Richard (Ricky) Ellrott
Richard Ellrott of Elliston, passed away at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena on Wednesday July 22, 2020. He was born on November 27, 1946 in San Diego, Calif.
Ricky was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Beryl Ellrott; his brother, Ken Ellrott; and his sister Beverly Young of Elliston. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Gary Young of Elliston, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins who all fondly referred to him has Uncle Ricky.
Richard (Ricky) was a faithful, simple, easy going and loving man; friendly and outgoing to everyone he met. An example for everyone – he was never judgmental or critical of others. He lived an honest and pure life and will be missed by all who knew him.
Cleo Strickland was reunited with her father on July 7, 2020. She was born on November 8, 1931 in Killdeer, N.D. and was 88 years old when she died of natural causes. She was surrounded by family at the time of her death.
Cleo was raised in Grassy Butte, N.D. then moved to Sidney with her parents Carl and Verna Neckels in 1948. She had completed two years of high school by correspondence at that time and she graduated from Sidney High School in 1950. She attended St. Patrick Hospital Nursing School in Missoula where she earned her nursing degree in 1954. Cleo’s nursing career spanned nearly four decades. At the culmination of her career, she was the Director of Nursing at Galen State Hospital. She led the nursing staff through multiple changes and turbulent times as the director, with many changes and employee strikes. During her tenure the hospital transitioned from a primary care hospital, to a tuberculosis ward, to a drug and alcohol treatment center. Cleo was known for her witty sense of humor, exceptional work ethic, and compassionate care and leadership for all she served. She retired in 1993 when the hospital closed.
Cleo was very proud to have been the Director of Nursing at Galen, but was more proud of her kids and grandkids. She never missed an activity that they participated in, from little guy wrestling to college football and basketball. She loved hosting family gatherings, holiday dinners, and late night breakfasts at the ranch. In the Deer Lodge Valley, Cleo had the reputation of being the person that anyone could call if and when they needed help. Cleo also enjoyed her flowers. She and Bob planted and cared for dozens of flower baskets annually! At their Arizona home (Bob and Cleo were snowbirds) she kept Bob and his buddies, Reggie and Fred, stocked up with fresh baked goods daily; that is when she wasn’t busy with her slightly overweight (nearly 35 pound) cat, Kibbles.
During her later years, Cleo suffered from dementia, yet still maintained her sense of humor. The staff at the Renaissance Care Center and the nurses with Barrett Home Healthcare repeatedly reported that Cleo was one of their “all time” favorite residents/patients.
On October 25, 1954, Cleo married Bob Strickland from Deer Lodge. Together they had five children. Cleo was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Verna Neckels, her husband JR “Bob” Strickland, and her son Robert Keith Strickland. She is survived by her brothers Cecil (Eva) Neckels, John (Carolyn) Neckels, and Howard (Jarita) Neckels; her children, Lynnette (Fred) Sorenson, John Strickland, Debi (Russ) Richardson,and Carla (Wade) Anderson; her grandchildren, Lacey Green-Fields, Lynsey Green, Shaun Strickland, Keith Strickland, Alicia Eckman, Karl Richardson, James Richardson, Winston Anderson, and Cord Anderson. She is also survived by her nine great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, her late husband’s extended Strickland family and many nieces and nephews.
A private memorial service for the immediate family will be held at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge on August 8 at 1 p.m. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
The family wishes to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff at the Renaissance Care Center in Dillon, the nurses at Barrett Home Healthcare, and Dr. Megan Evans at Dillon Community Health. In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged to support students pursuing nursing education in Montana.
Claudette Jessie Wolff
Claudette Jessie Wolff was born in Deer Lodge on July 5, 1946, joining two brothers and a sister. The family would add another brother and two sisters. Our parents were Frank and Medora Wolff. Dad worked for the railroad and mom was the city librarian and a cosmetologist, often working from home, and sometimes employed at a shop downtown. Claudette attended Deer Lodge public schools, graduating from Powell County High School in 1964. In 1957, Claudette saw a movie, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman. The movie so inspired her, that she felt a lifelong call to go to China, as a missionary, a teacher, or at the very least, a visitor. Because our parents wanted her to stay close to home and go to a school in state, she was determined, as always, to prove her own independence. She decided to attend Marian College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She was able to convince them further by reminding them that our older sister lived there. It was easy to go back and forth on the Milwaukee Railroad, since our dad was an engineer and we had a family pass. Later, she transferred to Minot, N.D., attending Minot State University, and completed her Bachelor Degree in secondary education at Western Montana College in Dillon. (Later U of M affiliated.) She earned her Masters Degree by attending schools in several other locations. She taught English and French. She had teaching jobs in West Yellowstone, Port Angeles, Wash., and Bloomfield, N.M. She often had a summer job. She worked in various locations in Yellowstone Park, on a sheep ranch in Dillon, and on an elk ranch in Hardin.
In 1985 she was accepted to a program to teach English as a second language in China and her lifelong hope became a reality. She lived in China for two years, forming enduring friendships with many of her students. She came back in 1987 and continued to teach in New Mexico. In 1999 she applied to adopt a child, returned again to China and came home with a daughter. Beautiful four year old FuChai joined our family just in time to be a flower girl in her new cousin’s wedding. You never saw such bewilderment in any child’s face as hers on that day! She was experiencing this strange new mom, huge new family, new language, new home, new customs, and a wedding celebration! She had no idea what she was in for. Our family has always been one of diversity. From religion to politics to talent to heritage, we cover the spectrum. Through it all, so far at least, we have learned to build bridges instead of walls. Thanks in part to Claudette and her insistent opinions and her habit of making the least predictable or popular, of choices.
She moved to Big Timber to be near to her two sisters in December, 2019. She was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer one month later. She said at the time, and this is the hallmark of her faith, “I am in God’s hands.” She had many friends and would have given any of them, or a stranger in need, her last cent. She was very strong and her decision to fight the disease that claimed her was typically unselfish. The fact that we lost one of our brothers to cancer when he was very young led to her determination. She believed that her experimental treatment would contribute to the research that would benefit other cancer patients. She died on May 17, 2020.
She is in God’s hands.
Claudette was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Medora (Backhaus) Wolff, brothers, Robert, Richard, and Thomas Wolff, sister, Sally Anne (Wolff) Giebel, and sister-in-law, Patricia (Burton) Wolff. She is survived by her daughter, Jessie FuChai (Wolff) Mead, son-in-law, Michael “Mick” Mead, sisters, Michele Wolff, Lianna (Wolff) Karlin, brothers-in-law, Rolland Karlin and Norbert Giebel, and sister-in-law, Nancy (Monroe) Wolff. She is survived by a large extended family including many cousins and 29 nieces and nephews. The family asks that those wishing to give memorials choose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Her funeral service will be held at St. Mark Episcopal Church, Big Timber on Saturday, August 1 at 10:30 a.m. with internment on Sunday, August 2 at 3 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, the Reverend Bryan Beveridge, rector, officiating.
(Social distancing will be observed and face masks encouraged.)
Lucille “Onna” Scharf
Lucille “Onna” Scharf passed away in Deer Lodge on July 13, 2020, surrounded by her family. At mom’s request cremation has taken place.
Mom was born in Anaconda on September 1, 1927, the second of three children to Jay and Mary (Krizan) Janosko. She received her early education in Anaconda, graduating with honors from Anaconda High School in 1945. Mom then attended and graduated with honors from St. James School of Nursing, Butte, in 1948. In 1950 mom married George Alvin Scharf. She and dad made their home in Deer Lodge.
Following graduation from nursing school, mom did part-time nursing and also performed special duty nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Deer Lodge for a short period of time. Because she enjoyed psychiatric nursing, mom began working at the Montana State Hospital - Warm Springs as a staff nurse, then head nurse, and finally as an afternoon supervisor for the next 31 years, retiring in 1989. While employed at Warm Springs she was an active member of the Montana Nurses’ Association, serving as the president, on the Board of Directors, and various nursing committees.
Following her retirement, mom enjoyed volunteering at the Powell County Senior Center. Positions she held at the Senior Center were president, vice president, secretary, board member and meal delivery person. Mom was so proud of her years spent as a volunteer instructor for the “55 Safe Driving Program” in Deer Lodge. At one time she was the longest serving volunteer in the Montana program.
One of mom’s other proudest accomplishments was the fact she learned to fly an airplane before she could drive an automobile. Mom soloed at Felt’s Field, Spokane, Wash. in 1947.
Mom was an avid sock knitter, enjoyed cooking Sunday and holiday meals for her family and friends, along with making candy, baking, traveling, playing BINGO and time spent with family and friends.
Mom was especially proud and grateful for her beloved family, friends and her faith.
Preceding mom in death was her dear husband, mother and father, sister Lillian (Poodie) Fredstrom, brother Jack Janosko, her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She is survived by her daughter Karla, sons Ed and Bill (Melissa), grandchildren Tony (Kelli), Andy (Melissa), Ryan (Kira), and Dana, great-grandchildren Kase, Cayden, Keegan, Sydnie, Maxwell, Mason, Easton, Camden (scheduled to arrive August 3), and numerous nieces and nephews.
The Scharf family would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful care mom received over the last two and one-half years while she was a resident of the Renaissance Senior Care facility, the doctors and staff of the Deer Lodge Medical Center, Frontier Hospice and Father Fleming. Our special thanks also goes out to her extended family and many friends, including Suzette Pentland and Buddy Jones, along with her beloved “Louie’s Bakery gang.”
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested for the Powell County Senior Center, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the Rialto Theatre, or the donors’ choice.
A celebration of life memorial will be planned when the Covid-19 crisis is over.
Gordon Callant (Age 61) - Born in Deer Lodge on April 8, 1959 and died July 10, 2020.
Gordon passed away peacefully from pancreatic cancer in his home. His sister, Janice Callant, and Skyler Knuchel, who was like a son to him, were by his side. Refusing any conventional treatment for his cancer; Gordy died as he lived-fiercely proud and independent.
While raised in Deer Lodge and graduated in 1977 from Powell County High, Gordy also lived in Alabama, Alaska, California, Washington, and Wyoming. Gordon loved to travel and see the world. He traveled to many countries including Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, and Switzerland. Gordy also enjoyed his career driving a semi-truck throughout North America, and proudly visited every state within the United States of America.
Gordy was loved deeply by all those that knew him. He was known for being “The Keeper of Secrets” because he was a man of few words. Gordy rarely, if ever, said a negative word about anyone. He cared deeply for his friends, and loved his family dearly.
He is survived by his siblings Donna Callant, Richard Callant, Grant Callant, and Janice Callant. Gordy will be reunited in Heaven with his parents, Joe and Wilma, and Yogi, his beloved German Shepherd. We picture them now in a fantastic reunion.
Gordy’s family would like to recognize Montana State Prison where he worked for the last six years. The support they provided through this challenging time was incredible. Many of his colleagues donated their vacation and sick time so he could keep his health benefits, making it possible for him to continue on hospice. We are deeply grateful to all of those who supported him. God bless all of you.
Catholic Mass will be held on Saturday July 18, 2020 at 11 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 605 Clark Street, Deer Lodge, MT 59722. (Due to COVID 19, only 50 people will be allowed in the church at one time.)
The same day, Memorial Party to follow after Mass at 1 p.m., at the home of Doug (Charlie) Beck: 1268 Greenhouse Road, Deer Lodge, MT 59722 PLEASE RSVP by 7/16/20 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margaret (Marge) Sowa
Margaret (Marge) Sowa died July 3, 2020. She was born in Deer Lodge on June 21, 1926 to Walter and Marie (Wales) Coughlin. She grew up in Helmville, attended grade school there and at St. Mary’s in Deer Lodge. She graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Missoula and attended the University of Great Falls.
She married Daniel F. Sowa of Great Falls on June 23, 1945 at St. Joseph’ s Church in Seattle, Wash. She was a member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Shieldsville, Minn., the Legion of Mary, the Fatima Prayer Group, and Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers.
Survivors are Margaret (Peg) Kleven and son-in-law Tom, Mark Sowa, Tim Sowa and daughter-in-law Cindy, Ann Naas and son-in-law David, seven grandchildren, John (Jody) Sowa, Eric (Sue) Kleven, Alice (Duane) Rhodes, Matt (Melinda) Kleven, Jason Fortunato, Daniel Sowa, and Elizabeth Sowa, as well as eight great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Gerry Coughlin, sisters Marilyn Hansen and Myrna Coughlin, all of Deer Lodge. Burial will be in Helmville in the fall. Memorials should be sent to your favorite charity.
Gregory “Tinker” Tangen
Gregory “Tinker” Tangen, 67, joined his beloved parents and younger brother on March 22, 2020. He is survived by his older brother; son, daughter and their spouses; and four grandchildren.
Greg moved with his family from North Dakota to Deer Lodge when he was a teenager. Best known as “Tinker” or “Tink,” because he was always tinkering with something, Greg enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating high school. He proudly served for 20 years, retiring as chief warrant officer two (CW2).
After his retirement, Greg lived in Washington state for a number of years before returning to Deer Lodge. He is fondly remembered for his love of country music, playing the guitar, good barbecue, animals and working on cars.
Greg’s ashes will be laid to rest during a private graveside service July 30, Hillcrest Cemetery, Deer Lodge. Those who knew Greg are invited to celebrate his life at 1 p.m., July 30, Corner Bar, 404 Main St., Deer Lodge.
Donations can be made to Partnership for Animal Welfare Humane Society (PAWHS) Deer Lodge, 226 Vigilante Dr.
Barbara May Jackson
Barbara May Jackson, 86.
On June 26, 2020 Barbara was reunited with her husband James of 68 years. She passed peacefully at home surrounded by family.
Barbara was born in Centerville Colo. to Frank and Lena Lindquist on May 5, 1934. She married James Dec. 1, 1952, they then moved to Deer Lodge in 1969. She worked for Safeway as a clerk and bookkeeper. She enjoyed the outdoors and being with her family.
She is preceded in death by her husband James, daughter-in-law Rosa Jackson and great-grandson Dalton Conat. She is survived by her children Sharon (Dale) Salomon, William Jackson and Debra (Dale) LaTray, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, seven great-great-grandchildren, brother-in-law Roger Jackson and sister-in-law Margie Leman.
The family would like to thank Compasses Hospice for their care during this time. A private family service will be held at later date.
Joyce Reistad, 77 years old, formerly of Snohomish, Wash. went to be with her Lord and Savior on June 15, 2020.
Joyce enjoyed attending church, reading, watching mysteries, socializing, and sharing time with her grandchildren.
Joyce is survived by her son Troy Heim, Suzanne Aos, and Kelly Lietzow. Grandchildren Adrian, Justeen, Shelby, Emma, Sydney, Lyndsey, and great-grandchildren Evelyn and baby Prinz. Joyce was preceded in death by daughter Deanna.
Joyce’s family would like to thank all of her friends in Deer Lodge and her niece Debbie for their love and friendship over the years.
Bernard (Bernie) K. Barton Jr.
Bernard (Bernie) K. Barton Jr. passed away on June 25, 2020. He was born October 18, 1967 in Butte, and joined the Barton family with his dad, Bernard K. Sr., mother, Mary K., and sister, Kimberly in Libby.
In 1971, Bernie’s dad was transferred to Deer Lodge with the Montana Highway Patrol where he completed his schooling in Powell County, graduating in 1987. While in school, Bernie was President of his FFA Chapter and 4-H club, and was always proud of coming home with his accomplishments. He joined the Navy Reserve and attended Boot Camp during his junior and senior year. He also received his private pilot’s license during this time. After graduation, Bernie attended Aircraft Mechanics School in Helena where he met his future wife, Kathy Knoles, who was attending Nurses Training. They were married in 1989. They have a son, Gregory, from this union. While residing in Helena, Bernie worked at the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s office as a Detention Officer and a Reserve Deputy. Bernie and Kathy moved to Deer Lodge in 1996 where he worked at the Powell County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy and at the Browns School until its closing. Bernie attended Rocky Mountain Bible Mission where became a Pastor and ministered at a church in Wolf Creek. He also managed the Northern Energy Plant in Helena. Bernie took a disability retirement after being diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS. His passions were flying, hiking, camping, kayaking, scuba diving, hunting, and doing things with his family.
Bernie was preceded in death by his mother, Mary K. Barton, grandparents Lester and Alma Barton, and Clarence and Mary Burton.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy, son, Gregory (Tiko), grandchildren, Teddy and Samari of Helena, his parents, Bernard and Marion Barton of Deer Lodge, sister, Kim (Matt) Griffin of Prineville, Ore., stepbrother Jim (Alissa) Yaskulski of Great Falls, and stepsister, Suzann (Chris) Smaldone of Port St. Lucie, Fla. He had many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews, a special friend, Leona Lombard, and his loving dog, “Oakley.” Donations may be made to the Powell County Medical Foundation Playground or the donors’ choice. A gathering time to remember Bernie will be planned for a later date.
Paul Howard Bissonette
On June 20 while on his afternoon walk in Pendleton, Ore., Paul joined his daughter, Mary Margaret, who passed 33 years ago. Paul was born on September 2, 1931 in Deer Lodge, to Howard and Hattie (Petersen) Bissonette. He is survived by his wife Patricia, his twin sons, Robert Howard and William Paul and his stepchildren Eric and Dena. At the time of his passing, Paul had eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Raised on a farm/ranch in Hall, Paul worked hard and came to respect the land and the people around him. He did well in school and joined the Navy during the Korean conflict. After his discharge, he attended MSU and WSU on the GI bill to become a Veterinarian. He married Carol Ann in 1957 in Pullman, Wash. and fathered his twin sons (with two and a half years of schooling remaining). In 1959 he moved with his wife and twins to the Deer Lodge Valley where he started his vet practice and soon Mary came along. He went into business with Fred Metcalf in Drummond, and in 1961 started the Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic in Deer Lodge. Fred and Paul were partners for some 30 years and great friends.
In 1976, Paul found himself single and coincidently so had his soul mate, Patricia, who he had met during a team roping at the fairgrounds in Deer Lodge. Paul, Bob Cowan and Pete McQueary got together and started the Mt. Powell Roping Club and for many years had a great time. Paul and Pat were married in 1978 and lived in Deer Lodge and Garrison until 2016 when they moved to Pendleton, Ore. They were married for 42 years until his passing, they even built a home together and never had one single fight or heated decision.
Paul was the kind of person who everyone enjoyed spending time with. He always greeted everyone with a smile and humor. Because of his practice, there was not an adult in Powell County that didn’t know “Dr. Paul.” He was a cowboy at heart, and as such he had a simple philosophy: Work hard, play hard, be honest and spend more time listening than talking. Paul’s description of heaven was “What people think of you when you are gone,” so live life with honor, dignity and respect. He was a true veterinarian, patients and clients came first. He held them on the highest pedestal and nothing came between him and them when in need, he dropped everything when a call came in, gave up family gatherings or even a night out on the town for the animals. He was so dedicated to his profession and will greatly be missed by so many.
Due to the pandemic, memorial services will not be held. A private celebration of Paul’s life will be held by family members at a later date. To honor Paul, we ask that you hold a warm thought, a fond memory and may be tip a glass to the kind man he was.
In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to charity of donors’ preference.
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