkland Washington; and Polly Shinner (John), Bothell, Washington; 14 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and Pippin the adorable dog. Also surviving Shirley are her sister, Dolores Bloom, Simms, and brother Reis Fisher (Margie), Browning, and a large extended family.

Shirley’s family requests that you celebrate her love of color by wearing something red to her Funeral Mass. The family would like to thank the staff at Peace Hospice for their exceptional care of our Mother. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Peace Hospice of Great Falls, 1101 26 St S, Great Falls, 59405.

Vigil was held at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Great Falls on Sunday, Feb. 14. Funeral Mass was held there Monday, Feb. 15.

Rest in peace dear Mom.


Mary D. Myers

Mary Myers passed away February 13, 2016, in Crystal Lake, Illinois, of natural causes.

Mary was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 7, 1918. She moved with her parents and two brothers to Allentown, Penn. when she was a young girl, where she lived until 1947. Mary worked for Mack Truck during WWII.

In 1947, she married Horace Myers of Geraldine, Montana, and moved to Geraldine, where she lived until 1979. Mary was the mother of two children, Thomas and Janet.

Horace and Mary moved to Great Falls, where Mary lived until 1994, when she moved to Idaho Falls. In 2002 she moved to Crystal Lake, Illinois, where she lived the rest of her life.

Mary is survived by her son Thomas (Deborah) of Crystal Lake, Illinois; son-in-law Ronald Ramer; three grandchildren, Jason Ramer, Rachel Young (Ben) of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Eric Myers (Rony) of Waukesha, Wisconsin; and three great grandchildren, Amelia and Tyler Young of Idaho Falls and Allie Myers of Waukesha.

Private services will be at Wood Funeral Home in Idaho Falls at a date and time to be determined.


2-10-16 Issue:

Harold Eugene “Buck” Juedeman

Harold Eugene “Buck” Juedeman, retired USAF Brigadier General, farmer, and rancher, died on February 1, 2016, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls after a two-month battle with acute leukemia. His family received friends at a visitation Sunday, February 7 at Croxford Funeral Home in Great Falls. His funeral services were held on Monday, February 8 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Helena, Montana. Burial with full military honors followed at Montana State Veterans Cemetery - Fort Harrison.

Buck was born May 11, 1931 at his family’s home in the country near Bristow, Oklahoma, where he lived until his family moved to Shafter, California, in 1935 during the Great Depression and dustbowl days. His family lived in California for two years before returning to Oklahoma via a brief time in Montana, where his Uncle Rudy tried to convince them to stay. In 1945 his family finally moved from Oklahoma to Montana, settling near the small farming community of Geraldine. Buck attended Geraldine High School, graduating in 1948 and attended Montana State College in Bozeman before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1951.

Buck attended Marine Corps boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, and served as an enlisted combat radar repairman before being accepted to the Naval Cadet pilot training program in Pensacola, Florida. At the completion of carrier qualification and pilot training in September 1953, Buck was awarded honor graduate and received his Wings of Gold as a Naval Aviator and commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He then went on to fly a combat tour in AD-1 Skyraiders in Korea from February 1954 to February 1955. After the war, Buck served as an instructor in Kingsville, Texas, before leaving active duty in 1956 and joining the Marine Corps reserves, flying out of both Buckley AFB in Colorado and Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington. In 1959, Buck joined the Montana Air National Guard in Great Falls, where he eventually flew the F-89, F-102 and F-106 aircraft. In 1957, he married Delores Fairbanks of Geraldine. He continued to farm with his father George and brother Wiley as they operated the Juedeman Grain Company while still flying with the MANG. He and Delores built a home on the farm in the Graceville area, northeast of Geraldine, and welcomed sons Mark, Ward, and Kevin. Buck was very involved in the community, including working with the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church to build their new sanctuary.

In 1968, Buck and family moved to Great Falls, and he volunteered for a combat tour in Vietnam flying the F-102. In 1968 and during that combat tour, Buck was seriously injured in an aircraft mishap in Udorn, Thailand, and returned to the States for a lengthy, but full, recovery. He returned to full flight status and went on to lead a team to win the coveted William Tell trophy in 1976, and served as the commander of the 186th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and the Chief of Staff for the Montana Air National Guard. He retired as a Brigadier General in 1986 after 35 years of cumulative military service.

In 1970, Buck and Delores purchased a beautiful operational cattle ranch north of Craig, bordering the Missouri River. He raised black Angus cattle, wheat, barley and alfalfa. Daughter Corry completed the family when she was born in 1972. In the early 70s, Buck and his sons were the first in the local area to install center pivot irrigation systems. He continued to stay at the forefront of technology, installing one of the first wind turbines in the area in 2006.

After retirement from the Guard, Buck wholeheartedly took up running, completing both a 50 mile and a 100K (62 mile) run as well as numerous Icebreaker races, in which he often placed among the top in his age group. He stayed actively involved in ranch operations with son Kevin to the very end.

Buck is survived by his wife of over 58 years, Delores (Fairbanks) Juedeman; his children, Mark Juedeman and his spouse Kathy, Ward Juedeman, Kevin Juedeman and Corry (Juedeman) Prestidge and her spouse, Todd; his sisters, Clarene Dysart and Rhoene Manley, and his brother Wiley and his spouse JoAlice. He was also a much-loved Grandpa to ten grandchildren, and favorite “Uncle Buck” to numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father George Juedeman, his mother Clarice Juedeman and his sister Georgene (Juedeman) Byrd.

In lieu of flowers and to honor close family members with the dreaded disease, the family requests donations be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at http://www.alzfdn.org/ContributetoAFA/makeadonation.html or 322 8th Ave Fl 7, New York, NY 10001.

His entire family would like to thank the outstanding doctors, nurses, nursing assistants and volunteers at Benefis Hospital, Sletten Cancer Institute, and Peace Hospice for their respectful, skilled, and loving treatment of our husband, father and brother.


2-3-16 Issue:

No obituaries this week


1-27-16 Issue:

Jessie Lorraine (Hankins) March

On December 23, 2015, Jessie left her earthly form and went to heaven.

Jessie was born in Great Falls, Montana, to Voil and Gloria Hankins. She was raised in Square Butte and Geraldine. In 1967 she married Richard Rogers, and spent most of her adult life in Butte and Whitehall. She worked at various places over the years but her true passion was her family and her garden. She raised two children, Darrell and Malessa. They gave her the true loves of her life, her grandchildren: Kaela and August Stack; and Samantha, Connor, Colin, Tiffany, Voil and Rachael Rogers. She was always there to share in the victories and dry the tears when there was defeat.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved baby grandson Voil.

She leaves behind her siblings: Norma Reed, Lester (Butch) Hankins, Karla Hansen, Kathy White and Jodi Deck as well as all of their children and spouses. There are also more aunts, uncles, cousins and friends than one can mention.

I don’t think Jessie ever met a stranger. She brought true beauty to the world both in her presence and with her deeds.

Services and internment were held in Whitehall on December 29, 2015.


Steve “Mike” Braun

Steven Michael Braun, 59, passed away on January 14, 2016 in Fort Benton. “Mike,” as he was called, served in the Navy on a missile carrier and became a member of the VFW. He helped his father, Robert, with the farming until his myotonic dystrophy became too crippling. He took his diagnosis with grace and seldom complained.

He is preceded in death by his father, Robert, and sister, Leslie. He is survived by mother, Emma; sister, Kelly (Ren) Obrigewitch; and niece, Lilly.

He will be missed.

Cremation has taken place, and per Mike’s wishes, no services are planned.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


1-20-16 Issue:

Ayleen Patricia (Kane) Chauvet

Ayleen Patricia (Kane) Chauvet, better known as “Pat” or “Patty,” was born November 10th, 1924 in Scobey, Montana. She passed away on December 16th, 2015 at the Benefis Medical Center in Great Falls at the age of 91 years.

Patty’s parents were Leonard and Elenor (Anderson) Kane, who had strong Irish heritages. She was the younger of two children including her older brother, Kenneth. Patty received her elementary education in Conrad. In 1936 the Kanes moved to Big Sandy, where Patty finished her secondary education. Unfortunately, her father died when she was just 13, so Patty worked throughout her high school years to help support her family. She graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1943.

Patty married a Big Sandy man, Kenneth Chauvet, on April 8th, 1944, in Anniston, Alabama. When Kenneth was sent overseas to fulfill his military assignment, Patty returned to Montana, where she worked at the Chouteau County Assessor’s office in Fort Benton. After Kenneth finished his military service, they began farming and ranching at Big Sandy.

Patty enjoyed her life as a homemaker, farm wife, and mother of three. She was known for her loyalty to family and friends, for her exceptional cooking/baking skills, and for her impeccable home. She was a lifelong Methodist who served as a Sunday School teacher and was active in the Women’s Society of the U.M.C. (where she planned several wedding receptions). Other memberships included the American Legion Auxiliary (where she served as Auxiliary president on three separate occasions) and the Eagles Auxiliary. Patty also served as a clerk on local school board elections and worked as a volunteer on the Big Sandy Historical Society. She was proud to be a lifelong resident of the Big Sandy community.

In her high school years Patty played the clarinet in the band, which attended a music festival in Calgary. On that memorable trip she was privileged to see the Queen of England. Patty continued to love music, so she enjoyed playing the piano and watching musical shows on television (like Lawrence Welk). In addition, she loved to support her grandchildren in all of their school activities and special events. In later years she was able to attend the weddings of two granddaughters – Shelley in Big Sandy and Lana in Hawaii – as well as her niece’s daughters who were married in Missoula. Patty also enjoyed several trips to California to visit relatives.

Patty left a legacy as a hard-working, independently-minded, helpful, and polite woman. She will be sorely missed by those who loved her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, and her husband (who died in September of 2015).

She is survived by her three children, Darrell Chauvet (Betty Jo) of Big Sandy, Carol Steven (James) of Chester, and Rick Chauvet (Yo Fen) of Great Falls; five grandchildren, Shelley, Shane, Scott, Samantha, and Lana; seven great-grandchildren, Emma, Ella, Kash, Reed, Rhett, Hannah, and Hans; sister-in-law, Esther Kane of Florence; two nieces, Marith and Debbie; and one nephew, Patrick.

Funeral services were conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29th at the United Methodist Church in Big Sandy by Pastor Sharon Robertson. The congregation sang favorite songs of the season, including “Silent Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Joanne Kibbee (organist) and Linda Ophus (pianist) provided accompaniment. Scriptures were read by Jim Steven and Shelley VonStein, and the obituary was shared by Samantha Steven. Patty’s grandchildren served as pallbearers. Following burial at the Big Sandy Cemetery, a reception was held at the church. Arrangements were handled by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.


Ray Castor

Big Ray was born on April 12, 1919 in the Carter area homestead house of his parents, Mamie and Lewis Castor. The homestead was a fitting place to start for the man who would spend the majority of his time and his years living in that house and farming that land. He spent his youth working, playing with his siblings, and making his own recreations. A favorite was gopher hunting with his slingshot, an event he enjoyed for the rest of his life, albeit with substantial armament upgrades. Dad was a young boy when he endured the tragedy of losing his sister, Lois, and his brother, Edward, to accidental deaths in the span a few months. These life shaping events made him cautious and protective for the rest of his life. He was always looking out for everyone, the consummate caretaker. Eleven years after his birth, his brother Jack was born.

Dad attended Carter grade school and Fort Benton High school, graduating in 1937. He enrolled at Montana State University, majoring in engineering, but his career as an engineer was cut short after a year due to medical problems with his father. Returning to the farm did not stop him, however, from utilizing his engineering skills and cheering for the Bobcats for the rest of his life. World War II came along and Dad enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in Alaska.

On leave from the Coast Guard, Dad married Jane Prideaux, also from the Carter area, on September 2, 1944. After his service duty was completed they moved to the farm and began their lives together. They spent their time raising grain, and a family that included a daughter Nancy and a son Jan. Five grandchildren and four great grandchildren came to be included in the family, and they watched over all of us, always a stabilizing force. They frequently traveled to California and Utah to visit their family, and also traveled to see a bit more of the world. Two highlight trips were a cruise through the Panama Canal and an Indy 500 excursion. They were extremely active in the Carter community and the Carter Methodist church. If there was any community event going on, it’s a pretty safe bet that they were deeply involved.

Dad always enjoyed shooting and was a longtime member of the Carter Rifle Club and the Carter Junior Rifle Club. He spent many hours shooting competitively and also teaching young people how to shoot. He was a Hunter’s Safety instructor for 25+ years. Instructing and guiding people brought him great satisfaction. You wouldn’t think he would have had time for much else, but he still needed to fulfill his engineering quest. So he built things. All kinds of things. Like a motorized car for his kids, a riding lawnmower out of old car and truck parts, a self-propelled drivable auger out of an old combine, numerous woodworking projects, including two custom Ray Castor dollhouses … the list goes on and on. No store-bought plans, they are all Ray Castor originals. They are sturdy, square and substantial. And they are all still in use today.

In 1987, Dad retired at the age of 68 and immediately won the award for “worst retired guy ever,” as he just couldn’t stop working. He always said, “The minute you stop, you stop living,” and he certainly wasn’t ready for that. There were still things to build and people to look after, so his “semi-retirement” continued for many years. He accepted the fact that living on the farm was becoming difficult, so Mom and Dad moved to Great Falls in 2002. After some adjusting, they became settled and content in their new home. City living didn’t include his beloved view of the horizon, so journeys to the farm were frequent. In 2008, shortly after celebrating Mom’s 90th birthday and their 64th anniversary, Mom passed away, leaving a big hole in all our lives. Dad’s strength helped us all through this time. His will to live was so strong that even open heart surgery at age 90 only briefly slowed him down. He was the poster child for achievement in his post-surgery exercise classes. Dad lived independently and bonded with his Great Falls home; he was comfortable there. He spent his days keeping track of the weather, watching sporting events and car races on TV, keeping track of the weather, brewing his special grind of coffee, and keeping track of the weather. His biggest desire was to be able to maintain his independence there, because that is the kind of guy he was. He passed away suddenly on January 8th at his home. We will all miss you, Dad.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents Mamie and Lewis; sister Lois; and brothers Edward and Jack.

He will be lovingly remembered by his children; Nancy Knott (Tom) and Jan Castor (Debra); grandchildren Alex Knott, Lindsay Knott, Jason Castor (Angela), Adam Castor (Heather) and Stephanie Castor; great grandchildren Logan and Auston Castor, Ella Castor, Noah Watson and Avery Anderson, who will all keep Ray’s legacy alive.

A special thank you to Judy Thomas of Nightingale for her years of friendship to Ray and for providing the care and mobility that enabled Dad to remain independent.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your favorite charity in Ray’s name.

A viewing will be held on Friday, January 22nd from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Schnider Funeral Home located at 1510 13th St. South in Great Falls. Funeral services will be Saturday, January 23rd at 10:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church located at 610 2nd Avenue North in Great Falls. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences for the family may be left at www.SchniderFuneralHome.com.


Rita Marie (Loundagin) Grasseschi

Rita Marie (Loundagin) Grasseschi was born in Fort Benton on September 9, 1930. She passed from our world on January 16, 2016 at the age of 85.

Rita spent her early years in Fort Benton. As a child she had played with Fort Benton’s “Shep,” the dog, and was part of his funeral procession. Rita attended the College of Great Falls, where she received a degree in education. It was in college that she met her husband, Charles Grasseschi. They were married on August 26, 1953.

Charlie and Rita began their family and had seven children. In 1970 the family relocated to Conrad from Great Falls. Charlie opened a beauty salon and Rita worked for the Co-op and PCA/Federal Land Bank.

Rita loved to play piano. She played organ for St. Michael’s Church for many years. She had a strong religious upbringing and devoted time to her church and community. Rita and Charlie loved to dance.

She is survived by her husband, Charles Grasseschi; children, Teresa (Dan) Aakre of Conrad, Lee (Tina) Grasseschi of Reno, Nevada; Carla (Carl) Younce of Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Robert (Helen) Grasseschi of Great Falls. She thoroughly enjoyed their eight grandchildren, Benjamin and Matthew Aakre; Courtney Williams and Corey Younce; Nicholas, Joseph, Cecelia, and Teresa Grasseschi. She was truly blessed with six great grandchildren; Luke and Elizabeth Aakre, Audrianna, Daniel, and Michael Aakre, and Kyra Younce.

She is preceded in death by her father, Lee Loundagin; mother, Teresa Nigon Loundagin; and three children, Michael, Patrick, and Robert.

Funeral services will be Saturday, January 23, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Conrad. Reception to follow at the church.

Memorials can be made to Pondera Healthcare Foundation.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Dan Roddy

Dan Roddy, 62, of Fort Benton, passed away on January 16, 2016. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Schnider Funeral Home.


1-13-16 Issue:

Titus Honrud

Titus Donald Honrud, beloved son and little warrior, passed into the glorious presence of his Maker during the early hours of January 8, 2016. He went peacefully, nestled in his favorite place in this world - his mother’s loving arms. Titus was born on November 8, 2015 at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and admitted to the NICU shortly after. In his short time on this earth, he faced many trials and received continuous medical care in the NICU. Titus loved being swaddled, being held, and having his head washed. Although his family’s hearts are heavy with sorrow, they do not mourn without hope. Their hope and trust is in the Living and Triune God, the source of all love and comfort, and His promise of the resurrection. They are comforted that Titus has been relieved of his difficulties in this life and is now rejoicing with his brother, Christian, in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and they hold fast to the promise that they shall be united again.

Titus is survived by his parents, Derrick and Jenny Honrud of Anchorage; grandparents, Richard and Kristine Honrud of Fort Benton, Montana, and Randy and Linda Bunch of Eugene, Oregon; and great-grandparents, Ronald and Helen (Olson) Van Horn of Fort Benton, Montana, LeRoy Honrud of Fort Benton, Montana, and Russell Bunch of Portland, Oregon; along with many loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by great-grandparents, Donald Olson, Vivian Honrud, Arren and Eunice Parker, and Joan Bunch; and his elder brother, Christian Isaiah.

A funeral service for Titus will be held at Janssen’s Evergreen Memorial Chapel in Anchorage on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 10 a.m., with private burial to follow at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family would like to express heartfelt thanks to all those, near and far, who prayed for, supported, and cared for Titus and them over the last couple months, including the nurses, doctors, and staff at the Providence NICU.

Arrangements are with Janssen’s Evergreen Memorial Chapel.


Ray Castor (Notice)

Ray Castor, 96, of Great Falls and formerly of Carter, passed away Friday, January 8, 2016. A full obituary and a service announcement will be in next week’s River Press. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.


1-6-16 Issue:

Barbara “Bobbie” Lippert

Barbara “Bobbie” Lippert, age 95, of Olivia, died peacefully on Monday, December 28, 2015, surrounded by her family at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, Minnesota. Mass of Christian Burial is Monday, January 11th at 10:30 a.m. at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Olivia with Rev. Mark Mallak as celebrant. Burial is in the church cemetery. Visitation is Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Dirks-Blem Funeral Home in Olivia and continues Monday at the funeral home from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m.

Barbara Frances Lippert was born May 30, 1920 in a ranch house by Carter, Montana, to George and Genneva (Shaw) Lippert. Her parents homesteaded land in Chouteau County and Bobbie grew up on the plains of Montana, where her family raised wheat and cattle. Barbara (Bobbie) graduated from high school from Fort Benton and went on to attain an RN degree from the Columbus School of Nursing in Great Falls.

Bobbie married Milford (MJ) Lippert on November 4th, 1943, in Monterey, California. MJ was then deployed to the South Pacific until 1945. When MJ returned from the war they started a farming operation on the home farm south of Roseland. Bobbie and MJ were blessed with nine children, and these children were mom’s pride and joy. Bobbie reveled at being a mother. She graciously lived her life caring for her family.

Bobbie brought music to the family in her Shaw Irish tradition of playing piano, violin, harmonica, and accordion; and singing, singing, singing!!! Oh how she loved to sing and perform. She was a choir member and cantor at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, member of Sweet Adeline’s, and Woodbury Choir. At 65, Bobbie started tap dancing with the Golden Tappers, performing shows across the county and beyond for over 20 years.

Some of her very favorite family memories include the trips out to Montana to visit Grandma Genneva and relatives in the family’s black and yellow Minnesota bus-camper labeled “From the Land of Clear Blue Waters.”

Bobbie loved horseback riding and rode until she was 85. Bobbie and MJ, along with the family, joined the Amigo Riders Saddle Club in 1956, enjoying years of camping and riding along the Minnesota River Valley.

Bobbie’s dedication to her Catholic faith was always evident in her devotion to mass, prayers and in her words and deeds. She was part of the Council of Catholic Women and enjoyed daily mass after moving a block from the Catholic Church in 1984.

Bobbie was a talented writer and was even published in her 80s. She shared her talent by writing many skits and plays for family events and parties. Bobbie was a true peacemaker and she knew how to make every person feel valued and loved. She would throw open her door to all who knocked and fed everyone who entered with a sweet and tender smile. Bobbie radiated strength of character with deep wells of faith, love and forgiveness. Bobbie was much loved and will be deeply missed by all of those that were fortunate to know her.

Bobbie is survived by her nine children: Marilyn Luptak, New London; Michael (Sharon) Lippert, Willmar; Laura Nere, Olivia; Theresa Lippert (Jim Rieth), Spicer; Anna (Greg) Tepfer, Danube; Daniel (Kim) Lippert, Blomkest; Timothy Lippert, Easton (all cities in Minnesota); Genny (Jeff) Jones, Suamico, Wisconsin; and Lisa (Mark) Roesner, Lakeville, Minnesota; and her sister Nadine Bateman, Fort Benton, Montana. She was blessed with 38 grandchildren: Julie Gohman, Jill Beck, Kristi Hill, Jonathon Kodet, Michelle Rohloff, Kim Schindler, Gary Nere, William Nere, Gabriel Negen, Jamie Lippert, Josh Lippert-Negen, Lucas Lippert, Jessica Tepfer, Ben Tepfer, Andy Tepfer, Tadd Tepfer, Erin Hazen, Tom Lippert, Lauren Lippert, Greta Ranieri, Sister Amati Christi, Jonah Lippert, Eli Lippert, Sarah Lippert, Ezra Lippert, Olivia Lippert, Isaiah Lippert, Moriah Lippert, Noah Lippert, Jaunna Jones, Justine Jones, Josephine Jones, Jordyn Jones, Rachel Roesner, Elle Roesner, Anna Roesner, and Caroline Roesner. She also was blessed with 25 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, MJ Lippert; her bother George Lippert, her sister Josephine McBride, son in-law Galen Nere and daughter-in-law Dixie Lippert.

Blessed Be Her Memory.


Clarence E. Sanders

Clarence E. Sanders, 83, of Highwood, passed away Saturday, January 2, 2016. No services are being planned. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Schnider Funeral Home.


12-30-15 Issue:

Marcella Knedler

Marcella Knedler, 90, longtime resident of Geraldine, passed away December 21, 2015 at Sapphire Assisted Living in Great Falls.

Per her wishes, cremation has taken place and a celebration of life service will be announced in the spring of 2016.

Marcella Makich was born January 17, 1925 in Denton, Montana to Mike and Mary (Landa) Makich. She was raised in Square Butte, attending elementary school there. Marcella graduated from Geraldine High School in 1942. She then went on to the College of Great Falls, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in math along with a teaching certificate.

On May 15, 1948 Marcella married Jim Knedler in Great Falls. To their union a daughter, Brenda and son, Robert joined their legacy.

She taught elementary school for one year in Square Butte, and finished out her teaching career as an elementary school teacher in Geraldine. After her retirement, she volunteered as a teacher’s aide for several years in various Great Falls schools.

Marcella was an election judge in Geraldine, she served on the Montana Historical Society, and she co-authored and co-edited the Geraldine area history book in 1976.

In her free time, she loved gardening - she grew quite a few of her own vegetables and had a beautiful flower garden. She was also interested in antiques and Montana history.

She is survived by her daughter, Brenda Freeman of Great Falls; son, Robert Knedler of Geraldine; grandchildren, Brennan Freeman and Hayley Freeman of Great Falls; brother Max Makich of Glasgow; and her nieces Nancy Steel, Peg Knedler, Sue Knedler, Ann Makich and Jane Gorman.

Marcella was preceded in death by her husband, Jim Knedler.


12-23-15 Issue:

Charles “Charlie” Kind

Charles “Charlie” Kind, 97, of Highwood, passed away Thursday, December 17, 2015 at a local care facility in Fort Benton.

A viewing will be held Sunday, December 20, 2015 at O’Connor Funeral Home from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. A funeral service will be held Monday, December 21, 2015 at the Highwood Gym in Highwood, Montana at 10:00 a.m.

Charles was born on November 14, 1918 to Mary (Bricks) and Henry Kind on their homestead northwest of Power, Montana. He was the 7th child of 10.

When he was 12 years old, his brother Ernie (14), a family friend who was 13 and Charlie, drove 29 horses from Power to Kalispell, just two weeks before the rest of the family moved.

He married the love of his life Loretta Knoll on November 10, 1943. In 1958, they moved their family to Highwood. All of their children grew up working with them at the saw mill. Charlie’s kids and most of his grandkids and some of his great grandkids attended Highwood School, where Charlie and Loretta cheered on almost every sporting event for well over 50 years. In the year 2011, they were named “Super fans” of the year, which he was very proud of.

He loved gardening and entered vegetables at the county fair for over 50 years. Loretta and Charlie won the “Super Gardener” award one year. He lost the love of his life after 69 years of marriage in 2013.

Some of his favorite pastimes included hunting, fishing, playing cards and attending all sporting events. His greatest love was his wife and family.

He is survived by all of his children: Sandy (Bill) Zanto, Chuck (Carol) Kind, Renee (Arnold Jr.) Kotthoff, Darwin (Cheryl) Kind, Laurie (Larry) Baum, and Holly Willis; 19 grandchildren; 26 great grandchildren; and 2 great great-grandchildren. All who knew him and his humor understand why he will be so greatly missed.

Thank you, Dad, for always being there for us and being the loving foundation that we stand on today. We love and miss you, and look forward to our reunion in heaven. What a legacy you have left behind.


12-16-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


12-9-15 Issue:

Calvin Todd Lane

Calvin Todd Lane (43) passed away suddenly while playing basketball with his sons in Broadview on December 6, 2015.

Calvin was born to Lee and Susan (Conover) Lane on February 25, 1972. Knowing from an early age that he had heart complications, Calvin lived his life to the fullest, and chose to make every day special. He grew up and attended schools in Broadview, graduating in 1990. He briefly attended college before returning home to the family ranch. He spent time working as an EMT in the Billings area and loved this opportunity to help others.

He met his best friend and the love of his life, Mylo Kalanick, and they were married on June 6, 1998 in Fort Benton. They were blessed with three children, Max, Timothy and MyCal Ann. Calvin was the ultimate family man, husband and father. Whether it was coaching Max and Timothy’s basketball 3-on-3 teams or reading bedtime stories to Mycal; he considered his family one of his greatest accomplishments and they meant the world to him. He enjoyed taking them camping and hunting for Christmas trees.

He was an avid reader and sports fan. He loved politics. He was a member of the Masons, and belonged to Rapelje Lodge #122, Al Bedoo Shrine and Scottish Rite. He served on the Farmers Union board of directors, and for many years as a volunteer fireman.

Calvin knew no stranger, always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. Many will remember Calvin as the one you could always count on. He would rather give to and care for others than receive anything in return. They said he was born with a faulty heart but anyone who knew Calvin knew that his heart was perfect. It was always in the right place and the perfect size, strengthened by his ever-growing faith. Calvin’s family strives to approach life in the same way he did. He was an example for us all.

He is survived by his wife, Mylo, his children Max (14), Timothy (11) and MyCal Ann (7), his parents Lee and Susan, sister Cam, brother Tyler and several nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.

There will be a vigil service on Thursday, December 10th, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Services will be held Friday, December 11th, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Laurel (700 3rd Ave). If you knew Calvin you know that in lieu of flowers he would simply request that you vote Republican.

Condolences may be shared with the family by visiting smithfuneralchapels.com.


Duane Lee Frieling

Fort Benton resident Duane Lee Frieling, “Duke,” 58, passed away from natural causes on or around the 6th of November. He died in the family home where he was born and raised and lived most of his life. He was preceded in death by his parents, John E. and Genevieve Frieling, as well as sister Paula Jean and infant sister Darlene Ann.

Duke was a big sports enthusiast. He played varsity football and basketball, and graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1975. He attended Northern Montana College in Havre and graduated with a degree in history. He then taught history and coached girls basketball in Turner, Montana.

Duane married Brenda Modic in Havre, Montana, then later were divorced, after which he taught and coached in Winett.

When his father became ill, he moved back to Fort Benton and helped with the farm and Vets Club full time. He was able to help his mother through the ordeal by doing a large part of the caregiving. Duke would later have to do the same for his mother. The best part of Duane left with his parents; he was never the same.

The Duke was an avid crossword puzzle fan and listened to all the local sports on the radio. He refereed some local JV football and basketball games, and he also bowled for a spell. His cats were his constant companions and he puttered with his plants; he had a green thumb.

The family is planning a vigil of sorts at the cabin in May of 2016, to honor both Paula Jean and Duane Lee.