Local Obituaries

 

5-20-15 Issue:

Ilene Ella Ray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Private family services will be planned at a later date.


Jean Ann Wright-Hampton

November 3, 1936 – February 19, 2015

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

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

contracted and built her personal home in Polson, Montana.

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

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

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

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


5-13-15 Issue:

Kathy Sue (Allen) Gallagher (update)

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

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

Kathy had two children, Eric Holleran and Candace Friesen.

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

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

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

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


5-6-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


4-29-15 Issue:

Stephanie A. LaBelle

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

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

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

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

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

Stephanie was preceded in death by her father and mother.

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


4-22-15 Issue:

Clint Jack Wright

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

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

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

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

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

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


4-15-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


4-8-15 Issue:

Gene T. Thompson

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

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

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

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

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

Gene was a loving husband and father to his family.

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

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

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


Dennis Thane Allard

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

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

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

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

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


4-1-15 Issue:

Fred Edward Davison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hazel Marie Good Ballard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Janet M. Charlson

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

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

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

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

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


Lloyd Samuel Kurth

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

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

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

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

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

After retirement, they continued to tour the United States, owning over seven homes across the country, including a ranch in Murray, Kentucky and a summer home in Seeley Lake, Montana. They spent time traveling between their homes and visiting their children, six grandchildren, and numerous friends around the country.

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


Steve Kalanick (notice)

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


Dorothy Mae Evans

(January 18, 1926 - October 22, 2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3-25-15 Issue:

Eldon Lewis Allard

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

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

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

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

He will be missed.

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

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


Maxine Hankins Garcia (full)

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

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

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

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

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

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


3-18-15 Issue:

Maraget Carver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Hazel Piland

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

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

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


Maxine Hankins Garcia (notice)

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

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

A full obituary will be published at a later date.


3-11-15 Issue:

Gordon W. Schlack

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

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

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

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

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

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


3-4-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


2-25-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


2-18-15 Issue:

Rose Wolf Albright Rowe

Rose Wolf Albright Rowe was the eighth child born to Martin and Carolina Wolf on February 10, 1913, and she passed away in Fort Benton on February 10, 2015, at the age of 102. Honoring her request, no services will be held.

Rose was born in Odessa, Canada. She came with her parents to Montana in 1913 when she was a few months old. She went to grade school in the Kevin, Russell and Shonkin schools in Montana. Rose went to high school at Saint Mary’s in Great Falls for two years, and then came to Fort Benton High School for two years and graduated in 1931.

Rose was a graduate of the Columbus Hospital of Nursing and the Carroll College of Nursing programs. She worked as a private nurse before going to work at Fort Harrison in Helena. Rose later moved to San Francisco, California, to work at the Veterans Hospital, where she became head surgical nurse. After retiring, she moved to Fort Benton in the early 1980s. She sometimes filled in at the Missouri River Medical Center. She was known to be meticulous in her work as a nurse. Rose didn’t learn to drive until after the death of her first husband, Bill Albright. She later married Frank Rowe, whom she outlived.

Rose loved to swim and was a regular at the Fort Benton pool up until her late 80s and early 90s. Gardening was Rose’s favorite hobby. She also enjoyed playing cards, and of course swimming.

Rose is survived by her daughter Carol (Gene) Ghio; one granddaughter, Nicole Ghio; and nieces and nephews.


2-11-15 Issue:

Marjorie Ethel Nagengast

Marjorie Ethel Nagengast, age 37, went to be with the angels on February 7, 2015. She passed away unexpectedly in Fort Benton with her parents by her side.

Marjorie was born July 10, 1977 in Fort Benton, Montana, to Linda and Charles Nagengast. She graduated from the Fort Benton High School in 1996 and received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology from the University of Wyoming. Margie grew up on the family farm with her sisters and her brother in Fort Benton. It was “home.” Margie lived in Billings, and Sheridan, Wyoming after graduation. She moved back to Fort Benton last year so that she could be closer to her family.

Margie was a very talented jewelry designer and crafter; she especially enjoyed handcrafting rosaries. One of her proudest accomplishments was creating the Big Sky Montana Etsy group which now has over 450 members, on an internationally known online jewelry site called Etsy. She enjoyed sharing her talents with family and friends. She also loved working to help neglected or abandoned animals. Her dog Ruby was at her side when she passed onto heaven. Margie will always be remembered for her infectious giggle, sweet spirit, her kindness, her loyalty and her love for animals. She will be greatly missed by all who loved her.

Margie loved her family and especially adored her two nieces, Elizabeth and Shelby and Godson Ricky. She is survived by her best friend and love of her life, Jonathan Frank, who unconditionally loved and cared for her through her many years of illness. Also her parents Charles and Linda, who most recently took over her care here in Fort Benton. Other survivors include sisters Julianna Stevens (Matt and Elizabeth), Kristine Oostermeyer (Tony and Shelby) and brother Jerome Nagengast (Misty Hanson). A special thank you to her dear friend Wendy who helped her persevere from day to day.

“I made a big move to Wyoming. I will always have my roots in Montana, a tumbleweed will always come home.” It is Margie’s wish to be laid to rest in Fort Benton.

Please join us in celebration of her life on Friday February 13, 2015 at “Margie’s Place” at 1010 10th Street (house next to her parents) from 4 to 6 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Fort Benton Memorial Ambulance Service in Margie’s memory. The family is so very grateful for the compassion and care they provided Margie.

“Good Bye My Little Angel.” You are forever in our hearts.


2-4-15 Issue:

Sarah Grace Courtnage

Sarah Grace Courtnage was born as an angel on January 26, 2015, at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana. She was preceded in death by her brother Tevin James Courtnage, great grandfather Kenneth Courtnage and cousin Fletcher Courtnage McKinsey.

She will always be in the heart of her mother Amanda Jo Courtnage of Geraldine.

She is survived by her grandparents Bill and Kathy Courtnage of Geraldine; great grandmother Pat Harrington of Diamond Springs, California; great grandmother Iris Courtnage of Fort Benton; great grandparents Jack (Sally) Quigley of Fallon, Nevada; uncles Nick (Melissa) Courtnage of Metlakatla, Alaska; Brice (Victoria) Courtnage of San Clemente, California; great aunt Sandy Courtnage of Fort Benton; great uncles Dave (Sherry) Quigley of Helena; Mike (Sam) Quigley of Billings; Steve Quigley of Placerville, California; and numerous cousins.

Private graveside services will be at the Geraldine Cemetery. Benton Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


1-28-15 Issue:

John Kelly

John Kelly, 94, passed away peacefully in his sleep January 22, 2015, at the Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton. Rosary services will be Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at Fort Benton Catholic Church. A graveside service will be Thursday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. at Riverside Cemetery. The burial will be followed by a reception at the Club House.

John was a descendant of a pioneering Chouteau County family that emigrated in 1866 from Ireland to Canada, down the Ohio and up the Missouri River, to finally settle in the Fort Benton area. John “Johnny” was born March 20, 1920, the third child of Ed and Mary (Embleton) Kelly. He joined his older sisters, Maribeth and Anabel, and was followed two years later by his younger brother, William “Bill.” After attending grade school at the Buck Bridge country school north of Carter he started high school in Fort Benton and graduated with the class of 1938. Despite the latter days of the Great Depression he found employment in the underground coal mines of the Bear Paw Mountains, and to the surprise of no one he loved it! He earned the princely sum of $200 a month, with which he invested in 10 head of cattle and the Kelly family’s first car. His employment in the coal mines was cut short by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and he was given a 10-day notice to report for duty, which he proudly did on March 8, 1942. He and 99 other men were in the very first draft of Chouteau County men that was conducted at the start of WWII. He served 3 ½ years (with no furloughs) stationed in England in the Air Force and was honorably discharged in the fall of 1945.

After the war, Johnny and his brother, Bill, began ranching north of Fort Benton on the Teton River, where he made his home for the next 50 years. He married Eleanor Pimperton on October 25, 1952, in Fort Benton and had five children, Kay (Bailey), Tim, Eddy, and Con, all who live in Fort Benton, and Eileen (Coates) of Canby, Oregon.

John’s love of Hereford cattle was second to no one except other Hereford people. He was a member of the American Hereford Association and founding member of the Fort Benton Scales Association.

Johnny was a tough, hardworking, driven, and ambitious man with a work ethic second to none. Seemingly immune to cold weather and blistering heat, he enthusiastically tackled any task, whether it was riding a horse, fixing fence, stacking bales, or digging in the dirt. Johnny believed in working the ranch seven days a week, 365 days a year, which he faithfully executed until his late eighties. Anybody who ever worked alongside Johnny soon discovered that there was going to be a whole lot of sweat and absolutely no “messing around!”

Johnny is survived by wife of 62 years, Eleanor; all his children; nine grandchildren, Nikki, Bryan, Leigh, and Molly Bailey, Tori Hankins, Kyle Kelly, Heidi Hansen, Lenise (Brian) Bennett, Mandie (TJ) Zumbusch, and six great grandchildren, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorials can be made to the Chouteau County Cancer Support Group or to the donor’s choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Horace J. (Buck) Raty

Horace J. (Buck) Raty passed away of natural causes on Jan. 14, 2015, at the Sweet Memorial Nursing Home in Chinook, Montana. Services were held at the L.D.S. church in Chinook on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Buck was born in Challis, Idaho, on July 10, 1925, to Horace and Olive Raty. He was raised in the Idaho Falls area and resided there until enlisting in the navy at the age of 16. He served his country during World War II, and was a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He also served in the Korean conflict. After his time in the Navy, Buck moved to Square Butte, Montana, where his parents resided. He met and married his wife of 61 years, Emma D. Jones in Geraldine. Buck spent many years working construction until moving to Chinook in 1963 to buy the family farm from his in-laws Dick and Helen Henderson. Buck spent many years working for the irrigation company until his retirement in 1995. He then spent his time working the farm well into his 80’s.

Family was important to Buck and Dee. Together they raised seven children and he mentored his many grandchildren. He also loved to fly. He bought his first plane in 1953, and his second in 1984. He would find any excuse to take to the air, even using the plane to check his cows. Buck loved to spend his time experimenting with alternative energy and took a particular interest in hydrogen for gas. He even managed to convert the minivan to run on hydrogen.

Buck is preceded in death by his father, Horace S. Raty; mother, Olive Frandsen Raty; brothers Arthur, Harold, Bobby and Bill, his sisters Dorothy Edwards and Mabel Schiler, and his children Shawn and Clifford Joseph (Joe).

He is survived by his wife, Emma D.; children, Gail (James) Hoag, Payette, Idaho; Sallie (Aaron) Brown, Meridian, Idaho; Harold (Linda) Raty, Chinook, Montana; Keith (Colleen) Raty, Chinook; and Mark (Tamara) Raty, Billings, Montana; brother, Jack (Alice) Raty, Pahrump, Nevada; sister, Bonnie (Frank) Mayo, Square Butte; and 21 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and many nephews and nieces.

Memorial donations can be made to the Chinook AAU Wrestling Cub or the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

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


Beatrice Beverly (Faribanks) Manley

Beatrice Beverly (Fairbanks) Manley passed peacefully into her heavenly home January 23, 2015 with her son, Daryl, and daughter-in-law, Mary at her side. She was preceded in death by her husband, James; her parents, Frank and Henrietta Fairbanks; three brothers, Melvin, Charles and Doug; and a sister, Irena Smith.

Born April 11, 1927 in Fort Benton, Montana, she was raised in the Geraldine area and graduated from Geraldine High School in 1945. On May 10, 1947, she married James E. Manley in Fort Benton and began the nomadic life of a military family that led her to live in six states and Germany.

The family’s reassignment to Roswell, New Mexico in 1964 allowed Beatrice to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. Her determination and inner strength as a student, while continuing to be a mom, new grandmother, and part-time aide at Roswell Medical Center, resulted in her graduation as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1966. The family relocated to Cut Bank in 1966 following Jim’s retirement from the Air Force.

Despite a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis that year, with a prognosis of a five-year life expectancy, Bea was able to continue her dream. Nursing initially at the Cut Bank Hospital and later at the Libby Hospital and then the Convalescent Center for many years, she specialized in geriatric and convalescent nursing. Aside from nursing, her passions included reading and crosswords.

Survivors include her children Lynn (Ecuador), Doug (California), Milo (China), and Daryl (Wyoming); grandsons Michael and James (Oregon) and Lance (Wyoming); her sister, Delores Juedeman; sisters-in-law Beverly Fairbanks, Bernadine Fairbanks, and Faye Manley (all of Montana), and Marjorie Henderson (Florida).

The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff of Missouri River Medical Center who gave Bea such loving care and attention that she frequently reported “they spoil me rotten here.”

A private family memorial is planned for a later date.


1-21-15 Issue:

Jean Marie Jones Kimble

Jean Marie Jones Kimble passed from this world on Jan. 5, 2015. She was born in Havre on May 20, 1921, to Evan Henry and Hannah Jones.

After growing up in Havre and Loma, she graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1939 and then met the love of her life, Roy Francis Kimble. They were wed on the cusp of World War II, Aug. 4, 1941, in Great Falls. Roy and Jean farmed near Virgelle and Big Sandy, and were thrilled with the arrival of children, John in 1943 and Carol in 1945. Children were the pride and joy of Jean’s life; she was more proud of this achievement than any other. In 1957 they were once again blessed with the arrival of daughter, Stacey. Shortly, thereafter, they moved from farm life to Augusta, where they ran the Mannix General Store until moving to Helena in 1963.

Jean worked for the Montana Legislature and, at the age of 46, started a college education at Carroll College in Helena. She obtained her degree with honors in elementary education from Carroll in 1970. Jean taught fourth grade at Jefferson Elementary and fifth grade at Smith Elementary in Helena before retiring in 1985. Retirement brought no rest to Jean and Roy. They moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, and spent several years touring the desert southwest for golfing whenever and wherever they had the chance. They returned to Montana in 1988, this time to Missoula. Jean was active in the DAR in Montana and enjoyed family history research.

Her final years were spent in Bozeman at the Bozeman Lodge where she made many new friends including her best friend, Cleo Lund. These two “true women of the Wild West” had more fun and went more places in the last year and a half than many people do in a lifetime. Her family is grateful to employees and friends at the Bozeman Lodge for the last year and a half of Jean’s wonderful life.

She is survived by children John (Anne), Carol (Bob) and Stacey; four grandchildren Stan, Dawn, Roy and Taylor; eight great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Jean was preceded in death by husband, Roy, in 2009 and grandson, Wesley, in 1998.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bozeman.

Remembrances may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 301 Edelweiss Drive, Ste 6, Bozeman, MT 59718, or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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


Ellen Sophie Long

Ellen Sophie Long, 93, passed from the world surrounded by her loving family at her home in Fort Benton on Jan.15, 2015, one month before her 94th birthday.

Funeral services will be Saturday, January 24, at 11 a.m. at Fort Benton United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Riverside Cemetery.

Ellen was born in Wolf Point on February 12, 1921, to John and Ester (Pederson) Kjelgaard, their third of seven children. She grew up on the family farm South of Oswego, Montana, and attended Highland School, graduating from Wolf Point High School in 1940. She received a teaching certificate from Northern Montana College in 1943 and taught in rural schools in McCone County.

She married Clifford V Long on March 2, 1945, and to this marriage five children were born. She worked as a homemaker and as a postal carrier and clerk. Later Cliff and Ellen owned and operated Long’s Pay N Save in Frazer, Montana.

Ellen was active in her church families in Frazer, Nashua, and Fort Benton. She was a member of American Legion Auxiliary, Rebecca’s and ALCW.

She is survived by children, Janice K Fisher (Richard), Laura Y Aschim (Terry), Calvin J Long (Pamela), and Clifford W “Wally” Long (Shawna); daughter in law Terri Long, 11 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren. Ellen is survived by sisters Marie Vaughn and Ruth Miller, sister-in-law Shirley Kjelgaard, and many nieces and nephews.

She enjoyed family camping trips, playing games, and quilting with her daughters and giving the quilts to each family member.

She is now safe in Jesus’ arms as she joins her son, Larry, and husband, Cliff, as well as her parents and siblings.

Memorials can be made to the Golden Age Center (Meals on Wheels), or the Fort Benton and Geraldine Methodist Churches.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Gyme Scribner

With Angels as his guide, Gyme Scribner, 77, of Geraldine went to heaven to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, January 17, 2015. Funeral services will be held Monday, January 26, 2015 at 2 p.m. in Geraldine at the Methodist Church. Military services will follow.

Gyme Scribner was born on April 27, 1937 to Marion and Jack Scribner at the hospital in Fort Benton, Montana. His childhood was spent on the Scribner Ranch, the land that he loved. Here he developed a lifelong passion for airplanes and flying. He met his wife Carol Burns while at Montana State College in Bozeman. They were married in Geraldine on November, 25, 1956. To this marriage three children were born; Gyme Ray Jr. (Robyn) of Geraldine, Brigette (Russell) Clark of Geraldine, and Becky (Charley) Jennaway of Melstone, Montana.

Gyme spent time in the military and was extremely proud of his years served in Germany. He was the oldest man in his unit at the age of 26. Gyme farmed and ranched his whole life, loved the land and loved the life. Gyme loved his town and the people in it. He was a founding member on the Central Montana Rail board, served on the Equity Co-op board of directors, served on the Methodist Church board, was a member of the American Legion, and a 54-year member of the Masonic Pilgrim Lodge #102.

One of Gyme’s greatest sources of pride and pleasure were his grandchildren. He so enjoyed going to their activities and loved watching them grow. His grandchildren are Ryan (Amber) Clark and children Carter, Caden and Jaxton of Worland, Wyoming; Rory (Megan) Clark of Bakersfield, California; Rachel Clark of Great Falls, Montana; Beth (Aaron) Jones and son Bram of Geraldine, Shay Scribner of Missoula, Tory Scribner of Bozeman, and Jack Jennaway of Billings.

Gyme is preceded in death by his parents Jack and Marian, his brother Lennie, sister-in-law Patricia (Hardy) Scribner, and nephew Dirk Scribner.

Gyme is survived by his wife Carol, his three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandsons, and nieces Pamela Scribner and Lynn (Bryan) Ratacliff.

The family wishes to extend their love and gratitude to Missouri River Medical Center and the awesome staff for their love and care of Dad/Grandpa. We all received such love and care at Missouri River Medical Center. If you wish to make a memorial, please consider a contribution to the Chouteau County Hospital Foundation.


1-14-15 Issue:

Thelma J. Fultz

Thelma Jean Fultz, 88, of Fort Benton, passed away January 12, 2015.

Graveside Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 17, at Riverside Cemetery. Reception to follow at 2 p.m. at the Montana Agricultural Center, Fort Benton. Benton Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements.

Thelma Jean Nelson was born in Wagin, Western Australia to George and Selina Nelson on May 10, 1926. She met her husband, Waden Coy Fultz, Jr., while he was serving in the US Navy and was stationed in Australia. As a “War Bride” she rode the bridal train across Australia and then boarded a ship with 300 other war brides for a three-week journey to the United States. Thelma was a homemaker and wonderful mother and grandmother. Her warm and friendly personality extended to her work at Scheffi’s Landmark Cafe and as a school cook for Fort Benton Schools.

Thelma was preceded in death by her parents, George and Selina Nelson; husband, Waden Coy Fultz, Jr.; son Robert Coy Fultz; two sisters Aileen Rapanick and Joyce Morgan; and a great grandson, Trey VanSickle.

Thelma is survived by her sister Elaine Guy of Australia; brother Geoff (Vi) Nelson of Australia; sons George (Lorrie) Fultz of Great Falls and Ted (Donita) Fultz of Fort Benton; daughters Lorraine Fultz of Fort Benton, Lynn (Roger) Cook of Fort Benton, and Lana (Bob) Claassen of Fort Benton, and daughter-in-law Linda Fultz of Roberts.

Thelma was extremely proud of her grandchildren: Angela (Paul) Nordstrom and children Parker and Alyson of Nashville, Tennessee; Christie Fultz of Chicago, Illinois; Stephanie Fultz and daughter Jayden of Nashville, Tennessee; Donelle (Mike) Kuntz and children Taylor and Tia of Great Falls; Joe Fultz and children Kohlten, Kayden, and Keyona of Butte; Sheila (Shane) Miller and son Bruco of Ramah, Colorado; Jamie Freeman and daughter Kamryn of Great Falls; Jessica (Craig) VanSickle and children, Mariah, Cael, Kylah, Mikaylah, and Cade of Kuna, Idaho; Eddie (Rheanna) Fultz of Salina, Kansas; Ernie Fultz of Fort Benton; Sharla Cook and son Bodie of Missoula; Shan Cook of Fort Benton; Shilo Cook of Billings; Trace Claassen of Fort Benton, Chance Claassen of Fort Benton, and Kinsey Claassen of Fort Benton.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the Missouri River Medical Center and their amazing staff for the love and support for “Miss Thelma.”

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Chouteau County Hospital Foundation or to the Fort Benton Fireworks Fund.


Mary Belle Hanberg

Mary Belle Hanberg, 92, passed away on Thursday, December 25, 2014, of natural causes at the Big Sandy Medical Center. Cremation has taken place, and a burial will be held at a later date. Mary’s family has requested that memorial donations be made in her name to the Big Sandy Library Fund, to the Dedman Foundation in Fort Benton, or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Please visit Mary’s online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for her family at www.hollandbonine.com.

Mary was born on August 16, 1922, in Havre to Earl and Grace (Smith) Booth. She spent her early childhood years in Havre, moving to the Bear Paws with her family in about 1930. Mary graduated from Box Elder High School in 1938, and married Laurence Craft. The couple’s union was blessed with two children, and they later divorced. Mary attended Northern Montana College, receiving a teaching certificate, and taught in the Bear Paws and at Guildford schools. In 1946, she married Lloyd Hanberg, and their union was blessed with one child. The couple made their home in Box Elder, and, beginning in 1951, Mary drove school bus until 1960, when her medical condition required her to retire. Lloyd passed away in 1963, and Mary remained in their home until 2005, when she entered the Big Sandy Medical Center.

Mary loved flower gardening, crocheting, reading and watching TV, especially Minute To Win It.

She is preceded in death by her husband Lloyd Hanberg; her sister Earline Haakensen; and her parents Earl and Grace Booth.

Mary is survived by her son Jerome (Rosanne) Hanberg of Camrose, Alberta, Canada; her daughters Anitra (Kenny) Willson of Neihart and Twila (Leon) Cline of Big Sandy; her 11 grandchildren; her several great-grandchildren; her many great-great-grandchildren; her nephew Fred Haakensen of Plainview, Texas; and her niece Ruda Marshall of Helena.


1-7-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week


12-31-14 Issue:

Roger Spencer Smith

Roger Spencer Smith, who oversaw intellectual property rights for IBM at a time when “Big Blue” was the preeminent technology company in the world, passed away while at home on Wednesday, December 10, 2014. He was 84.

Roger was born in Butte, Montana on October 10, 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression. He was the second of four children born to Lois (nee Spencer) and Burtt Russell Smith, then an accountant for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Roger’s maternal grandfather was a liberal, nationally syndicated political cartoonist descended from Quakers; his paternal grandfather was an ultraconservative, teetotaling Methodist carpenter descended from Loyalists in the Revolutionary War. The two strains combined in Roger to form a man of even temperament - conservative but tolerant, strong in his convictions but sensitive to the feelings of others, careful with his money but generous to those he loved.

The family moved to Spokane, Washington in 1934, where his father found work at the Federal Land Bank. Roger left Spokane to study electrical engineering at Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana, where he joined the fraternity Sigma Chi, made fast friends and generally had a good time – the dean of the engineering school famously rang him late one morning to get him out of bed.

While in Bozeman, he met his first wife, Patricia Ann (Stewart) Smith, the daughter of Morris B. Stewart, who homesteaded north of Carter, Montana, founding the Stewart Ranch. The couple were married at the old Methodist Church in Fort Benton in 1952 and moved back to Spokane the following year, where Roger finished his undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University. He graduated in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and went on to Gonzaga Law School where he finished his J.D. in 1958. Roger joined IBM after law school and moved his young family to Poughkeepsie, New York, starting a career in which he moved around the country with the company until his retirement in 1994 as Assistant General Counsel in charge of worldwide patent operations.

Roger’s first marriage ended in divorce and he married his second wife, G. Angelika (Strobl) Smith, in 1989.

After IBM, Roger became a member of the law firm Morgan and Finnegan in New York City for five years. He was a member of the New York, Washington and Colorado bars. He was active in the Intellectual Property Owners Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association, serving as president of each organization from 1993-1994 and 1996-1997, respectively. In retirement, he remained active in the profession, acting as an expert witness in many high-profile intellectual property cases.

He is survived by Angelika, his wife and soul mate of 29 years, a step-son, Peer, three sons from his first marriage, Todd, Craig and Mark, one brother, Jerry, and a sister, Linda. He delighted in the seven grandchildren he leaves behind: Sarah, Pierce, Sky, True, Anja, Nadia and Johanna.

A celebration of Roger’s life will be held on February 6th from 4 to 8 pm at the University Park Country Club in University Park, Florida. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Kathy Sue (Allen) Gallagher

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

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

Kathy had two children, Eric Holleran and Candace Friesen.

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

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

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

Cremation has taken place and burial of ashes will be in May in Fort Benton, Montana.


Ellen Ames Bronec

Ellen Ames Bronec passed away December 20, 2014, at the age of 91 at the Missouri River Medical Center of natural causes. She was born March 3, 1923.

She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Francis E. Bronec. They were married June 29, 1946, in Fort Benton. Ellen was preceded in death by three sons, Joseph, Paul and Vince. She is survived by her children: Marie (Dave), Chuck (Jeanne), Larry (Fran), Bob (Becky), Bernice, Dorothy (Bernie), Ed (Susan), Pat (Margie), Claude (Nita), and Alan (Nicki). Ellen also has 26 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren.

Ellen’s faith sustained her throughout her life. It was not always an easy life, but she had the will and faith in God that things would work out.

Both of her parents came to this area to homestead. Then they met and got married. She told stories of looking for cow chips for fuel to heat their farm house. The depression years were not fun when you did not have money to even buy new shoelaces. She is from a line of “can do” people. They figure out with hard work how to make the impossible possible. The homestead farm just recently celebrated 100 years of being owned by the same family.

She loved to work outside. She had a huge garden, and best of all, she loved her John Deere tractor. She took it with good humor when in the spring she got it stuck and her sons teased her. Cooking, on the other hand, she was not crazy about.

Ellen spent many years researching the family tree before it was so easy with ancestry.com. She taught herself to use a computer to record all of her material. She and her cousin Margaret traveled many states to find the clues for the family history.

A vigil was held Monday, December 22, at 7 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception church in Fort Benton. The funeral mass was Tuesday, December 23, at 1 p.m. at St Margaret’s parish in Geraldine.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.


Ilene LaVonne Gummer

Ilene LaVonne Morrow Gummer, of Billings, passed away peacefully on Dec. 24, 2014 at the age of 65. She is survived by her husband, Thomas Jay Gummer (68 years old). They celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary last July. She is also survived by her children, grandchild, and siblings: Thomas Brock Gummer (son) of Boise, Idaho; Beth Famiglietti Gummer (daughter-in-law); Krystie Gummer Nelson (daughter) of Billings, Montana; Ryan Nelson (son-in -law); Tanner Thomas Nelson (grandson); Bonnie Jo Cook (sister) of Fort Benton; Mike Morrow (brother) of Belgrade; and Janice Pedersen (sister) of Bainbridge Island, Wash. Ilene was preceded in death by her mother (Dee Morrow) and father (Ken Morrow) both of Fort Benton.

Ilene was born in Fort Benton on May 30, 1949. She graduated from Eastern Montana College (EMC) in Billings, in 1971, with a Bachelor of Science in Education.

Ilene was married to Thomas Jay Gummer (of Chester, Montana) in July, 1972. They were married in Fort Benton. Tom and Ilene renewed their wedding vows during their 25 anniversary in front of family and many close friends. Ilene was a librarian and teacher in Chester for nearly 15 years. Ilene worked at the Hutterite colonies as a rural librarian for many years. She also worked as a clerk at Westhill Pharmacy in Chester, and other businesses in Chester and Billings.

Ilene was a loving and caring wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She loved her family immensely. She always enjoyed being around her grandson Tanner; they shared a special bond.

Ilene was actively involved in the United Methodist Church in Chester. Ilene and family were on the Gummer farm in Chester for 26 years. Ilene enjoyed gardening, cooking and baking, particularly during the Holidays; sewing for her family, music, photography, framing/scrapbooking photos, and capturing memories through the written word and the camera at every possible opportunity. Ilene also enjoyed attending her kids sporting events and hosting gatherings for her kids and all their friends.

Visitation was held from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 29, at Cremation and Funeral Gallery in Billings. Funeral services for Ilene were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 30, at Cremation and Funeral Gallery. Interment followed at Mountview Cemetery in Billings (1704 Central Avenue). A reception followed the burial at the Cremation and Funeral Gallery.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Ilene was so very vibrant and loving. She will be missed but never forgotten.


Marvin Eldridge

Rev. Marvin Eldridge of Fort Benton graduated from this life on December 13, 2014. He has joined his wife, Betty Jo, in the presence of Jesus.

Marvin was born September 13, 1932, in Arlee, Montana, to Bert and Nettie Eldridge. He grew up on the family farm and loved playing sports.

On May 19, 1950, Marvin married Betty Jo Lemmon. Their union produced four children, Marvia (Rick) Johnson of Fort Benton, Keith (Loretta) Eldridge of Havre, Ronda (Bud) Childers of Midland, Texas, and Jeani (Martin) Shea of Somers.

The Lord called Marvin and Betty Jo into the ministry and they pastored churches in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The early years of ministry were with the Assemblies of God, and the later years were with the United Methodist Church.

Marvin was preceded in death by his parents, Bert and Nettie Eldridge; brothers, Bill, George, Pete, Dunk, Eugene, John, Thomas, Roy and Earl; sisters, Mabel, Rene and Marge; and his beloved wife Betty Jo.

He is survived by his four children, 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and brother Norman (Bunk) Eldridge.

A celebration of life service will be Saturday, January 3, at 11 a.m. in the Community Bible Church Fellowship Hall in Fort Benton.

The family has requested that all attendees wear sports attire.