Local Obituaries

 

9-2-15 Issue:

Eunice Robo

Eunice Robo, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to so many, went to be with her Lord and Savior on August 23, 2015.

Eunice was born October 26, 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Wilbur and Alice Norris. Her family lived in several cities and towns in Maryland. In 1962 Eunice met her future husband Jerry Robo when he came to their house with her brother Steve on a weekend leave from the Army. They fell in love and were married on March 22, 1963.

After spending some time in California during Jerry’s military service, they moved back to Montana and made Fort Benton their home. Eunice worked at Fort Benton High School as a secretary for several years, until her first son, Jim, was born in 1967. Her second son, Jeff, was born in 1972.

Eunice taught youth group and Sunday school at the First Christian Church for 35 years. She loved teaching the young people in town. She loved it when she taught children of people that she had taught when they were young.

Eunice was a fantastic cook and baker. She loved sewing and making all types of crafts. Her flower gardens were envied by all who saw them. She took great pride in her flowers. Eunice loved shopping and going to yard sales. She could always find bargains. Eunice took great pride in decorating her home and helping others with ideas and advice on decorating. Eunice love cats all her life. She always said a home is not a home without cats.

Eunice had many friends. She was always ready with kind words, encouragement and helpful advice to anyone who needed it. She was loved by all who met and knew her. Eunice will be missed by all. She was such a loving and caring person.

Eunice was preceded in death by her father Wilbur, mother Alice, brother Steve, and daughter-in-law Stacey.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Jerry; sons Jim and Jeff, grandchildren Alyssa, RJ, and Casey, and her beloved black cats Mickey and Shadow.

No funeral service will be held at Eunice’s request.


Bertha (Bunny) [Gomoll] Albers

Bunny Albers was born March 3, 1936 in Glasgow, Montana to Edward and Doris (Calkin) Gomoll and passed away at her home in Bozeman, Montana on August 27 from renal failure.

Bunny married William Albers in 1951 and they had six children: James (Linda), Fort Benton; Carley Dube (Roy), Rosalia, Washington; Lauri Jewett (Matthew), Fairfield, Connecticut; Mark (Lorelei), Great Falls, Montana; Deana Lloyd (Ben), Bozeman; and Denis, Great Falls.

She married Robert Purdy in 1995. He passed away in 1999.

Bunny is survived by five grandchildren, Laurel Ponzoha, Lauren Jewett, Lane and Dalton Albers, Amber Albers; great-granddaughter, Kaycee Glass; brother, Larry Gomoll (Merrilee) of Great Falls; and numerous nieces and nephews. Bunny was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Karen Thompson, and brother, Gary Gomoll.

Her early life was spent at Fort Peck where her father worked on construction of the Fort Peck Dam. Later, the family moved to a ranch south of Fort Benton and she attended a one-room rural schoolhouse, where she and two of her siblings were the entire student population. The family then moved to Loma where she completed her elementary education before going to Fort Benton for junior high and high school.

After her marriage to Bill, they lived on the Albers homestead in Pleasant Valley. They also had a home in Fort Benton.

In 1980, Bunny moved to Great Falls, attending the College (University) of Great Falls and graduating with honors in Sociology and Political Science in 1984. She was active in Great Falls and made many lifelong friends through her involvement with the Great Falls Public Library Foundation, Neighborhood Housing, Women in Transition at the YWCA and Leadership Great Falls.

Bunny was also a member of KEEP (Kellogg Education Extension Program) and Montana Friendship Force. These activities enabled her to travel to South Korea, and she was fortunate to have been one of the early American visitors to the People’s Republic of China. She loved to travel and enjoyed her time in Europe and India.

She moved to Bozeman in 2014 and was living there at the time of her death.

Bunny was a gourmet cook, gardener and an extraordinary flower arranger. She was an inquisitive and avid reader and discovered her talent as an artist, painting for her enjoyment and the enjoyment of her friends. Bunny was an accomplished Reiki master, taught many classes and practiced the art for many years. She was an exceptional counselor and friend to a huge number of people who will mourn her passing.

A memorial service will be held in Great Falls at a later date. Remembrances can be sent to The National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org) in Bunny’s name.

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


Jim Cummings

James Robert “Jimbob” Cummings was tragically killed in an auto accident on August 9, 2015, near Kamiah, Idaho. He was 55 years old and a resident of Fort Benton, Montana.

Born March 5, 1960, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, Jim grew up in the Wenatchee, Washington area and graduated from Kennewick High School in Kennewick, Washington. He received his BA from Montana State University and his MA from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Jim had a career as a teacher, counselor, outfitter and river guide (Lewis and Clark Canoe Expeditions) and most recently as an oil and natural gas driller in the Baaken region of Montana and North Dakota. He will be remembered for his love of hunting and the outdoors, sports, music, travel and his ability to tell a great story and make others laugh.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Marolyn Cummings Fayerweather. He is survived by his father, Robert “Bob” (Jean) Cummings of Sequim, Wash., and his siblings Mike (Jean) Cummings of Leavenworth, Wash.; Tom (Emilie) Cummings of Wassenaar, the Netherlands; Dan (Beth) Cummings of Hinsdale, Illinois; Cindy Cummings of Dublin, Ireland; Susan (Kerry) Cummings James of Tacoma, Wash., and stepsisters Sandy (Dan) Bradford of Richland, Wash.; and Donna (Todd) Nichols, of Gig Harbor, Wash. Jim is also survived by his 12 nephews and nieces whom he loved to visit around the world and share his love of Montana and the Northwest outdoors.

A memorial service was held at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton on Aug. 19. Jim will be buried at the family cemetery in Sun River, Montana.


8-26-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


8-19-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


8-12-15 Issue:

Peggy Lee Blyth

Peggy Lee Blyth, 91, of Great Falls, passed away Wednesday, July 22, 2015.

Honoring her wishes, no services are planned. A celebration of life reception will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 at the United Methodist Church, 344 Winchell Ave, Geraldine, Montana.

Peggy was born March 13, 1924 in Fort Benton, Montana, the only child of Mary Paulson and Peter Lee of Montague, Montana. Her education included the Blackrock Country School and Geraldine High School where she graduated in 1941. She continued her education with an Associate of Arts Degree from Colorado Women’s College in 1943, followed by a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from the University of Montana in 1945. Peggy received a teaching endorsement in 1958 from College of Great Falls and a Masters in Education in 1973 from Montana State University. Peggy taught science and math for one year in Geraldine before marrying George Alton Blyth on December 28, 1948, in Great Falls, Montana, where they lived. They had three children; Robert (Constance) Blyth of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Janet (Dave) McFarland of Carmen, Idaho, and Barbara Woith of Great Falls. She taught at Great Falls High School until her retirement in 1985.

She was an avid card player, belonging to a pinochle group for over 50 years. Her love of reading prompted her to be a member of several book clubs. Retirement brought her the opportunity to partner with Barbara and her husband, Wade, in Sally’s Flowers, and to travel throughout the world. When traveling with her family, she was always the teacher, stopping to explore museums, parks and various points of interest along the way. On the death of her parents, Peggy assumed the management of the family homestead near Montague.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and son-in-law, Wade.

She is survived by her three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions can be made in memory of Peggy to the McLaughlin Research Institute, 1520 23rd St S, Great Falls, MT 59405; to the Great Falls Public Library, 301 2nd Ave N, Great Falls, MT 59401, or a charity of your choice.


8-5-15 Issue:

Robert Lee Taylor

Robert Lee Taylor “Bob,” well known Fort Benton farmer and rancher, passed away peacefully of natural causes on Friday, July 31, 2015. At the time of his passing, Bob was being visited and comforted by family members at the Peace Hospice House in Great Falls, Montana. Bob was 85 years old.

Bob was born March 30, 1930 in Fort Benton, Montana. He was the second child of Kenneth and Audley Taylor who resided on a ranch east of Fort Benton.

Bob attended Fort Benton High School and ranched 16 miles east of Fort Benton. He married Betty Richard, October 1950, in Fort Benton. Bob and Betty have lived on the same ranch for 64 years. He farmed and ranched with his son Lee throughout his lifetime.

Bob enjoyed leaving the cold Montana winters for the warmth of Arizona, which also allowed for quality time with his grandchildren, who he dearly loved. Activities with his grandchildren were important, and more than once he attended karate lessons, as well as dance lessons. Bob enjoyed hunting, and will be remembered for his smile and distinctive laugh. Bob had an ethic of hard work, and you could always count on his word as an honest man.

Bob is survived by his wife Betty, children Lee Richard Taylor (Tracy), east of Fort Benton and Lon Robert Taylor (Luc) of Peoria, Arizona. His grandchildren include Elizabeth R. Taylor, Robert B. Taylor, Gregory L. Taylor and a great-grandchild Ayden R. Taylor, all of Peoria, Arizona. He is also survived by brothers William “Howard” Taylor, Fort Benton, and Paul “Gary” Taylor, Great Falls, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents and brothers Kenneth “Calvin” Taylor and Ray E. Taylor.

Visitation was Monday, Aug. 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life service was held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at Benton Funeral Home, followed by a graveside service at the local Riverside Cemetery. Bob’s son Lon R. Taylor presided over the services.

Donations may be made to the Fort Benton Memorial Ambulance.


Helen Teressa “Sis” Klay

Helen Teressa “Sis” Klay, 81, died Sunday, August 2, at Missouri River Medical Center.

Memorial services will be Friday, Aug. 7, at 10 a.m. at Benton Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Geraldine Cemetery.

Helen was born October 7, 1933, in Geraldine to George and Agnes (Qunell) Hardenbrook. Helen married Arthur Klay on May 12, 1964, in Fort Benton.

Survivors include daughter, Janice Hayworth; sons, Randy Pauley and Robert Pauley; sister, Barbara (Jerry) Ludeman; brother, Joseph (Carol) Hardenbrook; five grandchildren, Jamie, Katie, and Jonathan Pauley, Vicki Jo Martinez and Christina McCain; and one great grandchild, Paige Pauley.

She is preceded in death by her husband and son, William A. Klay.


Beatrice Fairbanks Manley (Services Notice)

Graveside services for Beatrice Fairbanks Manley will be held Saturday, Aug. 15, at 1:30 at the Geraldine Cemetery. There will be refreshments following at the Methodist Church.


7-29-15 Issue:

Dwayne Maurice Fairbanks

Dwayne Maurice Fairbanks, 51, of Great Falls, passed away from heart failure July 17, 2015, at Park Place.

There will be a graveside service Monday, August 10, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Geraldine Cemetery. Following the service there will be an ice cream social at the Geraldine Methodist Church. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Schnider Funeral Home.

Dwayne was born June 26, 1964 in Fort Benton to Charles and Bernadine Fairbanks. He was the fifth child and the baby of the family. He received his high school diploma from Geraldine High School in 1983. He was involved in athletics through his high school career, including football and basketball. He was well known for his ability to punt a football better than anyone on either team, while they did not keep punting records it is certain to the family that if they had, he would have them all.

While growing up on the farm, Dwayne loved to be outside playing sports, it was always a struggle to get him to wear a coat no matter how cold it was outside. He grew up and worked on the family farm. He loved being in the harvest field driving truck, and would still come out to visit whenever it was possible. After graduation from high school, Dwayne started working at the Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls. He worked there until his diabetes would not allow him to work. He then worked in Chester as an aid in the nursing home until his health halted his ability to work again, and forced him to move home. He lived in Geraldine for several years, until he moved to Great Falls because of his need for dialysis treatments.

With the diabetes finally taking its toll on Dwayne’s health, he had his left leg amputated below the knee. Due to his continued health problems, Dwayne was living in Park Place so that he could receive the medical attention that was needed.

Dwayne fought diabetes since he was 14 years old, but with all of his health problems, Dwayne always found a spark and joy from watching the Dallas Cowboys, LA Lakers, and MSU Bobcats. When sports were not going on, he loved being able to spend time with his dog Sky, which happened to be his second miniature beagle.

The Fairbanks family would like to say a special thank you to the employees of Park Place Health Care Center for everything they did for Dwayne.

Dwayne was preceded in death by his dad, Charles Fairbanks; sister-in-law Dawn Fairbanks; sister, Charlene Roudebush; and brother Clinton Fairbanks.

He is survived by his mother Bernadine Fairbanks; sister Lois Fairbanks; brother Frank Fairbanks; nieces Cameo Fairbanks and Ragan Donsbach; nephews Chad Roudebush, Nate Fairbanks, and Jake Fairbanks.


Doris Stubsten (Services Notice)

Everyone is invited to a celebration of life for Doris Stubsten at the Masonic Home in Helena on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m.


7-22-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week.


7-15-15 Issue:

Juanita “Nita” Rose Gardipee Okervall

Juanita “Nita” Rose Gardipee Okervall, age 70, lost her long brave battle with cancer on July 11, 2015. She was at her home surrounded by family.

Nita was born on September 5, 1944 in Chinook, Montana. She was born to Joseph and Irene (LaMere) LaVadore. When she was three years old she was adopted by Alfred “Tux” and Lillian Gardipee of Square Butte, Montana. She attended school in Geraldine and Fort Benton.

She is preceded in death by her biological parents, adoptive parents and her siblings; Darlene, Harold, Howard and Rita.

Nita is survived by her husband of 25 years, Charles Overvall of Port Neches, Texas; her children, Loren Campion of San Antonio, Texas, Vickie Reichelt (Kirk) of Carter, Montana, Fatima McBride (Chris Thomas) of Port Neches, Texas, Charlene Kilbourn (Kelly LaPoint) of Port Neches, Texas, Kimberly Hite (Shane) of Port Arthur, Texas, and Michelle Orchid (Chris) of Beaumont, Texas; and her grandchildren, Olivia Maxwell, Tabatha Melander, Whitney Layne, Anthony Campion, Brent Campion, Austin Reichelt, Meghan McBride, Hannah McBride, Isiah McBride, Katelyn Kilbourn, Kira Broussard, Addison Reichelt, Nathan McBride and Jake Broussard. She is also survived by 12 great grandchildren.

Nita was raised in Montana but has been a Port Neches, Texas, and surrounding areas resident for 43 years. She was a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother. She loved to watch her grandchildren in every school activity in which they performed, especially the Port Neches High School band and football team. She was a good cook, except for Rice-a-Roni! She loved any artsy type activity - sewing, painting, crocheting, word puzzles. She was true to her generation and really loved Elvis. In her younger years she had her five minutes of fame as a hair model. She loved to play games (especially on her phone). As soon you met her, you became family. She was very generous with her time and love and was affectionately known as Momma Nita by all. She was very spiritual and loved the Lord with all her heart. We hope she will be on time for her own funeral … she may need to swing by Walmart first!

Services will be held at the Levingston Funeral Home in Port Neches on Thursday July 16, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Nita Okervall’s name at Levingston Funeral Home to assist the family with funeral expenses - Levingston Funeral Home, 2001 Nall Street, Port Neches, TX 77651.


Doris Rediger Stubsten

Doris Rediger Stubsten was born April 6, 1931, to Christian and Magdalena Rediger. She was the youngest of 13 children. She grew up in Miller, South Dakota, and graduated from Miller High school in 1949. She married Lloyd (Stub) Stubsten November 4, 1950. They honeymooned in Montana and they stayed. They had three children Willard (Kathy), Missoula; Lynda Brannon, East Helena; and Pamela (Russ) Hyatt, Helena. They worked several years on a ranch and then purchased and ran the Carter Tavern. After living in Carter for several years, they moved to Helena and then to East Helena.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brothers and sisters: Earl, Willard, Clifford, Walt, Clyde, Alma Haffner, Elsie Duffy, Veda Houder, Nina Burkey, Edna Onstad and son-in-law, Patrick Brannon. She is survived by all three children as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters, Elaine Wilmes, Yuma, Arizona; Florence Wilmes, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank Dr. Weiner, Rocky Mountain Hospice, and especially the Masonic Home for making her last few years so happy. Memorials may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 1075 N. Rodney, Helena, MT 59601 or the Masonic Home at 2010 Masonic Home Road, Helena, MT 59602. There will be a celebration of her life at the Masonic Home yet to be determined in August.

Mom will be missed by all those who knew her, especially her children.


Richard “Scott” Sarsgard, Jr.

Scott, husband of Linda Anderson, passed away unexpectedly June 22, 2015, at his home in Anoka, Minnesota. Scott was born June 22, 1948 in Minneapolis, Minn. to Richard and Gloria Sarsgard. On September 9, 1989, he married Linda Anderson in Anoka, Minn. Scott was a self-employed carpet layer for 30 years. He loved fishing, camping and was a campground host for many years.

He was proceeded in death by his parents and is survived by his wife, Linda, and step-children Derek Strong (Kristine), Jeannie Bolnick (John) and Melissa Larocco (Jim), six stepgrandchildren, his mother-in-law June Anderson, and sisters-in-law Donna Keller and Billie (Tim) Grossman.


7-8-15 Issue:

Evelyn Petr Bitz

Evelyn Petr Bitz passed peacefully away on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 in Big Sandy, Montana. A service celebrating Evelyn’s life was held at Monday morning, June 29 at the Methodist Church in Big Sandy.

Evelyn was born at Hopp-Illiad southeast of Big Sandy in 1935, the youngest child of eight born to Anna and Frank Petr. She spent her early years roaming the river breaks and attending Iliad School. After 8th grade, Evelyn moved with her mother to town and graduated as senior class president and valedictorian of Big Sandy High School in 1951. In high school, she loved her writing classes and playing her clarinet. She was proud of playing for President Harry Truman on his whistle-stop tour!

Evelyn worked part-time at H. Earl Clack’s while attending Northern Montana College in Havre.

In October 1952, Evelyn married her high school sweetheart, Leo George Bitz, at the ripe old age of 17! Leo often mentions the first time he saw Evelyn standing against the school wall when she came to town for 8th grade tests - it was something like love at first sight. She talked about their first date being a drive in the mountains - for that girl who loved to roam the hills, it was a special first date! After her graduation with a teaching certificate in 1953, the couple moved to Big Sandy, where Leo farmed and Evelyn taught first grade. Evelyn was a natural teacher with a special gift for engaging children, but only taught for one year, quitting after she began her family. Julie, Mark and Bart, her five grandchildren and many little friends were blessed to learn and play with Evelyn! Even during the last months of her life, she delighted in playing with little great-grandson Levon.

Evelyn was a great cook and excellent gardener, renowned for her oatmeal cookies and chocolate cream pie. A typical harvest dinner was pork with caraway seeds, mashed potatoes, veggies and two kinds of pie. Her home was filled with books, notebooks full of her writings, flowers and music! When her sisters came to visit, Evelyn played the role of cruise director, planning outings and adventures. The laughter usually lasted until the wee hours of the night when the “Petr” girls came to visit! She took her 1951 Senior Class President job seriously, too, planning fun class outings every five years until very recently. She loved planning special trips and shopping the sales at Herburglars! She enjoyed playing bridge and really did it up when the bridge ladies were coming over. She was a longtime member of the Methodist Church, Eastern Star and helped with Rainbow Girls.

Mostly Evelyn loved her family. She was a loyal helpmate to her “Georgie,’ from helping him write checks and keep the books to cooking healthy foods. She was very caring to her mother and siblings and was a letter writer extraordinaire. She made holidays so special for her family, creating special dinners and imaginative gifts. Reading stories with Mom! Evelyn was serious about learning but loved being silly with her kids, so every character had its own voice and personality. She loved her Montana home but made sure her children were introduced to the world of literature, music and culture. She loved to write poetry and short stories, was always editing and dreamt of being a published author someday. Taking care of her family and home didn’t leave too much time for that dream, but going through her things, one discovers treasure: bits of poems and stories tucked away throughout her house!

After their kids were out of school, Evelyn and Leo started spending part of each winter in Arizona, making new friends and memories at Picacho Peak. She prepared for every excursion to Arizona in the motorhome of the moment as pioneer women of old must have prepared their wagons. She enjoyed gambling and playing bingo a bit and loved the spring poppies and hummingbirds.

Evelyn had a damaging heart attack when she was 72, and life changed a little after that. Leo started helping her a bit more around the house - of course, he had to meet her standards!

As Evelyn’s health gradually declined, Leo made Evelyn his mission, getting her to doctor’s appointments, shopping for her, and perhaps occasionally nagging her about her diet. She was a fighter and joked about her many jet, helicopter and ambulance rides. She resided mostly at Big Sandy Medical Center since October 2014; the staff became her angels. During Evelyn’s last months, her family did their best to show their love. Bart stopped in to pray with her nearly every day, and her Washington kids came as often as they could. She got to have one more Christmas Eve with most of the family at Julie’s. Leo and Evelyn continued to enjoy their regular Sunday evening date watching Masterpiece Classic. She particularly loved the photo viewer from Mike and visits with the grandkids and Levon. She got to see her sister Elizabeth a few weeks before her death. Her last outing was a special one - the Celtic Women concert in Great Falls with Leo, Bart and Julie.

Evelyn is survived by her husband, Leo Bitz, children Julie Bitz Myers, Mark (Jane) Bitz and Bart Bitz, grandchildren Christopher (Lisa) Myers, Aaron (Ashley) Myers, Matthew (Julie Ann) Myers, Kate Bitz, Nate Bitz, and one great-grandson, sisters Helen Moes, Lillian Blazek, Mary Nance, Elizabeth Timmerman, Frances Keller, and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her mother and father, brother Frank Petr and sister Ann Jones. Memorials may be made to the Big Sandy Medical Center Nursing Home and the Big Sandy Historical Society. You may leave condolences for the family at www.hollandbonine.com.


Marilyn Claire Collum

Marilyn Claire Collum, 84, of Libby, passed away on Sunday, June 14, 2015, at Mountain View Manor in Eureka.

She was born Sept. 13, 1930, in Great Falls to Arthur and Belle Boettcher. She grew up in the Square Butte area. Marilyn received her education at a rural school there and graduated from Geraldine High School in 1949. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in education at Western Montana College in Dillon. She was a member of the Kappa Zeta Nu Sorority while attending college.

She became a member of the Lambda chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society while teaching. She was a teacher for 30.6 years; she taught at the Eureka Elementary School, the Iowa Flats School, the Rexford School and the Glen Lake School.

On Nov. 1, 1952, Marilyn married Robert Byers and they resided in Rexford until the Libby Dam was constructed and they moved to Eureka. They were in the Christmas tree and cattle business. They moved to Libby later on, where Robert passed away in 1998.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Robert, a brother Vernon, and a son Robbie.

Marilyn loved life and people and will remember her laugh and smile. She’ll be remembered as an avid gardener and for her lovely flowers she grew. Many of her friends called her the “Dahlia lady.” Her efforts and her love for cooking, raising beautiful flowers and doing watercolors and oil paintings earned her the honor of being “Our Fair Lady” at the Lincoln County Fair in Eureka two different times. She also loved fishing and playing cards. She enjoyed dancing and bowling and was a member of a bowling league in Eureka for several years. Marilyn loved to dress up and will be remembered as making all her colors in her wardrobe match. She enjoyed all music which inspired her so much, especially Western tunes.

She cherished her family so much, and she’ll be remembered for her generosity, her love of family and will be missed by all.

Survivors include her daughter, Ella Jean Sanders, and Art, of Fortine; siblings, Dolores Schumacker and Joanne Dors, both of Great Falls; her beloved grandsons she was so proud of, Travis Sanders and Rochelle and their children Darya and Dylan of Eureka, Luke Sanders of Kalispell, and Justin Sanders of Fortine.

Marilyn wished to be cremated with no funeral services. Memorials may be made to a charity of the giver’s choice in Marilyn’s name.

Arrangements are by Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Libby. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.


Noreen Jenny Schott

Noreen J. Schott, 81, passed away June 24, 2015 at Peace Hospice of leukemia. Cremation has taken place at Croxford Funeral Home and her ashes will reside at the Hillcrest Mausoleum in Great Falls. In honoring Noreen’s wishes no services are being planned.

Noreen was born on April 8, 1934 in Fort Benton, Montana, to Charles and Bernice Deck. After graduating from high school in Fort Benton, she moved to Anchorage, Alaska where she met and married the love of her life Leroy Schott in 1952. They were blessed with two sons and had 59 wonderful years together.

Noreen was a very talented lady; she had a knack for many things. She could sew, knit, crochet, and did many woodworking projects, as well as arts and crafts. She loved to cook, and baking was her specialty. While living in the Highwood Mountains she bought a kiln and formed a ceramic club where she taught many neighbors this art. She also made and painted many ceramic dolls which were flawless. Another accomplishment was to form a Home Demonstration club of which many friends and neighbors became members. She completed and published a book called “Footsteps on the Prairie” that her mother had started, but could not finish before her demise. Noreen’s greatest talent was just being mom. At that she excelled.

Noreen was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved husband Leroy Schott. She is survived by her sons Terry L. (Margit Wamsley) Schott of Sand Coulee and Dan K Schott of Great Falls; one granddaughter, Kali Ann Schott of Jackson, Wyoming; brothers Robert (Juanita) Deck of Fort Benton, and John Deck of Chula Vista, Calif.; three very special friends Janice Posey of Great Falls, Raelene Wilson of Federal Way, Wash., and her beloved Pomeranian Peanut.

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


7-1-15 Issue:

Dolores F. Cikrit

Dolores F. Cikrit, MD, FACS died unexpectedly on March 23, 2015, while on vacation with her family in Marathon Key, Florida. Dolores is survived by her husband, Joseph Schmit and her daughters, Sara Cikrit Schmit and Anna Cikrit Schmit. She was preceded by her parents, James and Florence Cikrit.

Dolores was born on March 7, 1954, in Havre, Montana, grew up in Big Sandy, Montana, and was a graduate of Carroll College, Helena, Montana. She then attended medical school at the University of Colorado, Denver. After medical school she completed a surgery residency with the IU School of Medicine and a vascular fellowship at the University of Missouri Medical Center in Columbia, Missouri, where she met her husband. At the time of her death, Dolores was a Professor of Surgery with the IU School of Medicine, and the Chief of Surgical Services at the Roudebush VA Medical Center. She was also a partner of the Division of University Vascular Surgery, Indiana School of Medicine.

Dolores was a devoted wife and mother and was deeply admired and respected by a generation of residents and students for her passion in teaching vascular surgery. She will be greatly missed by all in surgery at the VA Medical Center, University Vascular Surgery, IU School of Medicine, and IU Health Methodist. She enjoyed spending free time with her family outdoors at Eagle Creek Park and watching her daughters’ favorite movies on Saturday nights. She enjoyed reading and traveling and took trips throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. Dolores will always be fondly remembered by her family, friends, colleagues, students and all who knew her.

A funeral service will be Tuesday, July 7, at 2 p.m. at Big Sandy Methodist Church. Burial to follow in Big Sandy Cemetery. Visitation will be prior to the service at the church starting at noon.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Big Sandy Senior Citizen Center or the Big Sandy United Methodist Church in Big Sandy, Montana.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Rosemary Imbert Caterson

Rosemary Imbert Caterson passed away on June 12, 2015, in Bakersfield, California. She was the only child of Margaret Smith Imbert and Reginald Imbert, and was born in Fort Benton, Montana in 1923. A gifted student, in high school she won the statewide competition in Latin.

Rosemary attended the University of Montana, majored in biology, and graduated in 1944. While there, she formed friendships at the Women’s Co-op Residence of profound importance in her life; these lasted until her death. She went south to Los Angeles upon graduation, taking a job at Los Angeles General Hospital. Post WWII, she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked in hematology. In 1955, she and her parents spent the winter at the art colony in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and she then moved to San Francisco, teaching science in the public schools.

In 1959, she went to Crailsheim, Germany, to teach at a United States Army base, in response to the recruitment by the Department of Defense. She taught, studied German at the renowned Goethe Institute, and travelled extensively throughout Europe while there.

She returned to the United States to pursue an advanced degree from the University of Oregon and she received her Master’s Degree in German Literature. In 1967, she married Alan Caterson and they lived happily in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where she taught biology and German at Palos Verdes and Peninsula High Schools. Alan passed away in 1990, ending a loving marriage.

Rosemary was active in civic affairs in Southern California, volunteering with the Palos Verdes Symphony Orchestra, the Palos Verdes Library Commission, the San Pedro Free Clinic, and most notably, serving for many years as the co-president of the South Bay League of Women Voters.

Rosemary moved to Bakersfield in 2013 to be closer to her stepdaughter.

Rosemary is survived by her devoted stepdaughter, Jeanne Rubin, and her adoring step-grandchildren, Julia Clark of Huntington Beach, California, Laurence Jarvis of San Antonio, Texas, and two step-great-grandchildren, Ella and Quincy Jarvis of San Antonio. She is also survived by her cousins and their families: Phyllis Smith of Fort Benton, Norman Smith of Kalispell, Janet Stevens of Loma, Montana, and Leslie Smith of Bremerton, Washington.

Although a Californian for over half of her life, her heart remained on the prairies of Montana.


6-24-15 Issue:

Thomas Mack Quinn

After 93 years and 11 months, a kind, gentle soul left his earthy home to join his Father in Heaven on June 18th, 2015.

Thomas Mack Quinn was “Tom” to his navy buddies and “Mack” to everyone else. Born July 16, 1921 in Big Sandy, Montana, the first son of Emmet and Alice Quinn, he was raised on the family wheat and cattle ranch southeast of Big Sandy. Mack’s love of patriotism began with Boy Scouts and he was Big Sandy’s first Eagle Scout. He graduated from Montana State College in 1943 with a degree in electrical engineering. He was a proud member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and the “M” club. After college, Mack joined the navy and reached the rank of Lieutenant (jg). He served on destroyers in the Mediterranean and Asian theaters. He met his loving bride of 69 years, Dorothea Stammler, when both were members of the navy stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. Their wedding reception (and home for several months) was the historic location of Cat Fish Row. After the war, Mack and Dordy made their home first in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and then in Atlanta, Georgia, while Mack worked for Westinghouse. He was proud of working on the turbines that went into Grand Coulee Dam.

When his father decided to sell the farm, Mack packed up his wife, young son, Bob, and moved back to Big Sandy to take over the place. He loved farming and was named Montana’s Outstanding Young Farmer in 1955. He joined many agricultural organizations and was particularly active in Farm Bureau, serving as the State President for several years. He was also a member of the Big Sandy Rotary (a founding member), school board (chairman many years), American Legion (State Vice-Commander), Masons, Scottish Rite and Shriners. He served on many MSU advisory committees and loved returning to his alma mater for alumni gatherings and homecomings. He was able to attend his 70th graduation ceremony in 2013.

Mack was a member of the LDS Church and served in several callings including Branch President in Havre. Mack took up golf when he and Dordy started spending winters in Arizona. His first “hole in one” at the age of 82 was witnessed by his grandson, Trevor. He also enjoyed woodworking and lapidary and all the other amenities of an Arizona senior community and was still running a combine at the age of 89.

Mack is survived by his wife, Dordy, of Great Falls; son Bob (Ann) Quinn, Big Sandy; daughter Debby Blyth, Great Falls; grandchildren: Allison (Jerry) Taylor, Havre; Penny (Brook) Walker, Ferndale, Wash.; Holly (Sean) Knighton, Afton, Wyo.; Bridgette (Andrew) Long, Big Sandy; Adam Quinn, Big Sandy; Trevor (Tara) Blyth, Missoula and 17 great- grandchildren; his brother Joe (Doris) Quinn of Spokane, Wash. and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services were held Monday morning, June 22, at the Big Sandy Historical Museum. Burial followed in the Big Sandy Cemetery with full Military Honors and Masonic Rites.

Memorials may be made to the Big Sandy Library, Shriners Hospital for Children or a charity of choice.

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


Lloyd Kurth (Service notice)

Graveside services for Lloyd Kurth will be Saturday, July 4, at 1 p.m. at Riverside Cemetery.


6-17-15 Issue:

No obituaries


6-10-15 Issue:

No obituaries


6-3-15


5-27-15


5-20-15 Issue:

Ilene Ella Ray

Ilene Ella Ray, 86, passed away Monday, May 18, 2015 at the Big Sandy Memorial Hospital.

Ilene Ella Ray was born June 28, 1928 at the farm home of her parents, Mark and Ida (Reinholz) Bobbe, at Forbes, North Dakota. She was the second child of four children. She attended rural grade school and graduated from Ellendale High School. The next four years she attended college - University Branch, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in science and physical education. Her first teaching position was in 1950 in Big Sandy, Montana. She taught home economics, chemistry, and girls physical education.

July 1, 1951, she married a local farmer, Lindy Ray. She continued teaching that year and again in Fort Benton in 1959. To them were born three daughters - Linda, Nancy, and Lisa.

She was active in many organizations. She was a 50-year member of Eastern Star, holding an office for 49 years; president of VFW Aux Post 6107, past Matrons, Hobby Club, Naomi Circle, Hospital Guild, bridge club, Historical Society, Republican Committee Woman, and Daughters of the Nile, and she was a substitute teacher for 45 years.

They bought a house in town in 1965 and moved to town when they retired in 1995. She was a great seamstress, excellent cook, hired man, and truck driver. Harvest time was her busy time. She did a lot of things for her three girls and nine grandchildren while keeping up with her husband. She was the best sales representative Herberger’s never had.

Survivors are: Husband of almost 64 years: Lindy Ray. Daughters: Linda (Walt) Scotson of Covington, Washington; Nancy Arthun of Wilsall, Montana; and Lisa (Roger) Sammons of Cut Bank, Montana. Her nine grandchildren: Joshua, Caleb, Levi (Sarah) and Hannah (Josh) Scotson; Mark (Jocelyn), Cole (Sara), and Selisse Arthun; and Sage and Sierra Sammons. Great grandchildren: Emilia, Natalie, Parker, KyraAnn, Aiden, and Keela. Her two brothers Roger (Dorthy) Bobbe and Lorne (Darlene) Bobbe, and sister-in-law Marabelle Bobbe of Ellendale, North Dakota.

She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Guy Bobbe, all of Ellendale, North Dakota.

Private family services will be planned at a later date.


Jean Ann Wright-Hampton

November 3, 1936 – February 19, 2015

In Memory of Jean Ann Hampton of Birch Bay, Washington, age 78, who passed away on February 19th, 2015. Jean Ann was born on November 3rd, 1936 in a log cabin near Franklin, Texas, to Edna and Emmett Wright. The young family moved to Loma, Montana, where she attended school in Loma and Fort Benton.

Jean Ann had one brother, Doug Wright, whom she loved very much. Jean Ann married Kenneth F. Hampton in 1956, and they raised three children in Fort Benton. She was a highly devoted mother, giving her children love, encouragement and hope. Jean Ann always said that her happiest years were raising her family. Jean Ann was an interior designer and she made her mark in various towns throughout Montana, Idaho, and Washington states. At the age of 68, Jean Ann

contracted and built her personal home in Polson, Montana.

In her middle years, Jean Ann was active in supporting Northwest Community visual arts programs. Jean Ann moved to Washington state to be near her family in her later years. She enjoyed playing bridge and golf, and was a talented seamstress, sewing her daughter’s wedding dress along with many other projects. Gardening gave her much delight. Jean Ann loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart. Jean Ann was a strong and courageous woman and she had Hope in the Lord.

Jean Ann was preceded in death by her parents and her younger brother, Doug Wright.

Jean Ann is survived by children: Russ and (Hue) Hampton, Mary and (Peter) Morrison and Bob and (Kristine) Hampton. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Katie, Kyle, Clay, Ashley, Megan, Elisa, Jenna, and Liam, as well as nieces and a nephew.

She leaves an immeasurable legacy of love and we will miss her dearly. Shine on, lovely lady.


5-13-15 Issue:

Kathy Sue (Allen) Gallagher (update)

Kathy Sue (Allen) Gallagher, 59, of Las Vegas, Nevada, formerly of Fort Benton, died December 19, 2014 of cancer.

Kathy was born January 10, 1955, in Fort Benton, Montana, to Lloyd and Beverlee (Bramlette) Allen. She graduated from FBHS in 1973. She attended Northwest Christian College for a semester. She later graduated from Dental Tech School.

Kathy had two children, Eric Holleran and Candace Friesen.

On November 17, 1990, Kathy married the love of her life, Bob Gallagher. Kathy worked for Northern School Supply and then for Verizon. In 2003 they moved to Las Vegas. Kathy worked there with Verizon for a time and then for Hallmark Cards until her death.

Kathy is survived by her husband Bob of Las Vegas; son Eric and daughter Candace of Las Vegas; son Michael Gallagher of West Virginia; son Jeremy (Kory) Gallagher of Kalispell; daughter Jennifer (Jon) Stratton of Havre, parents Lloyd and Deanna Allen of Dayton, Montana, brothers Rick (Brenda) Morris, Kem (Gail) Allen, and Terry (Roxie) Allen, all of Fort Benton; sisters Caroline (Jim) Taylor of Great Falls, Anita (Rick) Nowaski of Lakeside, Montana, and Kristin Allen of Havre, 10 grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

She was proceeded in death by her mother Beverlee, nephew Mark Allen, niece Kelsey Morris and grandparents.

A memorial service will be held at First Christian Church in Fort Benton on Tuesday, May 26, at 11 a.m. Burial of ashes will follow at Riverside Cemetery.


5-6-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


4-29-15 Issue:

Stephanie A. LaBelle

Stephanie A. LaBelle, 42, of Great Falls, Montana, passed away on Sunday, April 19, 2015 after a lengthy illness. There are no services planned.

Stephanie was born July 3, 1972 to Steven and Judith Kohler of Fort Benton. She graduated from Fort Benton High School and then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Montana State University-Northern.

Her first job after graduating was at the Russell Country Federal Credit Union, where she was a bank teller. She loved working there, enjoyed the employees she worked with, enjoyed the customers, and always came to work with a smile on her face.

Stephanie’s best friend was her black lab, Rodney, and she would walk for miles with him when she could. She enjoyed Starbucks frappes, cherry crepes, and Chinese food.

She is survived by her brother, William “Shane” Kohler and her three nieces.

Stephanie was preceded in death by her father and mother.

In lieu of flowers or memorials, the family has asked that you donate to the Ruby House, 811 2nd Avenue South, Great Falls MT 59405.


4-22-15 Issue:

Clint Jack Wright

Clinton Jack (Butch) Wright passed away after a long battle with cancer on April 20, 2015.

Clint was born in Fort Benton, Montana, on October 12, 1941, to Jack and Maxine (Graham) Wright and grew up on the family ranch in Loma. Clint attended school in Loma and Fort Benton, graduating from Fort Benton High School in 1959. He served in the Army after high school, and was briefly married in Germany. He returned with his family, including children Glenn and Peggy, to live in Loma. Clint married the love of his life, Kathleen Glunz, in 1966. With that happy marriage came four children, Rebecca, Jack, Lawrence, and Christopher. Clint was a well-respected parts man, working in Havre, Wolf Point, and Fort Benton, also actively farming his family’s farm in Loma for ten years. Clint enjoyed maintaining his hobby ranch later in his life with a small herd of cows. He also enjoyed spending time with his family, working in his yard, and playing with his grandchildren. After many years of separation, Clint was joyfully reunited with his children Glenn and Peggy, and their families, when he and Kate visited Germany in 2013 for Peggy’s fiftieth birthday.

Clint was preceded in death by his parents, beloved daughter Becky, and dear friends and cousins Doug Wright and Jim McDonnnell.

Clint is survived by his wife Kate, sons Jack (Kyla), Lawrence (Mandy), Chris (Kris), Glenn (Astrid), daughter Peggy (Toni), and grandchildren Derrick, Pete, Jackson, Grace, Lawson, Scarlett, Alex, Trase, Kinley, Nico, Ben, and great-grandson Brantley, as well as his siblings Don (Sharon) Wright, Nancy Willson, and Deb Gibbons.

Clint was a generous person to all he knew and was a bright light in many people’s lives.

A funeral mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton on Saturday, April 25, at 1 p.m. A graveside service and reception at the church will follow.


4-15-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


4-8-15 Issue:

Gene T. Thompson

Dr. Gene T. Thompson, 86, of Clarkston, Wash., passed into the hands of the Lord on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Royal Plaza Care Center.

Gene was born Nov. 21, 1928, in Goldendale, Wash., to Guy E. and Rachael A. (Carratt) Thompson. He had two siblings, brother Everett and sister Donna. He grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch and graduated from Goldendale High School. He attended Washington State University, obtaining his doctorate in civil engineering in 1974. Gene worked in 38 different countries throughout his career.

Gene married Marilyn in 1949, and the couple had two children. They later divorced. He married Jacque in 1973, and to this union were added three children. The couple were married 41 years.

For his work as an engineer, King Hussein of Jordan awarded him a medal and a gold watch for his work on the East Gore Canal in 1965. He also was recognized for his work in the province of the Northwest Frontier of Peshawar, Pakistan, for his work on the Mardan Scarp in 1989. In 2004, he was awarded the President’s Call to Service Award for his work in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

Gene and Jacque bought a house in Clarkston in 1987 and moved permanently to the valley in 1993. The couple attended Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Clarkston, and Gene served as the chairman of the council for many years and he enjoyed helping at the church. He was also an active volunteer in his community. He volunteered as a Blue Angel at Tri-State Memorial Hospital and was recognized by the hospital’s auxiliary for his service. He was also the Idaho’s AARP chapter president three times. Gene also enjoyed traveling, reading, sports, gardening and fishing.

Gene was a loving husband and father to his family.

He is survived by his wife, Jacque Thompson; and he was father to Karen Thompson and husband Bryan Lowe and Melissa (Lloyd) Grendys, Douglas (Ruthie) Thompson, Michael (Linda) Nottingham and Marty Nottingham; and is survived by sister Donna; grandchildren Jason (Abagail) Nottingham, Justin Nottingham, Carl Nottingham, Joshua (Sarah) Thompson, Tory (Alexa) Nottingham, Alex Lowe, Jessica Lowe and Jakob Kenyon; as well as six great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Everett.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 17 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1115 13th St., Clarkston, Wash.


Dennis Thane Allard

Dennis Thane Allard, 77, passed away peacefully in the arms of his beloved Margaret on April 3, 2015, in Fort Worth, Texas. A memorial service was held April 10 in Texas.

Dennis was born to Reba and Thane Allard of Loma, Montana. He lived in Loma until after high school graduation. He served in the Army for two years. Later, he worked for AT&T for 40 years in San Jose, Calif. Then he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he spent 12 years with the love of his life, Margaret.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Reba and Thane; his two brothers, Raymond and Eldon; and a sister, Fay.

Survivors include his best friend and love of his life, Margaret French; Margaret’s children, Susie and husband, Mauri, in Venice, Italy, and Sean in Dallas; her two grandchildren; his daughter, Lucinda Held and husband, Gary; his four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren of Washington and Oregon; sister, Dorothy Hodgkins and her family of Washington; numerous nieces, nephews and other extended family and friends in Montana, Texas, California and Washington.

For those of us that knew Dennis, we will miss your big smile, warm heart and big sense of humor.


4-1-15 Issue:

Fred Edward Davison

Fred Edward Davison, 84, of Highwood, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at his home following a long illness. A funeral service will take place on Thursday, April 2 at 11 a.m. with a visitation open to the public starting at 10 a.m. located in the Relief Society Room at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 4601 3rd Ave S, Great Falls. A burial at Highland Cemetery will be held immediately following the service.

Fred was born on January 17, 1931 in Fort Benton, Montana, to parents Floyd and Bessie Davison of Highwood, where he spent his early years of life and where he would later graduate from Highwood High School. He later attended Montana State University where he was an architecture major before enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he proudly served his country for two years in Germany. Fred later met who would be the love of his life and best friend, his wife Kathleen Knight, at a dance while he was back home in Highwood. They married soon after, and from this union were blessed with eight children. In his younger years, Fred was quite the artist and enjoyed painting. He also enjoyed architecture and inventing. As he and Kathleen settled in the Highwood area, Fred spent the remainder of his years farming and ranching.

Fred was survived in death by his eight children; sons, Dr. James Davison of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Gary Davison of Great Falls, Montana, David Davison (Libby) of Denver, Colorado, Greg Davison of Whitefish, Montana, Daniel Davison of Highwood, Montana; daughters, Linda Hyster (Scott) of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Lori Decker (David) of Great Falls, Montana, and Linette Henry of Las Vegas, Nevada, 24 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd E. Davison and Bessie Walker Davison; brothers, Billy and Robert Earl Davison; and granddaughter, Amanda Marie Davison.

Fred was very community-minded and belonged to several organizations, most having to do with energy (notably wind power) and held several different patents dealing with wind energy. He was a consultant for other inventors on the patent process as well. Fred was also a great metal fabricator and was well known for his “Gate Winch” that he invented. He also thoroughly enjoyed his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in which he held multiple positions throughout his life. He enjoyed supporting his children in their various sporting and talent events as it gave him great pride to see their accomplishments. Fred was also one of their greatest motivators in getting them to do the best at whatever they were involved in.

He will be lovingly missed by all who knew him, especially his loving wife and partner of 61 years who held his hand as he peacefully passed quietly from this life.

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


Hazel Marie Good Ballard

Hazel Marie Good (Ballard) was born on December 26, 1925, in Great Falls and died at her home in town on March 25, 2015, surrounded by family. She lived more than 70 years of her life on the Good family homestead north of Great Falls. Family and farm were her passions. Hazel was a strong woman from pioneering stock and was a true matriarch whose wisdom, love and values are woven into the continuing generations.

Hazel graduated from Great Falls High School in 1943, and was an accomplished artist who studied with Mother Raphael. After high school she attended a local business college where she excelled in bookkeeping. During WW II she worked at Gore Hill and was in charge of tracking all repairs made to planes flown to the Hill. She created a sophisticated system that allowed the mechanics to easily see every repair made to any plane brought to Gore Hill; a system that was acclaimed by visiting Air Force officers. When the war ended she began working as a bookkeeper at Bison Ford.

She married Robert E. Ballard on October 5, 1948. Together they farmed the family land and added a place outside of Big Sandy, Montana, in the Hopp-Iliad community. Later, they sold the Big Sandy farm to buy land closer to the home place. During her marriage, Hazel made custom drapes at home for The Pin Cushion, served as the school clerk for Benton Lake School and was involved in many other activities throughout her life.

She described herself as a housewife, but Hazel did so much more. She was a Camp Fire leader, Room Mother, helped with 4-H, belonged to the Home Extension Club and was a general factotum on many occasions. She was there when needed by her family and was a shining star as a grandmother; always there to cheer them on in activities or life, to help, to offer comfort, to laugh with and to just relax and talk. Nothing was more important to Hazel than her family, and we are all stronger and better people for her guidance.

Hazel had a keen sense of humor and a knack for great one-liners. She loved coffee; bananas, especially in a banana cream pie; cribbage; folk art; crossword puzzles; reading historical stories; long summer evening shadows cast by the trees around the farm; bird songs, especially the song of the meadowlark; flowers and wheat fields.

Hazel is survived by her children; John Ballard of Floweree, Belva Jean (Steve) McCracken and Pamela Roatch of Great Falls. She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren; Rachael McCracken (Justin Klaeb) of Los Angeles, Caitlin McCracken of Boston and William Roatch of Floweree; as well as many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Charles and Kate Good, her husband Robert Ballard and seven brothers and sisters; Rachel, Elton, Melvin, Paul, Beryl, Freda and Ferne.

A private family burial has already occurred. In lieu of cards and flowers donations may be made to the Museum of the Northern Great Plains, Peace Hospice or a charity of your choice.


Janet M. Charlson

Janet (Johnston - Smerker) Charlson, 57, a retired CNA, restaurant manager and homemaker, died of complications of cancer at a local hospital on Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Jan was born in Great Falls on April 15, 1957. She was known as a direct person who had a deep devotion to her family and friends. She was a very reliable person that everyone in the family counted on whenever they needed help or support.

Janet is survived by her husband, Bob Charlson of Highwood; stepdaughter, Amy Pomeroy of Anchorage, Alaska; stepsons, Wade Charlson of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Joe Charlson of Bozeman, Montana; father, Charlie Smerker of Great Falls; brothers, Mike Johnston of Reno, Nevada, Frank (Shorty) Smerker of Great Falls, and Darren (Red) Smerker of Missoula.

Those who have proceeded Janet in death include her mother, Ruby (Stenstud) Smerker and daughter, Amanda.

A visitation for Janet was held March 30 at Croxford Funeral Home in Great Falls. A Celebration of Life service, officiated by Mick Gray, was held following the visitation. Janet was laid to rest at Manchester Cemetery following the service.


Lloyd Samuel Kurth

Lloyd S. Kurth, Jr., a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force known by friends and family as ‘Sonny’, died at the age of 86 on Sunday, March 15 in San Antonio, Texas.

Kurth, who spent his 24-year career flying planes in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, will be remembered by friends and family for his undying sense of humor, impeccable memory, love of adventure and knack for storytelling.

Born in Great Falls, Montana, on November 17, 1928, to parents Lloyd S. Kurth and Gaynelle L. Kurth, Sonny spent his childhood between Geraldine and Fort Benton, graduating from Geraldine High School in 1946 and earning a Bachelor in Arts from the University of Montana in 1951.

He joined the United States Air Force in 1953. During his career, he served in the Vietnam War and was stationed around the world, piloting many planes including the Boeing C-47, Lockheed C-130, Fairchild C-123 and Boeing T-39.

He married Rita Raymonde Slowey on February 4, 1954. Together they raised three boys, Gary, Jeffrey, and Casey. The family moved around the country, changing homes as often as once a year. The family moved to Missoula upon his retirement in June of 1974, as Sonny and Rita had always considered the state of Montana their home.

After retirement, they continued to tour the United States, owning over seven homes across 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 children, six grandchildren, and numerous friends around the country.

He is survived by his wife Rita, sister Mary Jane, three sons, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. A service will be held in his memory on July 4, 2015 in Fort Benton, Montana.


Steve Kalanick (notice)

Steve Kalanick, 101, of Big Sandy, passed away on March 23, 2015 in Great Falls. No services are being planned. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.


Dorothy Mae Evans

(January 18, 1926 - October 22, 2014)

Dorothea Mae Doll was born in Garnett, Kansas, on January 18, 1926, to homesteading parents Otis and Dora Doll. Dorothy was the valedictorian of Geraldine High School in 1944. Following graduation, she attended teletype school in Minneapolis then moved to Chicago where she worked as a teletype operator for the Santa Fe Railroad. After a year in Chicago, she returned to Montana to assist her parents with harvest on the farm at Shonkin.

Dorothy attended MSU and received her B.S. in Education. Following graduation, she taught biology and home economics at Stanford High School for several years.

Dorothy and Robert Evans married on July 7, 1951, and lived at Merino for several years where she served as the Merino Postmaster and Station Caretaker of the BN Railroad.

Dorothy was known as a woman of many talents. She enjoyed decorating cakes, china painting, sewing, crafts of all kinds, and her garden and flowers. There was no project too big for Dorothy to tackle; if she couldn’t afford something - she made it. Dorothy was the past-president of the Montana China Painters Association, a 4-H leader for over 40 years, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church along with serving many years in Presbytery. Dorothy also had a true sense of adventure; she loved to travel and did so with family and friends discovering the wonders of this world.

Family was extremely important to Dorothy. As the matriarch of the Evans clan, she loved sharing her talents. Dorothy supported her family by attending countless musical and sporting events over the years. The lights of her life were her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In January of 2014, Dorothy moved to Billings, but her heart never left the ranch. Even in her apartment, Dorothy still had a small garden and enjoyed planting many flowers. She appreciated friends and family that visited her and enjoyed making new friends.

Following a short illness, Dorothy passed away October 22, 2014 surrounded by family. Dorothy is survived by her five children, Bob Evans (Kathern), Brian Evans (Cathy), Linda Horst, Bruce Evans (Debbie), and Debbie Pomroy (Steve); 11 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Dorothy has joined her husband, Bob; sisters, Elna (Jim) Allen and Mary Ellen Doll; her parents; and many other friends in heaven.

A celebration of Dorothy’s life was held Monday, October 27, at the Stanford First Presbyterian Church. A viewing was held at the church. A reception was held at the church following the burial in the Stanford Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Judith Basin Endowment Fund, Box 221, Stanford, MT 59479.


3-25-15 Issue:

Eldon Lewis Allard

Eldon Lewis Allard, 89, of Loma, passed away March 19, 2015, at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls.

Funeral services will be Friday, March 27, at 2 p.m. at Community Bible Church in Fort Benton. Burial will follow in Riverside Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Benton Funeral Home.

Eldon was born January 9, 1926, to Thane and Reba Allard and received his education in a one-room school north of Loma. He served in the US Army Air Force. Eldon worked for the railroad and the Chouteau County shop in Loma until taking over the family farm. He farmed until retirement. Eldon and Betty lived on the family farm until she became ill. They moved to Great Falls where he lived until his death.

Eldon enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, boating, music, and riding his four-wheeler. He loved old cars, trucks, and tractors. Eldon and his grandson, Dan, restored his 1928 John Deere tractor.

He will be missed.

Survivors include children, Dean Allard of Denver, Randy Allard of Loma, Bruce Allard of Covington, Wash., and Sue Bronec of Geraldine; brother, Dennis Allard of Fort Worth, Texas; sister, Dorothy Hodgkins of Tacoma, Wash.; 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Betty Allard; daughter, Kelly Moline; sister, Fay; and a brother, Raymond.


Maxine Hankins Garcia (full)

Maxine Hankins Garcia of Pablo, Montana, passed away Tuesday morning, March 17, 2015, of natural causes. Maxine grew up in Fort Benton and was the eldest of seven children. She received her teaching degree in art and physical education from Western Montana College in Dillon. She later earned her master’s degree in technology education from Leslie University.

Maxine married Jim Phillips in 1973 and had three children, Stacey, Lindsay and Dan. Maxine moved around with her family and lived a lot of her first marriage in North Dakota, Montana, Florida, Connecticut and Wisconsin. After her children were grown she moved back to live closer to her parents and family. Throughout her life she taught in many schools, her most recent being Two Eagle, Ronan Middle School and Salish Kootenai College.

Maxine met her husband Lyle “Tony” Anthony Garcia at Two Eagle School where they both worked. She loved dancing so it was only destiny that her first date with Tony was dancing to live music in Polson. Maxine and Tony were married on Feb. 14, 2004. Tony and Maxine loved spending time together, especially on their boat in the summer. They frequented their favorite bar Cheers, worked on household projects and RV’d when they could.

Maxine was an accomplished artist in many mediums including painting, pottery, stained glass and sculpture among many others. She also had many talents and interests including gardening, raising chickens, swimming, working in her art studio, sewing and spending time with her family and friends. She especially loved doing art projects with kids and has influenced the lives of many through her art and teaching. Maxine worked most recently at the Montana Area Agency on Aging where she coordinated volunteer opportunities for area senior citizens. She had a zest for life that permeated through anyone that crossed her path. She was a doer, go-getter, hard worker and compassionate person.

Maxine is survived by her husband Lyle Anthony Garcia; children, Stacey Phillips, Lindsay Phillips and Daniel Phillips; and stepchildren, Anthony Garcia and Alicia Kraft. She is preceded in death by her father John Hankins. She is survived by her mother Barbara Ehnes Hankins; sisters, Marlena Nielsen, Joan Rand and Cheryl Patterson; brothers, Rodger Hankins, Dale Hankins and John Hankins Jr. She is also survived by oodles and oodles of nieces, nephews, step-grandchildren, friends and extended family.

Memorial services were held in Ronan on March 19 and Fort Benton on March 21. Donations in memory of Maxine Hankins Garcia can be made to: Western Montana Area VI Agency on Aging, 110 Main St. Suite 5, Polson, MT 59860.


3-18-15 Issue:

Maraget Carver

Margaret Lena (Klay) Carver, 90, of Missoula, passed away Thursday morning, March 12, of natural causes at her home with her son by her side.

Margaret was born November 20, 1924, in Great Falls to Lawrence and Cora Klay. They lived in Great Falls, Augusta, and Eden. When her grandfather, Robert Klay, passed away they moved to the homestead in the Highland mountains. It was a large ranch and Margaret said she “worked like a man” helping her dad. She loved riding horses.

She attended schools in Shonkin, Geraldine, and Square Butte. Margaret finished the eighth grade in lower Shonkin.

She married James Lyman Carver, Sr. in Reno, Nevada, on January 31, 1942, after he returned from Pearl Harbor.

Margaret sold Avon for many years in Missoula and Great Falls.

Her greatest joy was her family and she was always there for them. She loved crocheting and blessed many people with her angels and snowflakes. Throughout their marriage, Margaret and James enjoyed bowling on many different leagues.

The lived in Great Falls, Butte, Missoula, and McMinnville, Oregon. Finally settling in the nine-mile area. In 1991 they sold their home and bought a 40-foot motor home. They traveled around the country visiting friends and relatives and making many new friends along the way.

James died in 1994 of cancer. Margaret traded in the 40-foot Bounder for a 20-foot Itasca and continued on by herself for another six years. She was 76 years young when her doctor said “no more.” She then resided at the Clark Fork Manor in Missoula, then moved up to Polson Lake, and finally back to Missoula at Glengarra Place. She made many friends along the way.

She is survived by her daughters, Margaret “Peggy” (Robert) Little of Belleview, Florida and Colleen (Larry) Scharberg of Missoula; a son, Jim (Nancy) of Frenchtown; ten grandchildren, Larry Little, Kathy Wodtke, Peggy Chaffin, Janice Gilder, Laura McCloney, Kristine Simmons, James Carver III, Rick Carver, Trevor Job, and Donica Bigongiari; 27 great grandchildren; and 16 great great grandchildren; plus many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, James; parents; Lawrence and Cora; sister, Carol Clark; daughter, Janice Irene Carver; grandson, Lance Little; great grandson, Maverick Goodsell; great granddaughter, Bella; great great grandson, Kasen; and daughter-in-law, Sandra Jean Carver.

Special thanks to her niece, Nancy Rishoff, for her loving care and help; Dr. Carla Davis with Hospice; and all her nurses and caretakers.

Services will be at 1 p.m. at Thursday, March 19, at Benton Funeral Home with burial following in Riverside Cemetery. Visitation will be from 11 to noon on Thursday at funeral home.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Hazel Piland

Hazel Marie Piland, 80, passed away peacefully Sunday, March 15, 2015, at home in Hermiston, Oregon. Burns Mortuary is in charge of cremation. A celebration of her life will take place at a later date.

Hazel was born in Bejou, Minnesota. Preceding her in death were her parents Mandt and M. Christine (Lutnes) Ostby, and a son, Steve Spaabeck.

Hazel is survived by a son, Vernon Spaabeck; and daughters Virginia (Spaabeck) Garcia of Santa Rosa, California; Jodi (Hankins) Deck of Hermiston, Oregon; Kathryn (Norcutt) Lindquist of Pillager, Minnesota; and Michelle Piland of Minnesota; eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


Maxine Hankins Garcia (notice)

Maxine Hankins Garcia passed away March 17, 2015 in Missoula, Montana.

Services will be held on Thursday, March 19 at 1 p.m. at Terrace Lake Community Church in Ronan, Montana and on Saturday, March 21 at 1 p.m. at First Christian Church in Fort Benton.

A full obituary will be published at a later date.


3-11-15 Issue:

Gordon W. Schlack

Gordon W. Schlack died peacefully March 4, 2015 at the age of 91 from Alzheimer’s disease at Elkhorn nursing home in Clancy, Montana. He was born September 19, 1923 in Great Falls, Montana, to Fred and Jennie (Enochson) Schlack. Gordon graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1942, and served in the United States Army in the South Pacific during WWII at Finschhaven, New Guinea and in the Philippines. He attended the Progressive School of Photography in New Haven, Connecticut and Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California on the GI Bill. He and his wife, Una, owned a photography studio in Ashland, Oregon, in the early 1950s before returning to Montana. He lived in Bozeman, Montana, where he did freelance photography and was the Farm and Ranch Specialist for the Unemployment Service (predecessor to Montana Job Service) in the late 1950s. He then returned to the Virgelle area and raised wheat and cattle until 1970, when Gordon and his family returned to Bozeman. There he kept a small horse farm and worked at Ernst Home Center, Big R Ranch Supply, Country West and other retail stores where his open warmth and ready humor made him well-loved. He moved to Helena in 2005.

Gordon called himself “just an old farmer,” but those who knew him understood the care and connection he had to animals, especially his horses, and his artist’s eye was revealed in the thousands of photographs he took during his life. He was a Mason, a lifelong member of Benton Lodge #25, and was also in the Order of the Eastern Star.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Una Mae (Johnson) Schlack whom he married in 1948. He is also survived by his daughter, Brenda Wahler, son-in-law Eric Wahler, granddaughter Venerable Lozang Yönten (Larisa Wahler), of New Zealand and first cousins in the Chouteau County area of the Darlington, Reichelt and Richard families. His good friends included Henry Parsons of Belgrade and “Kat” the cat – his recliner pal.

Gordon was predeceased by his parents, his sisters Lucille “Susie” (Schlack) Stack (1919-2007) and Lorraine Schlack (1921-1924), as well as nephews Francis Stack (1940-2013) and Donald Stack (1950-2009).

A graveside memorial service will be held Friday, March 20, 2015, at 1 p.m. at Montana Veteran’s Cemetery, Fort Harrison, Helena, Montana. Reception to follow, location TBA.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to: Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, PO Box 11390, Bozeman, MT 59719; or Montana Horse Sanctuary, PO Box 10, Simms, MT 59477.