John Edwin Stone
John Edwin Stone, 68, died Thursday, April 8, at Deer Lodge Medical Center from complications of an extended illness.
John was adamant he did not want an obituary, so we will instead just call this a remembrance of the journey of his life and the positive impact that he left on all the people he met along the way.
A man wears many hats as he navigates the winding road from birth to death: son, sibling, friend, uncle, husband, father, mentor, teacher, coach, co-worker, companion, grandfather, great-grandfather and countless more.
For each and every one on that list, a thousand examples could be given of how John made it unique and meaningful for himself and for those around him. In accordance with his final requests, no formal memorial services will be held.
Instead, his wishes were for all friends, family and loved ones to celebrate his life, each in their own way, be it with thoughts, prayers, reminiscence or revelry. May we relish in his virtues, forgive him his faults, bow our heads, tell a tale or raise a glass and bid him a fond farewell.
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer a condolence or share a memory of John.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for John and his family.
Patrick John Bannon
June 5, 1961 - March 26, 2021
Patrick John Bannon, 59, of Deer Lodge, Montana, died on Friday, March 26, at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula, due to cancer complications.
He was born on June 5, 1961, in Lansing, Mich., to Kenneth and Mary Jo Bannon. He spent his youth in Oak Park, Ill., until age 15 when he moved to Hanover, Ill. He graduated from Hanover High School in 1979.
He then went out West, completing a B.A. in Science Education from the University of Montana. He began his teaching career in Harlem, continuing it to Harrison, Seattle, and then Deer Lodge, where he taught for 25 years.
On October 19, 1991, he married Sarah Blaisdell in Bellingham, Wash. The couple lived in Renton, Wash., until moving and settling in Deer Lodge.
Pat was an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman. He expanded on his love of the outdoors as an outfitter, taxidermist and creative wildlife artist. He was forever developing countless skills and talents throughout his life.
Survivors include his wife, Sarah; daughter, Shea (Jacob Duerr); son, Jonathan; mother, Mary Jo Bannon; stepmother, Leila Bannon; sister, Margaret Bannon; and brother, Dennis Bannon.
A service in celebration of his life will be held later this spring.
Death Notice: Marsha Presely
Marsha Presely, 71, of Deer Lodge, died Wednesday, March 31, 2021. She was born Aug. 11, 1949.
No services are planned; her remains will be taken to Texas.
Betty J. Filcher
September 3, 1932 – February 15, 2021
Betty Filcher, 88, of Deer Lodge, died Feb. 15 at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula.
She was born to Rose and Bill Miller in Bell Crossing, Stevensville, on Sept. 3, 1932. The family moved to Anaconda with her sister Flossie and brother George, where they graduated high school.
She worked as a telephone operator and at the Anaconda Courthouse and at JC Penney for a time.
She married Dale Filcher and had one son, Michael J. Filcher. She has a granddaughter Jaci Filcher with two grand girls Adrienne Fogerty and Braizlynn Brock and grandson Rhylie Filcher.
Betty and Dale moved all over Montana as Dale worked on the railroad for 40 years. Betty enjoyed bowling, playing cards with the ladies and fishing over the years.
She will be missed greatly by us all.
Graveside services will be held at a later date.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is entrusted with Betty’s funeral arrangements. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
Barry Allen Kennedy
September 12, 1946 – March 22, 2021
Barry Allen Kennedy, 74, died at home of natural causes. He was born Sept. 12, 1946, in Rolla, N.D., the second child of Verna Joyce and Ivan Gerald Kennedy.
He spent the first 8 years of his life in Rock Lake, N.D., and then went to work at the smelter in Anaconda. He lived in Deer Lodge almost for the rest of his life.
Barry was very good at math and graduated from Powell County High School in 1964. He went on to the Navy and was honorably discharged 3 years later. After that, he went to and graduated from computer school. He worked at West Coast Paper in Seattle, then settled at Montana State Prison and retired after around 25 years.
Barry liked to fish and hike in the mountains at various lakes. He loved fantasy sports, football, basketball, baseball, hockey – you name it. He was very good at all of them.
He loved his computers and his dogs, walking with them every day, and loved visiting with everybody he happened to meet.
Barry was preceded in death by his mother in 2014 and father in 1997.
He is survived by his daughter, Heather Kennedy, in Fort Collins, Colo.; brothers, Ronald L. Kennedy of Butte and Gerald L. Kennedy (Jackie) of Sagle, Idaho; nephew, Matthew Kennedy of Butte; nieces, Stephanie Rief of Sandpoint, Idaho, and Roberta Cestnic of Manhattan.
Donations may be made to any animal shelter in Barry’s name.
A memorial service will take place at a later date.
Richard O. Rydeen
June 10, 1943 - March 23, 2021
Richard O. Rydeen, 77, known by most as Dick, passed away peacefully on March 23 at St. Pete’s Hospital in Helena from complications of COVID.
Dick was born June 10, 1943, in Kalispell and attended school there prior to the family moving from Somers to Lincoln, then Livingston. He attended Park County High School, graduating in 1961 with his close friends and entered the Army with his buddies very soon after and served his country for 3 years. Upon discharge he moved to Deer Lodge where his parents and siblings were and went to work at the Northern Timber Sawmill.
Dick fell in love with and married his wife Karla Johnson there in 1966. They moved to Missoula, and he enrolled at U of M and worked nights at a parking garage downtown. They then moved back to Deer Lodge, returning to work at the sawmill.
He then enrolled at Western Montana College in Dillon, where the family resided, returning each summer to work at the mill. Part of his success in managing everything was having earned the G.I. Bill funding of $90 (a large amount in 1967!), being a wizard with finances, and working any job during the school year, including cleaning laundromats, and farm work. He always made sure all of the needs of his family were met, sometimes going without himself, but always ensuring there were savings for any emergency.
He and Karla had two daughters during that era, Kristi Lee and Amy Jean.
Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a math major, they returned to Deer Lodge where he once again worked at the sawmill. He completed his student teaching at the Junior High with the wonderful teachers, becoming good friends. Never having taught in the public schools thereafter, he used his education in many ways as he climbed the ladder with what became one of the Louisiana-Pacific Co. mills as Planer Superintendent, Mill Manager, then promoted as Division Operations Manager of 15 mills in five states. He was lucky enough to keep his family and office in Deer Lodge even though the head office was in the Coeur d’ Alene area. He had the most amazing work ethic and barely took a day off and few vacations. He received a special LP watch in 1993 commemorating 20 years with that company and worked until he took an early retirement one month short of his 54th birthday.
In 1980 we were blessed with custody of our nephew, Frank Gonzalez, and he was instantly received with love as a son and brother to Kristi and Amy. Dick made sure his kids were able to enjoy snow and water skiing, bringing their friends along, and those are some of their best memories today. With his great sense of humor he teased the kids about many things, but their favorite was when he told them he had “the body of James Dean and the mind of Einstein.” Pictures of the two legends still grace the wall of his room even though the only sure thing was his brilliance and high IQ. He taught us all the difference between “want” and “need” even though he spoiled his children with pretty much everything they wanted!
Dick had a major stroke at 59 but his disabilities did not affect his being the caretaker of his family. Again, being the amazing “Great Watash” as his kids called him; he made sure he lived the last 18 years large and in charge, with the same work ethic and love, exercising, reading, always kind to all that cared for him even in the worst of situations.
He especially appreciated the great care given to him by the Veterans Administration, including the VA Home Health Care team. He got tired of “this damn stroke” but kept his sense of humor and his ability to give Karla, the kids and grandkids and other family members that great advice even if they didn’t need it! Education was important to him for any and all that pursued it, and he assisted family as best he could with those financial burdens.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Frank and Fred, nephew Joey, niece Anna, the in-laws he loved so much, and his beautiful daughter Amy.
He is survived by his wife and girlfriend, Karla; daughter Kristi; son Frankie; grandkids Lance and Carlo Gonzalez, Daley (Michael) Beck, of Helena, Danielle of Casper, Wyo.; great granddaughter “Princess” Kennedi Beck, Helena.
The Psalm of Life poem from his Mother said in part “Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate, still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.” On his office wall was a sign that said, “The Oxen Are Slow but the Earth is Patient.” These words are what he tried to teach his co-workers, friends and especially family to live by, as he did himself.
A graveside service is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, April 3, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. A celebration of Dick’s life will be scheduled this summer. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Dick.
Berrett Michael Wirth Crossley
April 25, 2007 - March 6, 2021
Berrett Michael Wirth Crossley, 13, left his earthly body to join our Heavenly Father on Saturday, March 6, at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of not wearing a helmet during a skateboarding accident.
Berrett was born April 25, 2007, in Billings, to Larae Stone and Cory Wirth. Larae and Berrett moved to the Seattle area when he was 3 and shortly after became part of the large and loving Crossley family when Larae and Mikal joined their families, and Gabriel, Gianna and Lincoln became his best friends and siblings. Three years later they welcomed their little sister, Finley, into the family and Berrett became the best big brother a little girl could ask for. He adores her and she worships him.
Berrett loves all things outdoors. He could be found at the skate park, building a fort or riding quads while camping, playing basketball or baseball, sledding and tubing at Georgetown Lake, Mont., or anywhere he could find adventure or test his survival skills. He was an entrepreneur and loved to draw. He created a logo for his Kadet skateboard brand.
Berrett is survived by his parents Mikal and Larae Crossley and Cory Wirth; siblings Gabriel, Gianna, Lincoln and Finley Crossley; great grandparents Beverly Bruner, and Art and Mary Bradley; grandparents Jake and Natalie Stone, Tom and Gayle Butler, Monty and Christie Lambert, Dustin and Lani Moore, Steve Crossley and Tanda Robinson; uncles and aunts Aaron and Lacie (Stone) Gransbery (Royal), Loudan and Andi Steffes (Brant and Veda), Dustin Mace, Jamie and Cassie Waters (Liam, Lila and Juliette), Kelsey Crossley (Lianna and Lamont), Sam and Tera Hemken (Beatrice and Sam), Skyler Crossley, Kiara Crossley, Zak Crossley, Willie and Lynn Johnson (Lenora and Josee), Kiya Shelton and Devin Shelton. Berrett is also survived by his best friends Alyanna and Cyler Qualls and numerous other cousins and friends.
On March 8, Berrett gave one more remarkable gift to this world and helped save the lives of other children with his gift of organ donation. Donations to assist other families with organ donations can be made in Berrett’s name to Life Center of the Northwest, 3650 131st Ave. SE, Suite 200, Bellevue, WA 98006 (lcnw.org).
A GoFundMe site (Berrett’s Medical Fund) has been set up to help with medical expenses and start a campaign to educate kids on the importance of wearing their helmets until their last ride is over. #Wearit4Berrett.
Berrett’s family would like to thank the first responders of East Pierce Fire and Rescue Station 116 and the wonderful staff at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital for the great care they gave Berrett and the kindness they bestowed upon his family. A special thank you to Doctor Whitt, Doctor Asplin and Doctor Jones; nurses Patrick, Anabel and Bonnie, Patient Service Specialist Shannon of the 7th floor PICU and Rachel and Carly from Life Center of the Northwest. Your care for Berrett and kindness during this tragic time will be forever remembered.
A celebration of life will be Saturday, March 13, at 2 p.m., at Rainier Hills Christian Church, 23711 Entwhistle Road, Buckley, Wash.
Fly high with angels, sweet boy. May the skate parks always be paved in gold, your trucks never be loose, and your bearings never go bad. You will forever live in our hearts, and we look forward to the day we see your beautiful, contagious smile once again.
Emery (Buzz) D. Weston
August 24, 1930 - March 10, 2021
Emery (Buzz) D. Weston, 90, of Deer Lodge, died Wednesday morning, March 10, surrounded by family in Hamilton.
Buzz was born Aug. 24, 1930, in Missoula, to Barney and Alice Weston.
He grew up on a ranch just east of Beavertail Hill along with two brothers, Ben and Bill, and attended elementary school in Clinton. Buzz graduated from Missoula County High School and attended the University of Montana where he studied accounting.
In 1953, he married the love of his life, Nedra Cordrey, and they were married 56 years. Buzz and Nedra moved to Deer Lodge in 1957, where they raised four children, Neil, Steve, Bill and Joni. Buzz worked several years for the National Guard but spent the bulk of his working years as a truck driver. During his time in the National Guard, he participated in the quelling of the Montana State Prison riot of 1959.
Buzz and Nedra retired in 1993, where they spent their time working on the family ranch and attending all the sporting events of their grandchildren. Nedra passed away in 2008 and Buzz missed her every day for the rest of his life.
Buzz will be remembered as one of the hardest working, most honest men ever. He will be greatly missed each day by the members of his family.
Buzz was preceded in death by his beloved wife Nedra, son Bill, brother Ben and son-in-law Ed Ames.
He is survived by his brother Bill Weston of Missoula and by sons Neil (Jany), Steve (Kathy), daughter Joni Ames, and cousin Wanda Weston-Hooper (Gary) of Helena. In addition, he is survived by nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren, and six nieces and nephews.
No public services are scheduled. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com
Sharon Dolores (O’Reilly) Collinsworth
March 18, 1945 – March 5, 2021
Sharon D. (O’Reilly) Collinsworth, 75, died Friday, March 5, at Accordius Health, a caring and loving nursing facility, in Harrisonburg, Va.
The world lost a beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and friend. Sharon battled illness, but it never stopped her from thinking of others and providing words of love and encouragement. Her heart always had room for one more person to love. She was full of life. She was a strong, independent, and a stubborn Italian and Irish woman who loved everyone and never hesitated to put you in your place. She loved spending time with other’s and sharing her memories from childhood.
Sharon was born March 18, 1945, in Great Falls, to Francis J. and Bernadine (DeRose) O’Reilly. She graduated from Great Falls Central Catholic High School in 1963 and worked for her father’s real estate business as a secretary.
She married Maynard (Bud) J. Bolin Jr. on August 21, 1965, and had four children: Debe, Dena, D’ann and Dawn. Sharon and Bud made their home in Deer Lodge, where Sharon worked as a playground and lunch aide for the school district and then as a secretary in the steno pool at Montana State Prison.
She moved to Oregon in 1989 and married Wayne Collinsworth on August 11, 1990. She continued raising her family and working as a secretary for Touch of Mink in Salem, Ore., and as an office manager for the Polk County Itemizer Observer newspaper, in Independence, Ore. Her retirement years were spent in Mexico and California. After taking care of her husband who preceded her in death (2008), she continued her retirement years residing in Oregon, Indiana, South Carolina and finally settling in Virginia, making many friends and loved ones along the way.
She is survived by her sister, Dr. Francis L. O’Reilly; her brother, Jerry T. O’Reilly (Judy); and her daughters, Debe Rito (Charles Kidd), Dena Barnes (James), D’ann Farr (Maher), Dawn Ohren (Brent), Collette Antoine (Lou); and her stepchildren, Larry Collinsworth, Lynette Rounds (Billie), Lori Bosch (Dale) and Lonnie Collinsworth and sister-in-law, Del Collinsworth.
She was blessed with many nieces and nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, longtime friends, Nancy and Gerry Adams, and those she called her family.
A celebration of life is to be held at a later date.
James Charles (Boomer) Lane
December 21, 1947 – March 4, 2021
James Charles (Boomer) Lane,73, died on March 4, after a long-fought battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, diagnosed in 2012.
Jim was born on Dec. 21, 1947, in Great Falls to Charles and Frankie Lane. He moved to Drummond for two years then onto the Family Ranch, 12 miles south of Drummond on Flint Creek. He attended school in Philipsburg, graduating from high school in June 1966.
Jim enlisted in the Anaconda National Guard in 1969. He attended Western Montana College after graduation and embarked on a quest to seek knowledge in working in Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, S.D., for 2 years; then became an auctioneer, accomplished pilot, developed commercial buildings, residential rentals…..No challenge that he passed on.
In 1971, Jim went to work as a Journeyman Lineman for the Montana Power Co. in Butte. He married the love of his life, Deanna Peterson, on April 5, 1973. They welcomed a baby girl into the world Sept 24, 1974, Amy Rachelle Lane. Jim was transferred by the MPC in 1976 to Deer Lodge, where he resided for the remainder of his life.
Jim and DeeDee received their real estate licenses in 1977. He and Dee Dee worked side by side in the real estate profession, which proved to be a great choice, embarking on a 40-year career buying and selling several businesses as well as subdividing 20,000 acres across Montana.
Jim was an extremely passionate and dedicated person, which resonated in his devotion to his loving wife and daughter. He loved being a father and was always Amy’s first call for advice, solicited and unsolicited, but always great advice. He and Amy are a lot alike with a very special relationship. He was so proud of his family. Jim was beyond proud when Amy graduated in 1998 from U of M with a degree in business finance. Jim was absolutely adored by his grandchildren, Lane and Jace, which created a special bond. You could always see a twinkle in his eye just being with them and taking all of the family on special vacations.
He was known for his quick wit, vast knowledge and overall intellect. He was always up for a bet with his buddies. Jim and his soul mate, DeeDee, worked side by side together to run many successful businesses, excelling in real estate and development, amongst many other ventures. They were not afraid to take any challenge as a unified team.
Jim loved life and lived it to its fullest, always being the life of the party!
Jim is preceded in death by his parents Chuck and Frankie Lane; brother, Robert Lane; nephew Mike Lane; and his beloved granddaughter, Lane Mannix 11/27/2000-6/17/2019.
Survivors include his wife, Deanna Lane, Deer Lodge; daughter Amy Lane, Missoula; grandson Jace Mannix, Missoula; nephew, Mac Lane, Livingston; and many other nieces and nephews who enjoyed fun times with Uncle “Boomer.”
A funeral service will be held at the Rialto Theatre in Deer Lodge on Saturday, March 13, at 11 a.m. Visitation is from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Rialto, with reception to follow at Broken Arrow Steakhouse, Deer Lodge.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to Deer Lodge Ministerial Association or charity of your choice.
Judy Gail Clark McConnell
Judy Gail Clark McConnell, 72, of Hamilton, completed a life with love, laughter and kindness.
Judy was born June 8, 1948, to Vern Dexter and Earldean “Deanie” (Hendrickson) Clark, in Great Falls. She graduated from Florence Carlton High School in 1967.
Judy married Jim McConnell on Nov. 16, 1985, in Lincoln. They added a son, Jason, and daughter, Cori, to make this family complete. Judy was a past member of the Red Hat Society. She enjoyed being an election judge in Garrison. Her many interests were quilting, gardening, reading, raising chickens, cooking, bible study and seeing her grandchildren grow.
Anyone that ever met her said she was the most kindhearted, sweetest person they knew. Judy had a beautiful smile that could light up the room. She was loved by everyone.
Judy was preceded in death by her loving husband, Jim McConnell; parents, Dexter and Deanie Clark; sister-in-law, Helen Clark; and brother-in-law, Scotty.
She is survived by her son, Jason (Jenn), of Great Falls; daughter, Cori (Trent), of Deer Lodge; brother, Jim; sisters, Barbara and Verna; seven grandchildren plus one on the way; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers are Jason Goss, Todd Goss, Trent Freeman, Art Freeman, Tim Haugen and Sam Goss. Honorary pallbearers are Jim Clark and Bill Everson.
Visitation was held Wednesday evening, March 3, and funeral services were Thursday morning, March 4, both at Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton. Interment followed the service at the Florence-Carlton Cemetery. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com.
A special thank you to Whitney and Partners in Home Health Hospice for all of their compassion and care during Judy’s last days.
John Matthew Inkret
February 25, 2021
John Matthew Inkret, 62, died peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in his beloved “Alamo,” in Deer Lodge. He was preceded in death by his father, William. He is survived by his mother, Aurelia, a brother, three sisters, three nephews, three nieces and many close friends.
Born and raised in Denver, he attended Regis High School, and graduated from Carroll College in Helena with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He later furthered his education with a master’s degree in Soil Science at Montana State University.
He enjoyed curating and planting the perfect combination of native grasses and forbs both professionally and as a hobby. His knowledge and skill in this area was impressive.
John had many friends, often brought together by their love of music. Appreciating live music and playing the mandolin were some of his beloved hobbies. John adored his dog Django, and he was passionate about fishing, gardening and working with his hands. He had a wry sense of humor, and he loved to laugh.
No services are scheduled at this time. Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of John. Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for John and his family.
Betty Filcher, 88, of Deer Lodge, Mont., died Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula. Services are pending.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is handling the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be paid at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
September 21, 1936 – February 21, 2021
It is difficult to put into mere words the life of one so loved and admired.
Glenna Dea Krueger Stucky, 84, was born on September 21, 1936 and was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church of Bozeman. She grew up on a farm in the Gallatin Valley with two younger sisters, Marilyn and Lenita, with their parents, Leonard and Ruby Krueger.
Her interests and talents were many. When Glenna was only twelve, she and her dad played for dances all over the Gallatin Valley—she playing piano, and her dad playing the drums. 4-H was a big part of her younger years and was where she met the love of her life, Earl Stucky.
They were married November 24, 1954. The young couple purchased the family ranch in Gateway and spent the next few years building their registered Angus cattle business, as well as raising their five children—Earline, Sharon, Calvin, Jill and Becky.
In 1966, Earl was offered the job as cow boss on the Flying D Ranch, and the family moved to Cherry Creek on the Madison. At the same time, the Stucky’s ran their own cow herd, with Glenna and the kids pitching in to help.
Glenna’s love of music was always present, intermingled with day-to-day ranch life. She taught piano, chorus, and served as choir director at Harrison High School for a time.
In 1976, the Stucky family moved to the Keiley Ranch at Finn, near Avon. Glenna enjoyed all the seasonal ranch work, from watching calves arrive in the spring, to branding, bucking hay with her buckrake in haying season, cooking for the crew, sorting replacement heifers in the fall round-up and shipping. She was such an integral part of the ranch operation, especially with the management and accounting bookwork.
Even though her life was filled with commitments of family and ranch life, she made time for other hobbies—she was an avid seamstress, knitted prolifically and beautifully, loved gardening and woodworking, and was the No. 1 fan at family sporting events. She simply made time for everyone.
Glenna loved her community of Avon and showed it with her involvement in the local Cattlewomen chapter, her dedication as a 4-H leader for nearly 40 years, and her faithful service as the president of the Avon Get-Together Club for many years. Glenna loved her life, saying, “There is never a day that goes by that I am not in awe about being able to be here. I’m so very thankful.”
Glenna loved her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, her family, community and wonderful country. She is preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Ruby Krueger, sister Marilyn Ransom, grandson, Roy Edsall, and infant great-granddaughter, Hattie McIntosh.
She is survived by a loving husband of nearly sixty-seven years, Earl Stucky. For the whole of their marriage, they were inseparable, always working as a team. She is also survived by her sister, Lenita Hough, and Glenna and Earl’s five children: Earline (Mick) Goettle, Sharon Edsall, Calvin (Renee) Stucky, Jill (Bill) McIntosh, and Becky (Larry) McLaughlin; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Glenna’s life will be held Monday, March 1 at 1 p.m. at the Avon Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the Avon Get-Together Club, the Montana 4-H Foundation, or donor’s choice.
November 5, 1938 - February 12, 2021
Linda Ericson, 82
Linda Lou Ericson, 82, of Billings, MT passed away, unexpectedly from complications of pneumonia, February 12, 2021. Linda was born in Poplar, MT on November 5, 1938, the eldest child of Elna and Eric Lindquist.
She grew up in Poplar, graduated from Poplar High School, and attending nursing school in Kansas City, MO, where she earned her registered nurse certificate. After graduation, she met and married Harold Ericson. They had three children. They divorced later in life.
The family moved to Deer Lodge, MT in 1968, where Linda worked at Powell County Memorial Hospital for over 20 years as a RN. Her favorite part of her job was helping with the delivery and care of newborn babies. Even later in life many community members commented on the great care that Linda gave them. Linda moved to Billings, MT, in 1987, and worked at St Vincent and later Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch. She retired in 1991.
Linda was the world’s greatest thriftier, where there was a bargain, she could find it. She loved going to all the thrift stores in Billings weekly and was an impeccable dresser. She would send her great grandchildren name brand outfits, shoes, and toys. She also like to eat at the hospital cafeteria, walk the Rimrock Mall, attend Peace Lutheran Church and Billings Senior Citizens Center.
Linda is preceded in death by her son, Eric Ericson, and brother James Lindquist.
Linda is survived by her sister Jean Marie Martin of Great Falls, daughters, Margo Ericson of Clarkston, WA, Valorie (Doug) Smith of Deer Lodge, grandchildren, Adrian Ericson of Glen Rose, TX, Courtni Hart of Deer Lodge, great grandchildren, Emmalyn, Alayna, and Josiah Hart.
The Michellotti-Sawyer Funeral Home is entrusted with Linda’s funeral arrangements and services will be conducted at a future time.
Mabelle Marie Thompson
February, 25, 1938 - January 28, 2021
Mabelle Marie Thompson gained her wings and went home to be with her heavenly Father on January 28, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer. Mabelle was born on February 25, 1938 in Livingston, Montana, to Leaola and Virgil Muir. She was the oldest of three kids and was raised along with her brother Donald and sister Deloris. The family moved to Bozeman in 1949 and in 1954 Mabelle moved to Twin Bridges where she graduated from high school in 1956. Following graduation, her adventurous spirit led her to Billings, where she landed a job at the airport restaurant. Her numerous trips to visit relatives in Deer Lodge sparked her love for the valley, and she moved there soon after securing a job at the local Safeway. She had a blind date with Bill Thompson, Jr. in 1957, fell instantly in love, and married him a short time later. They were married for 37 years and together enjoyed camping, bowling, golfing, snowmobiling, and contributing to the community while raising their six children. She sadly lost her other half in 1994, and their once-in-a-lifetime type of love could never be replicated.
Mabelle was a gifted artist and enjoyed creating in all types of mediums. She studied pottery for three years through the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. She was always working on some sort of art project - paintings, sculptures, mosaics and more - and often donated pieces to fundraisers, raffles, and other causes. Her art can be found in many places in the community, just look for her signature “MA-“ inside a bell-shape marking. She loved helping area ranchers with their cattle (and giving the seasoned cowhands a run for their money) and was an avid snowmobiler and ATVer well into her 70s. She prided herself on the strawberries and asparagus she lovingly tended every summer in her garden. She helped start the Deer Lodge Art Club and served as president and secretary, she was a regular attendee of Sculpture Group in Drummond, was a member of the Elks Women’s Club, helped start the Back Country Horsemen, and spent 16 years helping decorate trees for the Museum’s Festival of Trees. In her later years she spent time assisting children with art and reading.
If you asked her, she would tell you that her family was her life’s greatest accomplishment. She often reflected on how lucky she was to raise each of her children and how much joy they brought her. Her favorite thing to do was spend time with her grandkids - teaching about Mother Nature, exploring the mountains, and looking for huckleberries, morel mushrooms, wildflowers, yarrow, and historical artifacts. There were many special memories made at the cabin at Rock Creek Lake. She was a competitive game player (and particularly enjoyed when she was winning). She had many special horses and dogs throughout her life, and was especially thankful for her furry companion, Benji, who was trustfully by her side until the end.
Though Mabelle’s strong will and love for the outdoors never faded, her body began to fail her. Her health slowly deteriorated making it more difficult for her to get out and about. If you stopped by for a visit, you would likely catch her reading a book, watching a game show, or finding comfort in God’s word. She was so grateful for the many people who stopped to spend time with her or called to visit.
Mabelle was an incredible matriarch and her family was blessed by her steady presence and iron-willed influence.
She is survived by many loving family members: Her brother, Don (Pat) Muir and family of Abilene, TX; her children, Donna (Ed) McCarthy of Deer Lodge, Colleen (Neil) Owens of Deer Lodge, Maureen (Bob) Heimbaugh of Dayton, WY, Mona (Pedro) Robles of The Villages, FL, John (Sheila) Thompson of Deer Lodge, and Joel (Debbie) Thompson of Missoula; her grandchildren, Brad (Jasmine) Woodward of Mobile, AL, Amy (Doug) Loughry of Jackson, WY, Eric Woodward of Butte, Haley and Koby Owens of Deer Lodge, Hayes (Melissa) Heimbaugh of Denver, CO, Holly (Aaron) Roesler of Deer Lodge, Libby Heimbaugh of Dayton, WY, and Margaret and Aidan Thompson of Deer Lodge; her great-grandchildren, Peyton, Nyah, and Kylee Woodward, Bryna and Calindi Loughry, Kinsley and Grayson Roesler, and Leighton Heimbaugh; her in-laws, Jack Thompson of Deer Lodge and Dorothy Ann (Steve) O’Hare of Albany, OR; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and special friends.
She is preceded in death by the love of her life, Bill, parents Leaola and Virgil, sister Deloris Flahave, sister-in-law Betty (Joe) Brand, and brother-in-law Jim Thompson.
Mabelle’s celebration of life and memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials can be made in her memory to the Deer Lodge Art Club (C/O Megan Thompson – 912 Missouri Ave., Deer Lodge), Kohrs Memorial Library (501 Missouri Ave., Deer Lodge), Rialto Theater (P.O. Box 874, Deer Lodge), or Friends of Hospice (1940 Dewey Blvd., Butte).
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer a condolence or share a memory of Mabelle.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Mabelle and her family.
A.J. (Fred) Donich Jr.
January 22, 1941 - January 27, 2021
A.J. (Fred) Donich Jr, 80, died from COVID-19 on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Bozeman.
Fred was born to Alfred J. and Kathryn Stergar Donich, Jan. 22, 1941, in Anaconda. He grew up on the family ranch in the Deer Lodge Valley. A 4-H Club member, his heifers were regular blue-ribbon winners at the Fair.
He graduated from Powell County High School in 1958 after four years on the honor roll. That fall, he entered University of Montana, and was an honor student all four years, graduating with high honors in Economics. Later, he was proud to be a graduate of University of Virginia Law School where he earned a place on the school’s law review.
Upon graduation, he was chosen to be a clerk for Judge Samuel Whittaker on the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C. Judge Whittaker passed his season football tickets to the Washington Football Team on to Fred. It was a great gift to a young man from Montana.
Shaw, Pittman, Potts, Trowbridge and Madden, a corporate law firm in the nation’s capital, hired Fred following his clerkship. He would become a partner at the firm.
Fred enjoyed many things about Washington. Great restaurants, art galleries, the cherry blossoms and tulips, and the international trade part of his law practice. But the photographs on his wall were of Montana and its mountains. Ultimately the pull of the mountains won and he returned to Deer Lodge.
After a few years at the bank there, he moved to Madison Valley Bank in Ennis. He remained in Ennis for the next 36 years. His attachment to the town was strong enough that when he went to work at D.A. Davidson in Butte for 25 years; he remained in Ennis despite the long drive.
At the age of 40, Fred took up mountain climbing and became a passionate enthusiast. His first dream was to summit the Grand Teton, which he ended up doing several times. Eventually he summited, among many others, all the Tetons, and The Liberty Ridge of Mt. Rainier, where he and his climbing partners were trapped for two days in a blizzard.
When he retired from DADCo in 2007, he served three years on the Ennis Hospital Board. One summer, he managed The Depot Art Gallery, where he enjoyed getting to know some of the artists whose work he’d always liked. His house and his family members’ homes are full of artwork from those artists.
All three of his children attended school in Ennis and graduated from that high school. They all inherited his love of the mountains.
Fred’s happiest days were when one or more of his children joined him on the rocks. When his daughter married Andy Willett, Andy also joined the family climbing circle. Eventually, even his New York granddaughter, Story Donich, visited Montana to climb rocks.
In 2017 Fred moved to Bozeman because of health issues, but his heart remained in Ennis. He missed it every day until the end of his life.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Catherine “Kitty” Donich; his former wife, PJ Shaw Wright; children, Albee (Andy) Willett, A.J. Donich III, and John Marshall (Andrea Colvin) Donich; three grandchildren, Brooke Willett, Hudson Willett, and Story Em Donich; sisters, Carol Ann McGillis of Deer Lodge and Kathy (Jeff) Lantz of Virginia; sister-in-law, Susan G Lee of Tampa, Fla.; and brother-in-law Jeremy Kinross Wright of Missoula. He was predeceased by his sister, Marikae Kinross Wright, and brother-in-law, Joseph Patrick McGillis.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation at alexlowe.org.
A celebration of his life will be held this summer in Ennis.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Jacob Brent Simpson
JACOB BRENT SIMPSON, 24. OCTOBER 14, 1996 – JANUARY 26, 2021.
Our beloved son and brother, Jacob Brent Simpson, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at his apartment in Midwest City, Oklahoma. While his life ended much too soon, Jacob’s impact on his family, friends, and the world in general will be felt forever.
Jacob was born October 14, 1996 to Rodney and Laura Simpson in Livingston. He was a happy, inquisitive, creative, and logical little boy who took on the role of big brother when his sister, Kaitlyn Anna was born in 1999. His love and protection for his sister were never-ending and fierce. From his earliest days of learning at Debbie’s daycare to his grade school years in Livingston, Dodson, and Geraldine, Jacob was passionate about science in all its many levels and forms. For many years his greatest worry was “what kind of scientist should I be?” and it seemed the answer to this question constantly evolved as his experiences and knowledge of the world grew and motivated him to seek out understanding of subjects beyond his years. Jacob was also born with a natural gift of athleticism and a healthy dose of competitiveness that served him well as he played basketball in grandma’s basement with his sister and cousins, played summer league baseball, or ran cross county with the older kids. He proudly wore the green and white of the Dodson Coyotes and the orange and black of the Geraldine Tigers.
In 2010, Jacob and our family made a final move to Deer Lodge, where Jacob completed his high school education at Powell County High School, graduating as salutatorian of the Class of 2015. It was here that Jacob found his passion and gift for mathematics and continued his athletic pursuits. He was a proud Warden and wore the blue and gold all four years in three sports – football (wide receiver/defensive back), basketball (forward) and track (330 hurdles/pole vault). He excelled on the playing fields, earning many honors and awards, and more importantly to him earning the respect of his teammates, coaches, and fellow competitors for his intense drive and commitment to excellence.
Upon graduation, Jacob attended Montana Tech in Butte from 2015 to 2019 where he truly found his academic home, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences. His freshman year of college he was a member of the Oredigger Basketball team as a redshirt. During his sophomore year, he was selected by the national program SMART Scholars for a full ride scholarship and contract to work for the Department of Defense upon graduation. He began a research project with his professor and mentor, Dr. Atish Mitra, that afforded him the opportunity to present his work at a mathematical symposium at Gonzaga University his senior year.
Jacob’s SMART Scholar contract took him to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, where he worked since 2019 as a member of the 38th Division of Cyber Security and the 557th Software and Engineering Squadron as a member of an elite Machine Learning team working on the B1-Bomber series with top security clearances. Here he met and worked with talented civilian Airmen. He enjoyed becoming an Oklahoman, drinking sweet tea and exploring the big city, but he never forgot his Montana roots and always longed to be closer to his family and friends where the seasons actually changed.
Jacob was a young man of many self-taught eclectic talents. He was an avid reader and musician, teaching himself to play the violin and electric guitar; a connoisseur of chess; a comic book collector; a student of physics and logic; a passionate basketball fan; and a self-driven thinker and athlete who enjoyed pushing himself and competing. But most of all, Jacob’s quiet ways always connected with his true friends and forged bonds that brought him great joy and friendships with people of all ages.
Jacob is survived and loved by his parents, Rodney and Laura Simpson of Deer Lodge; his sister and best friend Kate of Boise, Idaho; paternal grandparents Bob and Avis Simpson of Lewistown; maternal grandparents Paul and Judy Alisch of Chinook, Uncle Randy (Carol) Simpson and cousins Robbie and Ryan of Bozeman; Aunt Stephanie Simpson of Lewistown; Uncle Russell (Tina) Alisch and cousins Ayden, Carter, Callen, and Avie of Chinook; Uncle Todd (Lori) Alisch and cousins Evan, Marin, and Jasper of Havre; Aunt Kristen (Ben) Moore and cousins Emma and Patrick of Baker; Aunt Jackie (Casey) Schreiner and cousins Clara and Tyson of Park City; numerous other extended family and so many dear friends that have earned the title of family.
Final arrangements are being handled by Creel Funeral Home of Lewistown and Ford Funeral Service of Midwest City, Oklahoma. Cremation will take place in Oklahoma and we will plan a memorial service to honor Jacob and celebrate his life at a future date. We request that any memorials be made to the Montana Tech Math Department for a scholarship in Jacob’s name.
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