Phyllis Ohrmann February 16, 1923 - November 4, 2023
Phyllis Ohrmann, 100, of Drummond, passed away in the early morning hours of Nov. 4, 2023, at Granite County Medical Center Long Term Care. She was one of the last of her generation to grace the Flint Creek Valley, those women whose steady presence and commitment to the next generation shaped and enriched so many lives. Phyllis was born on a snowy day, Feb. 16, 1923, to Lyle and Virgil Sliter in a farmhouse near Hewitt, Minn. The doctor travelled by horse-drawn sleigh to deliver her, put his horse up in the barn and stayed until the blizzard was over and Phyll was born. She joined brother Bob and grew up in a fun-loving family surrounded by cousins and friends in a close-knit farming community. Growing up on a farm during the depression instilled a quiet strength, self-reliance and sense of humor that served her (and many like her) well the rest of her life. Following graduation from Wadena High School, Phyll attended Moorhead State Teachers College, then taught at various country schools in Central Minnesota, often boarding with nearby families. One night after walking home in the snow, she discovered her suitcase sitting at the end of their long driveway with a note attached. Her host family had diphtheria and she would need to find different lodgings. Phyll trudged through the snow for three miles on an unplowed road until she came to the home of a cousin who took her in. Summers were often spent travelling. Phyll made butter at a factory in Wisconsin to aid the war effort, travelled by train to Washington, D.C., one summer and to the West Coast another. One summer she stayed with a cousin in Spokane and worked as a waitress. It was here that she met her future husband, Bill Ohrmann, who was visiting family while on leave from the Army Air Corps. The two married in 1948 and settled into life on an Angus ranch near Drummond. Her new home lacked indoor plumbing, and she cooked on a woodstove but had no complaints. Phyll taught first grade at Drummond for 3 years until starting a family (Susan, Jane, and John). Her children’s lives were full of outdoor play, books, music, nature and animals. Mom accomplished much but made it look easy: caring for several generations of family, working on the ranch, doing the bookwork for their operation and area bull sales, growing a spectacular flower and vegetable garden, canning and freezing, sewing clothes for her daughters late into the night, community involvement - PTA, 4-H, Hall Methodist Women, playing the piano for Sunday School, Cattlewomen, library board, book club. Her delicious meals, hospitality and meaningful conversations around the kitchen table are favorite memories of relatives and friends. She made everyone feel welcome. Phyll’s support of Bill’s art enabled him to pursue his dreams. She helped ready the art for shows, set up displays, fed countless guests and designed the Ohrmann Museum and Gallery that holds the Ohrmann paintings and sculptures. Phyll’s hard work behind the scenes gave Bill time to create. After Bill passed in 2014 Phyll continued to run the gallery and greet visitors, staying active, reading mysteries (including all of Agatha Christie’s books at age 99) and writing thoughtful letters. Phyllis is preceded in death by her husband, Bill; parents Lyle and Virgil; brother, Bob Sliter; and daughter Jane Hultman. She is survived by daughter Susan (Randy) Peterson of Drummond; son John (Myrlin) of Drummond; grandchildren Callie (Peter) Klempay of Stafford, Va., Ty Hultman of Drummond; and great-grand children Joey Klempay, Reagan Klempay, Hanna Hultman and Haylee Hultman, along with beloved nieces, nephews and friends. In lieu of flowers the family suggests making a donation in Phyll’s name to Friends of the Drummond Library (PO Box 266, Drummond, MT 59832) or Granite Spay Neuter Project (82 Mile High Trail, Hall, MT 59837). No services are planned, but in Mom’s memory be kind to a person or animal, read a good book, feed the birds. As Mom would say, the list goes on.
Daniel (Danny) Thomas Rodriguez, 32, of Hall died Nov. 25. His memorial service is set for 1 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Drummond Community Center.
Beverlee Joan Beck June 15, 1946 - November 16, 2023
Beverlee Joan Beck, 77, passed away Thursday, Nov. 16, at her home in Deer Lodge. Beverlee was born to parents Albert and Edna Beck on June 15, 1946. She graduated from Powell County High School and attended Western Montana College where she received a Bachelor of Education degree. Beverlee went on to teach school in Napa, Calif., until her retirement when she returned to Deer Lodge. Beverlee was loved by her students and had a gift with children that made them want to be around her. Beverlee enjoyed playing cards, working at New to You, and participating in the Wealthy Wannabes Investment Club with her friends. Bev was a long-time member of the Order of the Eastern Star. The last few years Beverlee enjoyed spending time at the lake, sitting on the deck and watching the children play in the water while visiting with family and friends. Bev really loved her dogs and they always had the best care. Her dog Olive was by her side to the end. Beverlee was very generous and would freely give to those with a need. Beverlee suffered from MS but always kept a positive attitude and was determined not to let the MS keep her down. Bev had a great sense of humor and enjoyed seeing others smile. Beverlee was preceded in death by her parents; brother, John D. Beck; and sister-in-law, Kay Kirk Beck. She is survived by her sister, Carol Gilmore (Gary) of Helena; nephews John Gilmore (Lisa) of Helena, Dustin Gilmore of Belgrade and niece Jenna Bousman (Nolan) of Helena; great nieces Ellie Gilmore and Abigail Gilmore; great nephews Gavin Bousman and Graham Bousman; and brother Thomas and his family. We are thankful for all the friends, neighbors and community workers who helped Bev out through the years. We want to especially thank Dr. Shahab Samieian, Mary Newman, Harris Home Care and hospice. A graveside service will be scheduled at a later date.
Howard August Hunter February 29, 1932 - November 16, 2023
Howard August Hunter, 91, of Deer Lodge, passed away on Nov. 16, surrounded by his family. Howard was born Feb. 29, 1932, to Clarence and Margarete Hunter, on the family farm, close to Peever, S.D. He joined his brothers, William, Albert and later, Eddie. Howard, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, is survived by sons, Rick (Laurie), Dallas (Maggie), Dan (Linda), Marty (Lisa); daughter, Roxanne (Tony); nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; and his faithful dog, Punkin. Upon leaving high school in Peever, Howard was drafted into the Army to fight in the Korean War. After leaving the military, Howard went home to marry the love of his life, Shirley Ruth Nerison. They were married Nov. 30, 1954. They were together 62 years, before Shirley’s passing. Howard worked for the railroad in South Dakota before moving to Deer Lodge, where he began logging for a living. He went into business with his oldest son, Rick, forming Hunter Logging until his retirement in 1993. Howard enjoyed camping and fishing, riding his four-wheeler, going to the stock car races to watch his sons and grandsons win, watching old westerns on TV and spoiling his dog, Punkin. A graveside service will take place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 25 at Hillcrest Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the Elks Lodge in Deer Lodge.
Phyllis Ohrmann, 100, of Drummond, died on Nov. 4.Services are pending and will be announced when set. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Phyllis.
Avalon Marie Billquist, 97, of Anaconda, died Oct. 10. Services were held Oct. 17. Avalon was laid to rest with her husband, Ole, and her parents, at the Avon Cemetery. Please visit www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com for the full obituary to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Avalon. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services and Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services were privileged to care for Avalon and her family.
Thomas “Bud” Gerald Findlay February 2, 1927 - Oct. 17, 2023
Thomas “Bud” Gerald Findlay, 96, born in San Francisco, Feb. 2, 1927, died Oct. 17. He was in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 during World War II. Bud was on a destroyer, circling the globe to bring supplies to our troops. He traveled around the world several times in 2 years, eventually returning to his home in San Francisco. Anne and Bud met in 1946; they were married 57 years. Bud worked on a Dreger, on the San Francisco Bay, for over 30 years, digging for depth to allow ships to come in. He and his wife, Anne Hertz Findlay, moved to Deer Lodge in 1991. He volunteered for numerous things in the 30 plus years he lived there. He became an Elks member, helping with dinner, decorations and seating tables. He and Anne delivered food for the Deer Lodge Senior Center for several years, and he helped his wife during her volunteer hospice work. His happiest times were repairing everything and fishing the Clark Fork River. He is survived by his wife, Anne; his three daughters, Lori Gale, Linda Maeding and Vikki Gentry; his son, Christopher Findlay; his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Memorials in honor of Bud are suggested to Immaculate Conception Church, 605 Clark St., Deer Lodge, or to a foundation of the donor’s choice. Funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at Immaculate Conception Church. A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge Deer Lodge, 230 Main St., in Deer Lodge. Rite of Committal with Military Honors will be held at 3 p.m., following the reception, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. Please visit axelsonfuneralhome.com to leave a condolence or share a memory of Bud.
F. Charlotte Faust June 22, 1936 - October 14, 2023
F. Charlotte Faust, 87, passed away due to a stroke at Northern Montana Hospital on Saturday, Oct. 14. She was born June 22, 1936, in Deer Lodge to Harold and Freda (Larson) Gustafson. She was raised with two brothers and graduated from Powell County High School. After high school, Charlotte moved to Spokane and worked for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph as a phone operator. In Spokane she met Bill Faust, Air Force airplane mechanic, stationed at Fairchild AFB. They were married December of 1957. When Bill was discharged, they moved to Inglewood, Calif., where daughter Carol was born. In 1979, they moved to Washington, where later, Charlotte attended the Tri-Cities Community College and then Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Both Charlotte and Bill earned their bachelor degrees as empty nesters; quite an accomplishment! Charlotte worked for several different companies as a bookkeeper; her favorite being Atlantis Submarines in Everett, Wash. She retired from bookkeeping in 1998. In retirement, the couple enjoyed many years of camping and road trips, not to mention frequent trips to Costco. When Bill passed away in 2013, Charlotte relocated to Havre to be near her daughter, granddaughters and great-grandchildren. Charlotte enjoyed working in her yards gardening. She always kept a tidy house so she could host company. She loved “keeping in touch” through email and phone calls and had a passion for genealogy, taking a Community Ed class to perfect her skills. She took a David Jeremiah Alaskan Cruise to celebrate her 80th birthday. She was an active church member wherever she was living. In recent years, Charlotte spent time volunteering at Fifth Avenue Christian Church folding bulletins, picking up communion cups, helping with funerals, facilitating a ladies Bible study and whatever else needed done. She especially loved hymn sings, school music performances, community music events and playing the piano. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Faust; parents, Harold and Freda Gustafson; son-in-law, Chris Crosby; and brother, Harold “Jack” Gustafson. Charlotte is survived by her daughter, Carol (Les) Crosby Odegard, Havre; granddaughters, Alisha (Jon) Wells of Havre and Leandra (Josh) Fraley of East Helena; great-grandchildren, Eden, Presly, Olivia, Roman, Dylan, Emersyn; brother, Jim Gustafson of Arizona; and several nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place, and memorial services were Monday, Oct. 23, at Fifth Avenue Christian Church in Havre with Pastor Rick Hodshire officiating. Charlotte’s family has suggested memorial donations be made in her memory to Fifth Avenue Christian Church, the Veterans of the Hi-Line Memorial Park or the charity of the donor’s choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Charlotte’s online memorial page to send a card or leave a message of condolence for her family at www.hollandbonine.com.
Joseph Harold Jette November 23, 1940 - October 14, 2023
Joseph Harold Jette, 82, known to family and friends as Harold, quietly passed from this life on Oct. 14. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and a cherished member of the Deer Lodge community. Harold was born Nov. 23, 1940, in Deer Lodge, to Joseph and Helena (Harold) Jette. Harold’s life was deeply rooted in the Deer Lodge Valley. His parents purchased a ranch there when he was just 5 years old, and it was on this land that he spent most of his life. He was raised alongside his twin sister, Donna (Hoppe), and brothers Alford “John” and David. Harold’s journey through life was marked by hard work and a love for the outdoors. He began his laborious journey on the family ranch, where he toiled alongside his family. As a young man, he joined the workforce at the Anaconda Company ranch at the tender age of 16, starting a lifelong career that spanned different roles within the company. Throughout his life, Harold dedicated himself to various occupations in Montana’s mining industry. He worked in the mines of Butte and the Anaconda smelter and Butte concentrator as a laborer. His unwavering commitment and strong work ethic defined him as a dependable and industrious individual. He retired from mining in 1998. In 1961, Harold married his beloved Carol (Wekkin), and together they raised two sons, Troy and Terry, in Anaconda. Their love and partnership endured for over six decades, a testament to their enduring bond. In 1978, Harold and Carol made a pivotal decision to purchase the Jette family ranch from Harold’s mother. His time was filled with tending to the land, growing feed for the cattle and managing a diverse range of animals, from chickens and turkeys to pigs. He even had a pair of draft horses that he worked with on occasion. The ranch was not just a place of work but also a source of cherished memories, especially with his family and friends. Beyond his dedication to ranching and mining, Harold had a deep passion for the outdoors. No matter the season, you could always find him enjoying his four-wheeler, boat or snowmobile. These were the moments when he found solace and joy in nature. Harold was best known for his quick-witted humor, unwavering determination and generous spirit. He touched the lives of many with his kindness and charisma. Harold is survived by his loving wife, Carol, their two sons, Troy (Rhonda) and Terry, and bonus son Paul Heitt-Rennie (Darin) and brother, David. He leaves behind four cherished grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, who will forever carry his memory in their hearts. A memorial service, organized privately by family in honor of Harold will be held Saturday, Oct. 28, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Racetrack Volunteer Fire Hall, located at 6887 S. Frontage Road, Deer Lodge. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that those who are able donate to honor his memory. Harold’s life was a testament to the values of hard work, love, and dedication, and he will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He has left an indelible mark on the Deer Lodge community and the hearts of his loved ones. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Harold. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Harold and his family.
Jay Arthur Peterson May 20, 1964 - September 12, 2023
The world has lost an amazing man. Jay Arthur Peterson, 59, of Anaconda, passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 12, with his family by his side. Jay was born in Butte on May 20, 1964, to William and Shirley (Williams) Peterson. Jay attended Ramsay School, West Junior High and graduated from Butte High School in 1982. Jay grew up on the Peterson Ranch with his loving mom, dad, Uncle Art and 12 siblings. Even though Bill and Shirley had a full house, they often opened their home to extended family and neighbors. Jay was raised with a strong foundation of love, which he passed on so freely to others during his lifetime. As soon as Jay could, he started learning the ropes of the western lifestyle on the ranch. He could often be seen with a rope in hand, bottling sheep, feeding cows, taking out trail rides at the horse corral, guiding elk hunts, herding cattle, working in the hay fields and changing pipes. Jay dedicated his life to the Peterson Fairmont ranch and took great pride in his daily work. At a young age, Jay and his brother Hank worked with their dad and uncle to run the ranch. Shortly after graduating high school, Jay and his life-long friend Elizabeth “Beth” (Seymour) Peterson started dating. They were meant for each other and enjoyed many years doing the things they loved together. Jay and Beth were married on Dec. 20, 1987, and together raised three wonderful children, daughter Hailey and sons Justin and Ty. They were later blessed with three beautiful grandchildren, Reid, Clayton and Briar. Jay was the best husband, father and “Papa” ever. His children and grandchildren were his pride and joy, and he loved spending time with them. Jay was incredibly giving and selfless. Even though he was busy with all he had to get done each day on the ranch, you could often see him catching frogs at the pond, teaching the grandkids how to throw a loop or bringing them on motor bike rides. Jay was a devoted family man with unwavering support for his children in whatever they wanted to pursue; but he was the happiest teaching and working with them on the ranch. He always took time to show them how much the ranch meant to him and make them feel like they were a part of it. Jay had hopes of keeping his legacy a working ranch that would continue for generations to come. Jay was not only a role model to his children and grandchildren but many of his nephews and nieces looked to him as a father figure. He loved them all as much as they loved him and could make anyone feel special and welcome. Jay had the ability to turn bad situations into positive ones and was a man that many others turned to. Jay was the glue that held everything together. He was “always there” for his family and friends. Jay continually looked for ways to improve the ranch whether it was the hay crop, the cattle blood line or increasing the cattle herd. Jay was very innovative, talented and resourceful. Jay was very proud of the custom log home that he and Beth built to raise their family in. Jay could look at a picture of his next project for the ranch and before you knew it, he would have it built. He built several hay bale feeders, horse trailers and numerous farming/irrigation equipment. He seemed to be able to fix (jerry rig) anything, even if missing a few parts. Jay understood the importance of hard work, but he also understood the importance of making it fun. Jay was tough as nails, motivated and self-disciplined, making sure to live each day to the fullest. Jay wore many hats over the years: rancher, roper, farmer, welder, mechanic, hero to many. He loved to train his cow dogs and was never without his cow dog “Pete” by his side. Over the years he had some of the best horses around, and could rope and ride with the best. Jay (Jaybird) was an extraordinarily skilled hunter and somehow always seemed to know where the elk were, which he learned from his dad and uncle Art. He cherished many great memories at hunting camp with friends and family, and he passed down his love of the tradition of hunting to his cousins, nephews and children. Jay will be remembered for his overwhelming generosity and his “Once in a Lifetime” personality. He could light up a room with his presence and always had a huge smile on his face, and his contagious laugh would echo through any crowd. Jay made friends with ease. Jay experienced and accomplished so much in his lifetime; he had many stories to share and was always ready with a good joke. Jay was honest, thoughtful, loving, genuine and led by example. He was an inspiration to us all and truly a “One of a Kind” cowboy. Jay leaves behind many close friends including Ross and Chris Swanson, Bob Swanson and Swanson family, Kenny Blume and Blume family, nephew Sam Reynolds, Brian Kimpton and many more. We apologize if we forgot to mention anyone by name. Jay was respected by those he worked with and was an active member of the Sparrow Grazing association, spreading his interest in improving it for all. Jay, our lives will never be the same without you. We will never understand why you had to leave so soon, but we will forever cherish the time we had with you, and know you are smiling and tracking the “Big Bulls” up in heaven. Jay was preceded in death by his father, Bill; uncle, Art; father-in-law, Joseph Seymour. Jay is survived by his wife of almost 36 years, Beth; daughter Hailey Peterson, grandsons Reid and Clayton. Son Justin (Bailey) Peterson, son Ty Peterson, granddaughter Briar. Mother, Shirley Peterson; Hank (Maggie) Peterson, Connie (Dale) King, Ellen (Wayne) Allen, Laurie (Mike) Gurnett, Billie (Scott) Reynolds, Vickie Buckley, Susan (Clint) LaRue, Holly Christensen, Judy (Sam) Davis, Lisa (Russ) Scherman, Gayle Peterson, Jenny Peterson. Nephews, nieces and greats: Garrett (Ashley) Graham, Sloan Gurnett, Libby (Dalton) Jhett, Etta Tamcke, Katie (Brandon) Sidney, Sara and Shea Whitaker, Sam (Melissa) Gus, Pete, Clyde, Ike, Tilly Reynolds, Jake and Jared Buckley, Jessie (Pierce) Myla Pendleton, Levi (Kileigh) Claire, Henry, Leah Knott, Jeremy (Jamie) Anthony, Avery Knott, Cassie (Ryan) Ella, Joey Fallang, Emily Peterson, Abby (Chris) Wrenley, Thea Brown, Rusty, Rowan, Collins Christensen, Carly Christensen, Kyle (Echo) Davis, Lexi (Will) Poell, Mami (Kaleb) Scherman, Nate Scherman. Mother-in-law Jean Seymour and family, Karen (Rich) Barnett, Travis (Kelly) Kaleb, Jake, Emma Barnett, Patti (Shane) Kailee, Jax Anderson, Missy (Joe) Bayes, Levi, Paige Jordan, Mandy (Jeremiah) Noah, Addy, Tate Stifle; Brad (Connie) Seymour, Allison Seymour, Danny, Aiden Lee Seymour, Paula (Zeb) Zoolkoski, Laura (Kyle) Tompson; Jack (Brenda) Seymour; Becky Jensen, Jennifer Rognstad, Robbie, Faith, Madi, Gabe; Tina (Mike) Chris, Jacob, Kaleb Ogburn, Sarah Jensen; Cindy (John) Kmetz, Joseph (Stacey) Kmetz, Michael Kmetz, Kevin (Lauren) Kmetz, JeanMarie Kmetz; Scott Seymour, Barry (Amanda) Riley, Evangeline Butori, Autumn (Todd) Butori. Memorials in honor of Jay are suggested to the Tri-County Fair, P.O. Box 149, Deer Lodge, MT 59722. A Celebration of Life service for Jay will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Peterson Fairmont Barn, 1800 Shirley Way, Anaconda, MT 59711. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family condolences or to share a memory of Jay. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Jay and his family.
Dennis K. Driessen October 26, 1947 - September 8, 2023
Dennis K. Driessen, 75, known to many friends and family as “Trapper,” departed this earthbound plane on Sept 8, in Seattle. Dennis was born in Salmon, Idaho, Oct 26, 1947, to Frank and Janice Driessen. He spent his formative years in Spokane, among his dad’s family. Upon Frank’s death, Dennis joined his Montana family in Deer Lodge at the age of 11. He loved hunting, fishing and all outdoor endeavors. In high school, he ran trap lines to earn spending money, often hiking miles in the hours before school and on weekends. He joined and loved FFA and once got to travel to Kansas City convention with his local club. He graduated from Powell County High School in 1966, eventually landing a brakeman job on the Milwaukee Road. He was drafted into the Army in 1967, serving honorably in Vietnam as a medic, enduring the horrors of the Tet Offensive of 1968; he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star, which is the third highest award for the U.S. Army. After service, Dennis returned to his railroad job. He married Shannon Neubauer in 1972, and they had one child, Cory. He had found his niche while serving as a medic and decided to pursue a degree in prosthetics, which he successfully attained in Memphis. He served a residency and met his final certification requirements, first practicing in New Mexico, eventually landing back in Montana. He and his wife opened an orthotics and prosthetics business in Helena, helping many clients in need of bracework and appendage augmentation. He became frustrated by the lack of support for his clients by the Medicare system, and eventually, the business was sold. His was a restless soul. He travelled to southeast Asia, finding it a magnet. After his divorce, he moved to Thailand, establishing his place among the other expats and networking. He was always trying new endeavors – smoking his own hams and making bacon, learning to cook Thai dishes, learning to speak and read some Thai (speaking was much easier than reading), making many short journeys on his motorbike, getting into gemstones and making jewelry. He had landed in SeaTac; just boarded the plane to Spokane to begin his extended in-country visit, when his life force took off. It was an oddly appropriate passing for Trapper, with the gypsy heart and feet of sand. He was preceded in death by his beloved son, Cory. He is survived by siblings Darlene Sauber, Mike Whittaker, Pat Rehorn and Mary Kostich, along with nieces, nephews and beloved cousins, and his ex-wife, Shannon. Pursuant to his belief system, there will be no services or memorial.
Michele (Brown) Williams November 14, 1964 - July 15, 2023
Michele (Shelly), 58, passed away unexpectedly on July 15, 2023, in Napa, Calif., after a sudden illness. Michele was born Nov. 14, 1964, while in Moetsch, Germany, near Bitburg Air Base. Her parents, Master Sgt. George W. and Shirley R. (Strizich) Brown were stationed in Germany while her father served in the U.S. Air Force. She joined two older sisters. Following her dad’s retirement, the family returned to their native Montana and settled in Deer Lodge. Shelly graduated from Powell County High School in 1984. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1989 from the University of Montana. While at UM, Michele developed a love for all things sports. She worked for the athletic department and kept statistics for teams. This developed her undying love of the SF Giants, Golden State Warriors and of course, the Montana Griz. In her spare time, when not caring for Colby, she watched or attended various sports events. She often traveled to area colleges to watch the Griz play. In 1992, Michele was joined on this earth by her beloved son, Colby Brown. She raised him as a single parent until she met and married Alan Williams in 1997. The trio moved to Napa, where they made their home. She separated from Alan in 2021. In Napa, Michele worked for the Napa County Community Housing in the accounting department for 25 years. She worked there at the time of her death. She is preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Mathew and Edith (Launderville) Strizich; paternal grandparents Walter and Etna (Shaffer) Brown; parents Shirley Strizich and George W. Brown; an older brother Michael and numerous aunts and uncles. She is survived by her son, Colby of Napa; three sisters, Becky Smith (Anaconda), Chris Brown (Yerington, Nev.) and Sandy Hanson (Missoula); paternal aunt Doris (Brown) Matz (Anaconda); maternal aunt Cathy (Strizich) Knutson (Helena); nephews Brandon Brown (Missoula), Nicolas Talbott (Denver), Ryan Talbott (Missoula) and Kaidre Brown (Yerington); three nieces, Alana (Smith) Nickell (Alamogordo, N.M.), Abby Smith (Lewistown) and Olivia Hanson (Missoula); and eight grand nieces and nephews. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m., Oct. 10, at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, W. 5th St., Anaconda. Reception immediately follows at Croatian Hall, 809 E. 3rd St., Anaconda.
Howard Stevenson December 30, 1947 - August 2, 2023
Howard Stevenson, 75, passed peacefully at his home in Deer Lodge, on August 2, 2023. Howard had suffered with COPD the last few years. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sandi Gilman Stevenson; son, Howard of Deer Lodge; and granddaughter, Sheyanne Carpenter (Tristan) of Seeley Lake. Howard is also survived by his stepfather, Orville Fraser of Laurel; sisters, Betty Przybylski of Florida, Valerie Boelter (Tom) of Park City, Lavonne Frank (Pete) and Carol Osmondson (Dan) of Thief River Falls, Minn., Stacey Gable (Dan) of Laurel, Thelma Lofink of Laurel and Rachel Fraser of Billings; brother, Chad Fraser of Deer Lodge; sister-in-law, Ronnie Kitenberg of Deer Lodge; and brother-in-law, Les Gilman of Elko, Nevada; special nephew, Cody Fraser (Rachel) of Billings, and their two children, Taylor and Kane; and, not to forget, numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces. Howard was preceded in death by his father, Orville Stevenson; and mother, Florence Stevenson Fraser; brothers, Loren Stevenson and Hank Fraser; sisters, Tammy and Faith Fraser. Born on Dec. 30, 1947, Howard served in the United States Army in Vietnam and in the Army National Guard for 12 years. He drove truck for the Cominco Mine in Garrison until the close of its operation. He then worked for the Round Mountain Gold Corp. in Round Mountain, Nev., for 18 years. An avid NASCAR racing fan all his life, his interest was shared by his wife, Sandi. Howard also enjoyed membership in the Drummond American Legion, the Deer Lodge Racing Association and the Moose Lodge. A Graveside Service with Military Honors will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in the Veteran section of Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. There will be another graveside service occurring at the entrance to the gate. Please go up the hill past this service. Howard’s graveside will be to your left. In lieu flowers, please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Howard. His family would like to thank Enhabit Hospice and Eden Home Health for their invaluable help in Howard’s last month of care.
Bruce Bartlett Benson April 14, 1931 - September 11, 2023
Bruce Bartlett Benson, 92, of Avon passed away on Sept. 11. Bruce was born April 14, 1931, in Deer Lodge, to his parents, John and Esther, and was the fourth child, joining siblings: Betty, Cliff, Fred and later, Eva. Bruce attended grade school in Avon and later graduated from Powell County High School in 1949. After graduation, Bruce continued to work on the family’s dairy ranch up until he was drafted to serve his country. He served from Sept. 20, 1951 to June 20, 1953, with 13 of those months being served in Korea as Headquarters Commanding Officer 58th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. After Bruce returned home from Korea, he and his brother, Fred, went into partnership and became third generation owners of the Benson Ranch with their father’s dairy business. They later sold the herd in 1963 and transitioned into stock cattle, which is still in operation today and has been very successful. On Sept. 20, 1958, Bruce and Pauline (Bignell) were married in Helmville. They were blessed with two daughters, Evelyn and Valerie. Bruce and Pauline were married for 63 years before her passing on Sept. 29, 2021. In July of 2017, the Benson Ranch was inducted into the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame. Draft horses were used on the Benson Ranch for more than a century, and it was one of the last ranches that utilized the teams up until the mid 1990s. It was a spectacle to watch as it took great skill that was mastered and that had been passed down from generations. The draft horse teams would pull mowers, rake the hay with dump rakes, and bunch and move the hay to the stack with buckrakes. The team would then be pulled off from the beaverslide, hoisting the baskets with loose hay that would be dumped onto the stack. Bruce was an active member in his community, serving on the school board for Avon Grade School and Powell County High School. Bruce also spearheaded the Avon Stockyard Association where he was elected president in 1982, serving up until his passing. Bruce and Pauline were never a stranger to anyone; they were always welcoming and always had a pot of coffee ready to go along with a conversation. Bruce is preceded in death by his wife, Pauline; daughter, Valerie; brothers, Cliff and Fred; and sister, Betty. He is survived by his sister, Eva; daughter, Evelyn; granddaughters, Sarah, Beth (Noah), Leigh (Kevin); and numerous nieces, nephews and other family members. Viewing will take place from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. with funeral services to begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, at the Avon Community Church followed by a graveside burial at the Avon Cemetery with Military Honors. A reception will follow at the Avon Community Clubhouse. Memorials can be made to the Avon Cemetery. Bruce’s family would also like to give a special thanks to Southwest Montana Veteran’s Home in Butte and Cooney Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Helena for their care for Bruce. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Bruce.
Donald Edward Bacon September 22, 1941 - September 5, 2023
Donald Edward Bacon, 81, of Elliston, died Sept. 5 on the Elliston hill surrounded by family and friends. He fought a courageous two-year battle with esophageal cancer. Don was born in Lewistown on Sept. 22, 1941, to Lynn and Ruth Bacon of Harlowton and was the oldest of 9 children. Spending his youth in the Deer Lodge area, he fostered a life-long love for all things agricultural and livestock. While working on neighboring ranches, a strong work ethic was developed alongside the “Cowboy Way.” Additionally, he became very fond of shepherding and was an active member of the Deer Lodge 4H/FFA programs. Don graduated from Powell County High School in 1960. In March of 1961, he married his pretty little gal from Elliston, Charla Ann Pierce, who would be by his side for the next 62 years. They were blessed with three wonderful children, Kevin, Kellie and Kyle. For the first few years, he worked in construction and as an over-the-road truck driver. The family moved several times within Mont., S.D. and Wash. In the mid-sixties, a job with the Milwaukee Railroad brought the Bacon family to Wisconsin. As a purchasing and parts coordinator and subsequent promotion to material manager, Don perfected his meticulous organizational skills. Roots were established in Milton, Wis., for the next 2 plus years, where his desire to be a farmer and shepherd never left him. In the mid 1970s, he established “Big Sky Suffolks” which quickly became a family obsession and business. Through Don’s leadership, they became a premier flock across the state, as well as nationally. Don proudly served as the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Association President and Board Member for many years. A return to Big Sky country became a reality in 1989 as Don, Char and Kyle moved to their little slice of Montana heaven, Elliston; where they permanently settled. Soon thereafter, Don started a 13-year career with the Helena Nabisco distribution center; many days were spent seeing glorious mountain views behind the windshield of his route truck. Retirement in 2003 did not slow Don down. He was either fixing, maintaining, organizing anything and everything around the home or working for Pierce & Associate Builders.
One of Don’s greatest joys was making his weekly trip to the Koon cabin in Avon with his best friends. He loved nature and the outdoors, especially his annual sabbatical to the high country for hunting season. He also enjoyed many lengthy snowmobile and ATV rides, catching a rodeo any and every chance he could, playing a good game of cards or berating his beloved Green Bay Packers, all while sharing a tasty Jim Beam to wash down the love, laughter and memories. Don was also recently recognized as a 50-year “Master Mason” from the Ottawa #51 Masonic Lodge in Marysville.
Even as he endured his recent health fight, he never tried to bring attention to his plight. He frequently offered help to those around him and often brought comfort to others with that Don Bacon smile and attitude. He was blessed with a rich life that had very little to do with money; there was a family that loved him, memories abound and hundreds of good friends … he will be missed by many.
Don is survived by his wife Charla and three children: Kevin (Jackie) of Elliston, Kellie (Paul) Langer of Helena and Kyle (Jeanee) of Mesa, Ariz.; grandchildren: Emily, Craig, Charlie and Will, Josh, Jason and Paul Jr, Lucy and Remy; great-grandchildren: Jolee, Davis, Zoe, Eddie, Henry, Landen, Abigail, Samuel and Miles. Also surviving siblings, Dennis, Karen, Dwight (Sandra), Kathy, Kim, Dean, David (Gail) and Kristie; brothers in-law: Fred (Carol) and Bill (Nancy) Pierce; aunts: Marilyn Robinson and Amy Ballentine; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Don was a terrific friend, wonderful father, great husband and a good shepherd of life. It’s now time for Don to be with his Mom and Dad, and other friends and family who’ve passed before.
A small mountain service will take place later this month and a broader service for family and friends will take place Memorial Day weekend (May 2024) at the Elliston Cemetery (details TBD). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either St. Peters Health Hospice, Elliston Cemetery or an organization of your choice. Condolences can be sent to PO Box 210, Elliston, MT 59728.
were spent seeing glorious mountain views behind the windshield of his route truck. Retirement in 2003 did not slow Don down. He was either fixing, maintaining, organizing anything and everything around the home or working for Pierce & Associate Builders. One of Don’s greatest joys was making his weekly trip to the Koon cabin in Avon with his best friends. He loved nature and the outdoors, especially his annual sabbatical to the high country for hunting season. He also enjoyed many lengthy snowmobile and ATV rides, catching a rodeo any and every chance he could, playing a good game of cards or berating his beloved Green Bay Packers, all while sharing a tasty Jim Beam to wash down the love, laughter and memories. Don was also recently recognized as a 50-year “Master Mason” from the Ottawa #51 Masonic Lodge in Marysville. Even as he endured his recent health fight, he never tried to bring attention to his plight. He frequently offered help to those around him and often brought comfort to others with that Don Bacon smile and attitude. He was blessed with a rich life that had very little to do with money; there was a family that loved him, memories abound and hundreds of good friends … he will be missed by many. Don is survived by his wife Charla and three children: Kevin (Jackie) of Elliston, Kellie (Paul) Langer of Helena and Kyle (Jeanee) of Mesa, Ariz.; grandchildren: Emily, Craig, Charlie and Will, Josh, Jason and Paul Jr, Lucy and Remy; great-grandchildren: Jolee, Davis, Zoe, Eddie, Henry, Landen, Abigail, Samuel and Miles. Also surviving siblings, Dennis, Karen, Dwight (Sandra), Kathy, Kim, Dean, David (Gail) and Kristie; brothers in-law: Fred (Carol) and Bill (Nancy) Pierce; aunts: Marilyn Robinson and Amy Ballentine; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Don was a terrific friend, wonderful father, great husband and a good shepherd of life. It’s now time for Don to be with his Mom and Dad, and other friends and family who’ve passed before. A small mountain service will take place later this month and a broader service for family and friends will take place Memorial Day weekend (May 2024) at the Elliston Cemetery (details TBD). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either St. Peters Health Hospice, Elliston Cemetery or an organization of your choice. Condolences can be sent to PO Box 210, Elliston, MT 59728.
Sylvia Marie Gleason February 14, 1949 - September 9, 2023
Sylvia Marie Gleason, 74, was born to Patrick and Sylvia (Billie) Gleason on Feb. 14, 1949. She was followed by her brother, Daniel, and sister, Linda. She was born in Butte and raised primarily in Deer Lodge (on the Gleason Ranch, as she liked to call it.) Sylvia received her education in Deer Lodge and graduated in 1967 from Powell County High School. After graduation, she followed her husband to the Great Lakes area where she worked for the SOLO cup company, then on to Long Beach, Calif., where she worked as a teller in a bank while he pursued a naval career. It was there she became pregnant with her first son, Patrick. She moved home to Deer Lodge to have the support of her family as a single mother. Sylvia remarried and had two more sons, Sean and Cody, and gained three stepsons. After a few odd jobs, she went to work on the furnaces at the Anaconda Smelter to help support her family. When the Anaconda Company closed, she pursued her true passion in life: nursing. She received her degree as an LPN from the nursing program in Helena. She then moved to Shelley, Idaho, where she continued her career as a trauma nurse and a nurse for the eye surgery center in Idaho Falls. She had found her niche in nursing: surgery. Sylvia loved the surgical part of nursing so much she decided to further her education with an RN degree from Ricks College. She moved to Spokane, Wash., to be closer to family and went to work for the day surgery center at Sacred Heart Hospital. Always wanting to be closer to her grandchildren, she moved back to the Gleason Ranch. She went to work as surgical nurse at the Community Hospital in Anaconda until her retirement. After 25 years of being single and swearing she would never get married again, the love bug bit her one more time. In 2016 she found love again at her granddaughter’s wedding. She and Leonard were married in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 1, 2018, and moved to Nevada. Always homesick for her grandchildren and the Gleason Ranch she would always return to spend her summers. Sylvia was a curious soul who loved an adventure no matter how big or small. She traveled to Europe for four weeks with her sister in 1989. Took her father for his first trip to the Grand Canyon and traveled many miles and states with Leonard in their fifth wheel. They had many more trips planned; one in particular was Ireland. Sylvia was passionate about her family, her friends, her patients, music and a good book. She was a voracious reader and consumed them like candy. Her boys and grandchildren were at the center of her universe. She showered them with love, gifts, money, time and a good talking to if the occasion presented itself. Sylvia is survived by her beloved Leonard; her sons, Patrick, Sean, Cody; and stepsons, Lee, Randy and Bill; her sister, Linda Morehouse (Lyle); 12 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who were all family to her. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother and a stepson. Sylvia was the light that shined brighter than sunshine through her kindness, open heart and giving soul. She was the glue that held us altogether and will continue to bond us as one in her love. She was smooth like a Patsy Cline song swaying like a beautiful dance on a summer’s day. She will be forever missed, cherished and loved by all who knew her. She was called Lulu, Silver, Mom, Sister, Nana and Baby by those closest to her. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye be also. John 14:2-3 Services will be held in the Community Center of Deer Lodge, 416 Cottonwood Ave., Deer Lodge, MT, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 23, 2023. A graveside service will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery, W. Milwaukee Ave., Deer Lodge, MT, with a luncheon after at the Community Center. Dishes, salads, etc. are welcomed and appreciated by the family if brought. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Sylvia. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been honored to care for Sylvia and her family.
Howard Stevenson December 30, 1947 - August 2, 2023
Howard Stevenson, 75, passed peacefully at his home in Deer Lodge, on Aug. 2. Howard had suffered with COPD the last few years. Howard is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sandi Gilman-Stevenson; son, Howard of Deer Lodge; granddaughter, Sheyanne Carpenter (Tristan) of Seeley Lake; stepfather, Orville Fraser of Laurel; sisters, Betty Przybylski of Florida, Valerie Boelter (Tom) of Park City, Lavonne Frank (Pete), and Carol Osmondson (Dan) of Thief River, Minn., Stacey Gable (Dan) of Laurel, Thelma Lofink of Laurel, and Rachel Fraser of Billings; brother, Chad Fraser of Deer Lodge; sister-in-law, Ronnie Kitenberg of Deer Lodge; and brother-in-law, Les Gilman of Elko, Nev.; special nephew, Cody Fraser (Rachel) of Billings and their two children, Taylor and Kane; and, not to forget, numerous cousins, nephews and nieces. Howard was preceded in death by his father, Orville Stevenson, and mother, Florence Stevenson Fraser; brothers, Loren Stevenson and Hank Fraser; sisters; Tammy and Faith Fraser. A graveside service with military honors will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Howard.
Megan Ann Thompson March 8, 1940 - August 25, 2023
Megan Ann Thompson, 83, of Deer Lodge, died after a brave battle with an acute aortic aneurysm on Aug. 25. Megan was born March 8, 1940, in Deer Lodge, the eldest of four children born to Ruth Bernice (Souter) and Francis Aloysius Dumont Sr. She grew up in Deer Lodge, attending St. Mary’s Academy through eighth grade (Megan loved the nuns!) and graduating from Powell County High School in 1958. At Powell County High School, she was a cheerleader and FFA Queen. After graduation, Megan moved to Helena and went to work for the State of Montana Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Megan married James (“Jim”) Edward Thompson of Gold Creek. The wedding took place at Immaculate Conception Parish in Deer Lodge on Dec. 26, 1959. Megan and Jim began married life at Ft. McClellan in Anniston, Ala., while Jim served in the US Army. The couple returned to Deer Lodge with their first son, Paul Robert, in December 1960 after Jim’s discharge from the service. Megan and Jim were blessed with three more children: Joan Marie, Neil Edward and Keith Michael. Megan cherished the years raising her children, and she and Jim had great fun attending all the kids’ sports, plays, concerts and anything else their children participated in. As a family, they also enjoyed hunting, camping and hiking. Music and art were an integral and important part of Megan’s life. In 1962, Megan joined the newly formed Woman’s Club Chorus – which she participated in for 30 years. She was also 1/3 of the musical comedy trio known as “The Hangtown Gals” along with Barbara Paull and Betty Masters – and the three of them traveled around singing, playing and entertaining for years. Megan also sang in the choir and was the church organist at Immaculate Conception Parish for over 50 years. In 1969, the Deer Lodge Art Club was formed, and Megan joined within its first year of existence. Megan was an active member of the club for the rest of her life, and she enjoyed the time she spent painting with all of her artist friends. Megan also spent many years on the board of the Powell County Museum and Arts Foundation and worked through that organization to support arts and culture in the Deer Lodge area. Megan resumed her working career as her children entered high school. This included Deer Lodge Floral (1977-1986), the Western Shopper (1986-1989) and the Silver State Post (1989-1992). Megan traveled to Denver with AmeriCorps and undertook training in adult education. With this training, she established the Powell County Literacy Program with volunteer tutors in 1989. The community need was evident, and in 1992, funding was obtained, and space was provided by the Kohrs Memorial Library for a full-time Literacy program. Megan served as both a tutor and administrator of the program, and she enjoyed helping many area people realize their GED and other educational goals. She retired from the Literacy program in 2006. Retirement was spent pursuing her interests in art, music and genealogy. She painted, researched family histories, played her piano and banjo, cooked wonderful meals, spent an awful lot of time with her family and friends, and played many hours of pinochle. Megan is preceded in death by her sister, Karen Dumont Bowers, her parents, and many dear friends and extended family. Megan is survived by her husband of 63 years, Jim Thompson; her children and grandchildren Paul (Kathy) Thompson, Brian and Cal; Joan (Rich) Sewell, Kristopher, Matthew (Rachel), McCall (Cameron), and Marin; Neil Thompson (Jenn); Keith (Lisa) Thompson, Kassidi and Kelli; great grandchildren Ashton, Haven and Chase Sewell; Leo and Gregory Sewell; and Clay Stauffer. She is also survived by her siblings Janet Cox and Francis A. Dumont Jr. (Susan), all of Deer Lodge; sister-in-law Ann Larson; brothers-in-law Ed Bowers and Tom Thompson; and numerous nieces and nephews. Megan’s services were held on Saturday, Sept. 2 Megan was laid to rest at Hillcrest Cemetery. Memorials in honor of Megan are suggested to: (all Deer Lodge, MT 59722): Deer Lodge Art Club (PO Box 864); Immaculate Conception Parish (611 Clark); Powell County Literacy Program (409 Missouri Ave., Suite 101). The Thompson family would like to extend thanks to the incredible medical professionals at Deer Lodge Medical Center, Community Medical Center and St. Patrick’s Hospital. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Megan.
MaryAnn Burton, 90, of Deer Lodge, died Aug. 29. Services were held Sept. 6 in Sheridan, Wyo. A memorial service will be held in Deer Lodge at a later date. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of MaryAnn.