Local Obituaries

 

7-27-16 Issue:

Francis L. Engellant

On Thursday, July 21, 2016, Francis L. Engellant, 90, passed away peacefully at Highgate Senior Living surrounded by his loving wife and family due to complications from Alzheimer’s.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2016, at the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church, with visitation held one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow in the Geraldine Cemetery.

Francis was born on April 10, 1926, on the family farm outside of Geraldine to Hans and Emma (Jochims) Engellant. He was raised with his brother and sister on the family farm, attending Sunnyside Country School until he transferred to Geraldine. Francis graduated from Geraldine High School in 1944, and worked on the family farm until he enlisted in the Army Air Corp in August 1944. During a furlough in March of 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Blanche Blyth, in the home of her parents Fred and Iza Blyth, and the couple made their temporary home in Denver, Colorado, where he was stationed until his discharge in October of 1945. Following Francis’ honorable discharge, the couple returned to the Geraldine area where they began farming and ranching in the Graceville country, northeast of Geraldine.

Throughout Francis’ life, he demonstrated a great deal of common sense. The couple only used their 1948 Chevy truck about once a week to go to town, and in the winter months, Francis would store the oil and battery for the truck behind their wood stove in the house to keep them warm. When they were ready to leave, he would hook up the battery and pour the oil into the truck, and it would start right up.

In 1951, the couple purchased Francis’ uncle Herman’s farm four miles north of Geraldine to expand their farm and ranch. They were closer to town so the children could attend school easier and so they had access to electricity and telephone. However, they kept the original farm to work, raising cattle in addition to farming. Over the years, Francis and Blanche worked hard, and later purchased a summer place at Swan Lake, which has provided many hours of fun for the family throughout the years. The couple retired in 1988, relocating to Fort Benton, continuing to help on the family farm, and spending their time traveling, throwing darts, bowling, boating, fishing, and watching grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The couple traveled as well, visiting Hawaii, taking cruises, and traveling all over the United States as well as Europe, where they particularly enjoyed a trip to Germany. In January of 2013 the couple relocated one more time, this time to Highgate Senior Living in Great Falls due to Francis’ failing health.

Francis was an active member of the American Legion and supported the VFW, and was a member of the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church and numerous other community groups. He served on the Geraldine School Board and the Chouteau County Livestock Protective Association. Francis also was a founding member of the Lippard-Clawiter Foundation, serving as a board member from 1980-2012, and president of the board from 1989-2011, after which he was named an honorary member for life. Recently, he was nominated and selected for the Yoneo Ono Award for volunteerism by the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

Francis was preceded in death by his parents Hans and Emma Engellant, his brother Arnold Engellant, his sister Edna Bernasek, his son Edward, his premature twin grandsons Lucas and Joseph Dahinden, and his parents-in-law Fred and Iza Blyth.

He is survived by Blanche Engellant, his loving wife of 71 years, of Great Falls; his children, Laura (Merlin) Voegele of Helena, Don (Karol) Engellant and Rick (Becky) Engellant, all of Geraldine, and Jill (Steve) Dahinden of Joplin; his daughter-in-law Lois Zillges of Olympia, Washington; his eleven grandchildren; his fourteen great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Francis’ family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the staff at Highgate Senior Living for their loving atmosphere and caring staff who cared so well for Francis during his last days.

Francis’ family has requested that memorial donations be made in his name to the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church, 333 Collins Ave W, PO Box 167, Geraldine, MT 59446, the Geraldine Vets Hall, PO Box 354, Geraldine, MT 59446, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Benton Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Francis’ online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for his family at www.hollandbonine.com.


Mary Embleton Briese

Mary Embleton Briese (94) passed away on July 19, 2016.

Mary was born in Fort Benton, Montana to Gilbert and Sadie (Birmingham) Embleton on August 25, 1921. She was raised with her sisters Dorothy and Franny and her brother Bill at the Green Roof, the family homestead five miles north of Fort Benton on the Teton River. She was the daughter of a hard working rancher/roundup boss and a Milner (hat maker). Mary loved to share her memories of growing up on the family homestead where Sunday dinners always consisted of fried chicken, homemade ice cream and lots of company.

Mary attended elementary and high school in Fort Benton, where she graduated in 1939 with honors as part of the 25th graduating class. After graduation Mary travelled to Bozeman, where she attended Montana State College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics with a minor in English in 1945. She was a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority, Home Economics Club and the Phi Upsilon Omicron (national home economics honorary society). After graduation, Mary taught Home Economics and English in Havre for one year and later substitute taught in Fort Benton.

Mary met Herbert E. Briese and they were married at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Benton on August 18, 1946. The details of how they met and their courtship are unclear, but Mary once told someone they were secretly engaged for a year. Herbert and Mary purchased part of the homestead north of Loma from Herb’s family after their marriage, where they moved into an old homestead house that had been used as a granary. They raised four sons and two daughters on that small dryland grain operation.

Mary was known as a great cook that could make anything out of nothing. Her world famous eggs, chocolate chip cookies and Green Roof cake were just a few of her specialties. She and Herbert were very frugal as they remembered the Great Depression and worked hard to provide for their family. Mary was known to save and reuse Ziplock bags until they made better strainers than bags.

You never saw Mary without a smile on her face; she had a lot of reasons to smile. She was very proud and supportive of her children, encouraging all of them to go to college right after high school instead of taking a year off. She kept remarkable track of her 13 grandchildren, always knowing where they were, what they were doing and proudly telling stories of their accomplishments.

Mary is survived by her husband of nearly 70 years, Herbert, her children Clinton (Linda) Briese, Darrel (Shirley) Briese, Debi (John) Grass, Kim Briese, Deena (Dave Manix) Briese and EJ (Ana Burrougs) Briese; and grandchildren Lex Briese, Danny Briese, Farrah McGregor, Kyle Grass, Justus Wendland, Keyla Briese, Levi Briese, Erika Han, Beau Briese, Adam Briese, Nick Briese, Sierra Briese and Dallas Briese. Mary also has six great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren that would light up her eyes!

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Dorothy Gallup and Francis Baack and brother Bill Embleton.

Mary’s family would like to extend a special thank you to Brenda Price and Naldean Nash for the wonderful care they provided Mary during her time at the Sunrise Bluff Estates.

Funeral services for Mary were held at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton on Saturday morning, July 23. Graveside services followed the service and a remembrance luncheon was hosted in the basement of the Catholic Church.

Please visit Mary’s online memorial page to leave a message of condolence for the family at www.hollandbonine.com. Benton Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements.

Memorials can be made in Mary’s name to the Sunrise Bluff Estates, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton or the charity of your choice.


Melba Booth

Melba Laurel (Joslin) Booth, 92, of Great Falls, a retired business owner and homemaker, died in her sleep on July 19, 2016 at her home.

At Mom’s request, there will be no services. Cremation has taken place under the direction of O’Connor Funeral Home.

Melba was born on August 25, 1923 in Landusky, Montana to Ora P. and Nellie Winifred (Erickson) Joslin. She attended Hays Elementary School and graduated from Chinook High School in Chinook, Montana in 1940. She married Fred V. Booth on October 20, 1941. They remained together until his death on September 9, 1991. Together they raised four daughters and worked in their dry cleaning and clothing business in Fort Benton until their retirement in 1987.

Melba and Fred enjoyed golfing together. Mom moved to Great Falls in 1993. Her greatest joy came from her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed having dinner and playing Skip Bo with her family and friends.

Melba is survived by her daughters, Anita Rothera of Roseburg, Oregon, Barbara Krumwiede of Bend, Oregon, Charmaine Bonfantini of Rohnert Park, California, and Diane Booth-Gilliam of San Marcos, Texas; grandchildren Denise Bennett of Myrtle Point, Oregon, Darcy Wageman of Tacoma, Washington, Beckee (Rick) Van Wagner of Clermont, Florida, Jennifer Kennedy of Hillsboro, Oregon, Gary (Michelle) Dawson of Billings, Montana, and Cherie (Jim)Wheeler of Santa Rosa, California; great-grandchildren Rebecca Bennett, Dean Michael Bennett, Kyle Hardy, Troy Wageman, Abigail Van Wagner, Gabriel Van Wagner, Ricky Van Wagner, Asgard Dawson, Gibson Dawson, and Joshua Columbo; and great-great-grandchild Aurora Rodrigeuz.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Joslin and granddaughter Dana Hardy.

Memorials may be given to the Dedman Animal Foundation, 2400 High St, Fort Benton, MT 59442.

Condolences may be left online at OConnorFuneralHome.com.


7-20-16 Issue:

Margaret Redant O’Hara

Margaret G. Redant O’Hara, 95, died peacefully surrounded by family on Monday, July 18, 2016 at Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton.

Christian Vigil Service will be held Sunday, July 24, at 7 p.m.; Funeral Mass will be held Monday July 25, at 11 a.m., all at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton. Memorials may be made in Margaret’s name to Chouteau County Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 91, Fort Benton. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Benton Funeral Home.

Margaret was born in Everett, Washington in 1920 to Prosper and Cardula (VanDeEckout) Redant. She attended school in Everett, later moving to the family ranch on Teton River in 1936, where she later met Vincent O’Hara. They were married December 1, 1941 and farmed in the Goosebill area. Later the couple moved to Fort Benton in 1952, and retired from farming in 1976. In 2000 they again relocated to Great Falls, where Margaret remained until 2014 when she moved to Missouri River Medical Center.

She is survived by her children, Patricia (Bill) Szudera, of Havre; Mary Louise (John) McShane, of Lolo; and Michael (Diana) O’Hara, of Fort Benton; 10 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Vincent; and daughter, Elise.


Timothy John Kelly

Timothy John Kelly, 61, passed away Saturday, July 16, 2016 at his home in Fort Benton. Cremation will take place and his memorial service is being planned. A full obituary will be in next week’s paper. Services have been entrusted to Benton Funeral Home.


Mary Embleton Briese

Mary Embleton Briese, 94, of Loma, Montana passed away on July 19, 2016. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.


7-13-16 Issue:

Anders Cole Andreasen

Anders Cole Andreasen, 23, of Fort Benton, known to many of his friends as “Ders,” passed away over the 4th of July weekend.

Anders was born on January 25, 1993 in Great Falls and was raised in Fort Benton. He graduated from Fort Benton High School in 2011 and participated in many activities and sports during high school. He went on to attend Montana State University, graduating this past May with a degree in Agricultural Business. A proud member of the Bobcat Rodeo team, he loved traveling and making new friends along the way.

Anders grew up playing in the dirt at rodeo arenas, learning to rope as soon as he could swing and riding horses as soon as he could hang on. As Anders got older the people that watched him play became his rodeo partners and some his mentors. Anders enjoyed many vacations and weekend getaways with friends and family that left him with precious memories and an opportunity to see a different world. He was eager to learn about the world and became close friends with some of the Ag trainees from other countries that worked on the farm. He once packed up and took off to England on a whim and stated it was the best trip of his life. Even though Anders was from a small town, he had thousands of friends from all over the world. Anders was happiest spending time at the farm and with family and friends, whether it be farming, working cattle, roping/rodeo, hunting, football, basketball, wrestling, thinking up a crazy shenanigan and a way to make someone laugh. He had an infectious smile that could light up any room or arena, a quick wit, an incredible gift of humor and a way with words. Known by many for his ingenuity, he enjoyed “constructing” things, fixing up his camper and the “shack” at the river and his old pickup “Blue Thunder.” Anders took great pride in his little brother, the “Lazy K6” family farm, his rope swing, wacky t-shirts and thrift store “fashion finds” as well as his vinyl record collection, herd of cattle and beloved horses. His life was short, but was filled with fun, family, friends, laughter, travel, shenanigans, jokes and also tears.

Anders was preceded in death by his father, Henning Andreasen, and grandfather, Bendt Andreasen.

Anders is survived by his mother, Terrianne Andreasen; brothers, Randall Trudell and Jaron Andreasen; grandmothers Marie Bidwell and Ruth (Lenington) Andreasen; uncles Thomas Hill, Robbie (Michelle) Calkin (cousins Hayley and Chad), and Steen (Dawn) Andreasen (cousins Dane and Toren); aunts Vickie (Kirk) Reichelt (cousins Austin and Addison), Yvonne (Tim) Bintliff, Anna (Robin) Cline (cousins Mariah, Jared Bendt and Andreas), Erika Andreasen, and Nilia (Tony) Steiner (cousins Hayden and Miles). Anders also leaves behind two very special friends, Taylor Judisch and Hallie Bronec, as well as his large extended family and many childhood friends and others he met throughout his life.

We are all saddened and brokenhearted that Anders chose to be with his father, grandfather, friend Casey Allison and others that went before him. If you knew him, be grateful that you had that opportunity and got to experience his friendship. A “celebration” of his life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 15th at the Chouteau County fairgrounds. Please feel free to attend and share your memories, especially funny stories, as Anders loved to make people smile and laugh. We’re asking his friends to wear a shirt that “Anders would be proud you are wearing and jealous he didn’t own.” If you knew Anders through College Rodeo, please honor him by wearing your team apparel. The celebration will be followed by a humorous slide show and reception hosted by many friends.


Guy M. Willson

Guy M. Willson, 88, passed away outside in nature, while listening to birds singing, July 1st, 2016.

Raised in Virgelle, Montana, Guy farmed and ranched since his youth. After serving in the Navy, having been selected for his aptitude in electrical communications, he graduated with top honors in his civil engineering class from Montana State University. Guy was recruited to Sandia Corporation for a contract with the Atomic Energy commission in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then to Aerojet General in Folsom, California, where he worked designing and testing jet propulsion fuels. He met his wife of 50 years, Joni, while in California. His love of farming and ranching and his independent nature drew them back to the Willson family ranch, where he worked the place with his father and brothers, eventually branching on his own to land north of Moore, Montana, where he successfully farmed wheat and barley for 40 years.

Guy was a respected farmer, neighbor, businessman, and father. He also loved flying, pursued advanced piloting skills, enjoyed Montana Flying Farmers and Montana Pilots Association “fly-ins,” as well as volunteered his time with Montana Civil Air Patrol/Flight Search and Rescue.

He leaves wife, Joni, three children, Lois (and Larry), Roger (and Carla), and April, and two step-children, John (and Lisa) and Sue (and Jim), nine grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and brothers Kenny Willson of Neihart, Montana and Jack Willson of Fort Benton, Montana.

Cremation has taken place and the date for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.


Charles Alfred Shaw

Charles Alfred Shaw was born September 19, 1958 to William Alfred Shaw and Anne Marie Stranahan Shaw in Great Falls, and passed away at Peace Hospice in Great Falls on June 28, 2016.

Chuck attended school in Fort Benton and graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1977. After graduation, he joined the Navy and served for four years. He married Lynn Hicks in July 1992 and gained a family; Katherine, Jennifer and Walter Nagel. Chuck lived and worked in many places, including Fort Benton, Great Falls, Sparks, Nevada; Missoula, and Havre. Chuck’s step-children and Lynn were able to visit him in hospice and were glad to have spent a bit more time with him.

He was preceded in death by his younger brother, John, and his parents, Al and Anne.

He is survived by Lynn Hicks, his children: Katherine (Mike) Brown of North Carolina, Jennifer (Carlos) Flores of Ohio, and Walter (Morgan) Nagel of Ohio; six grandchildren and five step grandchildren, and his brothers: Bill (Penny) of Bozeman, David (Kris) of Havre, and Doug (Susan) of Oklahoma.

A graveside service will be held at a later date.


Betty Lou Pawlowski

Betty Lou Pawlowski, 82, of Great Falls passed away on Thursday July, 7, 2016 at Peace Hospice of natural causes.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mountain View Lutheran Church, 800 Sacajawea Drive. Cremation has taken place under the direction of O’Connor Funeral Home.

Betty was born May 29, 1934 on the family farm in Wessington Springs, South Dakota to Arne and Mary (Tapken) Houwman. Betty was baptized and confirmed at St. John Lutheran Church in Lane, South Dakota.

On September 18, 1955 she was married to Ken Pawlowski at the Zion Lutheran Church in Wessington Springs. They farmed in that area for three years and moved to Woonsocket in 1958 where she worked at the local newspaper office. In1972 they moved to the Aberdeen area and in 1978 to Lewistown, Montana, where she worked for the school system in food services at both locations.

Throughout those years she was an active member of the LWML, served as church secretary, taught Sunday school, mid-week school, and Vacation Bible School. Betty was a member of the Mountain View Lutheran Church.

Betty is survived by her husband, Ken of Great Falls; daughter, Charlotte (Lonnie) Jackson of Summer, Washington; grandson Austin; step-grandson Brad; and one brother and one sister.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and son Gary.


7-6-16 Issue:

Rosalie Pejko Johnso

Rosalie Pejko Johnson was born in Belt, Montana on November 7, 1926 to Nellie and George Pejko. She passed away peacefully at her home in Highwood on Saturday, June 25, 2016.

One needs to look back in time to get the full picture of mom’s early life. Rosie’s dad immigrated to the United States from Nemecke, Czechoslovakia passing through Ellis Island in the early years of the height of immigration. George then crossed the U.S. via train arriving in Great Falls, then on to his final destination of Belt, Montana, to join a small community of Czech coal miners. He had left his wife, Nellie and six children in Czechoslovakia until he could earn enough money to pay for their passage to the U.S.

Nellie Leggis Pejko with children, age 18 years to eight months (John, Margaret, George, Millie, Edward and Martha) in tow, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in steerage on a large ship arriving in the port of New York on September 8, 1923. After going through Ellis Island, not speaking a word of English, only Czechoslovakian, they boarded a train to cross the continental U.S. They arrived in Great Falls where her husband fetched them.

George and Nellie settled on the northeast side of Belt, close to the Cologne/Johnson Mine, where George was a coal miner. Three more children followed: Mary, Andrew and Rosalie, our mom, being the “baby of the family.” Their early years were spent playing with cats and kittens since toys were scarce, helping in the huge garden, milking their cow, hauling in coal to heat the house and other chores.

Mom vividly remembered the day in December when the siren went off in Belt while she was at school in the third grade. This siren signaled that a mining accident/cave-in had happened, her father being one of the fatalities of that accident.

Nellie raised her youngest children, including mom, on a small miner’s pension. She also received help from the older children who had already left home to get jobs. These were the depression years so life was difficult. But their home was always warm and they had food to eat.

After graduating from Belt Valley High School, mom got an apartment and a job in Great Falls, Montana at an insurance agency. She enjoyed her work and friends.

She met the “love of her life” at a dance in Belt. The handsome young Highwood rancher, Ken Johnson, asked if he could drive her home from the dance, and from then on it was always Kenny and Rosie together. They married May 21, 1950 and started out their married life in a small two room house built on the ranch just east of Highwood. Mom evolved from a “city girl” to a “ranch woman.” Three children followed, Terry in 1952, Kendra in 1953 and Brian in 1958.

Mom had many different roles over the years: loving wife and mother, best cook ever, nurturer of small lambs and calves, ranch partner, Sunday school teacher, 4-H supporter, ranch business manager … she did it all, even chauffeured her children to Belt each week for piano lessons. She especially loved and enjoyed her grandchildren, attending all their school activities. Mom used to love a good game of bridge with the McGowan and Walker neighbors, and more recently, watching her beloved goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers and rosy finches enjoy the bird seed buffet she had set out for them just outside her living room window. It always brought mom great joy to have a full table of family and friends for dinner. She always prepared more than enough for her family “just in case someone drops by at mealtime,” she’d explain.

Mom and Dad had 63 happy years together. After our dad, Kenny, passed away October 25, 2013, mom continued to live independently in her home on the ranch. She contributed every day, helping pay bills, taking care of business and reminding her youngest son, Brian, and grandson Kevin what ranch deadlines were coming up.

The days preceding the June 10, 2016 wedding of her youngest grandchild (Kimberly) brought all Rosie’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to Highwood at the same time. These days were very special to mom and all of us.

Our mom was a generous and giving person, never wanting any attention drawn to herself. Honoring her expressed wishes we will not have any formal services. However, following harvest, the family will gather to place Mom and Dad’s ashes side by side, as they were in life, on a hill overlooking the ranch, the creek bottom and the Highwood Mountains they loved.

Survivors include: Rosie’s brother, Andy Pejko of Georgia; sister Martha Nicholson of Alaska; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Julie and Dave Smith of Great Falls; her children and spouses, Terry and Deb Johnson of Missoula, Kendra and Will Selser of Helena and Brian and Laurie Johnson of Highwood; beloved grandchildren, Briana and JD McCrumb of Littleton, Colorado, Kristen and Shawn Jewett of Aurora, Colorado, Lindsay Selser and Kyle Jackson of Eugene, Oregon, Kaitlyn Selser of Chicago, Illinois, Jean Britzius of Great Falls, Kevin and Leah Johnson of Highwood, and Kimberly and John MacDonald of Billings, Montana; and sweet great grandchildren, Mckenzie McCrumb and baby sister or brother due in September, Willa and Boone Jackson and Emily Willis.

Rosie was always very involved in the Highwood Community. So, in remembrance of her, the family suggests memorials to the Highwood Rural Fire Department or Highwood Schools.


Donald Wayne Beecher

Donald Wayne Beecher passed away on June 30, 2016.

Donald was born in Fort Benton, Montana to parents Fred and Louise Beecher. Don’s dad passed away when Don was 14 years old, which then sent him to work so his mom and sis could eat.

After he graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1951 he moved his mom and sister to San Francisco, California. There he was drafted and promptly went into the Air Force. In 1952 he was sent to Korea after being trained to intercept enemy code. Shortly after, he was promoted to staff sergeant and was in charge of 60 men in the 15th Radio Squadron Mobile. They were moved away from the Air Force base and were in top security. If North Korea found them, Don had to get his men out and push the button to blow up the building.

In 1956, after Korea, Don want to college on the GI Bill, majoring in computer science. He was employed at Ford Aerospace in Palo Alto for 35 years as a programmer analyst, working with top security government contracts. He retired at 55.

Don met Joan Casella at college and they were married. They had 58 (one month shy of 59) wonderful years together. They had five children – Wayne, John, Suzanne, Bill and Brian. Don and Joan’s grandchildren are Tiffany, Zachary, Wayne, Robert, Holly, Bailey and Jamie, and their great grandchildren are Liliana and Sebastian. With the help of Santa Clara County, Don and Joan raised 200 foster children over 35 years.

Donald lived life to the fullest. His favorite activities included fishing at Lake Berryessa and Lake Tahoe (Lake Trout), bowling league, golfing, Men’s Club in Santa Clara, snow skiing, coaching Little League teams and umpiring the nights he didn’t coach. He held season tickets for the San Jose Sharks for 25 years, going to their games at the Cow Palace from 1991 to 1993 and at the San Jose Arena since then. He also had seats for the 49ers, Warriors and Giants games. He and his boys often went to the games, and sometimes Suzanne went, too.

Joan said, “We were very fortunate to travel most of the USA and to Mexico and the Caribbean, and we took three trips to Europe, visiting nine countries.

“We had a very wonderful life.”


Rita Ramonde (Slowey) Kurth

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

Rita was 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; Katie Kurth Bobich, Christopher Lloyd Kurth, Alexandra Kurth, Andrea Kurth, Caleb Kurth, and Kailani Kurth; three great grandchildren, Henry Bobich, Jameson Lee Kurth and Harris Bobich; one sister, Donna Lee Holland; and two cousins, Bill and Bob Patterson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lloyd S. Kurth, and her parents Russell and Carol Slowey.

Graveside services will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, July 9, 2016, at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton. Benton Funeral Home has been entrusted with services.


Anders Andreasen (Notice)

The River Press learned Tuesday afternoon that Anders Cole Andreasen of Fort Benton passed away over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Anders graduated from Fort Benton High School in 2011 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Montana State University this spring. Anders was the son of Terrianne Andreasen and the late Henning Andreasen and the brother of Jaron Andreasen.

A service is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, July 15h at the Chouteau County Fairgrounds in the grandstands. A reception will follow at the fairgrounds, as well.


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.