Thomas Lunceford June 28, 1926 - January 1, 2023
Thomas “Tom” Lunceford, 96, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, great-great grandfather, uncle and brother left us to be with our Heavenly Father on Jan. 1, 2023. Thomas was born in Harlowton, Mont., on June 28, 1926, to Fredrick Lunceford and Christina (Ross) Lunceford; he was one of 12 children. When Tom was 16 years old, he moved to Deer Lodge, where he worked on several local ranches. After serving in the Army for two years, Tom again returned to Deer Lodge after being in Japan. That is when Tom met the love of his life, Betty June Romine during the summer of 1947 while Betty was working at The Trolley Car. The pair married on Oct. 23, 1949. From this union they welcomed their two children: son, Steven Lunceford and daughter, Karleen Lunceford. In 1958 Tom started working for the Montana Department of Transportation. Later, Tom was promoted to a Section Foreman for the MDT on MacDonald Pass. He retired as a Section Foreman in 1983. In 1984, Tom and Betty, along with the help of family and friends, built a home at Swan Lake, Mont., where the two of them thoroughly enjoyed their retirement. They both loved to square dance and travel together. Their travels eventually led them to become snowbirds. They loved the warm winters in Arizona enough to sell their home at Swan Lake, and they moved to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., permanently. They spent the winters soaking up the Arizona sun and would come back home to Montana in the summers to be with family and friends. Eventually though, as the saying goes, all roads lead back home. The two relocated back to Deer Lodge six years ago to be closer to family and friends. Tom was elegantly devoted to his wife Betty for 73 years. Tom’s family will always be grateful to him for the love, devotion, friendship and faith that he so easily and willingly shared with her and the rest of his family. No other man has set such an example for us to all live by than him. Tom is survived by his wife Betty June Lunceford; his son, Steven (Sissy) Lunceford; his daughter, Karleen Lunceford; his brother, Charles Lunceford; brother-in-law, Robert (Donnell) Romine; grandchildren, Krisi (Melvin) Nahrgang, Desiree (Clint) Van Blaricom, Katie (Tom) Burden, and Steven Lunceford Jr.; great grandchildren, Taylor Stone, Mikayla Stone, Brayden Stone, Rachel Van Blaricom, Isaac Van Blaricom, Tyler Burden, Trent Burden, Lexi Lunceford, Jade Lunceford, Kaylee Lunceford, Sydney Reich, Moriah Reich and Ryelee Nahrgang; and great great-grandson Desmond Stone, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. The family will have a private graveside service at a later date. We can shed tears that he is gone, or we can smile because he lived. We can close our eyes and pray that he’ll come back, or open our eyes and see all he’s left. Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see him, or our hearts can be full of the love that we shared. We can remember him only that he is gone, or we can cherish his memory and let it live on. To leave a condolence or share a memory of Tom, please visit axelsonfuneralhome.com.
Joyce O. (Kincannon) Sandquist November 28, 1927 - December 24, 2022
Joyce O. (Kincannon) Sandquist, 95, died Dec. 24, 2022. She was born on Nov. 28, 1927, to Alma and Millard Kincannon in Kickapoo Township, a remote agricultural community in North Dakota. She was the widow of Philip Sandquist. Joyce is survived by her sister, Jan Lewis (Ron); children, Kirk Sandquist (Cheryl), Ronda Sandquist (David Ladd), Kay Sandquist; grandchildren, Cec Johnson (Jennie), Tori Detrick (Kyle), Kaila Passey (Jacob), Amy Uribe, Heidi Richard (Ryan); great grandchildren, Damon Uribe, Gia & Gavin Johnson, Claire & Evelyn Detrick, Grace & Aubrey Richard and Julian Passey. She is also survived by sister-in-law Irene Kincannon, nieces, nephews and Norwegian Exchange Student, Frank Kalfoss (Mary). She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Phil; brothers Don Kincannon, Alan (Avis) Kincannon; parents Alma and Millard Kincannon; parents-in-law Myra and Arthur Sandquist; two nephews; and one niece. She was a mentor and an enthusiast for women’s education. Her passion for others to be educated extended beyond her own family. Joyce’s education started in a one room schoolhouse on the prairie in North Dakota. Later she boarded a room in Stanley, N.D., where she attended high school. After graduation, Joyce attended a six-month business program in Minneapolis. Adventurous Joyce then moved to Bozeman, Mont., to join her high school girlfriend where she started a job at First National Bank. Her duties included taking checks to First Security where she met Phil Sandquist. They married six months later and enjoyed 57 years of marriage. Joyce was deeply involved in the Bozeman community and loved to give back through community service. She volunteered with the Red Cross blood draws, Hope Lutheran Church, Museum of the Rockies and served as a board member with the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital Foundation. She was a member of Chapter F PEO and feted as a 50 year member. Joyce and Phil were charter members of Riverside Country Club. Joyce made a run for the State Senate. She was a campaign fundraiser for Sen. Conrad Burns and was honored with “First Woman of the Year” for the Republican Party. She loved spending quality time with her family and friends, and loved traveling. Joyce was welcoming, strong, positive, smart and a very classy lady with a fun sense of humor, who enjoyed playing pranks on dear friends and having a good laugh. She liked family ski outings to Bear Canyon and Bridger Bowl and later cross country skiing near Bozeman. She walked with a group frequently along Sourdough Creek and Pete’s Hill. With Phil, she spent a lot of time at the family cabin on Canyon Ferry Lake and in their later years they wintered in Kauai. After Phil’s passing in 2006, Joyce spent her winters in Arizona. She was an incredible entertainer and cook. Her passions were cooking, baking and entertaining. Joyce’s signature recipes were: orange rolls, Lefse and rullepulsa; and these recipes have been passed down to her kids and grandkids, whom made these treats for the holidays! She loved a party and celebrated her 95th birthday in November with family, friends and caregivers. A celebration of Joyce’s full and impactful life will be at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 27, at Riverside Country Club. Donations can be made in recognition of Joyce Sandquist to: Gallatin Valley Land Trust Online @ GVLT.org or by check to P.O. Box 7021, Bozeman, MT 59771; to PEO Continuing Education or a charity of your choice.
Willa Rose (Jackie) Wood April 24, 1923 - December 28, 2022
Willa Rose (Jackie) Wood,99, of Deer Lodge, died peacefully in her sleep on Dec. 28, 2022. Jackie was born on April 24, 1923 in Dupuyer,Mont., to John and Mary Salois. She was oneof 14 children born to John and Mary, and was the last surviving at the time of her death. ShemarriedKennethWoodonSept.23, 1940,in Valier, Mont., andthey had three sons, Ken, Robert and Terry.They lived in Garrison, Mont.,for most of their marriage and raised their boys. Jackie loved tocookand hostthe holidayget-togethersfor the whole family. Many happy memories were made at these gatherings. She enjoyed bowling in her younger years, and she served on the PowellCounty Election Board for almost four decades. She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth; son, Terry; and grandson, Lance, as well as her parents and all of her siblings. She is survived by her sons Ken (Linda) and Robert of Deer Lodge; granddaughters Paula, Dawn, Julie and Jackie; grandsons Randy, Wes and Curtis; and great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. A Graveside service will be held April 22, 2023 at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge to honor her 100th birthday. A celebration of life will follow at the Elks in Deer Lodge. Memorials may be made to the donor’s choice. Please visit www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Willa. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home has been privileged to care for Willa and her family.
George Albert Erath October 24, 1940- December 20, 2022
CWO3 Retired, George Albert Erath, US Army, 82, of Fayetteville, Tenn., died Dec. 20, 2022, at Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tenn. He was born on October 25, 1940, in Billings to the late R. Dewey and Nellie Christina Wagner Erath. George retired from the US Army after an honored career that spanned over 20 years. His service carried him to both Vietnam and Germany, and finally to Redstone Arsenal. Not one to brag on himself, his actions spoke for him. He maintained an excellent service record and took pride in his duties. George was also very well respected by his subordinates, and many were mentored by him throughout his career. He even went back to Frankfurt, Germany, in the 1980s, where he was in charge of an upgrade in facilities, and assisted in design and missile systems. While in the Army George also obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Maryland. He went on after retirement to work as an engineer with Boeing in Quality Control with NASA’s Space Station. George also loved his family, and he loved nature. His favorite way of showing that love was working together with his family on the farm and passing on his leadership and guidance while sharing the joy of the land. George thrived outside on his tree farm and planted over 16,000 hardwood trees there. He was also the Treasurer of the Elk Valley Foresters Association. George was an accomplished pianist and a true “Renaissance Man” who shared himself with those around him. His wish would surely be that of his fellow soldiers when he left their ranks to return to Germany, “May the sun fall ever on your shoulders.” Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Marlies Radug Erath; son, Robert Lee (Shannon) Erath; daughter, Natalya “Tascha” (Ronald) Osgood; grandchildren, Savanna Leigh Erath, Amanda Lynn Erath, Augustus James (Sarah Catherine) Osgood, and Abrahm George Osgood; brother, Robert William “Bob” (Elaine) Erath. In addition to his parents, George was preceded in death by his brother, Philip Dewey Erath. Funeral service for George was held Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, at Higgins Funeral Home with the Rev. Tommy Vann officiating. Burial followed in Lincoln Cemetery. Higgins Funeral Home is honored to serve George’s family. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial Processing, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516.
Joann Nelson December 29, 1924 - December 14, 2022
Joann S. Nelson, 97, of Deer Lodge, died peacefully on Wednesday morning, Dec. 14, 2022, surrounded by her loving family. Joann was preceded in death by her husband, the Rev. Canon T. Christian Nelson; her sister Rosemary and brother John. Two of Joann’s children also preceded her in death: her sixth child, baby Thomas Russell Nelson in 1959, and her eldest child, David Christian Nelson in 2009. Joann has one surviving sister, Nancy Soltero of Sedona, Ariz. Joann is also survived by her remaining children and their spouses: son David’s wife Lois Anne Nelson of Toledo, Ohio; Peggy Miller of Missoula; Douglas and Christel Nelson of Les Mathes Charente-Maritime, France; Anne Louise (Annie) and John Bergin of Seattle; Dorothy and David Zerbe of Oshkosh, Wis.; and Andrew and Robin Nelson of Seattle. Joann is also survived by 22 loving grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren, some of whom live as far away as Hawaii and Ireland. Joann was born Joan Louise Staats on Dec. 29, 1924, to Russell L. Staats and Margaret Kerr Staats of Chugwater, Wyo., the second of four children. There was no hospital in Chugwater, so Joann was born in Cheyenne (After she learned to read, she added an “n” to her first name so people would pronounce her name correctly). Joann walked daily to a two-room schoolhouse that was heated with coal throughout the long winters. Joann loved school, and her favorite subject was reading. She graduated from Chugwater High School in 1942, in a class of 21 people. As a child, Joann learned to play the piano from an itinerant piano teacher. Joann’s family was involved in the local Baptist church, and she quickly discovered her passion was singing. She was easily recognized as a talented vocalist and piano accompanist. She attended the University of Wyoming at Laramie and was inducted into the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority. She met Army GI/New Jersey native T. Christian Nelson (Chris) when he was also attending classes at UW, and they both sang in the Episcopal church choir. They were separated for a time while Chris was stationed in the Aleutian Islands during WWII, and in June 1946, after Joann graduated with her Music degree from UW, they were married and spent the entire summer on the east coast. Joann and Chris had seven children, moving from state to state in the Midwest and in the East, pursuing Chris’ educational goals and job leads as an engineer and then following his call to become an Episcopalian minister. Joann stepped naturally into the role of church organist and choir director. She had a passion for music that was contagious. A stay-at-home Mom, she taught piano and voice students in her living room. She sang in community choirs and accepted solo singing gigs whenever she could. Among her favorite opportunities were singing the Brahms Requiem with the Billings Symphony in 1964 and singing the soprano lead in Verdi’s Requiem with the Bozeman Symphony in 1973 (The Verdi is now preserved on MP3). Joann and Chris and their six children left Billings and moved to Mandan, N.D. in 1967 where Joann continued teaching piano and voice, becoming a popular instructor at Mary College (now Mary University) in Bismarck, N.D. Joann volunteered at Mandan’s St. Vincent de Paul store and was constantly finding people in her community who needed help, and offering her friendship. In 1987, when Chris retired as an engineer (he had returned to engineering while continuing as a pastor part-time), the couple moved to Deer Lodge. Chris had been called to fill the pulpit at St. James Episcopal Church, and Joann quickly filled in as the organist. She made friends easily by volunteering everywhere and riding her bicycle all over town until she was well into her 80s. She and Chris joined the community choir and the Prison Players Theater group, which is where she met the Cutler family. This led to countless other theatrical and accompaniment opportunities for Joann, which she thoroughly enjoyed for the next 20-some years. Joann joined a group of friends singing and playing piano weekly at the assisted living facilities in Deer Lodge, up until age 95, when COVID put a stop to public gatherings. Also in Deer Lodge, Joann, with the help of her husband Chris, helped initiate a Crisis Pregnancy Help Center, a Hospice program and the Senior Center (which continues to this day). Joann also enjoyed much travel. She and Chris drove or flew to various locations to greet most of their grandchildren soon after they were born. They also travelled to England, France and New Zealand together. After Chris died in 1996, some of Joann’s excursions included India, France, England, China (as an English language instructor), Honduras for a year as a teacher, Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, New Zealand and the San Juan Islands. Joann was in the habit of going to the Sun-Up gym five days a week, riding the stationary bike daily and weight-lifting 3x/week. She was an avid reader, persevering even though her vision was dimming. She used a lighted video-magnifier to thoroughly read the local weekly news and the Sunday paper. She devoured the “Week” news magazine, and regularly watched the PBS news hour to keep up with what was going on in the world. Joann loved going to Senior Lunch at the Deer Lodge Senior Center. Other hobbies included hiking, swimming, word games like Scrabble and Quiddler, gardening, crosswords and sewing. Joann loved people. In her 80s, she learned that a young friend needed help with daycare for her baby. Joann offered to care for the child one day a week. As the years progressed, that child began piano lessons with Joann once a week. During this time period, Joann earned the nickname, “JoJo.” Morning and night, Joann asked God for guidance. For years, she sang a hymn in French every morning as part of her devotions. She was an avid follower of Christ but kept an open mind and often voiced her concern about what was wrong in the world. Joann made a difference by developing her personal faith, engaging with people of all ages and variety of beliefs, by being honest about her doubts and praying constantly for world peace. Joann supported many causes. Over the past couple of decades, instead of giving gifts to her grown children and grandchildren each Christmas, Joann began making donations in their names to dig wells in villages in Africa or South America that needed water. These are the kind of gifts that keep on giving. Joann loved her friends in Deer Lodge and knew she was dearly loved. As one of her musician friends recently coined, “Joann was a kind, vivacious soul.” While visiting her daughter’s family in Missoula in the Fall, Joann began a hospice program to help guide her Home. Sincere thanks to Big Sky Hospice for all the beauty, help and encouragement they offered Joann and her family in these past weeks. Joann’s passing leaves an enormous void in our lives. Please come join us in remembering her. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at St. James Episcopal Church, 307 Cottonwood Ave., Deer Lodge. The service will be at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon at The Broken Arrow restaurant, 317 Main St., Deer Lodge. In lieu of flowers for Joann’s memorial, please consider giving to a worthy cause that helps people in need, i.e., Habitat for Humanity or your local food shelf.
Mary Sue (Andress) Barber October 5, 1961 - November 20, 2022
Mary Sue Barber, 61, of Deer Lodge, Mont., died Nov. 20, 2022. She was born on Oct. 5, 1961, near Seoul, South Korea. Because of extremely difficult circumstances there, her mother placed Mary Sue for adoption, and she was adopted at age 8 by the Andress family of Golden Valley, Minnesota, where she arrived on March 25, 1970. Mary Sue attended school in the Robbinsdale school district (Minnesota) – Sunny Hollow Elementary, Sandburg Middle School and Armstrong High School, graduating in 1980. She sang in choir, participated in vocational technical club and was active at Calvary Lutheran Church. Mary Sue held a variety of jobs in the hospitality and related industries through the years, in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah and Montana. She had one child, James T. Barber, from her marriage to JT Barber. She reconnected with her birth mother and family when they moved to the U.S. In Deer Lodge she found a home and family on the staff at the Safeway grocery store, where she worked for 20 years. She got hugs from little kids and brightened customers’ days with her smile. She won regional competitions for being the best “sample lady” in the business, out-selling everyone on special promotions. Mary Sue had a deep love of nature – the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior in Minnesota, the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Colorado, the mountains and streams near Deer Lodge where she would camp and harvest wild things. She faced many challenges in her life and made it through with remarkable resilience. She had a kind and generous heart and touched so many people’s lives. In her last month of life she was making wild rice soup for a friend who had survived a car accident. Mary Sue was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2021 and lived through a series of aggressive treatments for the next 12 months. Mary Sue was preceded in death by Chong Sun Dollarhide (Richard) and James Andress. She is survived by James T. Barber, Jonithan Barber, Shelby Andress, Gene Dollarhide (Un Chong), Yong Pae Choi (Chong Rose), Liz Andress (Steve Solbrack), Paul Andress (Margot), nieces and nephews – and so many in Deer Lodge who loved her. Private family memorial gathering planned for January in Minnesota. Memorial gifts may be directed to a charity of your choice, in honor of Mary Sue’s generous heart.
Donald Earl Dalton January 18, 1935 - December 1, 2022
Donald Earl Dalton came into this life on Jan. 18, 1935, and left it in the early hours of Dec. 1, 2022. He went gently into that good night just as he wanted, taking his last breath at home on Little Blackfoot River Road, south of Elliston. Born in Golden, Colo., to Robert John Dalton and Ruth Ellen (McIntyre) Dalton, Don spent his youth in Golden and San Bernardino, Calif., working summers with his brothers in family mines and mills in Nevada and Arizona. After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines, he served two years in the U. S. Army posted to Korea. Back home, Don joined his family’s agricultural minerals business, R. J. Dalton and Sons. Over the years he also built and remodeled many houses. Don’s surviving brother, Frank, believes the happiest time of Don’s life was when he moved to Montana in 1985 and mushed dogs with Dave Torgerson. Don spent many nights caring for and training sled dog teams with Dave, often on the road to Kading Campground up the Little Blackfoot River. Those countless training nights led to travels to race sled dogs as far north as Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. With his keen engineering mind and countless skills, Don hand-produced dogsleds that continue to travel moonlight trails to this day. Don was well known and respected throughout the mushing community; his friends spread to the far reaches of North America, only to gather at yearly events, the most notable the Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, which traveled throughout western Wyoming. Don was a fixture at this event for nearly two decades. He later became a grandfather figure to Dave’s children, Maria, Sydnie and Emilie Torgerson. Don was an avid horseman his entire life and liked nothing better than trail rides with friends, astride Cody, his favorite mount, who is now 32-years-old. From his front window he trained his binoculars on the comings and goings of foxes, elk grazing on the mountain opposite his house, and the birds living in, or just passing through, the Little Blackfoot/Telegraph Creek area. Don was the neighborhood Mr. Fix-it, whether what needed fixing was a lawn mower, a dirt bike, a vacuum cleaner, car, truck or snow blower. His green pickup was at the ready to pull other drivers out of ditches and snow banks, night or day. He used his favorite tool, a chain saw, to clear trails, cut up deadfall on the road and to fell many Christmas trees for friends over the years. Surviving Don are his younger brother, Frank, and Frank’s wife Trina, of Riverside, Calif.; Roberta Kay, wife of his late brother Robert, of Tucson, Ariz.; and his only sister, the late Mary Hornsby, who was also of Riverside. Don possessed a kindness that he spread throughout the Elliston area; he supported and touched many lives in our valley community. He loved the Little Blackfoot Valley and those in the Valley loved and cared for Don as well. His family, friends and neighbors, dog and horse will miss him greatly. Don’s parting wish was to “maybe have a little party for me.” A celebration of his life is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Avon MT Community Center, lunch provided by the Avon Café. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Don.
Don Stoecker March 3, 1933 -December 4, 2022
Don Stoecker, 89, was born March 3, 1933, and died on Dec. 4, 2022. He grew up in California, and after serving in the Navy moved to Montana where he worked on ranches in the Big Hole and Philipsburg area. Don developed an interest in birds and became an excellent birder and supporter of Montana Audubon. He established the Christmas Bird Count at Warm Springs, which is still being conducted today. Although Don had no formal training in ornithology, he studied hard and became known as an outstanding birder in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In Don’s later years he lived in his van and followed the birds to Texas in the fall. There he led bird walks at several National Wildlife Management Areas. Each spring he would return to Montana with his friends, “the birds,” during spring migration. Don was a friend and mentor to many birders during his active years of birding. When Don could no longer care for himself, he moved into the IVY retirement home in Deer Lodge where he enjoyed an easy life with someone else cooking for him until his death. He had one sister who remained in California. Don was laid to rest at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Don.
Wayland D. Smith May 7, 1928 - December 3, 2022
Wayland D. Smith died Dec, 3, 2022. He was born May 7, 1928, to Alva and Margaret Smith in Bartlesville, Okla., the oldest of four children. He was a proud World War II Navy Vet with 76 years in the American Legion. He was a Master Electrician, retiring as Electrical Inspector at age 92. He was a member of Knights of Columbus since 1964, being inducted into the 4th degree in 1966, serving as Master from 1989 to 1993. He was also an accomplished craftsman, blessing many with his gift. He was a beloved husband, dad, and grandpa. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Teresa (Rogers) Smith; six daughters, Sharon (Sid) Helgesen, Janet (Tim) Olsen, Linda (Mike) McElderry, Annie (Ron) Ockert, Lisa (Rick) Rambo, Kim (Rocky) Hanson; five sons, Christopher (Debbie) Smith, David (Randi) Smith, Shawn Smith, Michael (Colleen) Smith and Alan (Shelly) Smith; 34 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings, son Denis, one grandson Chris, and two sons-in-law Rick Rambo and Tim Olsen. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled in June 2023. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Wayland.
Richard James Ross October 1, 1935 - November 1, 2022
Richard James Ross, 87, passed away on Nov. 1, 2022. He was born in Dillon, Mont., on Oct. 1, 1935. At age 6 he moved with his family to his grandfather’s farm east of Ronan, Mont. A short time after he graduated from Ronan High School in 1953, he joined the Army where he spent most of his time in Germany as a mechanic and driver on a tank retriever. After his return from service, he attended Western Montana College where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in elementary education. He taught five years in the Whitehall Elementary School before starting his railroad career in 1963 with the Milwaukee Road. He worked many positions with the Milwaukee Road and eventually moved to the Deer Lodge Superintendent’s Office and was there until it closed in 1980. After leaving the Milwaukee Road, he worked for several consulting firms until 1983 when he was given a position with the State of Montana in the Transportation Division of the Department of Commerce. Starting in 1992, he worked many railroad-related positions through the next several years living in Hiawatha, Kan. and Florence, S.C. His last position took him to Davenport, Iowa, with I&M Rail Link when he retired in 1999 and moved to Florida. He was married to Phoebe Johnson in 1959 and there are five children born to this marriage which ended in divorce. He married Mary Lou Dowden in Dunnellon, Fla., in September 2000. They enjoyed several years of traveling in their motor home before moving to Ponte Vedra, Fla., where he enjoyed playing golf, playing cards and other activities in their Del Webb community. And, of course, keeping in touch with all his old railroading friends around the country. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou of Ponte Vedra, Fla.; sons Jim (Beth) of Billings, Mont., Greg of New Port Richey, Fla. and Dave (Alesha) of Deer Lodge; daughters Lori of Deer Lodge and Cami of Butte; and stepsons Jeff Struble (Lisa) of Ponte Vedra, Fla. and Scott Struble (Mandy) of Kingsland, Ga. He is also survived by fourteen grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, five step grandchildren and one step-great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers; Frank, John and Jake; and one sister, Della Marie. There will be a celebration of life for Dick on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Del Webb Anastasia Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
Linda Hodder Labbe September 23, 1963 - November 13, 2022
On the morning of Nov. 13 2022, Linda Hodder Labbe passed away after a hard-fought year with brain cancer. She passed away at home with her husband, daughters, brother and sister with her. Linda Labbe was born in Rock Springs, Wyo., on Sept. 23, 1963. She was one of three triplets, two girls and one boy, born to Eugene and Helen Hodder of Farson, Wyo. Linda grew up on the family ranch in Farson. She lived and learned the ranching and farming life with her triplet siblings and older sister and two older brothers. They raised chickens and cattle and farmed the land. After finishing high school in Farson, Linda went on to college in Casper, Wyo., and Tampa, Fla., graduating in 1989 with a degree in botany. After residing for approximately 10 years in Florida and a short time in Idaho, Linda ended up back in Farson where, shortly thereafter, she met Stan Labbe. Stan and Linda were married in February of 1999 and resided in Farson until 2004 at which time they moved to Lander, Wyo. In 2010, Stan, Linda and their two daughters, Michelle and Christa, moved to Deer Lodge, where they resided until Linda’s passing. Linda embraced Deer Lodge and became ingrained in the community. She joined the Deer Lodge Art Club early on and was a member until her passing. She also worked as a teacher’s aide at the O.D. Speer grade school in Deer Lodge. Linda spent the last few years of her life working at the Browsing Bison book store in Deer Lodge and very much enjoyed her work there, helping and visiting with customers. Linda enjoyed camping and could endure husband Stan’s long outings in the woods - searching for fishing holes, wildlife or berries. She loved walking her dogs (she always had at least one) and going on birthday trips with her triplet sister Laura and niece Melissa. She liked a good puzzle and enjoyed reading, which went well with her job at the book store. She was a talented artist and painted many beautiful pieces, whether it be on a wood plank, saw blade, canvas or greeting card. She could produce the most beautiful outdoor scenes. She also enjoyed visiting with friends and family. She was a beloved wife, sister and mother and was an endearing “mom” to her daughter’s friends, as well. Linda’s daughters would talk about how their friends thought that she gave the best advice and hugs, and felt like this really says a lot about how she lived and was influential. Linda was strong in her faith and enjoyed being a member of her church. She was devoted to the teachings of the bible and seriously pursued her relationship with God until the end. Linda was preceded in death by her two brothers Mark and Les, also her father Eugene, mother Helen, brother in-law Dean Snyder, nephew Warren Hodder and several beloved dogs and cats. Linda is survived by her husband Stan, daughters Michelle and Christa, all of Deer Lodge; brother Jim Hodder of Farson; sisters Laura (Kevin) Sloan of Eden, Wyo., and Debbie Snyder of Rock Springs, Wyo.; many nieces and nephews; and her canine companion, Sophie. A memorial service for Linda will be at the Abundant Life Fellowship church, 630 W. Iron St., Butte, Mont., at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, with a luncheon following in the church basement.
Caleb Jeffrey Havens March 19, 1995 - November 15, 2022
Caleb Jeffrey Havens, 27, peacefully joined his twin brother, Wyatt, Nov. 15, 2022. Caleb was born in Missoula on March 19, 1995, and Wyatt followed 22 minutes later. Even though grandma refused to make the twins T-shirts, stating which one was the good twin and which one was the bad, we all know that Caleb was the mastermind behind any shenanigans, so we will let you form your own opinion. Caleb loved the mountains, often going for drives in unreliable vehicles and getting stuck. He could be counted on to never have a sleeping bag, flashlight or a charged cell phone. He liked to cut firewood, and the hood of the nicest truck he ever owned had a dent to prove it. He attended school in Deer Lodge, where the principal had our number on speed dial. The main rule for his younger brothers was, “if Caleb thinks it’s a good idea don’t do it.” This did not deter Riley from catching a squirrel because the twins said he could. Caleb’s step mom was thrilled to find grasshoppers in her ice cube trays and dried ice fishing maggots in the dryer. Luckily grandpa stopped them before the boat gas tank was filled with water although he often had to escape from being tied up in the chair while babysitting. Riley and Jordan got most of their common sense the hard way after being talked into several bad ideas. Caleb graduated with his High School Diploma from Anaconda Job Corps in 2014 and worked as a heavy equipment operator. A short time later he and Wyatt were diagnosed with Juvenile Huntington’s disease (JHD). Caleb moved to Helena with his family in 2015. He started working on a bucket list which included trips to Alaska, Florida and Seattle, Glacier and Yellowstone parks and many concerts. Caleb loved music and we once rode a train to Fargo, N.D., in February to see Jason Aldean. His little sister will never forget trying to get Caleb across the entire campground at Country Jam after he had a few too many beers. Caleb enjoyed working out and spent a lot of time with his friends Tyvan, Dale, Anthony and Trevin, who were gracious enough to understand the progression of Caleb’s disease and support him through it. In 2018 Caleb lost his twin, and he never smiled the same again. Every day brought a bit more loss as JHD slowly took his ability to drive, talk and walk. We are so happy that the twins are reunited and probably doing something they shouldn’t be this very second. Caleb spent the last few days of his life preparing to be an organ donor. We are so proud that he saved lives at the end of his. Caleb was preceded in death by his twin, Wyatt Havens, and his father, Lyle Havens. Grandmother Karen Havens, grandfathers Willman Spaulding and Lyle Havens, uncles Jeff and Ron Havens and great grandmother Doris Hildebrand. Caleb is survived by his mother and step father Todd and Kristy Boese; his brothers, Riley Boese and Jordan Havens; his sister, Kayin Boese; grandmother Linda Spaulding; and step mother Jennifer Sprouse as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins. The family would like to thank the staff at St. Peter’s ER and ICU as well as LifeCenter Northwest for the excellent care we received. You are all so appreciated. A receiving of friends and family took place on Nov. 21 at Simple Cremation Montana in Helena. To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Caleb, please visit www.simplecremationmt.com.
Margaret (Margy) Barkell November 10, 1932 - November 13, 2022
Margaret (Margy) Barkell, 90, was born Nov. 10, 1932, in Ironrod, Mont., to her parents, Leland and Myrtle Graham. In 1950, Margaret married Richard (Dick) Lyle Barkell. They were married for 62 years when he passed in 2012. Margaret was a stay-at-home mom, which is the hardest job of all! Margaret’s favorite hobbies and activities included raising six children and being a part of every grandchild and great-grandchild’s life. Margaret also enjoyed gardening, reading, fishing, hiking, spending time at their summer home at Rock Creek, plus being the best cook and baker EVER! After raising all their children, Margaret and Richard loved to travel. They did cruises to many places – the Panama Canal, Alaska, the Caribbean, just to name a few. They also loved their fishing trips with many of their special friends to the West Coast, Alaska and several places across Montana – lots of great fishing stories were shared after those adventures. They also enjoyed their summers at Rock Creek. Their grandchildren remember so many special “stays” out there with their Grandparents – they are still surprised she survived them. She certainly had to be “one tough lady” to survive those trips! But all these cousins will always have a special bond together because of her special love and care to each one of them. Margaret passed away peacefully on Nov. 13, 2022, in her home in Anaconda, Mont., due to heart failure. She is preceded in death by her parents, Leland and Myrtle Graham; her husband, Dick; brothers and sisters-in-law, Bud (Vi) Graham, Dave (Marion) Graham, Richard (Sandy) Graham, Danny Graham; sisters and brothers-in-law Jean (Norman) Gleason, Betty (Frank) VanWort, Nancy (Chuck) Patrick, and several very special brothers and sisters-in-law from Dick’s family. Margaret is survived by her brother, Bob (Penny) Graham; sons Rick of Philipsburg, Mont., Keith (Cheryl) of Philipsburg and Tim (Jodee) Barkell of Anaconda; daughters Vicki (Dave) Johnson of Anaconda, Sharon Mungas (Kyle) of Philipsburg, Karen (Ray) Bennett of Anaconda and daughter-in-law Deena (Bustos) Barkell of Bremerton, Wash.; grandchildren Dave Johnson of Billings, Mont., Rick (Noel) Johnson of Butte, Mont., Rico (Jamie) Barkell of Philipsburg, Randi Jo Barkell of Bremerton, Gina (Kale) Joyce of Billings, Craig (Colt) Mungas of Missoula, Mont., Joe (Shannon) Mungas of Philipsburg, Shauna Bennett of Butte, Lisa (Joe) Gentri of Missoula, Ashley (Justin) Irvine of Spokane, Wash., Jamie (Ben) Wagner of Billings, Jessica (Keith) Antonoli of Philipsburg, Brandie Barkell of Butte, Clint (Rachel) Barkell of Anaconda, Samantha (Cliff) Galle of Anaconda. Margaret is also survived by 33 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorials in honor of Margaret are suggested to Shriners, 911 W 5th Ave., Spokane, WA 99204; Saint Jude’s, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or Pintler Hospice of Anaconda, 118 E 7th St, Anaconda, MT 59711. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, at Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home, 107 Oak St., Anaconda. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Margaret. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Margaret and her family.
Lloyd Wallin February 23, 1926 - November 1, 2022
Lloyd Wallin, 96, died Nov. 1 at the Deer Lodge Medical Center. He was born in North Dakota, and educated in North Dakota and Minnesota. He attended first through 12th grade in Steele, N.D., and fought in the Navy in World War II. After the war, he enrolled in Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and received his Bachelor of Arts degree. He continued his education at the University of North Dakota and received his master’s degree in Educational Psychology. Lloyd was preceded in death by four brothers: Clarence in Steele, N.D., Norm in Bozeman, Mont., Wayne in Moorhead, Minn., and Ralph in Minot, N.D. Lloyd worked professionally in North Dakota and Montana. He was in business in Montana until his death. He was a lifelong member of the Lutheran church. Lloyd is survived by his wife, Eleanor; sons Eric Todd and his wife, Terri, in Mukilteo Wash., and Paul and his wife, Barbara, in Montana. No funeral is planned; however, a celebration of his life is planned at a later date. In memory of Lloyd you can, if you choose, donate to the food bank, Kohrs Library or the Rialto.
Fred O. Fike February 23, 1934 - November 12, 2022
Fred Fike, 88, of Superior, Mont., passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, Nov. 12. He was known by his community as one who was always ready to help. He was a friend and helper to many. His love for Jesus Christ was very strong, and it kept him going through all the suffering. He fought cancer for 10 years. The last six months he broke his femur on his left leg and had several bouts of infection within his body. But Fred was a fighter through it all. He could always find a way to glorify Jesus, too. He said keeping busy was the best thing he could do. He would say, “I would rather wear out, than rust out.” Fred was a talented man. He could fix just about everything. He was a good mechanic, a good logger for 18 years and a very good carpenter. He built six homes over his married life. Fred grew up on a farm in North Dakota. He was 30 miles from town. When something broke, he just had to fix and mend it to get the work done. He was the youngest of 12 children. Farming in North Dakota was not an easy life. He came to Montana at 17 years old and worked on the railroad until he was old enough to work for the Anaconda Company. He married Tressie Rush of Deer Lodge, Mont. They were married 67 years. He would say, “She was the love of my life.” Fred is survived by his wife, Tressie Fike. Fred and Tressie had five children. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Lillian Stocks (Terry) of Alaska. He is survived by David Fike (Kathy) of Whitehall, Mont., Deborah Rabel (George) of Gallatin Gateway, Mont., Kenneth Fike of Deer Lodge, Nancy O’Reilly (Matt) of Columbus, Mont.; and two surviving sisters, Ruth Mayor of California, and Gracie Schell of South Dakota. Fred and Tressie had 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Fred had a special talent for music all his life. He played the guitar and sang for church and for many other special events like the Mineral County Fair and for family benefits. Now he can be singing for Jesus and all the angels. Services for Fred will be at the Superior Community Church at 11 a.m. on Dec. 3. Come and join us for a fellowship dinner after the service to celebrate his life.
Mona Margaret Andrews September 14, 1924 - November 1, 2022
Mona Margaret Andrews, former Deer Lodge resident, died in Manhattan, Mont., on Tuesday, Nov. 1, after 98 well-lived years. She lived a life of kindness, generosity, patience, resilience and faith in her Lord. Mona was born in Deer Lodge to Dr. George J. Marquette and Mona Beaumont Marquette on Sept. 14, 1924. Her family knew her as “Binkie,” so nick-named by her father for a favorite childhood toy, in order to avoid confusion with her mother with the same name. She and her brother, Bill, spent summers with their cousins at a small cottage her father built on Rock Creek Lake, west of Deer Lodge. The lake and the tradition of family gatherings at the two-room cottage were a centerpiece of the Beaumont/Marquette/Andrews family for five generations. She graduated from Powell County High School as Salutatorian in 1942. Mona studied for two years at Montana State and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin where she graduated with a BS degree in Home Economics in 1946 and continued studies at Wisconsin leading to a Master of Science degree in 1947. She worked at the University of California – Berkeley doing cholesterol research from 1947-1948 and then the Chicago Meat Institute at the University of Chicago doing basic protein and vitamin research. Mona met her future husband, Fred A. Andrews, while working in Chicago. The couple married on Aug. 15, 1951, at St. James Episcopal Church in Deer Lodge. They continued to live in the Chicago area while their two sons were born: John in 1953 and Mark in 1955. The family moved to Shorewood Hills, Wis., in 1957 and then to Edina, Minn., in 1966. She was active in the Episcopal Church, the P.E.O., garden club and served on several alumni boards at the University of Wisconsin. Mostly, though, she was a great Mom. Mona moved to De Pere, Wis., in the early 2000s to be nearer to John’s family. During that time her eyesight began to fail and her independence declined. She moved to Parkhaven Retirement, Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Manhattan, Mont., in 2015. Age did not dim her mental acuity or spirit. She remained as active as her frail bones and limited eyesight and hearing allowed, with her son, John, and his wife, Sue, close by in Manhattan and visits from multiple family members over the years as well as a trip back to her hometown of Deer Lodge. Her husband, Fred, and her brother, Bill, preceded her in death. Living family members include son Dr. John (Dr. Sue Piechowski), their sons Michael (Rebecca) and their three children and Matthew (Mary) and their four children; son Mark, his daughters Dr. Sarah Andrews and Alexandra and son Jordan. Mona will also be missed by Fred’s sister, Sally, her Marquette nephew and nieces and her Daniels cousins. Mona’s ashes will be interred next to Fred’s in the rotunda mausoleum at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mona does not want flowers or donations in her name; she asked that you follow her example and lead a life of kindness and generosity in her memory.
Janet Elaine Barkhoff August 12, 1953 - October 15, 2022
Janet Elaine Barkhoff, 69, of Deer Lodge died Oct. 15 from medical problems. Janet was born Aug. 12, 1953, in Columbia Falls, Mont. She was the second child of six born to Melvin and Patricia Stevens. She married Art Barkhoff, and they were together for over 40 years. She had two children, Tom Elmose (Angelena) and Erin Barkhoff (Jerry Good). She had three grandchildren: Zoe, Kaley, Jerry. They were the love of her life. They grew up poor children, but Janet was rich with goodness of heart and caring. When they were young their dad would take them to Grammas and Roy’s. Janet would tear into her uncle Roy, so he called her a wildcat. All the family loved her and her stamina. Janet was preceded in death by her father, Melvin Stevens; brother, Daniel Stevens; and her sister, Terry Vorhes. She is survived by her children; grandchildren; mother, Patricia Stevens; three sisters, Cathy Jennings (Steve), Vickie Downard, Christine Phichter; and brother-in-law, Terry Vorhes. We will love you always. She was quite a character. Services for Janet were held Oct. 24. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Janet. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Janet and her family.
Delia Pierce May 8, 1970 - September 26, 2022
Delia Pierce, 52, died Monday, Sept. 26. She was born May 8, 1970. She was a kind and loving sister, daughter and friend. Her great nieces, Abigal Granthum, Ember Seitzinger, and great nephew, Ben, all called her Grandma. She played that role with great pleasure. Delia was a loving mother to her nephews Cody Grantham, Christopher Pierce and niece, Jessica Pierce. She loved them as though they were her own. Delia enjoyed cooking, entertaining her family and camping. She is survived by Elizabeth (Betty) Stone, Tina Pierce, Joseph Pierce, Karl Pierce, Irma Marrell, Patrick Pierce and Rosa Pierce, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest Sr. and Evelyn Pierce; sister, Eva Pierce; brothers, Evan, Ernest Pierce Jr, Blaine, Cliff; and her beloved niece, Jessica. She is, and always will be loved.
Veronica Candace “Khandi” Gersitz Tomsheck October 29, 1963 - September 27, 2022
Khandi, 58, was born October 29, 1963, in Elizabeth, N.J., to Gerald and Maureen Gersitz. In 1964 the family moved to Deer Lodge to be closer to family. Khandi was raised in Deer Lodge and worked in different places in her earlier life. While living in Butte with her sister Debi, Khandi saw an ad to become a nanny to two children, as she loved children dearly. Khandi and Debi drove to Sunburst to become a nanny and never left. While in Sunburst, she met her future husband, Rex, and they were married Feb. 28, 1987. They became a family of four. Rex had two children, and so did Khandi. They also became foster parents and adopted two beautiful girls. Their family was complete, with a total of six children. Khandi worked several jobs – group homes, assisted living and home health. She was passionate about caring for others, especially the elderly and disabled. She also worked in restaurants and successfully ran a restaurant. One of Khandi’s deepest passions and greatest memories was camping with family. Every year in July, the family camp trip, hosted in different locations around Montana, brought Khandi much joy. She got to spoil her grandbabies and enjoy being around family. The family also enjoyed the frybread that was Khandi’s specialty. This love of camping was sparked by her mother, as she took her family camping as often as possible. Khandi’s dream was to become a camp host, and in the summer of 2022, Khandi got her dream job at Dry Wolf campground in the Little Belt Mountain area. Her dream was cut short due to illness. Khandi was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) on Sept. 13, and died Sept. 27, with family by her side at Peace Hospice in Great Falls. Khandi leaves behind her loving husband of 35 years, Rex Tomsheck. She is survived by her six children, Jeremy (Amber), Ed (Kris), Cindy (Briar), Sheena (George), Jessica and Satyn; fourteen grandchildren; two great-granddaughters with a third on the way; her brother, Karl (Heidi); her sisters, Debi (George) and Suzi (Don); many nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family members. She is preceded in death by her mother, Maureen Walter; brother, Mark Moody; grandparents, Clyde and Fern McCleary Harvey and Emma Rodgers; and her in-laws, Robert and Ethel Tomsheck. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Lutheran Church of Sunburst and can also be viewed on the church’s Facebook page. Thank you for all the well wishes and cards the family has received. They are very appreciated during this time. Condolences can be made to www.asperfh.com.
David Alvin Thomas, Sr. July 11, 1922 - October 7, 2022
David Alvin Thomas, Sr., 100, father of three, former Navy sailor, hard-rock miner and bartender, died a peaceful death Oct. 7 while living at the Southwest Montana Veteran’s Home in Butte. He is survived by his three children, Danny Griffith Thomas (Wasilla, Alaska), David A. Thomas, Jr., (Ogden, Utah) and Carol White (Newcastle, Wyo.). He has four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Dave attended Butte High School and later, in January 1941, he joined the Navy. While aboard the USS Helena, he survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Guadalcanal and the sinking of the Helena in the Battle of Kula Gulf. A few minutes before the Japanese attacked Pear Harbor, Dave was swabbing the deck of the Helena with another sailor. The balmy Honolulu weather allowed the men to mop in their skivvies. When the general alarm sounded, his shipmate said he was going below deck to put on clothes. Dave stayed on deck. His shipmate didn’t return. An exploding torpedo had killed him. After the Helena was sunk at Kula Gulf, Dave, who couldn’t swim, floated for five hours at night in the oil stained ocean before being rescued. Japanese subs were circling, listening for the cries for help from floating, often wounded, sailors. One of the Japanese ships shelling the Helena, the Amagiri, was the same ship that rammed John F. Kennedy’s PT 109. Later, at a medal ceremony Dave got to shake General Douglas McArthur’s hand. McArthur, seeing him in a tee-shirt and shorts, promised him a new uniform. He was happy about this news until he learned he had to pay for the new clothing. Later he was part of a PT boat crew stationed in the Aleutian Islands. In November 1946, with the rank of gunner’s mate first class, he was honorably discharged. Dave mined coal at Klein, chrome at Nye, phosphate at Garrison. He tended bar in Roundup, Bozeman, Lima, Dillon, Sheridan and Deer Lodge. He loved bartending. He said he loved hearing people’s stories. When tending bar in Dillon, he liked to listen to the sheep ranchers and their herders talk about their business deals and their lives. He gave bottles of cheap wine to the down-on-their luck herders. He took in abused dogs from PAWHS, the Deer Lodge humane society. He trained them. He showed the dogs that they could be loved and that they now had nothing to fear. We thank Mary Newman, Dave’s caretaker, the apple of his eye, for her friendship and emotional support to him. His landlords, Bonnie and Issie Juarez, cared for him when Mary couldn’t. Dave Littlefield did dozens of plumbing and electrical repair jobs on his trailer. Dennis Pritchard checked in on him and hauled firewood to his porch. Kenny and Arleta Fenner made him homemade soup when he was sick. Amy, his favorite bartender at the Corner Bar, insured he’d plenty of firewood. We thank the staff at the Butte Veteran’s Home. Registered nurses Mary and Julie, CNAs Codi, Jordan and Candy professionally nursed Dave and guided us through the dying process. We thank former vet’s home CNA Nicole and home-care specialist Emma for coming in on their off-duty time to attend to Dave. The friendliness of Butte people is boundless. Dave often didn’t see eye to eye with his children. In life and so often in death, things can become messy, they can be complicated. Norman Maclean, in “A River Runs Through It,” said everyone will look upon a loved one and ask the same question: “We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.” Nightly, Dave prayed for his children. He loved them completely, the best he could love, without complete understanding. Dave wanted a party and not a funeral. So on his 101st birthday, July 11, 2023, there will be a military honor ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery and later an all-you-can-eat party. Both events will be announced in the Silver State Post in June.