Local Obituaries


12-17-14 Issue:

Gary Johnson

12-10-14 Issue:

Betty Roark

Betty was born on the family farm close to Virgelle, Montana, to Floyd and Lila Boice Terry, the eighth of 11 children. She attended a country school through the eighth grade, and then boarded in Fort Benton to graduate from high school in 1946. She married Leonard Roark in Fort Benton on June 29, 1946.

She is survived by her husband Leonard and her six children: Fay (Ken) Tomayer of Galata, MT, Terry (Paul) Walston of Meridian, ID, Jack (Susan) Roark of Kalispell, MT, Frank (Betsy) Roark of Boca Raton, FL, and DeeAnn (Tom) Coffman and Chuck (Shanee) Roark both of Great Falls, MT. Also surviving are 12 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

She worked as a bookkeeper for many years and through the years they traveled through most of the states, Canada, Mexico, and England. After retirement, they spent several winters in Arizona. In 2012, Betty and Leonard moved from Sunburst, Montana, to Meridian, Idaho, near their daughter, Terry.

Betty passed away in Meridian on December 3, 2014, with her family by her side. Burial and memorial services will be held at a later date in Montana.

Gary Johnson

Gary Warren Johnson, 76, peacefully passed away on December 4, 2014, at Missouri River Medical  Center after a long battle with cancer. He was born on June 8, 1938 in Salida, Colorado.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Byron and Pauline Johnson. Gary is survived by his five children, Tami, Jim, Debbi, Cindy, and Dean; his 18 grandchildren; his two brothers Ed and Bill, and many good friends. 

Gary served his country in the U.S. Navy for four years from 1955-1959. He lived in Salinas, California from 1969 – 1974, and then brought his family to Loma, Montana.  He worked as a mechanic and owned and operated Johnson’s Repair in Loma. He later moved to Geraldine in 1995, where he resided. Gary loved his dog, Freckles, camping, fishing and hunting. He will be granted his last wish of camping with his friends in June.

Gary was always there to lend a hand and asked nothing in return. He was a fun, witty, never know what is up his sleeve kind of guy. He will be missed by many.

His children want to extend a heartfelt thank you to his friends that were there when we could not be.

Memorial services will be held in June at the Geraldine Cemetery with full military honors.

A celebration of life will be held at Rusty’s. We will have more information about the service closer to June.

Cremation was taken care of by Benton Funeral Home.

Mariam Homquist

Mariam Ella Holmquist, 92, of Doland, South Dakota  passed away Thursday, December 4, 2014, at Community Memorial Hospital in Redfield.

Her funeral will be Saturday, December 13, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at Thelen Funeral Home in Redfield.  Burial will be in the Ebenezer Mennonite Cemetery near Doland.

Visitation will be Friday, from 5-7:00 p.m. at Thelen Funeral Home.  www.thelenfuneralhome.com

Mariam was born August 20, 1922, to Edward and Ella (Fearber) Newhall at Fort Benton, Montana.  She grew up on their homestead ranch north of Loma, Montana. She graduated from Fort Benton High School, then received her associate’s degree at Wessington Springs College and her bachelor’s degree at Seattle Pacific College.

She married Burton Holmquist on June 27, 1945. Seven children were born to them, four girls and three boys. They lived 14 years on the Newhall Ranch. In 1963 they moved to Tulare, South Dakota.

After Burton’s death Mariam moved to Redfield. There she worked for many years as a volunteer at the Tri County Good Samaritan Center. She enjoyed reading biographies and doing word puzzles. A founding member of the Redfield Baptist Church, she taught Sunday School classes.

Mariam lived a quiet, prayerful and godly life as a witness for Christ. She prayed faithfully for others. Her desire was that all the members of her family would know and love God.

Her most important role was that of a loving homemaker for her husband, children and grandchildren which gave her much joy. She will be remembered as a beloved mother and grandmother, and a dear friend.

Mariam is survived by her children, Mary (Gary) Stutte, Ralph (Elaine) Holmquist, Ruth (Dale) Waterman, Margaret (Darch) Clampitt, John (Deanna) Holmquist, Jim Holmquist, Jane Fernandez; twenty one grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.

She has been preceded in death by her husband Burton Holmquist and grandson Keith Waterman.

“A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise . . .“ Proverbs 31: 30-31 NIV

12-3-14 Issue:

Robert Cartwright

Robert Cartwright, 86, of Geraldine, Montana, passed away at Peace Hospice November 25, 2014, following a stay at the Grandview Cottage. Services for Bob will be held Saturday, December 6, at 11 a.m. at the Geraldine United Methodist Church, with burial to follow at the Geraldine Cemetery.

Robert Bertrand Cartwright was the third son born to Ernest and Willadean (Nulf) Cartwright March 11, 1928. Bob attended school in Geraldine. During his senior year he quit school and joined the Army, promising Grandma Sarah he would return to finish school. Bob graduated from high school in 1949.

Bob married Henrietta Ludtke March 18, 1950. To this union a daughter, Marlene, and two sons, Rodney and Benny, were born.

Bob attended barber school in Spokane and cut hair as a pastime. Together Bob and Henrietta ran Cartwright Flying Service, Custom Cutting, and were in partnership with Buster Ness in the ADI anhydrous application business. During several winters Bob and Henrietta ran Cliff’s Bar. Bob was also a substitute mail carrier, filling in for his Grandpa Nulf and Fred Brandel. In 1966 they purchased the Lee Cartwright place and continued farming and ranching until it was sold in 1980.

Bob was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Elks, and Moose Lodge, and a member of the Geraldine Methodist Church.

Henrietta passed away in 1984. Bob became reacquainted with longtime family friend Rhoene Manley. They had many happy years of travel and family events together.

Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Henrietta; parents, Ernest Cartwright and Willadean Talvi; brother, Raymond; sister, Ramona (Joyce) Harvey; and step brother, Bob Lasher.

Bob is survived by daughter, Marlene (Richard) Protsman; sons, Rodney and Benny, all of Geraldine; grandchildren, Toni (Jason) Huffard; Kari (Steve) Thurston, Joe Cartwright and Bryan (Erin) Cartwright; great grandchildren, Stephen, Mikayla and Mackenzie Thurston, Dylan and Cole Hufford, Aliyah, Bryce, and Daerious Cartwright; brother, Wayne (Dorla) Cartwright; sister, Nadean (Winton) Rollins; half brother, Vic Talvi; step sisters, Lucille Wethern, Shirley Pitcher, and Montana Damon; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorials are suggested to the Geraldine United Methodist Church or a charity of the donor’s choice.

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

11-26-14 Issue:

Russell Lee Danreuther

Russell Lee Danreuther, 60, of Big Sandy, died Wednesday, November 19 at home, surrounded by his loving family, after a hard fought battle with melanoma cancer.

A celebration of his FULL THROTTLE, NO REGRETS LIFE will be held at the Big Sandy High School gymnasium November 29 at 1 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to wear red.

Rusty was born July 3, 1954, in Fort Benton, Montana to Charles and Janet Danreuther. He was raised on the family farm and attended Midway Country School until the fourth grade. He finished his schooling in Big Sandy, graduating in 1973. While in high school years he was active in football, basketball, track and choir; including Sandy 16 and Men’s Quartet. Rusty was an accomplished athlete; having a highly competitive, yet extremely humble nature. Rusty married his high school sweetheart Nona Bitz on September 9, 1973. After attending college for a year they started farming northwest of Big Sandy and remained there for the next 41 years. They were blessed with two children, Joshua and Kristin.

Rusty loved life and people, and truly lived it to the fullest. He gave love and kindness throughout his life to everyone around him. Rusty shared his many talents by helping anyone in need, and encouraged young people to sing and play instruments. Rusty enjoyed farming, but God and his family was above all.

His many hobbies included flying his Super Cub, motorcycles, fast cars, snowmobiles, hunting, guns, Cowboy action shooting, fishing, canoeing, waterskiing, snow skiing, bowling, watching sporting events (especially track), photography, music, and the list goes on.

Rusty started playing the bass and singing at the Church of God in 1975, and never looked back - weddings, funerals, leading worship music, wedding dances, homecoming programs, county fairs and playing in six different bands, plus announcing at sports events around the area. Playing music and singing were always a constant in his life, and he touched the hearts of many through his music.

Rusty always had a smile and time for everyone, and his fun loving nature will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and community. Thank God for a guy like Rusty, as we all have been blessed to have had him in our lives.

Rusty is survived by his loving wife Nona, mother Janet Danreuther, children Joshua Danreuther, Kristin (Brandon) Gasvoda, and grandchildren, Shelby, Bailey, Rusty, Amy, and Mattie Gasvoda; siblings, Dan (Sparky) Danreuther, Rachel (Alan) Weaver, Keith (Patti Jo) Danreuther, Carol (Dennis) Bahnmiller, and Calvin (Michelle) Danreuther, and many wonderful nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father Charles Danreuther. Memorials may be made to Big Sandy Medical Center, Chouteau County Hospice, Chouteau County Cancer Support Group, Big Sandy High School, or one’s choice.

We close with his favorite verse- “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is in me, bless His holy name.” - Psalm 103:1

Verna Sullivan

Verna C. (Drewiske) Sullivan, 93, passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 23, 2014, with her family by her side. A vigil of her family by her side took turns around the clock.

Visitation will be Sunday, November 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home.

Rosary services will be held Sunday, November 30, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1223 16th Street, Fort Benton, at 7 p.m. Funeral mass will be held Monday, December 1, at 11 a.m. at the church. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery. A luncheon at the church will follow the burial.

Verna was born December 13, 1920, to John and Cecelia (Kaiver) Drewiske in Great Falls. She married James W. Sullivan on April 26, 1940. To them were born seven children, four girls and three boys. She was very active in the Fort Benton community. She was a member of the Catholic Church, and the Senior Citizen Center, and was a volunteer and member of many clubs. Verna loved being an Avon Lady for 45 years. She loved dancing and playing any kind of cards. She would play cards at “the drop of a hat.”

Survivors include her daughters, Connie (Ben) Ellington of Great Falls, JoAnn (Harley) Doyle of Vaughn, Kathy (Arvid) Galbavy of Missoula, and Julie (Ike) Cook of Fort Benton; son, Mark Sullivan of Fort Benton; daughters-in-law, Carol Sullivan of West Richland, Wash., and Deenie Sullivan of Great Falls; brother-in-law, Lyle McKeever of Loma; 19 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and five great great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband; sons, Jim Jr. and Ron; parents; brothers, John and Tony; and sisters, Jeannie, Tess, and Mary.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Fort Benton Memorial Ambulance or the donor’s choice.

Condolences can be made at www.misermortuaries.com.

Linda Bolzey

Word was received here of the death of Linda Bolzey of Rathdrum, Idaho, on Nov. 16 from cancer. Linda was the oldest daughter of John Ehnes and the late Harriette Ray. She graduated from high school in Simms, Montana.

She is survived by her husband Jack Bolzey of Rathdrum, four children, Angie, Amy, Dustin and Tony, numerous grandchildren and a great grandchild, sister Mary, Loretta and Jeannie, aunts Barbara Hankins of Fort Benton, Betty Bowman of Highwood, Marge Walker of Great Falls, Mariette Moore of Anchorage, uncles Don Lehman, Don, Vic, and Ray Ehnes of Great Falls, and many cousins.

Before Linda got sick, she was a bus driver for the Rathdrum school district.

She would have been 64 years old on Nov. 21. Linda will be sadly missed by her family and friends.

11-19-14 Issue:

Emily Ann Baldik Brown

Emily Ann Baldik Brown was born February 27, 1919 to Frank and Mary Petr Baldik at Iliad, Montana. She passed away on November 3, 2014 at the age of 95. Emily was the last remaining member of that generation of the Baldik family.

Emily had a very long life and saw many changes throughout those years. She loved riding horseback with her brothers and rode to the Iliad school in all kinds of weather. Emily graduated from eighth grade at the Iliad School. She was quite independent and self-sufficient. The first car she owned was a 1947 Olds two-door sloped back sedanette.

Emily married Clyde Webster June 11, 1932. Clyde was a professor at University of Montana Western in Dillon, Montana. They divorced in 1936 and Emily moved with her son, Clyde, to Havre, Montana.

Emily worked hard all her life, beginning as a child with chores at home, then working for neighbors for room and board, and later, the Deaconess Hospital for five years, the Great Northern Railroad for 13 years, and finally as a ranch wife.

Emily talked with pride of the years she worked at the Deaconess Hospital in Havre and later the Great Northern Railroad. She mentioned many times the kindness everyone showed her during her many years of employment. Emily worked at the Deaconess Hospital from 1936 to 1941. She had a great deal of respect and admiration for Dr. Houtz at the Deaconess. She spoke of how wonderful Dr. Houtz was, for his having saved her legs after they became frozen in a snow storm while travelling with her brother Frank. Emily worked on the Great Northern Railroad as a depot agent from 1942 to 1955, transferring from Coffee Creek to Vaughn to Moccasin and finally to Big Sandy.

Emily married Walter L. Brown on June 1, 1955. They were married 45 years before Walter passed away in May 2000. Emily continued to work at the railroad for a few months after their marriage, then began the full-time job of being a ranch wife out Southeast at Eskay, Montana. Emily always had a big garden with many trees, flowers and vegetables. She raised chickens to provide eggs and the occasional chicken and dumplings for the family. Mom loved animals. She even had a few angora goats for a while, but that ended abruptly one day when the billy with big horns cornered her for hours in the yard, until Dad came home from the field and rescued her. That was the end of the goat raising! Emily had geese, too, and certain cows, dogs and cats that were her favorites.

Emily was an excellent cook and no one ever left the table hungry! It seems she was always cooking or cleaning up and starting the next meal. During the summer whenever we were working out riding or farming, she brought hot meals to us. Very few times did we ever have to eat cold sandwiches!

Over the years, there were so many things that Emily enjoyed. One was walking around looking for arrowheads. I don’t think she found many, but enjoyed looking for them.

Emily loved participating and volunteering at the Chouteau County Fair. She always had baked goods, flower arrangements and vegetable entries and donated her time at the 4-H booth and the Rebekah bingo booth.

Emily was a very loyal member of the Methodist Church of Big Sandy. She enjoyed participating in sunrise services at Easter, potlucks and the many functions associated with the Methodist Church. She cherished the friendships of the members there.

Emily loved to be in involved in the community. She sold poppies for the VFW Buddy Poppy program and delivered CowBelle beef certificates to grade school kids each year. She was a long time member of the VFW, NorthCentral Montana CowBelles (President in 1979), Historical Society, Hopp-Iliad Extension Club and the Rebekahs.

Emily was creative. In 1964, she had a great time dressing the whole family up for the Montana centennial celebration. Dad grew a beard and Mom did such a great job dressing us in Civil war-era clothing that we won the first place award. One time she dressed up for Halloween as an old colored women and no one recognized her, not even Dad.

Emily spent the last five years (since March 12, 2009) of her life residing at the Big Sandy Medical Center. The staff’s kind, loving and expert care resulted in Mom’s final years being pleasant, worry-free and safe.

She was preceded in death by both parents, her stepfather, George Fry, brothers Frank and George Baldik , half-sister, Martha and husband, Walter.

She is survived by her children, Clyde Webster (Dianna), Leta Clark (Mac),William Brown (Renita), grandchildren Sheila Duncan, Pam West, Marcia Webster-Davis, Brenda Webster, Shawn Webster, Jeff Herzog, Brianna Clark, Ian Clark, Megan Brown, Chelsea Brown, Weston Brown, great grandchildren Suzie, Samantha, Karin, Sheena, Sterling and great-great grandchildren Lyndee, Trygvee, Charlee, Grace and George.

Services will be at the Big Sandy United Methodist Church, November 8, 2014 at 2 p.m. Donations may be sent to the Walter L. Brown Memorial Fund or the charity of your choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Emily’s online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for her family at www.hollandbonine.com.

11-12-14 Issue:

Lorene A. Stranahan

Lorene Alice Stranahan of Fort Benton, Montana, died at the age of 91 of COPD, November 1, 2014 at Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton. Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fort Benton, on Friday November 14, 2014 at 1 p.m.

Lorene was born September 13, 1923, at St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton to Clinton G. and Marie Schultz Stranahan. She grew up on the Stranahan ranch on the Teton River until 1938, when the family moved to the River Ranch on the Missouri. She attended Fort Benton Schools and in 1941 graduated from Fort Benton High School, then attended Montana State College at Bozeman from 1941 to 1943, at which time she was married to Arthur C. Parsons Jr. of Helena, who was at that time serving in the U.S. Army.

To this union four children were born, Michael, Judith, Jeanne and Carol. Lorene and Art divorced in 1971. Judith died of cancer November 1, 2007.

At the close of WWII Art finished his degree in electrical engineering, was then employed by General Electric and the family moved to Schenectady New York. In 1955 the company relocated them to California, where Art was employed in the San Francisco office and the family lived in San Rafael, the children growing up there.

In 1957 Lorene resumed her education, attending the College of Marin in Kentfield and the University of California in Berkeley, from which she graduated in 1964 with a degree in microbiology. After an internship in medical technology at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco, she received her certificate and licenses and was employed at UCSF until her retirement in 1984. She then purchased a home in Fort Benton and returned to be near her parents.

She was a life member of both Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and the Order of Eastern Star, where she served two terms as Worth Matron in Bethany Chapter #42 in Fort Benton. Many years of service for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls earned her the Grand Cross of Colors. A lifelong Democrat, she served in various capacities in the state and local party organizations; she also played trumpet in the Fort Benton Community Band for a number of years.

She was an avid reader, writer and crossword-puzzler, calling herself a ‘wordsmith’ and claiming the study and use of words as her passion.

She is survived by her children, Michael C. Parsons of Auburn, California, Jeanne McKevitt (David) of Sheridan, Oregon, Carol Blanchard (Bob) of Fort Benton and son-in-law Jeffrey Struthers of Orcas Island, Washington; grandchildren, Geoffrey Blanchard (Rose Goldhahn) of Shonkin, Dan Blanchard (DarCi Hooper) of Fort Benton, Elizabeth Perez (Tomas) of Minnesota and Melinda McKevitt of Sheridan, Oregon; and two great grandsons, Sebastian and Gabriel Perez of Minnesota.

She was preceded in death by her daughter Judith Struthers, her sister Anne Shaw, her ex-husband Art, her parents and several cousins.

Lorene was a faithful supporter of the Dedman Animal Shelter and the Chouteau County Food Bank. Memorials may be made to those organizations or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Ross L. “Jack” Smith

Ross L. “Jack” Smith, 78, of Geraldine passed away Sunday, November 9, 2014 in Fort Benton.

A memorial service will be held Friday, November 14, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the Geraldine United Methodist Church. Arrangements have been entrusted to O’Connor Funeral Home.

Jack was born on January 12, 1936, to William Alfred and Ida Amy Durst Smith in Bridge Creek Township, Wisconsin. He grew up on a small farm near Augusta, Wisconsin. He married Shirley N. Warner on June 5, 1954 in Wabasha, Minnesota. In 1958, Jack and Shirley and their two daughters moved from Wisconsin to Havre, Montana. The family grew with the addition of a boy and a girl. Jack worked in the dairy business and ranching throughout his life, completing his career at the Meissner ranch in Square Butte. While at the Square Butte ranch, Jack became a deputy brand inspector and served in that capacity until 2010. He retired from ranch work in 1999.

He was a true cowboy and loved the land, livestock and especially his family. Jack and Shirley moved to Geraldine after retiring from ranching. Jack served on the town council of Geraldine and then as mayor from 2009 until he resigned due to failing health in 2013. In addition to being a very hands-on mayor and involved in many city projects, Jack was active in the Geraldine Senior Citizens and was honored as senior of the year in 2009. He attended the Community Methodist Church and served on the administrative board and the board of trustees.

Jack is survived by Shirley, his wife of 60 years; daughters Nita Grendal of Topeka, Kansas, Melodie Karlson of Copenhagen, Denmark, Sherri Diemert (James) of Helena, Montana; son J. Ben Smith (Kathy) of Great Falls; grandchildren Jeff Zeiler (Janell) of Kansas, Safra Martinussen (Mikkel) of Denmark, Lindsay Sykes (Josh) of Pennsylvania, Tyler Smith (Kelly) of New York, Josh Herman of Rudyard, Trace Herman of Sidney, Carly Lilley (Samuel) of Arizona, and Joelle Herman of Helena; step-grandchildren Lauren Midkiff (Jon), Lindsay Musselwhite (Tony) and Jordan Diemert, all of Washington; eight great-grandchildren and four step-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by grandchildren of the heart: Colton and Jordan Swanson; and Makae, Coya, Cassie and Kylynn Nack.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings (six brothers and two sisters) and an infant son, Jon Benton Smith.

Memorial donations are suggested to the Geraldine Senior Center or the Geraldine United Methodist Church.

Bob Danbrook

Bob Danbrook, 70, formerly of Geraldine, died of natural causes on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Bob was born June 1, 1944, in Shelby to Stanley and Lillian Danbrook. As a youth, he participated in rodeos. He won the Montana State High School Championship in bull riding. Later he qualified twice for the High School National Finals in bull riding and saddle bronc. As an Army veteran, he received his Honorable Discharge at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Bob worked for the Civil Service in Colorado, the State Highway Department, and attended Arapaho Junior College at Littleton, Colorado. He was married to Gail Silcott and their home was in Franktown, Colorado.

Before retiring, Bob returned to Montana and worked on the family farm in Geraldine. He worked several years as a security guard for the Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls.

Survivors include his brother, Floyd (Helen) and nephews, Troy and Lloyd (Jolene), all of Geraldine; great nephews, Zac, Chais, and Jake; and great nieces, Bailey and Kylie.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

No services are planned as per Bob’s request.

11-5-14 Issue:

Joe Bramlette

Joe Bramlette, 48, died from injuries received in an automobile accident Oct. 20, 2014, near Belt.

Services were Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton, with graveside services at Riverside Cemetery. A lunch was served at the Club House afterwards. Benton Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Joe was born May 6, 1966, to Denny Bramlette and Joei Bramlette Peters. He was raised by Joei and Scottie Peters. He graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1984. His early years were spent at the race track, where he learned to chew – and never quit. Joe participated in wrestling, football, skipping classes and partying.

After high school he followed custom harvesting and worked as a farm hand and in construction. He worked in North Dakota oil fields and soon purchased his truck. He was a bull hauler and loved it.

He loved children, mainly because he never grew up. His pride was Tori and the Bummy kids.

He was preceded in death by father Denny, mother Joei, and sister DeNette. He is survived by Scottie Peters, and Pat; brother DJ, and Kami; sister Pete, and Jerry; sister Bonnie, and Ron; Uncle Jim, Uncle John, Aunt Sandy, Niece Tori Jo; best friend Dean and Chandee and kids; Debi Bramlette, Bob Lasher, and all the little kids he ever met.

Memorial contributions can go to the Great Falls Children’s Receiving Home, PO Box 1061, Great Falls, MT 59403, in Joe’s name.

Lorene A. Stranahan

Lorene Alice Stranahan of Fort Benton died at the age of 91 on November 1, 2014, at the Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton. Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Friday, November 14, at 1 p.m. There will be a full obituary in next week’s paper.

10-29-14 Issue:

Robert “Bob” Place

Robert “Bob” Place, 87, of Great Falls, passed away on Monday, October 20, 2014, from natural causes at Benefis Grandview of Great Falls.

A memorial service was held on Saturday, October 25, at 3 p.m. at O’Connor Memorial Chapel. Arrangements are entrusted to O’Connor Funeral Home.

Robert was born August 22, 1927, in New England, North Dakota, and was raised in the Amadon, North Dakota area. He went to high school in Bowman until he quit and joined the Navy at 17 years of age. After returning from the war he went to New York and worked as a foreman for the Ridin High Dude Ranch.

In 1947 he was checking out the Lewistown, Montana, area and was told about the PN Ranch. He returned with his granddad, A.M. Scoville, and purchased it in 1948. Bob went to auctioneering school in 1962. He used his auctioneering to run a business, support nonprofit organization events, entertain all the grandchildren, and anyone who would listen to him. Auctioneering was his singing.

He was an area manager for the Conklin Company and used their product to roof for many years. He loved direct sales, leather work, and everything to do with horses. Most of all, he loved being a cowboy!

Bob married Gene Harrison (his Genie Marie) December 17, 1950, in Columbus, Montana, and they were married 64 years. Six children were born to them: Randy, Terry, Pamela, Gail, Julie, and Matthew. He has 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

To share condolences with the family, please visit OConnorFuneralHome.com.

Robert Lewis Vernon

Robert Lewis Vernon, 87, of Highwood, passed away on Monday, October 27, 2014.

A celebration of life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 1, at the Bar S Supper Club. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Schnider Funeral Home.

Robert was born on August 17, 1927, in Great Falls, Montana to Mildred (Lawson) and James Vernon, Sr. He loved his country and entered the U.S. Navy in May of 1945, serving during WWII, Korea and Vietnam wars. He was an aviation machinist mate and Master Chief Petty Officer. Robert was stationed mainly in the Miramar, California, naval station until his retirement in 1975 after 30 years of service. After retirement he became a part-time farmer on a very small scale.

Robert married Rena Katherine Turner in February of 1961. In 1975, the family moved to Highwood, Montana. Rena passed away in October 2003.

Robert’s mechanical skills enabled him to fix anything. He was a junk collector and jack of all trades and a master of none. He was a lifetime member of VFW Post 1087.

Robert is survived by his son, Stacy (Terri) Vernon of Highwood; brother Jack (Carol) Vernon of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and two grandchildren, Ryan J. and Reece L. Vernon.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Rena; sister Alice Vernon; and brother, James Vernon.

10-22-14 Issue:

Harlan Hacker

Harlan Hacker, 83, of Fort Benton, passed away Thursday, October 16, 2014, at Missouri River Medical Center.

Funeral services will be Wednesday, October 22, at 2 p.m. at Community Bible Church. Burial with military honors will follow in Riverside Cemetery.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.

Joe Bramlette

Funeral mass for Joe Bramlette, of Loma, will be Saturday, October 25, at 2 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton.

A full obituary will be in next week’s edition. Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.

10-15-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week

10-8-14 Issue:

Paul Leonard Trevithick

Paul Leonard Trevithick, 58, of Ham Lake, Minnesota, returned to his heavenly home on October 1, 2014, following a sudden illness.

Paul was born May 5, 1956, to James and Alice Trevithick, formerly of Geraldine. He chose to live for God as a child and continued faithfully until his passing.

On January 20, 1978, Paul married Melody Kay Newhouse from Cache, Oklahoma. Together they raised three children in Montana, Colorado and Idaho. Paul and Melody then relocated to Minnesota, where they resided until his passing.

Paul was a mechanic for many years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Montana State University-Bozeman in 1996. Paul then achieved his master’s degree and most recently worked in the medical industry until his passing. He was an excellent problem solver who enjoyed the challenge of difficult projects at work and around the home. He especially enjoyed his grandchildren.

Paul is survived by his wife Melody, and children; Amanda, Sedric (Char) and Damon; his beloved grandchildren: Levi, Emily, Merryn and Corbin; his parents James and Alice; his siblings, Marie (Dale), Anita, Mary (Paul), Joyce, Ken (Beke), and Lola. He is also survived by twelve nieces and nephews, many aunts, uncles, cousins and a multitude of friends.

He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all who knew him.

Funeral services will be held at the Gateway Center (1710 National Avenue) in Helena, Montana on Friday, October 10, at 10:30 am. Burial and a potluck luncheon will immediately follow the services. The Anderson Wilke Stevenson Funeral Home (3750 N Montana) will be handling arrangements.

10-1-14 Issue:

Ray Wishman

Ray Wishman, 71, of Geraldine, Montana, passed away on Sunday, September 7th, 2014, surrounded by his family.

Ray was born in Great Falls, Montana, to Detlef and Hilda Wishman on April 3rd, 1943. He attended a small one-room elementary school house across the road from the Wishman home place and graduated Geraldine High School in 1961. In January of 1962, Ray enlisted in the Unites States Navy and led a land-based unit in the Inshore Undersea Warfare Group in Vietnam. During his two terms of enlistment, Ray earned the Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct 1st Award, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Upon returning to the family farm in Montana, Ray took up flying as a private pilot and instructor. It was during a scheduled check-ride for his instructorship with a man named Joseph Dutton in Sand Springs, Montana, that Ray met the love of his life, April Arlene Dutton. They met in the spring of 1968 and were married on September 1st that same year in Sand Springs, Montana. Ray continued instructing student pilots through the years, even after he and his family moved out to the Wishman farm in 1973, where he farmed until 1985. A couple years later Ray started the Montana Overhead Door Company and proceeded to put over one million miles on the company’s trademark blue Toyota pickup.

Ray was devoted to the Lord, to his friends and family, and to his country. He enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing and was an accomplished marksman and trap shooter. Ray also enjoyed Nascar® and relished the opportunities to see several races in person. Ray became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1991 and was active in the Hawarden Quick Response Unit and Geraldine Ambulance, which were only a couple of the activities he enjoyed within the community.

Ray is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Terri and Ty McIntyre; son and daughter-in-law Allen and Rachel Wishman; brother Dale Wishman, and sister Louise Mittal, and grandchildren Ryely McIntyre, Paynton McIntyre, Morgan McIntyre, Isabella Troccoli and London Wishman; and many more very dear family and friends.

Memorial services will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, October 20th at the Geraldine Methodist Church with Pastor Dorothy (Dotti) Behling presiding. The American Legion and VFW will be holding a graveside military service at the Geraldine cemetery at 4:15 p.m., followed by a celebration of life with snacks and beverages back at the Geraldine Community Methodist Church fellowship hall.

Memorials may be given to the Geraldine VFW and American Legion.

The Ray Wishman family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to David and Tara Rowland and family, Richard and Chris Owen, Jack and Kim Owen and family, Bob Spevacek, the local chapters of the VFW, American Legion and Women’s Auxiliary, the Geraldine Methodist Church, and each and every friend and family member who have been so caring, helpful and supporting now and throughout the years. Thank you.

Ray L. Bennett

Ray L. Bennett passed away on Monday, September 22, 2014, at the age of 97 with his sons by his side.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 4, 2014, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton, with a reception following.

Ray was born on December 26, 1916, in Fort Benton to Zoe and Charles R. Bennett. He grew up on the family farm south of Fort Benton with his parents; sisters, Lucille, Bernie and Edna, and brothers, Art and Ross. Ray attended Fort Benton schools, and with the outbreak of World War II was a pilot in the South Pacific.

At the end of the war, Ray married Genevieve Willis on August 5, 1945. Together they worked on the family farm until 1955, and then Ray bought Ragland’s Grocery Store. They built their home at 1720 Washington and moved his family to town. Working side by side, Ray and Genny ran Bennett’s Food Center and raised their two sons, Gene and Jim. In 1978 they retired and bought a cabin at Swan Lake which became their summer home. They continued to live in their home at Fort Benton, where Ray turned the basement into a carpenter shop and enjoyed woodworking, for which he had a natural talent. In 2002, Genny passed away, and Ray moved to an apartment where he enjoyed daily trips to the country with Kay Bateman, his companion; photography, painting, and lots of pinochle.

Ray loved his family, people and his hometown, Fort Benton. And in later years he developed a love for creation, and would thank the Lord each day for “Another Good Day” on His earth. He was slow to anger, never complained, and was a wonderful mentor to his sons.

He is preceded in death by most everybody … he was 97, for goodness sakes!

He is survived by his brother, Art; sons and their families, Jim (Theresa) and Gene (Lisa), six grandchildren and eleven grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fort Benton Memorial Ambulance.

Dale L. Skaalure

Dale Levern Skaalure, 95, longtime Big Sandy farmer, and recently of Helena, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, at Touchmark Memory Care in Helena. His loving wife of 68 years, Lorraine, was at his side. Born July 7, 1919, Dale was raised on his family’s farm southeast of Big Sandy. His time at Montana State College was interrupted by WWII, when he volunteered for the U.S. Army, serving as a soldier in a POW camp in Arizona. His engagement to Lorraine Omlie came to fruition in 1946 when they were married. After finishing his degree in Bozeman, the couple returned to the family farm to begin raising grain, cattle, and five children. Dale was always thankful for his wife, family, and God’s blessings.

Dale was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Big Sandy for decades, holding leadership positions in the congregation, serving in the Montana Synod, and attending the Lutheran World Federation meeting in Helsinki in 1963. Besides church leadership, Dale was a 60-year charter Big Sandy Rotarian, serving as Montana’s Rotary District Governor in 1986-87.

Dale was elected to the Chouteau County commission in 1966 and served the next 18 years (three terms). He was elected to MACo and NACo, the Montana and National commissioners’ organizations. He even met two presidents: Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Dale enjoyed singing out of the church hymnbook and the Rotarian songbook and was always ready to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” The family thanks the staffs of Touchmark Memory Care and Hospice of St. Peter’s for all the wonderful care.

Dale was preceded in death by his parents, Crist and Ethel Skaalure and his sister, Thelma (Lawrenson) and son-in-law, Dennis (Signe) Stevens. He is survived by his wife, Lorraine (Omlie) and children: Arne (Cindy) of Plymouth, Minnesota; Signe Stevens of Bridger, Montana; Kirsten (Ron) Hoffarth of Langdon, North Dakota; Kevin (Kristi) of Helena, Montana; and Heidi (Craig) Sneltjes of Shoreview, Minnesota. He is also survived by his longtime farming and ranching partner, his brother Glenn (Jere) and many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

A memorial service celebrating Dale’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 27th at Saint John’s Lutheran Church, 1000 Helena Avenue. A reception will immediately follow the service in the social hall at the church. Private interment will be Friday at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Fort Harrison. Memorials can be made to donor’s choice. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Dale.

Robert (Rob) Oster

Robert (Rob) Oster, known to his many customers as “The Schwan’s Man,” passed away on September 24, 2014, at the age of 54. His family wishes you not to remember him with sadness but remember his smile and laughter and pass along his kindness and compassion to others.

Rob was born in Great Falls on March 10, 1960, to Walter and Phyllis Oster. Prior to becoming a route manager for Schwan’s, he worked in construction. He enjoyed spending time with his family, fly fishing, gathering firewood and beekeeping.

Rob is survived by his wife, Kim (Rossmiller) Oster; daughters, Savannah (Colton) Wootan and Kinzi (Zach) Campbell; son, Jayd Oster; sister, Paula (Dave) Pedersen; brothers, John Oster and Tom (Rose) Shively; and grandson, Flint Campbell.

The family has chosen to hold a private memorial. Cards may be sent to the Oster Family, Belt, MT, 59412. Memorial donations may be sent to Camp Make A Dream, 90 Church Rd, Goldcreek, MT 59733.

9-24-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week

9-17-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week

9-10-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week

9-3-14 Issue:

Frances Starr Todd

Frances Starr Todd, a teacher and philanthropist, died at her home in Far Hills, New Jersey, on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Born May 28, 1941, to Louis and Abbey Starr, Fay graduated from Foxcroft School and Columbia University. An artist and opera devotee, she was committed to many community and cultural organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Lamington Presbyterian Church, the Lower East Side Girls Club, Poets and Writers, Harlem Academy, and the River and Plains Society in Fort Benton.

Support from the Starr Foundation helped establish the museums at the Old Fort in Fort Benton, including the Bourgeois House and the Starr Gallery of Western Art, which opened in 2012 and is named in honor of Fay Starr Todd’s family.

Friends will remember Fay as a strong advocate for the importance of learning, especially for young women returning to school for GED degrees. She was a patient but demanding teacher with a quick mind and definite opinions, but always ready to listen and try new approaches. Her passion for art and music was contagious, and she was more than generous in sharing those loves with others. This was exemplified in her hands-on support for causes she believed in, always focusing on making a difference in the lives of those she benefited. Fay’s dignity and strength were role models for all who knew her. She will be greatly missed.

She was predeceased by her husband, John R. Todd, and her brother, Dillwyn Starr, both in 1988. Mrs. Todd is survived by her daughter, Mary Ganzenmuller and her husband, Peter, of Oldwick, N.J.; her son, Christopher Bray Todd and his wife, Jesenia, of Peapack, N.J., and five grandchildren, Peter, John, Christopher, Jeffrey and Jaeden.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the New Jersey Audubon Society, the Lamington Presbyterian Church, or the Clarence Dillon Public Library.

8-27-14 Issue:

Maurien (Ledgerwood) Farmer

Maurien (Ledgerwood) Farmer, 93, of Fort Benton, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, of natural causes.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 26, at the United Methodist Church in Geraldine, Montana. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Maurien was born on Dec. 28, 1920, to Elim community homesteaders Al and Mamie Ledgerwood. She joined a brother, Laurence. She graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1939 and continued her education Northern Montana College in Havre, graduating as a legal secretary in 1941. She worked for Jim Lynch, the Chouteau County attorney, at that time.

She married Bob Farmer of the Clear Lake community in 1945 and made their home there until his death in 1986. She bought a home and moved into Geraldine in the fall of 1986. She lived in Geraldine until moving to Sunrise Bluffs in November of 2012. Her final move was to Missouri River Medical Center in September of 2013.

Maurien had many hobbies – she was an accomplished seamstress, a great cook, and enjoyed wheat weaving, shopping, playing pinochle, and traveling. She traveled to Hawaii, and made two trips to Germany with Joan to visit Michelle, Justin, and the family.

She was a farm wife through and through, taking special enjoyment driving the truck during harvest. She enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest.

She is survived by her children Kay (Lennie) Duvall of Geraldine, Joan Farmer of Great Falls, and Bob Farmer of Geraldine; six grandchildren, Michelle (Justin) Mitchell of Raeford, North Carolina, Nicole (Lance) Johnson of Roy, Adam Duvall of Geraldine, Kyle and Tamara Farmer, both of Billings, and Cassie (Joe) Picchioni of Roundup; seven great-grandchildren, Danielle and Trent Mitchell, Irene and Sadie Johnson, Noah and Caleb Farmer, and Ciera Wilson.

Maurien was preceded in death by her husband Bob, her parents, and brother Laurence.

Norma Jean Sturgeon

On August 18th, Norma Jean Sturgeon entered into her eternal home in the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Born Oct. 31, 1929, in Great Falls, Mont., to Harold Samuel and Ethel Carrol Ray Colton, Jean was raised in the Fort Benton area. There she met and married Robert Hale Bishop. The couple moved back to Great Falls, where Jean cooked in various restaurants, while raising seven children. Jean later married Bob Sturgeon, who preceded her to heaven on March 30, 2011.

Jean fulfilled a dream to own and operate a restaurant in Whitehall, Mont., called the Jefferson House Supper Club. She later sold the restaurant and focused on other areas of creative giftings: She raised farm animals, grew lovely gardens, quilted, did needle work, and will always be remembered as the most fabulous cook. Jean loved to laugh and became known as a gift giver. This was the legacy she passed on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

She is survived by her seven children: Carroll Bishop of Guatemala; Christina (Charly) Torman of Farmington, Minn.; Rita (Mick) Farrell of Lisle, Ill.; Faye (Christopher) Lockwood of Mesa, Ariz.; Robert (Geneta) Bishop of Butte, Mont.; Wanda (Frank) Shields of Butte, Mont.; Richard (Kelly) Bishop of Polson, Mont.; 23 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren, and her sister Ellen Evans.

Jean was a faithful supporter for many years to an orphanage in Guatemala, founded by her daughter Carroll. It is requested that any memorial contributions be made to the James Project of Latin America, the legal name for Shadow of His Wings Orphanage. Online donations can be made by going to shadowofhiswingsorphanage.org.

Rose T. Nagengast

Rose T. Nagengast, 103, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, at Sunrise Bluffs Estates.

Funeral mass was held Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Burial followed at Riverside Cemetery. A luncheon at the church followed the burial.

Rose was born on June 22, 1911, in Viscount, Canada. Rose attended school in Roundup, Great Falls, and Wallace, Idaho; where she graduated from high school. She married George H. Nagengast in Fort Benton on Oct. 1, 1940. George died September 28, 1968.

From 1968 to 1981 Rose was a cook at St. Clare Hospital and later at Missouri River Medical Center. She was active in the VFW and sold poppies for many years. Rose worked at the Fort Benton Information Center for many years at its start. Her hobbies and interests were bowling, bowling scorekeeper, crocheting, gardening, and making her yearly fruitcakes.

Survivors include her daughters, Barbara (Greg) Reed of Tonasket, Wash., and Rose Marie Otey of Goleta, Calif.; grandsons, Christopher (Laura) Otey and Clayton Otey; many other relatives.

She was preceded in death by her husband; brothers, Steve Molnar, John Molnar, Jim Molnar, George Molnar, and Joe Yakiwich; sister Julia; parents, Steve Molnar and Rose Mattez; son-in-law Charles Otey, and many family members of the Nagengast family.

Memorials can be made to the Dedman Foundation, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, or the donor’s choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.

Betty Jo (Lemmon) Eldridge

Betty Jo (Lemmon) Eldridge went home to be with Jesus on Aug. 19, 2014.

A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, at 10:30 a.m. at the Community Bible Church fellowship hall in Fort Benton, with lunch to follow.

Betty Jo was born May 7, 1932, to John and Emma Lemmon in Craig, Colorado. On May 19, 1950, Betty Jo married Marvin Eldridge, and together they raised four children, Marvia (Rick) Johnson, Keith (Loretta) Eldridge, Ronda (Bud) Childers, and Jeani (Martin) Shea.

During their 64 years of marriage, Marvin and Betty Jo ministered in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Along with being a pastor’s wife, Betty Jo had many ministries of her own.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Shirley Campbell and Mary Lou Resecker, and brother Willis Lemmon.

She is survived by her husband, Marvin, four children, 11 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Betty Jo was the personification of love. Her sweet personality, sense of humor and genuine love of others will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Diana Lynn Hansen-Barnett

Diana Lynn Hansen-Barnett was laid to rest Thursday, August 7, 2014, at noon at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton.

Longtime resident of the Fort Benton area and Colville, Wash., she was preceded in death by her husband, Frank W. Barnett; father, Seymour H. Hansen; mother, Maisie M. Hansen; and sisters, Betty M. Allard (Eldon) and Beverly J. Caudell.

Diana is survived by her brother, Donald Olson (Sarah); sons, Brian G. Hansen (Cara); Jason M. Hubbard, and Frank J. Barnett (Curin); granddaughter, Mattie L. Barnett; nieces, Caron Caudell and Susan Bronec (Steven); and numerous close family members and friends.

Diana was a faithful Christian, loving wife, devoted mother, sister and aunt. She performed many selfless acts to help those researching their family history. She was a generous neighbor, was involved in forestry, drove shuttle for senior citizens near Colville, Wash., and was a terrific “do it yourself” mechanic.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the veterans’ charity or hepatitis C research of your choice would be appreciated.

8-20-14 Issue:

Sydney B. Huseby

Sydney B. Huseby of Carter was born Jan. 8, 1956, in Springfield, Illinois. Of Norwegian descent, Syd had relatives in Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as Bergen and Oslo, Norway. He died unexpectedly while visiting his daughter’s family in Michigan on July 18, 2014.

Syd was a renowned real-time court reporter who worked in Atlanta, New Mexico, and Montana for the federal court system and on many cases across the country for his nephew’s court reporting firm. At the time of his death, he was employed with the Hon. Julie Macek in Great Falls.

Syd is survived by his partner and wife, Paula Northerner, daughters Ashley (Chris) O’Dell and Jessica Shivers; stepson Tom Wormack, sister Jennifer Hamm, brother Tom Huseby, former wife and mother of his daughters, Kim Huseby, and grandchildren Ethan, Hailey, Luca, Noah, Zane, and Ruby O’Dell and Alexis Shivers; and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Stuart, and his grandson Zachary.

His many interests included camping, hammocks, bird watching, big game hunting, mechanical and computer work, and his lifelong passion for fishing.

A memorial celebration is planned at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton at noon on Saturday, Aug. 30.

8-13-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week

8-6-14 Issue:

Ronald S. Jovanovich

Ronald S. Jovanovich, 67, a retired Fort Benton High School history teacher and former manager of Signal Point Golf Course, passed away Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. A celebration of Ron’s life was held on Monday, Aug. 4, at Signal Point Golf Course.

Ron was born April 1, 1947, the son of Vlado and Louise Jovanovich. He attended Billings Senior High and graduated from Montana State University. Ron married his wife Gerry in 1968, and they moved to Fort Benton to start his teaching career in January of 1970. Along with teaching and coaching, Ron contributed to the Fort Benton community for over a decade as a member of the Fort Benton city council as well as serving as mayor. Ron retired from teaching in 1998, but retained his job as athletic director until 2006. In 2004 he was hired as the manager of Signal Point Golf Course, retiring in the fall of 2013.

Ron was a dedicated man to all his professions, always doing a job better than was expected of him. His pride in himself and his work showed at every level and he was loved and respected by many.

Ron is survived by his wife Gerry of 46 years, son Michael (Ginger), granddaughters Taylor and Grace of Tulsa, Oklahoma; daughter Tina (Kate), granddaughters Sarah and Erin of Wells, Maine; sister Sharon (Elwood) Hahn of Billings, Montana; and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Florence Dedman Animal Foundation and Shelter, Fort Benton, or Peace Hospice of Great Falls.

John Elliott

John L. Elliott, a Fort Benton native, died June 6, 2014, at the age of 99.

Born on Dec. 27, 1914, to the late Allen and Theresa Elliott, John graduated salutatorian and a member of the “C” club with the class of 1932 from Chouteau County High School. After working more than a year full time at the Pioneer Mercantile, he attained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana. He was employed in Great Falls with Rocky Mountain Insurance Company until 1958 with a four-year leave to serve in the U.S. Army.

He was a member of the Elks Lodge #214, Jaycees, and served as the first president of the Montana Muscular Dystrophy Association. From 1958 until 2007, John resided in California, working until retirement for the Hartford Insurance Company. His last years were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Survivors include a daughter, Judith Elly, granddaughters Diane Melrose and Marsha Lemke (Rick), great grandchildren Margaret and Alice Lemke and Joel and Austin Melrose, all of Wisconsin, and sister Alice Treat of Billings, Montana, as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Lease Elliott, sons John and Jere Elliott, and siblings Walter and Victor Elliott and Myrtle Anderson and Eva Carstensen.

Graveside services will be held at a future date in California.

7-30-14 Issue:

Effie Johnson

The journey of life for Effie Eleanor Austin Johnson ended on Friday, July 25, at Missouri River Medical Center.

The journey began on a ranch in Gilman, Montana, on Feb. 10, 1921, the first daughter of Elmer and Estella Austin. She joined two brothers, and later there was one more brother and four sisters that she helped take care of. Effie graduated from Great Falls High School in June 1940. Her journey then took her to a marriage to Walter N. Nicholson on April 8, 1941. A son, Howard N., was born on Nov. 10, 1941, followed by two daughters, Irene D., born May 17, 1943, and Jean M., born July 24, 1944. Walter ran the Loma Ferry and also worked at the Great Falls Smelter until his life ended on Jan. 6, 1948. Effie then married Wilbert Edward Johnson on Nov. 12, 1948. They later divorced on Sept. 23, 1958.

Effie’s journey had her as a cook and housekeeper at the Chouteau House Hotel and Café. She worked at the Grand Union Hotel as a housekeeper and had bus terminal duties. Effie worked as a cook at the Missouri River Medical Center from May 28, 1975, until retiring on Feb. 21, 2003, at the age of 82. Effie’s journey had her on a Fort Benton bowling team, where she enjoyed traveling with her team to state tournaments and other bowling events, along with the fun weekly sessions. Effie became a member of the Rebekah Lodge #105 on April 16, 1953, and served in all positions and was still a lifetime member. Effie was a member of the United Methodist Church.

Effie’s life journey was not always easy, but she always had a smile along with the “I can do” attitude through life, and her faith in God helped her through many difficult times.

She has been preceded in death by her husband, parents, three brothers, and one sister; her son, Howard; daughter, Irene; two granddaughters, Kimberley Jester and Brenda Beckler; special partner in life, Leroy Nulf; and many other important people who played a major role in her life’s journey.

Effie did have a special love for cats and could not turn away the many strays that found their way to her doorstep. This earned her the name in Fort Benton as the “Cat Lady.”

Effie enjoyed her seven grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, and her great great grandchildren. She loved going for rides and enjoying the beautiful world she lived in. She enjoyed being a mother, homemaker, and friend to many. She knew she had the responsibility to work and support her family through the good years and rough years of her life.

She is survived by her daughter, Jean (Wayne) Beckler of Rapid City, South Dakota, and their son, Warren; grandchildren, Robert Jester and family of New York, Steven Jester of Norway, Becky Dostal and family of Great Falls, Lee Nicholson and family and Marcy Granner and family, both of Colorado; sisters, Florence Desilva of Washington, Hazel Houston and Dorothy West, both of Great Falls; and many nieces, nephews, and their families.

Graveside services were held Tuesday, July 29, at Highland Cemetery in Great Falls.

Memorial can be made to the Dedman Animal Shelter, Fort Benton United Methodist Church, Rebekah Lodge, Missouri River Medical Center, or the charity of choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.

Harriet Helen Ritland

Harriet Helen Ritland, affectionately known as “Grandma Het,” died at the Great Falls Peace Hospice House on July 27, 2014. A native of Chouteau County, she was 94 years old.

Viewing will be at Schnider Funeral Home on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, from 3 to 8 p.m. Her funeral service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton. Burial will follow at the Fort Benton Riverside Cemetery.

Harriet was born Nov. 4, 1919, in Geraldine, Montana, the fourth of five children, to Arthur Joseph and Hope Esther (Huntley) Farmer. She graduated from Geraldine High School. In 1941, she married Ted Ritland at the family’s ranch north of Geraldine.

During World War II, she did clerical work in Fort Benton while Ted served overseas. Following the war, the couple farmed and ranched in Chouteau County.

Harriet was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. Harriet was an excellent cook and generous with her hospitality. Drop-in guests were always welcome at her table. Her signature dishes included rolls, fried chicken and dill pickles. Harriet was active in the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the United Methodist Women. Harriet was an avid gardener, but crocheting was her favorite hobby. Her beautiful doilies, angels, snowflakes and afghans are treasured family heirlooms.

She is survived by her sister, Belle (Lee) Rusch of Billings; daughters Carol Ann Ritland of Fort Benton, Betty Jo (Darrell) Chauvet of Big Sandy, and Marilyn (Jim) Carlson of Great Falls; sons Jay (Phyllis) Ritland of Fort Benton and Kenneth (Jennie) Ritland of Loma; ten grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; and two step great grandchildren. Additional survivors include two sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Harriet was preceded in death by her husband, parents and three brothers.

Memorials may be sent to Peace Hospice House, 1101 26th St S, Great Falls, or a memorial of the donor’s choice.

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

7-23-14 Issue:

No obituaries this week