Local Obituaries


11-25-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week

11-18-15 Issue:

Howard Meeks Jr.

November 5th Howard Meeks Jr., 97, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Fort Benton, Montana. A graveside service will be held at the Riverside Cemetery, Fort Benton, at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20, followed by a luncheon at noon in the Agricultural Center.

Howard was born June 8, 1918 to Howard Sr. and Elizabeth Meeks in the Saint Claire Hospital, Fort Benton, Montana. Howard was the third of four children. His parents homesteaded in “Pleasant Valley.” Howard was raised there and attended the Pleasant Valley School through the 6th grade. He graduated in 1936 from the Chouteau County High School in Fort Benton. After high school he joined the Civilian Conservation Corp stationed in the state of Washington. He returned to Montana and attended college in Missoula, majoring in Forestry. After two years in Missoula, he transferred to Bozeman to pursue an agricultural degree. He joined the Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While in the Navy, he was allowed to finish his education in Bozeman, graduating with a BS degree in Agriculture. He was in the Navy Air Corps from 1942 to 1943. He transferred to the Marine Corps Air Service in Sept. 1943. He piloted B25 Mitchell bombers and transport planes in the South Pacific. After WWII ended, 1st Lieutenant Meeks returned to Montana to farm but he remained in the MCAS reserves.

He married Norma Jean Montgomery May 1, 1947. They had three children. The Marine Corps called him back to service during the Korean War in 1950 as part of a new helicopter unit. He was stationed in Japan until his discharge in 1954. Major Meeks returned to his family. He was anxious to start farming again in Chouteau County, Montana. In addition to farming, he flew a Piper Cub airplane in his crop spraying business. The last year of his spraying business, he used a helicopter.

Norma passed away in 1964. In 1978 he married Virginia Tacke. They enjoyed traveling to the Panama Canal and China, visiting the Great Wall. While on a trip to Alaska, Howard enjoyed a flight into the Arctic Circle. Virginia passed away in 2009.

His hobby was restoring antique Case tractors. He enjoyed the game battleship with his children and grandchildren. Virginia was required to kept batteries on hand as it was much more exciting to play with the electronic sounds. All the grandkids knew where his stash of Smarties candy was kept.

He was loved by his family and will be missed.

He is survived by his daughters Karen Sansoucie and Carla (Kim) Singer and his son Monty (Jayn) Meeks, all of Fort Benton. His surviving stepchildren are Kate (Dick) Kurfess of Oregon and Tom (Jackie) Tacke of California. His grandchildren are Stacie (Scott) Schissler and Kyle (Justin) Hager of Great Falls and Janae (Anthony) Singer and Ginger (Travis) Knoll of Houston, Texas. Great grandchildren are Dane and Dylan Hager and Connor Schissler. He is also survived by his brother Archie Meeks of Kansas.

He was preceded in death by his brother William (Eleanor) Meeks Sr., sister Leah (Charles) Dixon and wives Norma and Virginia.

The family would like to thank the staff of the Sunrise Bluffs, and Naldean and Brenda for the wonderful care they provided Howard.

Memorials can be made to the Dedman Foundation of Fort Benton or the charity of a donor’s choice. Condolences may be posted at www.misermortuaries.com.

Duane Lee “Duke” Frieling

Duane Lee “Duke” Frieling, 58, of Fort Benton, a former teacher and janitor who enjoyed sports, died Monday, November 9, 2015 at his home. Survivors include brothers Greg Frieling of Lake Zorich, Illinois, and John A. Frieling and Doug Frieling, both of Cascade. He is preceded in death by his father, John E. and Genny E. Frieling; sister, Paula J. and Darleen Ann. No services are planned at this time.

Devin Gene Leistiko

Devin Gene Leistiko, 18, born November 2, 1997. 18 years 1 week and 12 ½ hours we were blessed with the best gift that God ever gave us. With his caring heart and his big cheery grin, he touched everyone that crossed his path, family, friends, and strangers alike. From his love of sports to his love of work Devin’s favorite time of the year wasn’t Christmas but branding. No challenge was too big or too small for Devin to take on, from back to back state champs 6 man football team, to a successful 10 years of 4-H. A freak accident took him from us at this young age.

He is survived by his loving parents, Eric and Melissa; his loved sisters that he was so proud of, Morgan, Payten, Kaitlyn, and Brynn; grandparents, Roy and Susan Lundy, Steve Leistiko, and Penny Leistiko; aunts and uncles, Joel and Lousia Lundy, and Troy Leistiko, and too many great aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that loved him to list. He will forever be in our hearts.

A celebration of life was held Saturday, November 14, at the Geraldine High School.

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.

11-11-15 Issue:

Martha Steven

Martha Elizabeth (Yurman) Steven was born October 1st, 1919 on a family farm ten miles northwest of Chester, Montana. Her parents were Michael and Ida (Kerbes) Yurman. Martha’s maternal grandmother, Matlia Yurman, being a practicing midwife in the rural neighborhood, delivered her into the world (as well as her two sisters).

Martha was the middle daughter to the Yurmans, who were second-generation Estonian settlers in the area. As a child she attended the local Gruhman country school. Both at home and at the school, Martha and her sisters spoke Estonian prior to learning English. The girls rode ponies to school. One time Martha’s pony ran off with the wild mustangs of the Sweet Grass plains, so she took off on foot trying to catch it.

Martha and her sisters eventually attended high school in Chester, where they brushed up on the English language. After Martha graduated from Chester High in 1937, she attended college in Havre.  It was there she gained teaching credentials and actively participated in the college’s literary journal called “Inky Fingers.”

Shortly after college Martha taught at a country school near Kalispell. She met her future husband, Rae C. Steven, at the Shelby roller skating rink. The couple was married October 24th, 1941. Soon after they moved to Cincinnati, where Rae worked as an engineer, designing components for World War II aircrafts. After the war the Stevens moved back to Montana and eventually settled into farming with Martha’s parents near Chester. They raised a family of four children and lived in the Chester community for 15 years before moving to the Big Bend Ranch on the Missouri River near Virgelle, where they continued to farm and ranch until retirement.

Martha served as the kindergarten teacher in Chester, then later at the Big Sandy School District. She welcomed everyone into her home in Big Sandy, where she lived with her children during the winter school months. In both the Chester and Virgelle communities Martha was active in 4-H leadership, Republican politics, and Lutheran church activities. As a leader of the Lothair Clover Leaf 4-H Club at Tiber, Martha wrote and produced several short plays entitled “Magnificent Baloney” and “The Red-Headed Stranger,” which were performed by the 4-H kids on Demonstration Day. Many years later one of these plays was performed again in special tribute to Martha.

Martha also enjoyed reading literature and gardening. She was an active member of the Flower Growers in Fort Benton. Her handmade sculptures of driftwood, stones, flowers, and metal antiques often won high ratings at local fairs. Martha also enjoyed bowling, collecting plates and vases, and shopping!

She and Rae spent many summers welcoming their Chester friends down at the river and they always stayed in touch with the Chester community, eventually operating both the Chester farm and the Virgelle ranch. After Rae passed away in 2004, Martha lived in Fort Benton on Franklin Street, then moved to “The Bluffs” senior residence in 2009. Due to declining health in 2014 she transferred to The Grandview at Benefis in Great Falls. Martha died there peacefully on October 19th, 2015 at the age of 96 years.

Martha had an enormous exuberance for life and enjoyed travelling with Rae in their later years; two memorable trips were to South America and Estonia. She loved to take her daughters-in-law and son-in-law on area road trips to share the scenery and local history of towns and places they visited. Martha will be sorely missed by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends.

Martha was preceded in death by her husband and parents, her older sister (Hilda Broeder), her younger sister (Helen Conrad), her oldest daughter (Martha Rae Steven in 1967), her daughter-in-law (Patricia Steven), and a sister-in-law (Maude Echols).

She is survived by her two sons: William “Bill” Steven, PhD, of Stonewall, Louisiana, and James “Jim” Steven and wife Carol of Chester; and daughter Ida Steven and husband Ray Gonzalez of Lakeville, Minnesota; five grandchildren: Rebecca Steven, Sarah Waddell, Lana Rupprecht, Charles Beach, and Samantha “Sam” Steven; eight great-grandchildren: Abigail “Abby”, William, Hannah W., Whitney, Hans, Hannah R., Jaedyn, and Sophia; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Her family would like to thank the kind and generous staff at the Grandview in Great Falls for their loving care of Martha this past year. They also extend their appreciation to the staff at the Fort Benton Sunrise Bluffs for the kindness and care to Martha during her five years of residency there.

A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19th, 2015 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chester. Martha’s ashes will be buried at the Chester Cemetery, where she will rest with her beloved family members and in sight of her cherished Sweet Grass Hills. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Arrangements are being handled by the Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester.

Eleanor M. Kelly

Eleanor M. Kelly, 83, passed away peacefully in her sleep November 4, 2015 at Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton.

Rosary services will be Tuesday, November 10, at 7 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, with a funeral mass at the church on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Riverside Cemetery.

Eleanor was born December 10, 1931 in Choteau. She was the first child of Sid and Molly Pimperton. Later, she was joined by brother, Donald, and sister, Phyllis. As a young girl, her father bought a ranch east of Fort Benton, along the Missouri River, and later the family moved to town. Eleanor was Homecoming Queen of her senior class and graduated from FBHS in 1950. After attending the University of Montana, she married Johnny Kelly on October 25, 1952 in Fort Benton and moved to the Kelly ranch on the Teton River. To this union, five children were born: Kay (Bailey), Tim, Ed, and Con, all of Fort Benton, and Eileen (Coates) of Canby, Oregon.

Eleanor was a very happy and eternally optimistic person. Throughout her life, despite many hardships, she always had a positive view of life and people. She enjoyed a good laugh while among her many friends and family. They in turn took great pleasure and delight in her good nature and sunny disposition. She was particularly fond of attending birthday parties for her children and grandchildren. She attended all their activities at school, sports, and events. Mom loved to sew and spent many hours sewing clothes and costumes. She also liked to bake and was known for her black forest cake and orange rolls. She was a very devout Catholic all her life and attended mass regularly until her health began to fail. Eleanor was active in the St. Elizabeth Circle; she volunteered to help at weddings and funerals and taught Sunday school.

Later in life, she received excellent care at the Missouri River Medical Center. She was very fond of her caretakers at the hospital and was often found singing and humming as she went about her day. Eleanor sang the old songs and nursery rhymes; she remained happy until her last days.

Eleanor is survived by her brother Donald Pimperton and sister Phyllis Hodgson; her children, Kay (Bailey), Eileen (Coates), Tim, Ed, and Con Kelly; and nine beloved grandchildren, Nikki, Bryan, Leigh, and Molly Bailey, Tori Hankins, Heidi Hansen, Lenise (Brian) Bennett, Mandy (TJ) Zumbusch, and Kyle Kelly; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Johnny Kelly.

Expressions of support may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association of Montana or to a charity of your choice.

Margaret (Culbertson) Wilhelm

Margaret Louise Culbertson was born in Fort Benton, Montana on September 16, 1915, to John S. Culbertson and Leonora de la Roche Patterson Culbertson. She died on October 6, 2015, 20 days after her 100th birthday. Her family was with her at her memory care facility in Clackamas, Oregon.

Margaret’s family moved to Oregon when she was 11 years old. She was a long time resident of the Eastmoreland neighborhood. Margaret attended Woodstock Grade School and was the oldest living alumni at their 100th school celebration. She then went on to graduate from Franklin High School.

Margaret married Wilfred C. Wilhelm on August 12, 1938, at All Saint’s Episcopal Church. Mr. Wilhelm died in 2009. They had three children— W. Clay Wilhelm (Pat); Barbara Menard (Frank); and Janice McCall (Scott). Margaret is survived also by her grandchildren and great grandchildren, Tom Wilhelm (Tina), Kay Wilson (Kurt), Katie Anderson (Jared), Joe McCall (Cheri); Christopher Wilson, Connor Wilson, Maryn Anderson; and six step grandchildren, 11 step great grandchildren, and six step great great grandchildren. She also survived three brothers, Dr. John S., George D., and James F., and one sister, Lydia.

Margaret was a devoted mother, grandmother, great grandmother and wife. She was very involved in All Saint’s Episcopal Church during her life. Margaret was a member of the DAR-Oregon Trail Chapter; a Life Member of O.E.S. Waverly Chapter and Sellwood Chapter.

Special thanks to her caregiver Ruthie Johnson and the staff at Miramont Pointe and to Seasons Hospice Care.

A funeral service was held Oct. 10 at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Funeral Home. Interment was at River View Cemetery.

Donations may be made to American Cancer Society or Juvenile Diabetes Association (JDA).

11-4-15 Issue:

Michael John Fjelsted

Michael John Fjelsted, 60, passed away at Benefis Hospital, Great Falls, Montana, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

Mike was born in Menominee, Wisconsin, on January 20, 1955, to James John and Lois Mae (Johnson) Fjelsted. He attended school in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, through the middle of eighth grade, when the family moved to Fort Benton, Montana, in November of 1968.

Mike graduated from Fort Benton High School in 1973. During high school he worked at Bennett’s grocery as well as Carl Tadej Electric. After graduation he spent a few years in Alaska working. When he returned he spent time working around Sidney, Colstrip and Forsyth.

In 1989 he returned home and went to work for Harry Birkenbuel, a local contractor in Great Falls. He later received his license as a certified electrician and began working for Liberty Electric as a commercial electrician. Mike was employed with Liberty Electric for 15 years, retiring in 2012 due to health reasons.

Mike was a gifted athlete. He excelled in golf, playing in numerous tournaments throughout the area. He would have been a good basketball player, but his growth spurt to 6’4” occurred after graduation.

Mike loved to fish and hunt, hence the nickname, “Fish.” He loved his walleye.

“Fish” loved his dogs: there was Blue in Alaska; Brittney, his cocker spaniel; and currently his shih tzu, Dusty.

Mike is survived by his mother, Lois Fjelsted; sister, Debby (Dean) Vielleux; and brother, Scott Fjelsted; nephews Jared (Carley) Vielleux and Trevor (Katie) Vielleux; niece Alexa Fjelsted; great nieces Jaelyn, Samantha and Tenlea; great nephews Kelton and Parker, and aunts, uncles and many cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, Jim; and grandparents Ausman and Mary Fjelsted and Emil and Mary Johnson.

Graveside services were held at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton on Monday, November 2. Mike’s friends were honorary pallbearers. Miser Mortuaries handled the arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the Dedman Foundation or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

“Fish” will be missed by all who knew him.

10-28-15 Issue:

Burke Denley Allen

Burke Denley Allen, age 81, died October 26, 2015 in Big Sandy and was attended by his son Tom.

Burke was born on October 3, 1934 to Dorothy and Ethan Allen in Minneapolis. Burke attended Box Elder High School. Immediately out of high school Burke attended Northern Montana College and then joined the U.S. Air Force. During a dance out at Fresno Dam he met the love of his life - Florence Creamer, with whom he would spend the next 59 years. Burke and Florence married in 1955. They spent time in Great Falls while Burke was with the Air Force and then moved to Box Elder, Montana, to take up farming. Times were tough and eventually Burke took a job with the U-Haul company, where they spent time in Great Falls and Missoula before eventually coming back to Box Elder to help with the family farm.

Burke loved his family and especially camping and traveling with them. Together, Burke and Florence traveled extensively with the highlight being a recent trip to England to visit their granddaughter Cara and her family. Camping trips were the centerpiece of every summer and also attending their grandchildren’s sporting events, which took up most of their winters even while they were in Arizona.

Burke is predeceased by his wife and best friend Florence and his sister Dianne. He leaves behind three children; Denny (Betsy) Allen of Helena, Tom (Maranna) Allen of Big Sandy and Karen (Dan) Hammond of Boise, Idaho. He was blessed with six grandchildren who were the loves of his life; Aubrey, Jacob and Grace Allen and Casey and Cody Hammond and Cara Montgomery and their families. He also has five great-grandchildren; Hunter and Ethan Montgomery and Avery, Marlie and Lindy Jo Hammond. Burke is also survived by his sister Lynne (Dick) of Hoodsport, Washington. Burke was also predeceased by his mother Dorothy Bitz and father Ethan Allen.

Funeral services will be held at the Big Sandy Methodist Church in Big Sandy, Montana on October 31 at 1 p.m. Interment will be at the Big Sandy Cemetery.

Donations in Burke’s name can be made to the Big Sandy Senior Center or Big Sandy Medical Center.

Martha Steven (Notice)

Martha Elizabeth (Yurman) Steven, age 96, a Chester native, school teacher, farm wife, and mother of four, who lived and farmed in the Fort Benton/Big Sandy communities since 1961, died at the Grandview at Benefis in Great Falls on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Rae, in 2004; a daughter, Martha Rae, in 1967; two sisters, Hilda and Helen; and her parents.

Survivors are three children, Bill Steven of Louisiana, Jim Steven of Chester, and Ida Steven of Minnesota; five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

Martha was cremated. A memorial service is being planned at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chester. Her ashes will be buried in the family plot at the Chester Cemetery. Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester is handling arrangements. There will be a full obituary at a later date.

Maxyne Bessette (Notice)

There will be a casual gathering in remembrance of Maxyne Bessette on Friday, October 30, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Church of God Fellowship Hall in Big Sandy.

10-21-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week

10-14-15 Issue:

Barbara Agnes Virginia Conrad Kegel

Mom died in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 29, 2015.

Barbara was a beauty queen from Chinook, Montana; a farm girl born to Bertha and Jesse Conrad on February 7, 1923. In 1939, she married handsome Fred Kegel from Turner, Montana, and followed his railroad career until finally settling in Fort Benton, where they built their home and raised their six children. On the corner where we lived were 15 kids and more in houses down the block. All were welcome in her house, but she didn’t make a big fuss over them. In fact, she usually sat at the dining room table during lunch, paging through her magazine and ignoring the mass of kids gathered in our house. When we set the table for dinner we called out, how many plates? We always had an extra one or two for friends. We were advised by her at all points to join it, do it, get out there, you are young for such a short time. And we did. The house smelled like a gym for years while she laundered sporting uniforms and cheerleading outfits. Her four boys were football and basketball players, swimmers and wrestlers, and she and Dad never missed a game, even when it meant driving through blizzards, ice, snow and everything Montana. She sat under blankets and cheered, but always laughed that she didn’t know what was going on. She seemed to the world like such a sweetie, but we knew she was the boss, the finance director, and the final word. She was fearless and had a backbone of steel. Because she supported our lives, we were free. She cleaned up after us and cheered us on. After an event, she waited in the breakfast nook, a cozy place known to so many, and waited until the late night hours to hear what had gone on. When we entered the house, no matter when, we would sound out, “Mom?” If she wasn’t there, which was rare, we were at a loss.

Mom enjoyed life in her dreamy, artist’s way. She extolled the intricate beauty of an iris, loved baby hands and feet, butterflies, dragonflies and birds. When she had a moment of quiet, we could find her at the sewing machine where she created costumes, gowns and Barbie Doll clothes, and repaired everything from camping tents to horse gear. When she used gentle fabrics for sewing, she spent most of the time touching and admiring the fabric. She finished projects on the finish line and not a minute sooner, because finishing wasn’t what she loved. She loved the process. She was an artist of many nearly-finished paintings. We are blessed to have her scrap books of drawings and paintings reflecting her hopes and dreams and how she saw herself as a young girl.

Although she lived in Montana for almost 90 years, she loved to travel, willing to hop into any car that stopped at her curb. We used to say that she sat in her house in Fort Benton with one foot out the door, ready to go. She took great joy in the world around her.

Mom spent the last three years of her life in Salt Lake City with Jan and Debra Castor’s family, where a whole new community came to know and love her. We give our thanks to Coventry Assisted Living for their loving care and to Rocky Mountain Care for their tender mercies. She wasn’t afraid of death after she lost her lovely boy, K.C. Although his death knocked her over, she got her balance slowly like an injured creature and came back to us. We will miss her intelligence, her sharp wit and her curiosity. She was our rock and the glue that kept our family connected. Our lives will not be the same without her and we will say goodbye to her with gratitude and sorrow.

Mom’s parents, husband, four beloved siblings (Jerome Conrad, Richard Conrad, Marcella Entorf and Maxine Johnson), and K.C. preceded her in death.

She leaves behind her children, Dennis Kegel, Roxanne (Gary) Rowe, Debra (Jan) Castor, Greg (Sherry) Kegel and Curt (Cheryl) Kegel; 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, and many “adopted” children.

A vigil service will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 8 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. A funeral liturgy will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1223 16th Street, Fort Benton, Montana on October 24, 2015 at 11 a.m. with a visitation at 10 a.m. Interment to follow at Riverside Cemetery.

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

Maxyne (Harris) Bessette

Maxyne (Harris) Bessette, age 93, of Loma, Montana, died October 9 at the Big Sandy Nursing Home. The staff’s kind, loving care kept her final years pleasant and safe.

Maxyne, the youngest of 10 children, was born in Fort Benton, Montana, on August 16, 1922, to Elbert and Daisy Harris. Maxyne spent her young years on a farm outside of Loma. When she started school, the family moved into Loma. She attended high school in Fort Benton until her marriage to Wilfrid Bessette on May 21, 1940. Their first home was a farm on the Kenilworth Road near Big Sandy, and in 1942 they moved a few miles to their Marias River home where she spent 62 years. She always said she would “never marry a farmer,” but they spent many happy years together. After Wilfrid’s death in 1981, Maxyne continued to live at the ranch for several years. She eventually moved to the Missouri River near Virgelle to be closer to family. She always said she was very lucky to have two wonderful rivers to call home, and she continued to visit both of them even after she moved into the Big Sandy Nursing Home, until her health declined, making her weekly rides to the country impossible.

Maxyne loved to read and collected many books on places to travel. She also loved histories of all areas of the state of Montana. She loved the water and when the weather permitted, she would swim in the river with grandchildren and in later years appreciated a swimming pool in her yard. Maxyne enjoyed dancing at the Kenilworth, Carter or Loma Halls. She and Wilfrid spent many winters attending snowmobile races and she was his greatest cheerleader. They traveled several places in their motorhome and went to Alaska twice. They also enjoyed visits with family in Missouri and Iowa. They loved rock hound adventures and enjoyed the desert during several winters in Quartzsite, Arizona. After Wilfrid’s passing, Maxyne shared many additional adventures with friends and family.

She is survived by three daughters, Mary Ellen (Willie) Vischer of Carter, Montana, Lynda (Larry) Vielleux of Loma, Montana, and Pat West of Chandler, Arizona; six grandchildren; ten great grandchildren; and nine great-great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, all three of her brothers, all six of her sisters, and her husband of 41 years.

Cremation has taken place, and at Maxyne’s request, no services will be held. There will, however, be a casual gathering in remembrance of Maxyne on Friday, October 30, at the Church of God Fellowship Hall in Big Sandy from 9 to 11 am. A private scattering of ashes will take place at a later date

Memorial donations may be directed to the Big Sandy Medical Center in Big Sandy, Montana, or to the charity of your choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Please visit Maxyne’s online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for her family at www.hollandbonine.com.

Kenneth “Ken” Albert Burlingame

Kenneth “Ken” Albert Burlingame, 86, of Billings, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on October 5, 2015.

He was born in 1928 in Great Falls to Jeannette Bochencamp Burlingame and Nigel Burlingame. He was raised by Cecil and Lorna Huffman in Choteau. He attended school in Choteau, graduating from Teton County High in 1947.

He served a full term in the US Army. After being discharged from the army, Ken continued his service in the Montana National Guard.

On October 3, 1954, Ken married Lucy May Cherry in Choteau. Ken and Lucy moved to Fort Benton in 1957. He worked as a butcher at Bennett’s IGA for the next 15 years. During this time they raised their family and were active members of the community, coaching little league, scouts, and school sports. Also, Ken was an active member of the Fort Benton Community Bible Church. In 1972 they moved to Billings, where he developed a love for the game of golf. He became an accomplished golfer. Ken was an active member of Billings Bible Church and later Faith Evangelical Church.

Kenneth is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lucy Cherry Burlingame, their four children and spouses, Terry Burlingame (Vicki), Cinda Grubb (Larry), Harvey Burlingame (Neva), Debra Burlingame; and also three grandchildren, Johnathan Grubb, Brittany Burlingame, and Danielle Grubb. He will be missed by all.

A memorial service with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Inurnment will take place in the Absaroka Beartooth Columbarium.

Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences can be sent through www.cfgbillings.com through “Our Families.”

Adam R. Cecrle

Adam Cecrle, 42, of Geraldine, was taken from this earth October 3, 2015. A memorial service was held Friday, October 9, at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Big Sandy. Interment followed at Big Sandy Cemetery. Benton Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

Adam was born on October 28, 1972 to Richard Cecrle and Andrea Gingrich Cecrle in Big Sandy, Montana.

Adam was a hard worker and put 110% into everything he did. He did not give up, he did not ask for anything, he did not back down. His passion was farming and producing grain in Geraldine and Big Sandy. He was very proud of his choice of being a farmer.

Adam enjoyed attending sporting events, boating, water skiing, camping, crabbing and being around his friends and family. He would travel all over the country just to see a friend.

His other calling in his life was to be a true caretaker. He often put aside his needs just to lend a helping hand. He was a genuine person, a kind man and one Hell of a Son.

Adam is survived by his parents Richard Cecrle and Andrea Gingrich; his fiancé Misty Peterson and her children Taylor, Tristin and Trinity; his sis Celeste Kovatch and brother-in-law and friend Kory Kovatch, nephew Kasen and niece Kinley; his aunts, uncles, and cousins; many good friends, and his loyal dog, Hank.

Adam is preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Lester and Irene Gingrich. He will be laid to rest with his paternal grandparents, Henry and Clara Cecrle.

10-7-15 Issue:

Omar Swett

Omar Swett, longtime resident of Chouteau County, passed away Wednesday, September 16, 2015. A memorial service for Omar will be held Monday, October 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Sunrise Bluff Estates in Fort Benton.

Omar was born June 12, 1933, at St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton. He attended schools in Chouteau County, after which he worked as a bulldozer operator for Hilde Construction in Great Falls. In 1953 Omar joined the Army. He was sent to Korea, where he built roads and runways for the Army.

After his service in the Army, Omar spent a few years in Washington near one of his brothers. He spent many years down on the Missouri River working for Charlie Lippard, and subsequent owners of what is now the Red Flame Ranch out of Loma. He moved to Ryegate, Montana, with Grant and Silver DeSaye and family when they sold the ranch to its current owners. In 2001 Omar returned to Fort Benton, where he worked for the school until his retirement.

Omar was an avid fan of the Fort Benton Longhorns, and followed their activities with the same enthusiasm as when he watched professional sports. He was an ardent patriot, and raised and lowered the flag at Sunrise Bluffs every morning and evening until his health precluded him from doing so. He was a member of the VFW Color Guard and participated in their activities for many years.

Omar loved animals. He spent the majority of his life looking after calves and colts. After the loss of his longtime canine companion, Ginger, he befriended a wild little calico kitten which he named Callie. Callie remains at Sunrise Bluffs, and is lovingly cared for by Omar’s friends Betty Meyer and Clara Atkinson. Omar spent many an hour his last few years in the lobby at the Bluffs, visiting with all who came by, and keeping an eye on the lobby cat, parrot and dog.

Omar was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Pearl (Footit) Sweat, his brother Jerry and half-brother Jimmy. He is survived by two half-sisters, as well as many friends and his Sunrise Bluffs family.

Adam R. Cecrle (Notice)

Memorial services for Adam R. Cecrle will be Friday, October 9, at 2 p.m. at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Big Sandy.

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

9-30-15 Issue:

Florence Lillian Siebenaler

Florence Lillian (Breault) Siebenaler, 88, passed away peacefully on September 23, 2015 after an extended illness at the Missouri River Medical Center.

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon, September 28, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Benton. A graveside ceremony followed at Riverside Cemetery.

Florence was born November 11, 1926, to Emiel and Alexina Breault in Fort Benton. Upon graduation from high school she went to work at the first Chouteau County Bank and was employed there for over 40 years. It was at the bank that she met the love of her life, Warren. They celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on September 10, 2015. To this union four children were born; William, Mary, Phyllis, and Mike.

Florence was a very giving person and always put everyone else before herself. She loved her family above all else. A very devout Catholic, she is now in the arms of her Lord. She was a caring wife, mother, and grandmother. She loved gardening in her and Warren’s beautiful yard, especially the roses. She enjoyed camping, spending a day in the mountains, reading, and after retirement Florence would do the daily crossword puzzle. Most of all, she enjoyed time spent with her family.

Survivors include her husband, Warren Siebenaler of Fort Benton; daughter, Mary (Murray) Forster of Didsbury, Alberta; son, Michael (Darlene) Siebenaler of Great Falls; four grandsons, Marcus (Tammy), Michael, and Mitchell (Rachel), all of Alberta, and Miles (Jade) Forster of Vancouver, B.C.; and four great grandchildren, Desarai, Cordell, Odin, and Freya Forster.

She was preceded in death by parents; son, Billy Siebenaler; daughter, Fobe Peres; brother, Bill Breault; sisters, Margaret MacKenzie and Irene Prodger.

James Bevan “JB” Walker

James Bevan “JB” Walker, 50, passed away suddenly of natural causes on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at his home in Floweree.

A celebration of his 50 years of life was held Monday afternoon, September 28, at the Montana Agricultural Center in Fort Benton.

JB was born in Great Falls, Montana, on April 8, 1965, to Hal “Sonny” and Diane Walker. He was raised on a farm/ranch in Floweree, Montana. He attended K-12 schools in Carter and Fort Benton, where he was active in football and wrestling. He went on to Northern Montana College in Havre. His education was interrupted by the death of his father. JB then returned to help on the family farm. He especially loved cattle and the ranch on the Teton River, where he has requested that his ashes be spread.

JB was a talented welder. He worked on the Carter/Chouteau County water system for many years. He was an officer in the Lower Teton Water Users. He enjoyed bowling and darts and was a devoted follower of the Fort Benton football teams and his sons’ and grandsons’ sports. He loved the Pittsburgh Steelers!

JB is survived by his mother, Diane, and his brother, Bruce, both of Floweree; his brother-in-law, Steve Hamel of Canyon Creek; nephews Will and Michael Hamel; his ex-wife, Shannon of Fort Benton; three step-children, Misti (Coleman) Axtman, Mike (Ashley) Nault, and Andrew (Amanda) Moss; four step-grandchildren; his aunts, Kay (Dick) Luoma and Kathleen Wiley; cousins and numerous friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Hal “Sonny” Walker; his sisters, Jane Marie Walker and Richie Lee Walker Hamel; and his grandparents Alma and Harold Walker, Mame and Verle Johnson.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Carter Volunteer Fire Department, 224 Mountain View Rd, Carter, MT, 59420.

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

Evelyn Dolores “Pat” Johnston

Evelyn Dolores “Pat” Johnston, 87, of Fort Benton, passed away peacefully on September 22, 2015 at the Beehive Memory Care Facility in Great Falls. Graveside Services were held Saturday afternoon September 26 at the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton.

Pat was born on August 13, 1928, in Fort Benton to William and Sadie Tope. Pat spent her childhood in the area, graduating from Fort Benton High School in 1946. She married Vern H. Johnston in 1948 in Great Falls and they were together until his untimely death in 2001. This loving union produced four wonderful children - daughters Judy and Cindy and sons James and Kirby.

Pat worked at Deaconess Hospital providing childcare when she wasn’t working as a farmhouse cook. She was a loving wife and a devoted mother and grandmother, who loved bowling, pinochle club, league darts, and even served as a rural county school clerk. She was a wonderful cook who loved gardening, flowers, fishing, camping, and boating. She enjoyed time spent socializing with her friends, and those special moments with her family.

Pat is survived by her daughters, Judy Weimer and Cindy Johnston; sons, James Johnston and Kirby Johnston; nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Vern Johnston; parents, Sadie Longmuir and William Pete Tope; brother, Bill Tope; sister, Amie Grande; nephews, Eric Johnston, Thor Johnston, and Tom Tope; and great niece, Tiffany Humble.

The family suggests memorials be sent to the Montana Alzheimer Association.

9-23-15 Issue:

Lisa Morger-Miller

Lisa Geryl Morger-Miller, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend, passed on to heaven, peacefully surrounded by the loving arms of her family, on September 18th, 2015 in Missoula, Montana. Although she lost the battle to ampullary cancer, she won the war of life and is now in the presence of Our Lord and Savior.

Lisa was born January 14, 1960, in Great Falls, Montana, the sixth child of Victoria (Axtman) and Wallace Morger. She was raised in Fort Benton and attended schools there, a proud member of the FBHS Class of 1978. She participated in plays, sports, cheerleading, speech and debate. She was honored as one of the class speakers at her high school graduation ceremony in 1978. Due to her eager willingness to help with the family’s fishing-worm business as a little girl, she was dubbed by her father as “Lisa Geryl Worm-Picker” or “Lisa GWP”, a nickname she proudly wore for the rest of her life. It was that spunkiness that defined her entire life: a woman not afraid to live on the edge of the frontier or comfort; a willing and generous helpmate to her husband, children, and extended family; and a girl with a bit of mischief, loving laughter and having fun.

Lisa attended the University of Montana and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1982. It was there in 1980 where she met her soulmate, the love of her life, John Jay Miller. They were married in Fort Benton on July 10, 1982.

John and Lisa began their teaching careers in Froid, Montana, from 1983 to 1985, where Lisa taught K-3. In 1985, they moved to the southeast Alaskan Tlingit/Haida village of Angoon, Alaska on Admiralty Island. She loved going out in the skiff to check her crab pots in the bay and having time to raise their baby Jordan. In 1987, the Millers moved to the central Alaskan Athabascan village of Nenana where two more babies, Gerald and Victoria, were born to them. In 1990, they moved to the Matanuska Valley, settling in Wasilla, Alaska for sixteen years. Lisa was a dedicated full-time mom of her three little ones until their youngest Victoria was in kindergarten. She returned to teaching in 1993 at Tanaina Elementary and then transferred to Iditarod Elementary in 1996 until 2003.

During this time, Lisa received her M.A. in Education Information Technology from Western Oregon University in 1999 and her Administrative Certification from National University in 2000. She received the prestigious Alaskan “British Petroleum Teacher of Excellence Award” in 2001 while teaching fourth grade at Iditarod Elementary. Lisa served as Principal of Goose Bay Elementary, the largest elementary school in Alaska, from 2003-2006.

Wanting to be closer to family, she and John moved back to Montana. She was Principal of Arlee Elementary for five years. Most recently, she and John moved into new positions with Poplar schools in 2013 before she had to retire due to her health in 2014.

Excellence was evident in everything that Lisa did - from raising her three children and making a home, to devotion to her husband and the way she embraced her profession. Her students and her teaching staffs have been inspired and changed by her love of teaching and learning and by her compassion for them.

In the school year of 2013-14, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and more surgery, followed by many months of chemotherapy, all the while teaching her fourth grade students in Poplar. Just when she thought that cancer was behind her, she was diagnosed in June 2014 with cancer of the Ampulla Vader, a new type. Despite the grueling schedule of faraway doctor appointments and more chemotherapy and surgeries, she remained positive and graceful even in the direst circumstances. With beauty and joy, she and John were able to see their daughter Victoria married to Justin Townsend this last May in Fort Benton. Her willingness to share her journey with great dignity has made a huge impact on her family, friends, and community.

Lisa is survived by: Her devoted husband of 33 years - John Jay Miller; her beloved children - Jordan Miller (Adrian Button) of Billings, Gerald Miller of San Francisco, California and Victoria Townsend (Justin Townsend) of San Francisco, California; her siblings -  Valerie Morger (Mark Pyrak) of Fort Benton, Randy Morger of Fort Benton, Venetta Morger (John Wood) of the Woodlands, Texas, Darcy Morger-Grovenstein (Glenn)of Prescott Valley, Arizona, Shane (Geri) Morger of Ventura, California, Brian Morger of Great Falls, Wallis Morger Bryan (Van) of Bozeman; brother-in-law, Gregory Bonilla of Helena; and step-mom Muncie Morger of Fort Benton, as well as more than two dozen nieces, nephews and great nieces/nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother, Victoria (Axtman) Morger; her father, Wallace Morger; and her sister, Audra Morger-Bonilla.

As per her wishes, Lisa will have memorial services at Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula on Friday, September 25, 2015 at 11 am. Her ashes will be buried at her mother’s grave at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton on July 10, 2016.

Memorials can be made to the following in Lisa’s name: The Victoria A. Morger/Audra Morger-Bonilla Scholarship (Fort Benton High School, Fort Benton, Montana) or The Lisa Morger-Miller P.E. Fund at Goose Bay Elementary (Wasilla, Alaska) to also honor P.E. Teacher Nancy Blake.

If Lisa were here right now she would say, “Ride your bike until you feel the wind in your hair, laugh until your sides hurt and even then get in some more, hold your kids tight and read them a book, teach the world something new, stick up for the underdog, make a good campfire and enjoy the night, root for the home team like the Montana Griz or the Fort Benton Longhorns, say ‘hi’ to your neighbor, don’t be afraid to be sentimental, smell the lilacs and the peonies! Embrace the beauty of life and love.”

Russell Lauren Watson

Russell Lauren Watson, a retired United States Air Force Master Sergeant, a 23 year Air Force veteran, went to be with his Lord Friday, September 18, 2015 after suffering a massive stroke.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at Schnider Funeral Home in Great Falls, and one hour prior to the funeral service which will be held Friday, September 25, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. at Community Bible Church in Fort Benton. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Russ was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin on February 8, 1940 to Earl and Helen Watson. Russ was the youngest of four children and was raised in Ladysmith. He earned an Associates Degree at Ashland, Wisconsin. On April 3, 1961 he joined the Air Force and was stationed at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington. He married Jeanette Ruby on December 8, 1962. Their son Jeff was born in March, 1964. Russ was transferred to Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota in May 1965, then to Malmstrom AFB in August 1969. Jennifer was born the next month. Russ retired after serving 23 years in the Air Force and then retired from Civil Service working Rivet Mile maintaining Minuteman Missiles in February 2002.

After losing his wife to cancer, he married Irene Lehman in January 1991.

Russ loved fishing, especially for walleye, coyote hunting, and woodworking. He was a World War II history buff. He loved the Lord and served over the years as Elder, Sunday School teacher, song leader, and filling the pulpit for the pastor when needed. Russ loved his summer job of shuttling people, cars, and canoes for Adventure Bound Canoe in Fort Benton. He loved donating his time and energy by plowing snow and was quick to donate his time and expertise when helping others.

Russ was always game for a good road trip, and during his retirement years he and Irene traveled to 49 states, the last being their dream trip cruising the Hawaiian Islands.

Russ is survived by his wife, Irene; daughter Jennifer (Todd); son Jeff; stepdaughters Wendy (Rob) and Debbie (Ben); grandchildren, Jordyn, Tabitha (Robbie), Jenna, Jessica, Matt and Jasmine; three great grandchildren; and brother Howard (Louise).

He is preceded in death by his first wife, Jeanette; parents Earl and Helen Watson; brother Delos; and sister Delores.

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

Pat Tope-Johnston

Pat Tope-Johnston, 87, of Fort Benton, Montana, departed this life on September 22, 2015. She is survived by her four children, James Johnston, Judy Weimer, Cindy Johnston, and Kirby Johnston. Graveside services will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 26 at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton. A full obituary will follow in next week’s River Press.

9-16-15 Issue:

Betty J. Patterson

Betty J. Patterson, 89, of Lewistown, a former Denton resident, died early Tuesday morning, September 8, 2015, in a Lewistown assisted living facility of natural causes.

Betty was born on the family farm near Geraldine on August 6, 1926, to Fred & Clara (Mitzner) Rowland. She was the fifth of six children and was delivered by her Grandma Mitzner. Betty spent her time on the farm and working in a café in Geraldine both before and after school. She graduated from Geraldine High School in 1944.

Betty married the love of her life, Robert Patterson, August 11, 1946, after attending the Great Falls Fair with Bob’s twin, Bill, and his future wife. They left the fair and went to Fort Benton and knocked on the door of the Justice of the Peace. He happily married them - at 3 a.m. Bob spent his honeymoon in the Philippines, while Betty taught in a one room schoolhouse in the Graceville community. After Bob completed his military service, they settled on the Patterson Ranch near Montegue and proceeded to raise kids and cattle. Bob and Betty had five children in four years, which filled her days with caring for them, while also cooking for the ranch.

In 1963, Bob and Betty sold their holdings in the Patterson Ranch and purchased a ranch in the Denton community. Betty became the clerk for the school - a position she held for many years. Bob and Betty retired from ranching in 1974 and moved into Denton, where Betty was active in the Eastern Star and American Legion Auxiliary. She was always ready to lend a helping hand and worked many blood drives and placed flags on veterans’ graves in Geraldine for many holidays.

Betty’s love for her Lord, her family and her friends was felt by everyone who crossed her path. Many wonderful family memories were made on the Missouri River and camping with the Rowland family.

Betty is survived by her husband, Robert (Bob) of Lewistown; three sons, David of Churchill, Montana, Dale (Ann) of Campbell, California, and Michael of Missoula, Montana; daughter Gail (Al Cheetham) Johnstone of Fort Benton, Montana; brother John Rowland of Fort Benton, Montana; nine grandchildren - Paul and Emily Patterson, Jeremy (Kelly) Smith, Adriane (Jon) McOmber, Jesse (Ashley) Hankins, Travis Engstrom, Amy (Chris) Tornio, Kat (Chad) Beck and Molly (Phillip) Weary; 15 great grandchildren - Caed, Lassie, Drew, Bryan, Tyler, Kennedy, Ty, Bodie, Brooklyn, Derek, Tyler, Jillian, Aubrey, Emrey, Briston, Jordan, Isiah, and Julianna; one great grandson Samuel; and several nieces and nephews.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents; one son, Rick; three brothers, Ralph, Ted and Bob; and one sister, Helen.

Memorial services for Betty Jean Patterson were Tuesday, September 15, in the Denton Methodist Church. Cremation has taken place. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Friends are asked to make memorials to Hospice of Central Montana, Denton Methodist Church or the charity of their choice and they may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com.

Barbara Jane Leinart

Barbara (Bobbie) Leinart slipped peacefully away in Billings on September 9th surrounded by her family.  Bobbie had been living at St. Johns Assisted Care center for the past three years. The care givers there say they will miss her smile and quick wit. She was 89.

Bobbie was born on January 22, 1926 in Helena, Montana. Her parents, TB and Eleanor Vanhorn moved to Fort Benton, Montana, soon after her birth. Her father, TB, ran the local General Mills grain elevator and later founded Power Motors in Fort Benton. Bobbie grew up in Fort Benton, graduating from high school in 1942. She went on to attend the University of Montana where she met her future husband, Robert Leinart. They were married in September of 1948.

Following graduation, Bob and Bobbie moved back to Fort Benton where Bob became partners with TB at Power Motors. They raised their family of four children in Fort Benton, with all four graduating from Fort Benton High School.

Bobbie was active in Girl Scouts, Rainbow, and Eastern Star. She enjoyed playing bridge and belonged to several bridge clubs over the years. When Signal Point golf course opened up, she started playing a game she had never played. She found she really liked it and became actively involved in the ladies’ golf association at the club.

The later years found Bobbie becoming a full-time caregiver for her husband. He described her as his angel. She was his best friend and he was the love of her life. Following Bob’s passing in 2003, Bobbie made several trips to visit her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She also took a couple of cruises. Bobbie moved to an assisted care facility in Billings in 2010 where she lived for two and a half years before moving into St. Johns in 2013.

Bobbie was preceded in death by her parents, TB and Eleanor, and her husband of 55 years, Robert. She is survived by her children Tom (Virginia) Leinart of Lolo, Deb (Marshal) Leinart of Franklin, Tennessee; Peggy (Steve) Murch of Laurel, and Bill (Marissa) Leinart of Phoenix, Arizona. She is also survived by ten grandchildren and eight (soon to be nine) great grandchildren. At her request, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Christian Church of Fort Benton Youth Group.

Eunice Robo (Service notice)

There will be a celebration of life service for Eunice Robo on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at the First Christian Church in Fort Benton. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m., and the celebration of life service will be at 11 a.m. There will be a lunch following the service.

9-9-15 Issue:

Craig Allen Graves

Craig Allen Graves, 69, of Highwood, passed away of cancer August 27, 2015 at his home.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 3 p.m. at Heritage Baptist Church, 900 52nd Street N in Great Falls. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Another service will be held sometime in 2016 in Neillsville, Wisconsin.

Craig was born in Neillsville, Wisconsin to Darwin and Shirley (Austin) Graves on July 14, 1946. He joined the Air Force in 1964 and served as an airplane mechanic. He did one tour in Vietnam, after which he was honorably discharged and lived and worked in and around the Neillsville area. He was also a long haul truck driver. In 1988 he met his soon to be best friend for life, Viv, and in June of 1989 they moved to Highwood. Craig and Viv were married April 21, 1990 at the Methodist Church in Highwood.

Craig loved hunting and fishing. His wife said he gave the best smiles when he was holding something dead in front of him. He taught his beagle Maggie to hunt pheasants. He really loved the outdoors. Craig had a bit of a gruff exterior, but he loved his family and friends very much.

He worked on several ranches through the years, with the latest one being H & H Cropping for over 18 years. He learned how to become a cowboy. From the hat, boots, walk and right down to being bucked off a horse a time or two. He was bit by a rattlesnake and Mercy Flighted to Great Falls, one foot was caught in a grain auger and he fell off a tractor, just to name a few. He once said, “This Montana is trying to get the best of me!” He was as tough as they come and a fighter, but cancer did finally get the best of him.

Craig is survived by his wife of 25 years, Viv; sons, Travis (Victoria) Graves of North Carolina, Tyler Millard of Highwood; daughters, Kayla (Mike) Germann of Eleva, Wisconsin, Tiffany (Jeff) Bacon of Great Falls, and Tara (Nick) Gallagher of Albuquerque, New Mexico; brother, Steve Graves; sister, Linda (Jack) Zellner; eight grandchildren, one uncle, two aunts, many nieces and nephews, and his beloved beagle Maggie May.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Darwin and Shirley Graves; a brother, Bradley Graves; a sister, Mary (Graves) Laufenberg; a son, Kurt Thomas Graves; grandparents, and many aunts and uncles.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

9-2-15 Issue:

Eunice Robo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bertha (Bunny) [Gomoll] Albers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Cummings

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

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

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

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

8-26-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week

8-19-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week

8-12-15 Issue:

Peggy Lee Blyth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8-5-15 Issue:

Robert Lee Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donations may be made to the Fort Benton Memorial Ambulance.

Helen Teressa “Sis” Klay

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

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

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

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

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

Beatrice Fairbanks Manley (Services Notice)

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

7-29-15 Issue:

Dwayne Maurice Fairbanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doris Stubsten (Services Notice)

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

7-22-15 Issue:

No obituaries this week.

7-15-15 Issue:

Juanita “Nita” Rose Gardipee Okervall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doris Rediger Stubsten

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

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

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

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

Richard “Scott” Sarsgard, Jr.

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

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

7-8-15 Issue:

Evelyn Petr Bitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marilyn Claire Collum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noreen Jenny Schott

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

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

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

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

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

7-1-15 Issue:

Dolores F. Cikrit

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

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

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

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

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

Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com.

Rosemary Imbert Caterson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6-24-15 Issue:

Thomas Mack Quinn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lloyd Kurth (Service notice)

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