Local Obituaries

 

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.


7-2314 Issue:

No obituaries this week


7-16-14 Issue:

Elva. G. Gessaman

Elva G. (Whitehorn) Gessaman, 88, passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at her home at Buffalo Hill Terrace in Kalispell, Montana.

She was born March 27, 1926, to Chester Arthur Whitehorn and Georgia Fern (Hathaway) Whitehorn, at the family farm north of Great Falls, Montana. She grew up on that farm, which her parents had homesteaded in 1916. After attending local rural schools Elva graduated from Fort Benton High School. She then worked in Great Falls, primarily at the J.C. Penney store.

Elva married Donald K. Gessaman on Feb. 3, 1951, at the Whitehorn family farm, after which they took up residence on the Gessaman farm north of Fort Benton. There they raised grain, cattle, and four children.

In 1980, they “retired” from the farm at Fort Benton, leaving it in the hands of the next generation. They moved to Polson, Montana, bought an apple and cherry orchard there, and worked harder than ever. Spraying, watering, pruning and marketing their fruit occupied their time. They also made some of the best fresh apple juice you’ve ever tasted.

During their years in Polson, Elva was very involved with the Polson United Methodist Church and the Polson Senior Center. She also volunteered at the Polson Country Store. Her home-baked whole wheat bread was legendary, and in great demand at the local bake sales.

All her life, Elva was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. She was a loving sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. Her gentle spirit and happy smile will be missed by all who knew her.

Elva was preceded in death by her husband, Donald K. Gessaman; her brothers Chester Arthur Whitehorn, Jr., Wallace Whitehorn, and Stanley Whitehorn; and her sisters Bernice Skaw, Virginia Wiederhold and Clara Walker.

She is survived by her brother Wayne Whitehorn at the family farm; sister Iris Halvorson, Great Falls; sons Bill and wife Debbie Gessaman, Lake Stevens, Wash., and Mike and wife Deb Gessaman, Fort Benton; daughters Jeanne and husband Ted Turner, Kalispell, and Janet and husband Dave Haugen, Fort Benton; 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on Monday morning, July 14, at the Polson United Methodist Church, Polson. Inurnment followed at the Lakeview Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Polson United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory. Memories and condolences may be sent to the family at www.groganfuneralhome.com.


Joan M. Cameron (revised)

Joan Mercedes Cameron passed away on July 6, 2014, at Park Place Care Center, Great Falls, Montana, due to complications from heart failure and cancer, while her husband, Raymond, was holding her.

Joan was born on Dec. 23, 1931, near Union Mills, LaPorte County, Indiana, the oldest child of her parents, Oliver and D. “Elizabeth” (Carpenter) Mandeville. Joan grew up near La Porte City, Indiana. She lived much of her childhood with her paternal grandparents, Orpheus and Marie Mandeville.

Joan was the widow of Carl Simmons when she and Raymond B. Cameron married on Oct. 11, 2008, in Fort Benton, Montana, and they made their home in Fort Benton.

Joan performed many types of jobs over the years. She helped her grandparents on their farm, which mainly grew produce. They also sold their fresh fruit and produce at a small stand at their home. Most of Joan’s employment was working in food service as a waitress, cook and restaurant owner. She did sewing work on car upholstery and on drapes. In her later years Joan was a personal care attendant.

Joan enjoyed sports. She played pitcher position on her softball team and taught softball to children. Joan was an avid swimmer. Joan and Ray loved to dance, and would dance at home when they couldn’t go out. Joan was skilled in painting pictures, sewing machine embroidery, and gardening.

Joan attended the Community Bible Church in Fort Benton and briefly taught Sunday School to children there.

Joan is survived by her husband, Raymond, and her twin daughters, Peggy (Robert) Johnson and Barbara (Lloyd) Allard, and another daughter, Debra L. Harlow. Joan is also survived by her sister, Jean Van Arman, brothers Gayle (Sylvia) Mandeville and Daniel (Vicki) Mandeville, half-sister Ann Elise Jakobsen, aunt Vi Neff, and half-brother Duane “Bud” Brennen.

Public viewing was held at the Cutler Funeral Home in LaPorte, Indiana. Graveyard services were Friday, July 11, at Union Mills Cemetery, Indiana. Joan was laid to rest next to her paternal grandparents. There was a reception following the service at the Community Center in Kings Ford Heights, Indiana.


7-9-14 Issue:

Peter V. Magnuson

Peter V. Magnuson, 96, of Florence passed away at home in the presence of his family and his wife of 69 years on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Peter was born March 21, 1918 in Geraldine Montana to Lena and Harold Magnuson. He attended school at Geraldine, graduating in 1936. He then went to college for two years in Bellingham, Washington, and later enrolled in radio school in Texas.

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1940 at Fort Missoula Montana and soon made the rank of Corporal. During his military career Peter specialized in diesel mechanics, achieved marksman status, earned the American Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Service Medal.

Stationed first at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and later on Adak Island in the Aleutians, Peter witnessed the Japanese air attack on Dutch Harbor that occurred on June 4, 1942, six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In 1944, Peter returned to Montana and married Joyce Knox on December 23, 1944. He was honorably discharged from military service in 1945. Shortly thereafter, the couple owned/operated a small dairy farm near Great Falls, Montana. During this time three daughters were born to them; Susan, Sandra, and Sara. Later the family moved to Geraldine where Peter was employed by the First National Bank of Geraldine. He and Joyce also established the well-known “Pete’s Photos” photography studio that they operated until Pete’s retirement in 1988; at which time they moved to Sheridan, Montana, then later to Florence to be near their family.

Among his many interests, Peter’s favorite hobbies were woodworking, photography, and sharing a good laugh; in his last years he enjoyed “texting.”

Peter was preceded in death by his parents Lena (Denny) Magnuson and Harold M. Magnuson, and is survived by his wife, Joyce (Knox) Magnuson; sister Mary (Magnuson) Gemmel of Helena, Montana; daughters Susan (Larry) Little of Geraldine, Sandra (Ted) Meinzen of Lolo, Montana, Sara (Vic) Sieglock of Havre, Montana; 12 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at a later date.

The family appreciates the wonderful care and compassion he received from Aspen Hospice, his in-home caregivers and from Dr. Laura Shelton and the staff at the Florence Family Clinic.

Memorials should be sent to Aspen Hospice of Montana, 107 Bell Crossing West, Stevensville, MT 59870.


Kelsey Jean Morris

Kelsey Jean Morris, 30, of Fort Benton, Montana, passed away on July 6, 2014. Visitation will be Thursday, July 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, July 11, 2014 at the First Christian Church in Fort Benton. Pastor Scott McNeely will be officiating. Burial will follow the funeral at Riverside Cemetery.

Kelsey was born at the Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls, Montana on May 19, 1984 to Rick and Brenda Morris. Kelsey participated and excelled in dance from her early childhood all the way through her high school years. Kelsey had a free spirit that allowed for a very daring, humorous and quick witted personality. Kelsey incorporated a competitive relationship with her brother when growing up, where oftentimes they would sit and compete at Super Nintendo for hours. Another great memory of Kelsey growing up was her admiration for WWF (World Wrestling Federation). You could always count on her watching each new episode weekly and later reenacting it with her brother. Kelsey loved the summers. She swam for Fort Benton Swim Team for many years, placing at the State meet a couple of times. Her passion for swimming led to a summer job as a lifeguard at the public swimming pool.

Kelsey later graduated from Fort Benton High School in 2002. An extremely bright student, but not totally sure of what career path she wanted to pursue, she attended one year of studies at Washington State University. Kelsey found a great love for the country, enjoying the peacefulness, cooking, and caring for her animals, which never could have been done without the support of a very special loved one, Travis Kassmier.

Kelsey, you will be forever in our hearts.

Kelsey is preceded in death her grandfather, Donald Morris; grandmother, Beverely Allen; uncle, Brian Winden; cousin, Mark Allen, and great grandparents. Kelsey is survived by her parents, Rick and Brenda Morris; brother, Karson Morris; grandparents, Harold and Bernie Winden; grandparents, Lloyd and Deanna Allen and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Memorials may be made in Kelsey’s name to the Dedman Foundation in Fort Benton or to the memorial of your choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Dennis Russell Ulmen 

Dennis Russell Ulmen, 69, lifelong resident of Big Sandy, passed away at the Big Sandy Medical Center on the morning of June 23, 2014, after a long illness.

Dennis was the only child born to Ethel (Cooke) and Clem Ulmen on June 6, 1945. He was the apple of their eyes and a happy child. He spent much of his childhood with his McNeill, Ulmen, and Cooke cousins. Whether in the Bear Paws or on the prairie, Dennis liked to be where the action was.

Dennis graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1963. After high school, he went to work as a fuel man for Farmer’s Union Oil in Big Sandy. Dennis enjoyed delivering fuel to the local farmers and ranchers. Dennis owned his own truck and hauled throughout the 80s and 90s, and later worked for Ezzie’s of Havre. A truck accident in 1987 left him with a broken back and years of pain. He retired in 2005.

Dennis was married to Janice Jurenka in 1975. They divorced. He married Christine Wortman in 1980, helping raise her two sons, Kole and Lacy. They later divorced.

Dennis enjoyed coffee, antiques, nice vehicles, driving around and watching television. He especially enjoyed watching bull riding, and the National Finals Rodeo.

There will be a memorial service on Monday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Big Sandy, with burial of ashes in the Big Sandy Cemetery.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Joan M. Cameron

Joan Mercedes Cameron passed away on July 6, 2014 at Park Place Care Center in Great Falls, Montana, due to complications from heart failure and cancer, while her husband, Raymond, was holding her.

Joan was born near Union Mills on Dec. 23, 1931 near Union Mills in LaPorte County, Indiana, the oldest child of her parents, Oliver and Drucilla “Elizabeth” (Carpenter) Mandeville. Joan grew up near La Porte, Indiana. She lived much of her childhood with her paternal grandparents, Orpheus and Marie Mandeville.

Joan was the widow of Carl Simmons when she and Raymond B. Cameron married on Oct. 11, 2008 in Fort Benton, Montana and made their home in Fort Benton. Before coming to Montana, Joan had lived in Indiana, Florida, Texas and for a short while in Idaho.

Joan performed many types of jobs over the years. Most of her employment was working in food service as a waitress, cook and owner. She did sewing work on car upholstery and on curtains. In her later years, Joan was a personal care attendant.

Joan enjoyed sports. She played pitcher position on her softball team and taught softball to children. Joan was an avid swimmer. Joan was skilled in painting pictures, sewing machine embroidery, and gardening.

Joan is survived by her husband, Raymond B. Cameron; and her twin daughters, Peggy (Robert) Johnson and Barbara (Lloyd) Allard, and another daughter, Debra L. Harlow; stepsons Carl Simmons Jr. and Russell Simmons. Joan is also survived by her sister, Norma “Jean” Arman; brothers Gayle (Sylvia) Mandeville and half-sisters Ann Elise Jakobsen, and Vi Neff.

A public viewing is planned for Friday, July 11, 2014 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Cutler Funeral Home in La Porte. Afterward, graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Union Mills Cemetery in Indiana. Joan will be laid to rest next to her paternal grandparents. There will be a reception following the service at the Community Center in Kings Ford Heights, Indiana.


Elva G. Gessaman (notice)

Elva G. Gessaman, age 88, of Kalispell passed away on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at Buffalo Hill Terrace in Kalispell, Montana.

Memorial services for Elva will be held on Monday, July 14, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Polson. Inurnment will follow the services at Lake View Cemetery. A full obituary will follow.

Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory.


7-2-14 Issue:

Lorena Towner 

Lorena Regina (Bedard) Towner was born April 18, 1912, to French-Canadian parents, Henry and Aurise Bedard, in Frenchtown. She was the sixth of nine children and grew up in a French speaking home. Lorena attended school in Frenchtown and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Missoula. On a visit to Fort Benton, she met Sam Towner, the love of her life. On Sept. 4, 1933, Lorena and Sam were married and made Fort Benton their home to raise their family. Sam worked at the Pioneer Mercantile. Their life centered around family, friends, dinners, visits, and her church. Lorena was an active member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and was the organist for many years. She was an active member of St. Elizabeth’s Circle and was active in the woman’s club and supported all of their activities.

Lorena had many great memories of being the Chouteau County librarian for 26 years. She loved the people she came in contact with and did her best to encourage any young person who wanted to read. She was proud of and very committed to the community of Fort Benton. Lorena enjoyed gardening, crocheting, playing pinochle and other card games, puzzles and sports. She had a sweet tooth and there was always a candy dish for visitors and a bit of chocolate hidden away for herself.

Reaching a 100 years old was a milestone, and family and friends gathered to celebrate her life. She loved the party and took great pride in boasting she was 100. Lorena made the transition from this life to MORE life Friday, June 20, 2014, at Missouri River Medical Center. She was 102 when she died, and we celebrate a life well-lived and well-loved. Funeral mass was held Thursday, June 26, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Burial followed in Riverside Cemetery.

Survivors include daughter, Laurie Koski (Steven) of Bend, Oregon; sons, Doug Towner (Mary Lou) of Ashtabula, Ohio, and Gary Towner (Kathleen) of San Felipe, Baja, Mexico; grandchildren, Lynn Czup, Greg Towner, Amy Towner, Chris Towner, Zack Towner, Jacob Koski, and Jonah Koski; nine great grandchildren; and one great great grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 64 years, Sam Towner.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Choteau County Library. Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.


Orval B. Thompson

Orval Bruce Thompson, 88, of Geraldine, passed away on June 20, 2014, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls of natural causes. At Bruce’s request there will only be a graveside service, which will be held at 1 p.m. July 12, 2014, at the Manchester Cemetery, between Vaughn and Great Falls. Cremation has taken place and arrangements are by Croxford Funeral Home. A community potluck to celebrate Bruce’s life will be held in Geraldine on July 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the Vet’s Hall.

Bruce was born in Oroville, Washington, to Charles S. and Gladys Shepherd Thompson on June 17, 1926. He grew up and graduated from high school in Dutton, Montana. He married Genevieve (Jenny) Dickson on April 9, 1950 in Great Falls, Montana. He attended the University of Montana. Bruce worked as an assistant manager at Safeway Stores in Chinook and Choteau. From 1956 until 1992 he owned and operated Thompson’s General Store in Geraldine.

Bruce was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War. He served in the Naval Reserve in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Air Force, and the Montana Air National Guard. Bruce was involved in the American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Shriners, Geraldine Volunteer Fire Department, Little League baseball, Montana American Legion Boys State and was clerk of the Geraldine School Board for many years. He was an active participant in almost all Geraldine community projects.

Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Gladys Thompson, sisters Joyce and Mary Thompson, and brother, Patrick Thompson.

He is survived by his wife, Jenny; daughters Connie (Sherwin) Smith of Choteau, Caro (Steve) Knecht of Helena and Janice Thompson of Great Falls; brothers Les Thompson of Geraldine and David Thompson of Ephrata, Washington; sister Heather (John) Balock of Melstone; grandchildren Danielle (Jay) Mooney of Kalispell, Brent (Trisha) Smith of Winnett, Sara (Beau) Decker of Sheridan, Kurt (Amy) Knecht of Helena; great-grandchildren Kori and Cyan Mooney, McKenzie and Keaghan Smith, Gunnar, Brody, and Kennedy Decker.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Bruce’s honor can be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. The family wishes to extend their sincere thank you to Montana Peace Hospice for the care given Bruce.


Mike D. Knecht

Mike D. Knecht, 63, of Great Falls, passed away June 26, 2014, at his residence in Great Falls after a courageous battle with cancer. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, July 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Knecht residence, 1601 22nd Ave S, Great Falls, Montana.

Mike was born Oct. 20, 1950, in Fargo, North Dakota, to Edwin William Knecht and Lois Enga Grindberg. In 1968, he graduated from Fort Benton High School. He later received a bachelor’s degree in business from the College of Great Falls. For 25 years Mike was an auditor for the State of Montana overseeing Workers Compensation and the Department of Transportation. He also worked part-time at ProBuild in Great Falls. Mike enjoyed NASCAR races, fishing and camping, working with wood, old cars, and traveling.

Mike is survived by his loving wife Jeanne and faithful companion Izzy Lou; sisters, Mary Beth (Lanny) Campell of Helena, Billie (Gordon) Peterson of Great Falls; brothers, Steve (Caro) Knecht of Helena, Tom (Doreen) Knecht of Harrison, Idaho; sisters-in-law, Carliene Baier, Corinne (Jerry) Gates, Lori Nelson, Bobbie Sue (John) Talmage, Lynn (Tony) Lutke; brothers-in-law, Dave (Robyn) Baker, Russell Baker, Ross McBurney; as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Edwin “Bill” and Lois Knecht; brothers-in-law, Lee Nelson, Ray Baier and Gary Starke.

The family has asked that memorial donations be made to: Sletten Cancer Center, 1117 29th St S, Great Falls, MT, 59405.


Inez Bramlette (notice)  

A memorial service for Inez Bramlette will be held at the United Methodist Church in Fort Benton at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 15. Burial will follow in the cemetery in Fort Benton.


6-25-14 Issue:

Lorena Towner (notice)  

Vigil services for Lorena Towner will be Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at Benton Funeral Home. Funeral mass will be Thursday, June 26, at 10 a.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 or PO Box 1326, Fort Benton, MT 59442.


6-18-14 Issue:

Richard Allen “Dick Brown  

Richard Allen “Dick” Brown, age 92, passed away May 14, 2014.

Dick was born in Wichita, Kansas in July 27, 1921. His parents were Rev. Daniel W. Brown and Edith (McEldowney) Brown. He married Agnes Jenkinson, his childhood sweetheart on July 19, 1942, in Fort Benton, Montana. They were married 56 years; she preceded him in death.

Dick spent time during WWII in the European theater and was in Germany when the war ended. He served in the Ozark Division, Headquarters Co., 102nd Infantry Division. After the war, he graduated from Montana State University in civil engineering. He worked for Armco in Helena, Montana, later moving to Spokane. Dick retired from H. Halvorson Construction Company in Spokane after 30 years.

Dick gladly served the church body utilizing his gifts in prayer groups, choir, solos, as well as serving on building and architectural committees. He served wherever he was needed.

Dick’s greatest joy was found in song. He participated in church and barbershop quartets, and the El Katif Shrine Chanters choir. He is remembered for his rich baritone voice harmonizing in song fests with family. He enjoyed fishing and teaching his grandchildren to drive the 7 ½ fishing boat. The family is grateful for the legacy and memories of Loon Lake.

Dick is survived by a sister, Alice Swindell in Springfield, Oregon; sons, Bruce Brown (Lee) of Chula Vista, California; Daniel (Jean) Brown of Vashon Island, and daughter, Barbara (Jay) Monti of Olympia. He has three grandchildren Damian Alhadeff, Seattle; Joshua Monti, Olympia; and Jaime (Monti) McKissick, Oklahoma; and seven great-grandchildren including, Nicholas, Jax, Josie, Landen, Barrette, Sparrow, and Ridge. Dick married Loretta Fruin Bergdahl March Brown in 1999. They enjoyed dining out and fly fishing together at Twin Lakes. Her children are Bruce, Jim and Rich Bergdahl. He is also survived by his beloved dog Andy. He was preceded in death by a brother, Darrel Brown of Spokane.

A family graveside service will be held in Spokane. The family requests donations be made to the Shriner’s Hospital of Spokane or your favorite charity.


Scott A. Peterson

The children of Scott A. Peterson will be holding a memorial service on Friday, June 27, 2014, at 11 a.m. on Fort Benton’s old bridge.

Scott A. Peterson was born on Nov. 18, 1960, to Ross and Phyllis (Frieling) Peterson. Scott passed away on Feb. 3, 2013.


Marshall Lloyd Fisher 

Marshall Lloyd Fisher, 93, WWII US Army Air Force veteran with the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and a longtime farmer and rancher, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2014, at Missouri River Medical Center.

Funeral services were held Monday, June 16, at Community Bible Church. Burial with military honors followed at Riverside Cemetery.

Marshall was a member of the Chouteau County Sheriff’s Posse for 20 years and after retiring from ranching/farming in the mid 70’s he moved to Fort Benton and continued working as a Montana State Stock Inspector for 20 years as well as assisting with the Choteau County Fairgrounds. Marshall enjoyed traveling and attended several reunions with former members of his flight crew from WWII. He also enjoyed watching WWF wrestling, riding horses, cowboy polo, and hunting.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 47 years, Winifred (Winnie) Fisher; parents, Albert and Eva (Warehime) Fisher; and three sisters, Hazel Ward, Gertrude Swears, and Dehlia Gibson; stepdaughter, Margaret Ann Potter and stepson, Doug Taylor.

Survivors include grandchildren, Rick Allison, Gary Allison, Douglas Taylor, Debbie Powell Taylor, Donna Rutherford, and Denise Taylor; and many nieces and nephews, as well as many longtime friends.


Darrell W. Teter  

Darrell W. Teter, 92, of Fort Benton, passed away in Lewiston, Idaho, on June 7, 2014, while visiting family.

Darrell was a WWII Navy veteran. He and his wife retired and moved to Square Butte in 1999 from Mesa, Ariz. They moved to Sunrise Bluffs from Square Butte in 2011. He is survived by five children – three daughters, Sharron (Bill) Gough, of Post Falls, Idaho; Delores (John) Bishop of Great Falls, Mont.; and Mardelle (George) Casteel of Grangeville, Idaho; and two sons, Wayne (Bette) Teter of Spokane, Wash., and Gilbert of Great Falls, Mont.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Maxine, in 2012.


Alan Leroy Carter

Alan “Al” Leroy Carter of Power, Montana, passed away suddenly on May 28, 2014, while looking at wheat fields on the farm where he worked.

Alan was born Aug 6, 1960, in Yuba City, Calif., to Leroy and Carol Carter. He attended Live Oak High School. Alan began work as a beekeeper with Big Sky Honey, which brought him to Montana in 1979. Alan lived in Chouteau County, where he enjoyed farming. He tried his hand at his own logging business before moving to Great Falls in 1986. He was a caregiver to friend Andy Kruger, which took him to many extravagant places like Hong Kong and Hawaii, where a tragic accident involving his friend landed him in jail for a year. Upon release he returned to Montana - “God’s Country,” as he called it. He worked as a bouncer at the Loading Zone, then retreated to Corvallis, Oregon. In about a year, he returned to Montana, where he resumed work as manager of the Playground/Loading Zone and also continued farming west of Power. In 2002, Alan was hired by Scattered Acres Farms, Inc., as farm foreman, where he lived, worked and became a part of the Vick family. He enjoyed the peaceful countryside where he lived and the variety of projects that he was able to do and oversee on the farm. There truly was nobody better or more full of pride at what they did than “Big Al.”

Alan is proceeded in death by his mother, Carol Carter; his father, Leroy Carter; and his stepmother, Patricia Carter.

He is survived by his three sisters, Lisa Sanders of Sacramento, Kathy Jimenez of Las Vegas, and Amy Schleigh of Sutter, Calif., along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and many more friends and loved ones.

A memorial service will take place on Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at the Community Center in Power, Montana, with a reception to follow.


Bobbie A. Stevenson 

Bobbie A. Stevenson, 70, passed away June 15, 2014, in Great Falls.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 25, at 2 p.m. at the Fort Benton Agricultural Center. Cremation has taken place under the direction of O’Connor Funeral Home.

Bobbie was born February 20, 1944, in Fort Benton. He is survived by his wife, two sons, grandchildren, brother, two sisters, and several special friends.

Donations are suggested to the Disabled Veterans of America, National Headquarters, PO Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH, 45250-0301.


6-11-14 Issue:

Terry LeRoy Marcussen  

Terry L. Marcussen, age 76, passed away June 3, 2014, from cancer. At his request there will be no services.

He was born March 11, 1938, in Great Falls, Montana, the second child of Roy and Sadie (Long) Marcussen. He was raised in Carter and graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1956. He enjoyed farming, fishing, hunting, carpentry, welding, gardening and cooking, and even won a local chili cook-off. He built a boat in the early 60’s he enjoyed with his family on the Missouri River and Tiber Dam Reservoir. He farmed with his dad for many years. He worked for GTA in Carter, and then was manager at Loma and Hinsdale, Montana. He worked a short time with father-in-law John L. Davison at the D & K Tire service station. He then worked as foreman for many years at Gysler, Melroe and Renn manufacturing. He also co-owned M & M painting.

He married Roberta Jean Davison on June 22, 1956. They would have been married 58 years. He is survived by his son, Robin (Denise) Marcussen, Fort Benton; daughters, Roxie (Ted) Lewis, Great Falls, Richele (Alan) Serfoss, Vaughn, and RaeLynn Bullach, Gillette, Wyoming; grandchildren, Joshua (Cassie) Marcussen, Jodi (Brandon) Knoles, Joseph Cartwright, Bryan (Erin) Cartwright, Nicole (Brock) Barnick, Jennifer Fief, Krystal (Scott) Baysinger and Kylie Bullach; great-grandchildren Celene, Chloee, Camie, Braydon ,Joshua, Jacobi, Aliyah, Bryce, Daerious, Christian, Bentley, Noah, Tanner, Corbin, Gracie and Barnick baby on the way. Also a favorite pet “Sparkie.” He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Lauretta Reynolds, an infant daughter, and beloved pets, Polly, Elizabeth, Tippy, Charlie and Chance.

Arrangements are by cremation by Benton Funeral home. Condolences may be sent to www.misermortuaries.com. Upon his request his ashes will spread by his immediate family at a later date. The family has requested memorials be made to Peace Hospice of Fort Benton, Chouteau County Cancer Support Group and the Dedman Foundation.


James “Jim” Robert Knedler 

James “Jim” Robert Knedler passed away June 3, 2014, in Fort Benton.

Jim was born October 13, 1925 to Harry and Hattie Knedler. In 1944, he graduated from Geraldine High School, then enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in the Pacific during WWII and served in many locations.

After the war, Jim returned to Geraldine and married Marcella Makich of Square Butte. He farmed north of Geraldine with his father and brother.

Jim and Marcella were active in the community. In their earlier years they were part of a dance band that played at the country dancehalls. Jim played the trumpet and Marcella was the piano player. Later in his life, Jim became famous for playing “Taps” at countless military funerals.

Jim was an avid pilot with his own piper cub airplane. He became a member of Flying Farmers of America. He downsized his airplanes and enjoyed the hobby of flying model planes. Jim and Marc pursued their love of history, attending auctions and many Montana historical sites.

Jim is survived by Marcella, his spouse of 67 years; son, Robert, of Geraldine; daughter, Brenda Freeman of Great Falls; grandchildren Brennan and Hayley Freeman; brother-in-law Max Makich and wife, Kathy, and their daughters. Nieces, Nancy Steel, Susan and Peggy Knedler and many friends. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, and brother, Lee (Bud) and Ann (Manley) Knedler.

Services were held Friday, June 6, at Benton Funeral Home, followed by burial with military honors at the Geraldine Cemetery.

Memorials to charity of choice.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.