Dwight (Dykes) Rittenhouse
Dwight (Dykes) Rittenhouse passed away on April 28 at the age of 94. He was born July 3, 1920 in Deer Lodge to Dwight and Sara Rittenhouse. He graduated from Powell County High School where one of his favorite memories was being a starter on the 1937 State Champion Basketball team. It is also where he met the love of his life, Betty (deceased), and to whom he was married for 72 years. Dwight thoroughly enjoyed growing up in Deer Lodge and tells many stories about hunting, fishing, and hiking adventures in his youth.
After working at the Deer Lodge Safeway for several years, Dwight hired on as a Fireman on the Milwaukee Railroad following in his dad and father-in-laws footsteps who also retired from the Milwaukee Railroad. Dwight was drafted into the Army in 1941. He was part of the occupation army after the atom bomb was dropped in Japan.
After being discharged in 1945 he returned to working on the Milwaukee Railroad becoming a locomotive engineer. Dwight and Betty had two children, a daughter Terry Jo born while Dwight was in the Army and a son, David, who was born while Dwight was fishing up the Blackfoot River near Ovando! He and his family loved the outdoors which probably came from Dwight’s experiences as a child and he took his wife (Betty) camping into the Dempsey Basin area near Deer Lodge for their honeymoon. Pictures from this trip have been featured in the Way We Were section of the Missoulian along with pictures of Dwight serving as a fireman on the last Milwaukee passenger train prior to the Milwaukee Road shutting down in 1980. Dwight was thrilled to see the Hiawatha bike path established on the railroad right of way and made several road trips over the driveable portion of that route with family and friends.
Dwight moved his family to Missoula in 1957. He worked for the Railroad for over 40 years and could still tell stories about his many adventures including derailments and the filming of the movie Timberjack up the Blackfoot River where he transported loads from near Clearwater Crossing to the Bonner Mill. The Blackfoot River was always a favorite family recreation area with a family hunting cabin near Lincoln and fishing the river above McNamara’s Landing.
After his retirement Dwight and Betty enjoyed extensive travel to visit family and relatives. They always tried to take an anniversary trip in April where they invariably ran into a late storm but it never dampened their enthusiasm to do it again. They also were active in the First Presbyterian Church, helped with Meals and Wheels and enjoyed square dancing. Dwight and Betty moved to the Village Senior Residence in 2008.
He will always be remembered for the wide circle of friends he enjoyed and enduring love of family. Survivors include a daughter Terry Jo Sather from the Spokane Valley, and son Dave Rittenhouse (Suz) from Polson. He had three grandchildren: Allen Sather (Kim), Barry Sather (Stephanie), and Paula Watkins. His great-grandchildren include Kyra Lee Droppers (Michael), Amanda King, Andrew King, Chistopher Sather, Austin Sather, Hanna Watkins, Sydney Sather and Jackson Sather all from the Spokane area. His great-great-granddaughter Delaney Kay Droppers recently turned three years old. He is also survived by a niece Janet Locke from California and other Rittenhouse relatives in Texas and Iowa.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at 4 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church on May 30. Memorial donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Missoula or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The family wishes a special thanks to friends Tom Finch, Wes Pyeatt, and Doug Fraser of Missoula for their special friendship and help to our dad along with Hospice of Missoula and the staff at the Village Senior Residence.
William Daniel Jones (Bill)
Mr. Bill Jones, 79, passed into the Lord’s care on April 27, 2015, at the Deer Lodge Medical Center. Services were held with military honors in Garrison on May 1 and at Riverview Cemetery in Hamilton on May 2.
Bill was a long-time resident and active member of the Deer Lodge community. He was dedicated to community service as an individual, as a member of organizations and as a supportive spouse.
Bill Jones was born and raised in Kingston, Pa. Bill’s life of civic service began at an early age. He participated in the Boy Scouts, achieving the honored rank of Eagle Scout. He worked at the Hillside Dairy Farm, and went on to earn a Bachelors of Science degree in Animal Husbandry from Delaware Valley College.
The US Army stationed Bill at the Military Entrance Processing Center in Butte where he met his wife, Lillian Gail Madeen, a Butte native. Bill transitioned from active duty, but continued his uniformed service as a member of the Montana Army National Guard. He retired from the Guard as a Sergeant First Class.
Bill used his academic and Army training to work in lab and x-ray departments of the hospitals in Warm Springs, Hamilton and Deer Lodge. He later worked at the Montana State Prison in various capacities. He treasured most his years as an Emergency Medical Technician serving the county as a member of the first responders on the ambulance crew. He also volunteered his services to the athletic department for the Montana Tech football team.
In Hamilton, while working at the hospital and maintaining a small farm, he served on the Sheriff’s Posse and in the Montana Army National Guard. He was an advisor for a local 4-H club and supported the involvement of three of his children in the Junior Posse, a mounted drill team.
The family moved to Deer Lodge in 1975 and Bill quickly found ways to serve in the community. Bill served as a member of the Order of Eastern Star and was a Mason. Through this he also served as an advisor to the Deer Lodge chapter of the Rainbow Girls. Bill served as an adult mentor/advisor to the PCHS Key Club while an active member of the Deer Lodge Kiwanis Club. He and his wife, Gail, hosted the local call center for the annual Jerry Lewis telethon for years. Bill and Gail took great pleasure in sponsoring draft horse events as well as the girls’ softball team.
Bill proudly supported his late wife, Gail, in her service on the City Council and as a Powell County Commissioner until her death in 2009.
He is preceded in death by his daughter Barbara Janelle, granddaughter Meghan, and beloved wife Gail. He is survived by his sister, Willma A. Jones of Kingston, Pa., and three of his children: COL William D. Jones III, (Donna Lewis); Meredith Czarnek (Alan); Lt. Col (ret) David Mitchell Jones (Kayla Miller); seven grandchildren: Mylisa Jones, Lillie Schroder (Dane), Emily Williams (Claude J.); Colton Jones, Benjamin Jones, Daniel Jones and Elizabeth Jones; two great grandchildren, Charlotte and Erik Schroder.
The family wishes to thank the community of Deer Lodge and the surrounding area for their outpouring of support. Our parents genuinely loved this area and believed that Montana truly is the Treasure State, not just for its natural riches and beauty but because of the people who live here. In lieu of gifts or flowers, we ask that you find a way to give back to your community, as a tribute to them and as a gift to the future of our beloved Montana.
Stewart Baker, Jr.
Stewart Baker, Jr., 76, of Lincoln, passed away at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena on May 10, 2015, Mother’s Day. He was born on July 30, 1938 in Big Timber. Stewart was active in Livingston Jaycees, Deer Lodge Moose Lodge #533, Helmville Rodeo Club, and was instrumental in helping organize the Race Track Junior Rodeo Club. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. Stewart worked on various ranches around the state. When he retired he worked as a flagger and pilot car driver on road construction.
Stewart is survived by his wife, of 59 ½ years, Edith (EDE) of Lincoln; three daughters and a son, Cheryl (Jim) Brenton of East Helena, Tina (Todd) Hoover of Ronan, Carol Baker of Marceline, Mo., and William “Bill” (Kristi) of Helmville; 11 grandchildren and their spouses and 19 great-grandchildren; half-brother Jack D’Ewart of Martinsdale, half-sister Pat Garner of Huntsville, Texas and half-sister Sylvania Barnhart of Livingston; two brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews and many many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Stuart Baker and Mary D’Ewart, sister Mary Holst, his mother and father-in-law, a sister-in-law and two brothers-in-law.
Memorial services were Tuesday, May 12 at 11 a.m. at the Helmville Community Hall.
Vernon Lewis Ruttenbur
Vernon Lewis Ruttenbur passed away Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 8:20 a.m. to peaceful rest. Vernon was born on February 10, 1962 at 10:05 p.m.
He attended Deer Lodge public schools. In 1981 Vernon received his GED while in the U. S. Army in Washington state. He was with the Army four years and the Montana Army National Guard for 12 years.
Vernie (as he was popularly known) worked as a bartender in town. He loved music, hunting and loved his job with A.W.A.R.E. helping children until his death. He was part of three different bands over the years; played bass guitar (rock and roll). The last band he was with “Off the Wall” published a CD, also, he loved hunting.
Vernon has left many friends, co-workers and family. In Deer Lodge he leaves his sister, Shawn M. Ruttenbur (Mike Filcher); niece, Jaci Filcher; two grandnieces, Adrienne and Braizlynn; nephew, Rhylie Filcher; brothers, Edward (Marlene) Ruttenbur of Missoula and Shane Ruttenbur; nieces, Alyssa, Rachael and Erin; nephew, Erik Ruttenbur, and his mother, Verna M. Baker of Deer Lodge.
Those gone before: grandparents Barbara M. and Vernon H. Ruttenbur, stepdad Roger P. Baker.
Cremation has taken place. Vern also volunteered at the Rialto Theatre.
A get-to-gether and potluck will be for family and friends on the 30th of May at 218 W. Milwaukee Ave. starting at 1 p.m.
Donations in memory of Vernon may be made to the Rialto Theatre.
Leo William Bush
Leo William Bush, 93, of Ovando, passed away on Wednesday April 15, 2015 at St. Patrick Hospital, of natural causes.
He was born on July 9, 1921, in Glendive, to William “Bill” Enoch Bush and Myrtle Divine Bush.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four siblings and three wives. Survivors include his wife, Arlene, eight children and their spouses, three stepchildren and their spouses, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Leo was a cowboy and outdoorsman, as well as a gifted wood and leather worker. Leo served in the Navy from 1942-1946. He was a fun loving husband, father, and grandfather. He lived a long full life, was a good friend and loved by many. He will be missed by all who knew him.
A celebration of his life will be held July 11 at the Ovando School Gym, more information will follow.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Sew and So Club of Ovando or the Charlie Russell Riders of Missoula.
Sarah R. Rehmer
Sarah R. Rehmer, 73, of Deer Lodge, died peacefully on Sunday evening April 26, 2015, at the Deer Lodge Medical Center.
Sarah, or “Sally” as her friends called her, was born on September 6, 1941, in St. Louis, Mo., the daughter of Frank and Ann Rochester. Her family later moved to Salem, Ill. where her father worked as a civil engineer for the state of Illinois. Sally took great pride in her father’s accomplishments, which included the construction of several bridges in the state.
Sally’s whole life may be understood as a triumph of survival. At just the age of five her mother Ann arranged for Sally to get a highly experimental and risky operation for an enlarged heart, which meant that Sally would remain physically limited and small in stature but strong in heart. Growing up, she excelled in art, and after studying first at the University of Illinois, then the University of Montana, she received an MFA in Art, and for a time taught in public schools in both Montana and Idaho.
In her early adult years Sally struggled with drugs and alcohol before achieving sobriety in September of 1977 and remained sober to her death. After achieving sobriety, Sally turned her attention to helping others afflicted with alcoholism, and became one of Montana’s first certified alcoholism counselors. She began working as a counselor trainee at Galen in 1979 and for approximately the next 25 years worked as a counselor throughout Montana, and was recognized for her work on several occasions. In the process, she both changed and saved lives. Having converted to Catholicism later in life, Sally was also devout Catholic who had been active in the Deer Lodge Catholic community.
She will be missed by her son Geoff, her daughter Heather, her daughter-in-law Ah-ling, her son-in-law Bryan, and her grandchildren Sage, Vivian, Gavin, and Hannah.
Her son would like to thank Judy Hogan, Verna Baker, Chris Dubay, and Jane McMahon, along with Dodie Rennfield and the Powell County Council on Aging for the friendship, love, and support of Sally, particularly in her later years.
There will be a celebration of Sally’s life at the Immaculate Conception Church in Deer Lodge on May 8 at 11 a.m.
Marvin Lee Atkins
Marvin Lee Atkins, 82, entered his heavenly home on May 2, 2015. In his final days, he was surrounded and comforted by his family. His devotion to his family and his firm belief in God supported him in his struggle and ultimately gave him peace.
Marvin was born in Lawson, Mo. to Shorty and Fern Atkins on May 1, 1933. He was the seventh of eight children who were raised on a farm. Marvin graduated from Excelsior Springs in 1950 and was inducted into the high school hall of fame for football and track and field. At the age of 18 while working as a custom cutter in Shelby, Marvin met his future bride, Jeannine Montgomery. A year later they were married on June 22, 1952.
Marvin and Jeannine were blessed with four girls: Debbie, Bridgett, Janet, and Beverly. Marvin raised his family on a farm north of Shelby for 39 years. He retired in 2004 and moved to Deer Lodge and wintered in Surprise, Ariz. for 11 years.
Marvin enjoyed playing horseshoes, golf, card games, watching his grandchildren in their various activities and being a member of the Tractor Club. He was kind and soft spoken. He was a stranger to no one and a friend to all by his humor, contagious smile, and sharing God’s love.
He is survived by his wife Jeannine Atkins; his children Debbie and Pat Burgin, Bridgett and Chuck Oliver, Janet and Tom Christnacht, Beverly and David Davis; his grandchildren Nick and Jamie Corisis, Jessica and Jesse Bartley, Cody Oliver, Jennie Christnacht, Ashley Burgin, Susan Christnacht, Jesse Oliver, Michele Christnacht, Henry Davis, and Griffin Davis; his great-grandchild Landon Corisis; his siblings Ruth Rudd, Allen and Betty Atkins, Donna and Bill Smoot, and Floyd Atkins. He is preceded in death by his siblings Jay Atkins, John Atkins, and Rita Rabe; and his parents.
Services will be held in honor of Marvin Lee Atkins at the First Baptist Church in Deer Lodge, at 11 a.m. on Saturday May 9. Services will be led by Pastor Howard Neckels. A procession will lead family and friends to a ceremony at the Hillcrest Cemetery. Memorials can be made in Marvin’s name to First Baptist Church, Deer Lodge.
James (Jim) G. Blodgett Jr.
James (Jim) G. Blodgett Jr. passed away on April 15, 2015 in Nashville, Tenn. from a heart attack. He was only 52 years of age. Jim was born on January 31, 1963 in Deer Lodge in the old St. Josephs Sisters hospital, the first son of James Sr. and Janie M. Blodgett. Jim grew up in Deer Lodge attending O.D. Speer grade school, DuVall Jr. High and Powell County High School. Throughout his school years he was very active in school activities and excelled in basketball, football and track. Jim had a great love for the Deer Lodge area, its mountains, hunting and fishing. He spent many hours with his friends, family and his dogs hiking and fishing. Nearly every weekend his family spent time at their cabin at Rock Creek Lake and later at Rock Creek River. Jim spent every available daylight minute hiking, fishing, exploring and just skipping rocks. He was an excellent fly fisherman and rarely came home without a string of fine trout.
After graduation from PCHS in 1981 he attended Carroll College and the University of Montana eventually graduating from Evergreen College in Olympia, Wash. with a degree in Environmental Sciences.
During his younger years he developed a love of music and writing original songs which became his passion throughout his life. He was an excellent musician and played in several bands along with his brother Jeff. Jim’s first successful song was “Love Conquers All” on the Holy Soldier Album Promise Man in 1996. Jim carried the check receipt for payment he received for the song with him wherever he moved to as an incentive to never give up his passion.
While employed in Washington Jim met and married Kelley Atkinson. Jim & Kelley had three daughters from that marriage, Jessica, Taya & Teagan. In 1998 Jim and his family relocated to Nashville where he was employed by the State of Tennessee as an Environmental Air Pollution Specialist. The job and area seemed perfect for Jim and his family. In 1999 Jim entered a Nashville song writing contest entering four of his studio recorded songs. Jim won first place in the contest among the herd of Nashville song writers. In 2003 Jim and his family returned to Washington and he worked at various Environmental Specialist positions with the State of Washington. In 2009 he relocated to Alaska where he worked with the State of Alaska and the U.S. Government on Military Bases in Fairbanks and Delta Junction. Throughout the years he never lost touch with his contacts in Nashville and he continued to write music. In 2014 he returned to Nashville and taped several of his songs, four of which were recently in production. His first song of the four was picked up for recording by a new Nashville artist only days after his death.
Jim was a talented scientist, musician and song writer. He had an unconditional love for his daughters. He loved animals of all types but especially his German Shepherds. Jim’s family and many friends always enjoyed his sense of humor and great smile. He seemed to have a “different” way of viewing a situation and couldn’t keep from sharing his perspective to the enjoyment and laughter of everyone. Jim was always a kind and thoughtful person. He had a great eye for picking up interesting vintage “stuff.” While in the south he studied the Civil War and used his metal detector to discover many artifacts of battles in Tennessee. He seemed to have a sixth sense and great luck in finding so many interesting things for himself and his dad, both avid collectors.
His last wishes were to have his ashes spread at the areas of his greatest memories of his youth, Rock Creek Lake and Rock Creek River. His resting place will be with his family at the Blodgett Cemetery near Hamilton overlooking the original 1860s homestead of his three times great-grandfather Lyman Blodgett. A family gathering and memorial will be held at a later date. Jim was preceded in death by his grandparents Harry & Rose Blodgett, Alfred & Ella Weber, uncle Ron Weber, uncle Harry Blodgett Jr. & aunt Dolores Munden. He is survived by his parents Jim & Janie Blodgett of Polson, brother Jeff (Debbie) of Polson, daughter Jessica (Jacob) Stredwick, daughter Taya Blodgett & granddaughter Kalina, daughter Teagan Blodgett & granddaughter Vienna, niece and nephew Morgan & Cody Blodgett along with many cousins.