Timothy Daniel “Dan” Hanifen October 29, 1935 - August 24, 2022
Dan Hanifen, 85, died Tuesday at his home in Deer Lodge. He was born to Timothy James “Tim” and Annie Montana “Tannie” Hanifen in 1935. His parents instilled a good work ethic evidenced by Dan starting his first job at the age of 10. In 1954, at age 19, Dan married Norma Rae Rushton. The couple had two children, Tim and Tannie; as a result of that union and lived a happy life together until Norma’s passing in 1991. They enjoyed Norma’s home cooking, picnics in the mountains and time with family. Dan found love again and married Helen Micu in 1992. Dan was blessed to gain bonus children, grandchildren (and eventually great grandchildren) through this union. The two enjoyed a variety of hobbies and attended First Presbyterian Church of Deer Lodge. Dan was an avid hunter and trapper for the majority of his life and enjoyed being active by hiking and biking. He supported his family as a miner with 38 years at Cominco American. After retirement, Dan stayed busy for the next 20 years taking care of lawns throughout town. Dan is preceded in death by his wife, Norma Rae Hanifen; brother-in-law, Hoyt Thompson; daughter-in-law, Barbara Jo “BJ” Hanifen; and parents, Tim and Tannie Hanifen. Dan is survived by his wife, Helen Hanifen; siblings, David Hanifen and Frances Kay Thompson; children, Timothy Hanifen and Tannie Noffsinger; stepchildren, Mike, Kim and Kit Micu; grandchildren, Christopher Hanifen, Jennifer Hanifen, Scott Harrington, Toni Potts, Rachel Cantrell, Austin Micu, Rashelle Wheatley and Blaine Micu; as well as several great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m., Sept.5, at New Chicago Valley Cemetery in Drummond. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is entrusted with Dan’s funeral arrangements. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
Shirley Ann Tucker, 84, died in Butte on Aug 23, of natural causes. Services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept 10, at the Assembly of God Church, in Deer Lodge. Internment is set for 10 a.m., Sunday, Sept 11, at the Wisdom Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Clark Canyon Bible Camp. Condolences can be made at www.buttefuneralhome.com.
Dona Schlueter, 65, died Aug. 25, 2022. A celebration of life will be held at the Deer Lodge Community Center from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. Her obituary will be published in next week’s Silver State Post.
Juanita Kathleen Smyth December 9, 1956 - August 15, 2022
Juanita Kathleen Smyth, 65, was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Although she was taken from us unexpectedly on Aug. 15, her love will remain with us forever. She was born to Wilfred and Darlene Gangl on December 9, 1956 in Deer Lodge, where she grew up and spent time with her parents, siblings and other loved ones. She married Andrew Paul Smyth on Jan. 28, 1976, and they started a wonderful family of their own. Together they had seven children: Krysti, Westly, William, Scott, Jennifer, Cody and Wren. Juanita loved fishing and camping with her husband and family. She also enjoyed taking trips up to Montana, so she could visit siblings and loved ones that were an important part of her life. She was always very happy to have family visit and would often cook delicious meals as she talked and caught up with loved ones in the kitchen. She was always there to support her children and loved ones during difficult times and there to celebrate with them during the best of times. The great experiences and joy she shared with us all will be missed. She is survived by: her husband, Andrew Paul Smyth of Gooding, Idaho; five sons, Westly Smyth of Sandy, Utah, William Smyth of Gooding, Idaho, Scott Smyth of Twin Falls, Idaho, Cody Smyth of Gooding, Idaho and Wren Smyth of Salmon, Idaho; one brother, Chuck Gangl of Deer Lodge; two sisters, Mary Jo Lundstrom of Spokane and Donna Gangl of Deer Lodge; nine grandchildren, Tyler Newman, Bailey Close, Khloe Smyth, Taryn Smyth, Mackaylee Smyth, Emma Smyth, Makaylee Jae Smyth, Sadie Smyth and Kennedy Smyth. She was preceded in death by: her father, Wilford Gangl; mother, Darleen Gangl; two brothers, Raymond Gangl and Kenneth Gangl; and two daughters, Krystina Smyth Close and Jennifer Smyth Cheney. A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 19, at Demaray Funeral Service, Gooding Chapel. Services will conclude at the chapel. Cremation arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service. Condolences, memories and photos can be shared with the family by following the obituary link at www.demarayfuneralservice.com.
Edward Alfred Johnson August 21, 1926 - August 1, 2022
Edward Alfred Johnson, 95, of Deer Lodge, Mont., passed away on Aug. 1, 2022. He is survived by his two daughters, Charlotte Molendyke and Lorean Newbrough. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Aug. 20, 2022, at Hillcrest Cemetery, W. Milwaukee Ave. in Deer Lodge. Memorials in honor of Edward are to be made to the donor’s choice. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family condolences or to share a memory.
Janice Ebel December 15, 1946 - August 9, 2022
Janice Ebel, 75, died on Aug. 9, 2022, after a short illness at her residence in Deer Lodge with her daughter Stacey by her side. Janice was born to Walter and Virginia Massey in 1946 in Anaconda, Mont., where she later graduated from ASHS in 1965. She worked at the Montana State Hospital for many years as well as being blessed with two children, Ray and Stacey. Janice was an active Fraternal Order of Eagles member for many years and held the title of Past State President of that organization. She later met and married her soul mate Morris Ebel. Janice doted on her children and grandchildren but even more so on her great grandchildren. Her survivors include children: Ray (Wendy) Matteson, Stacey Matteson, Joyce Ebel and Elaine Matteson; grandchildren: Joe, Chris, Sara, Jennifer and Charlotte; 10 great-grandchildren; her brothers Larry, Ron, Bill and Rick; sisters Linda and Patty; and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her late husband Morris; parents Walt and Virginia Massey; sister Sharon; brother DeWayne; and grandson Timothy. Janice will be missed by many. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 22, at the funeral home. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is entrusted with Janice’s funeral arrangements. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
Barbara Elaine Beck Weis October 7, 1948 - July 19, 2022
Barbara (Barb), 73, was born in Deer Lodge on Oct. 7, 1948, to Peter L. Beck and Frances N. Moran. She joined an impressive list of half-brothers and sisters on both sides. On her father’s side, brother Charles Beck and sisters Margie (Shandy), Rita (Morgan) and Helen (Hallingstad) along with many cousins, nieces and nephews to follow. On her mother’s side, she joined brothers Emmett, Edward, Bill, Pat, Dan and Don O’Keefe, along with sister Gloria (Corcoran). After the passing of her parents, Barb came to live with Charles and Rhea Beck, and became part of the Beck family, joining sister Diana (Warner) and brothers Pete and Doug. She graduated from Powell County High School in 1966 and went on to study at Western Montana College in Dillon. She majored in English and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. Another wonderful occurrence happened while Barb was in Dillon. She met the love of her life, Jim Weis. Barb and Jim were well known for their playful banter and sardonic wit. They loved nothing better than visiting with friends and relatives. It was a match made in heaven. They were married in Las Vegas in November 1973. They enjoyed 48 years as a married couple and stuck together from beginning to end. Upon graduation, Barb began her illustrious teaching career at Helmville, Mont. She taught elementary school grades one through three for three school years, 1972-1974, and enjoyed every minute of it. Jim found work in Hysham, Mont., and worked on a farm for Verlin Barnes, while Barb worked at the local co-op. They grew to become experts at growing and cooking sweet corn and provided many amazing feasts to prove it. They later settled in Helena (1976) where they currently reside and have enjoyed a good life in their home on Sierra Road. Barb had a successful career in bookkeeping for various Helena businesses, including Sheehan’s Distributing, Zeke’s Distributing, Blue Cross of Montana and Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co. Throughout her years, Barb maintained a close relationship with family near and far. Another big plus for Barb was inheriting Jim’s family by previous marriage, and she was so proud of Lisa, Jim Jr., Larry and Dave. Larry was her hometown hero helping his father with chores around the shop and coming to the rescue many times when Barb had fallen. Barbara is survived by her husband, Jim Weis, and his family; siblings, Diana, Pete and Doug; and many close friends and relatives. There will be a memorial luncheon at the Elks Club in Deer Lodge at 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21. Friends and family are invited.
Janette Marie Smith July 27, 1930 - July 26, 2022
Janette Marie Smith, 91, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, died Tuesday, July 26, 2022, just one day before her 92nd birthday. Janette was surrounded by her family and died peacefully in her sleep. Janette was born on July 27, 1930, in Sidney, Mont., to Urgel and Isabella Bouchard. She attended and graduated from Sidney High School in 1948. On Sept. 24, 1949, she married the love of her life John J. Smith. They were blessed with 73 years of marriage; five children: Jim, Janice, Jerry, Joel, Jay; 15 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. She worked at JC Penney and as a phone operator for Mountain Bell in both Sidney and Great Falls, Mont. In 1959, they moved to Great Falls, where she devoted her time to her family and her work. In 1972, Janette and her husband moved to Deer Lodge, where they opened a Ben Franklin Store. They later changed the name to J&J Variety and worked there until they closed it in 2013, at the age of 83. She then moved to Idaho Falls, in 2019, to live with her daughter and son-in-law. Janette is survived by her husband, John Smith; her children, Jim Smith of Deer Lodge, Janice (Gary) Weninger of Idaho Falls, Jerry (Cathy) Smith of Bozemen, Joel Smith of Deer Lodge, Jay (Sherry) Smith of Charlestown, Ind.; 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Brianna Smith; parents, Urgel and Isabella Bouchard; and her brothers, Urgel (Bud) and Phillip Bouchard. Graveside service will be held at the Newland Cemetery in Sidney at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 3, with a luncheon to follow. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.
Gregory G. Sauber July 22, 1960 - August 1, 2022
Gregory G. Sauber, 62, died Aug. 1 in Denver. He was the son of Gregory and Helen Sauber and grandson of Bernard and Lena Sauber of Gold Creek. He is survived by two sisters, Mary Jo in Coeur d’Alene in Idaho and Patricia in Torrance, Calif. Greg enjoyed many visits in Gold Creek. His death occured after an accidental fall on July 4. Greg was born on July 22, 1960. He grew up in Libby, Mont. He attended grade and high school there and the University of Montana in Missoula. He and a friend owned the Washington Park Grille in Denver. A memorial mass will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church on Aug. 16 in Denver.
Laurel Lee Dodgson Christensen December 23, 1941 - July 23, 2022
Laurel Lee Dodgson Christensen, 80, died peacefully at home on July 23, 2022. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 30, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Sun River, Mont. Laurel was born on Dec. 23, 1941, to Frank and Blanche (Woods) Dodgson in Butte, Mont. She was raised in Wise River, Mont., then later in Deer Lodge, graduating from Powell County High School. On Aug. 19, 1961, Laurel would marry Gerald Reilly; the couple would go on to share 11 years and one child together. After their divorce, Laurel shared marriages with Don Nyguist and Wayne Christensen, before settling down with Tom Wadsworth. The couple spent 20 years of marriage together. Laurel was employed as a bookkeeper for a variety of establishments, such as the Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic in Deer Lodge, the Great Falls Veterinary Service and Great Falls Livestock. In her free time, Laurel enjoyed camping and riding horses in the mountains. She loved animals, especially horses, dogs and cats. She was a member of the Back Country Horsemen. Laurel was an active member of Sun River’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Laurel was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her loving husband, Tom Wadsworth; son Brett Reilly and his wife Tracy; and her sister, Lorraine Seaford. To share condolences please visit www.crox- fordfuneralhome.com.
Donald Joseph Fraser August 1, 1937 - June 30, 2022
Donald Joseph Fraser, 84, left this world on June 30, 2022, after a battle with cancer. Don was born in Butte, Mont., on Aug. 1, 1937, to Butte natives Donald Fraser and Isabelle (Kujawa) Fraser. At age 4, his parents moved him and his sister, Denise, to Deer Lodge, where they welcomed Jack, Mary, Geradette and Eddie. Don graduated from St. Mary’s Academy and later Powell County High School in 1955. After graduation, Don enlisted in the U.S. Army. He spent most of his tour in Germany, visiting 12 European countries. He earned the rank of Sergeant, enjoying his time in the Army and speaking of it affectionately. When Don returned to civilian life, he ran into his PCHS classmate, Vicki Sierra (Vick); they soon began dating and were wed in 1959. They moved to Helena where Don worked for an insurance company and Vicki was a registered nurse. They welcomed their first child, Bret, in July of 1960. Soon after, the family moved to Bozeman, where Don enrolled at Montana State University and Vicki continued her work as a nurse while Don went to school. During that time, they welcomed two more children, Janine and Scott. After graduating in three years with honors, Don accepted a position with AT&T in Helena, where they welcomed their fourth child, April. In 1967, Don accepted a position with RCA in Sparta, Wis., where their fifth child, Darci was born. In 1967, Don was offered a position as Senior Budget Analyst in Palo Alto, Calif., so the family made the move west to California. They enjoyed the sunshine and summer adventures in the family station wagon. In 1969, Don accepted a transfer to work as a Budget Manager at RCA in Anchorage, Alaska. For the next six years, the family spent the summers swimming in the nearby lake, fishing and camping in the family VW van, and enjoying the long summer days. The family also kept busy with both boys playing baseball and hockey, and the girls in Girl Scouts, softball and ballet. Don spent the winters growing his famous handlebar mustaches and beards, for which he won several awards at the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous. In 1976, Don and Vicki divorced. Don stayed in Anchorage; Vicki and the kids moved to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, to be closer to family. In 1984, Don married Priscilla Santistevan, and they continued living in Anchorage. In 1990, Don took an early retirement, and they moved to Trinidad, Colo. They divorced in 1998, and Don moved to Coeur D’Alene to be closer to his family. Don spent his time puttering in his garage, working on projects for his grandchildren, driving his Mustang, and driving to Montana and Nevada. He loved his siblings and enjoyed watching his nieces and nephews grow up. He also enjoyed a sip of “Clan Fraser” now and then. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Don and lsabelle, his sister Denise Gransbery and brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Andrea Fraser. He is survived by his children, Bret (Kristin), Janine (Greg), Scott (Cari), April (Patrick) and Darci (Kim). His surviving grandchildren are Alyssa, Torin, Sarah, Katie, Brady, Joey, Oliver, Andrew and Nolan. Surviving siblings include Mary (Pat) McMahon and Gerry Sullivan of Butte, and Eddie (Mary) Fraser of Whidbey Island, Wash. Other survivors include nephews, nieces and cousins in Montana, Nevada, Texas, California, ldaho and Kansas, Canada and Nova Scotia. Don was fortunate to have many wonderful neighbors, including J.B. and Patty Romero, who were a blessing. In the final months of Don’s life, the cancer was a struggle, but Don was cheerful and thankful for the little things - the beauty of a fawn born in his back yard just days before his passing or the simple beauty of flowers. Our family is very thankful for this time with our father, nothing left unsaid and will miss him dearly. Cremation services were provided under the care of Yates Funeral Home in Coeur D’Alene. A celebration of Don’s life will be held at Don’s home in Coeur D’Alene at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13; all are welcome to join in the celebration. Memorials are requested to the Southwest Montana Veterans’ Home in Butte at 65 Veterans Circle, Butte, MT 59701 or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Walter “Chris” Young March 20, 1950 - July 18, 2022
Walter “Chris’” Young, 72, succumbed from a fall that resulted in serious brain damage. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Marsha Young (Hauxwell); his brothers, Bill and Mike Young; his children, Russ Pulliam and Jennifer Miller; his grandchildren, Marcus, Nicholas and Hailey Pulliam and Cole Miller; as well as cousins, nephews and one niece. Chris was born and raised in Deer Lodge, Mont. He served in the US Navy aboard the USS Kilauea AE 26 during the Vietnam War. Upon returning he worked with his dad building gold mining equipment and an automotive repair/paint shop. He, his wife and children moved to California where he had a 20 year career as a warehouse dock technician. He retired in 2008 and moved with his wife to Pasco, Wash., where his brothers live. Chris was very kind, compassionate and intelligent. He touched many lives with his wit and humor. A remembrance of life will be at 1 p.m., Aug. 7, at his brother Bill’s house, 1605 North Road 56, in Pasco, Wash.
Janice Enger September 17, 1931 - July 18, 2022
Janice Enger, 90, born Sept. 17, 1931, in Corvallis, Ore., died on July 18, 2022. Janice had a quiet elegance. She was never one to criticize and treated all she met with kindness. Janice met Don Enger in Deer Lodge while working as a switchboard operator. They would marry in 1955 and raise three children in Belmont, Calif. Janice was a homemaker who enjoyed gourmet cooking, crossword puzzles, novels and good times with family and friends (She played the piano for the many sing-alongs). She was an avid sports fan, always working the concession stand during her two boys’ games. In 1989, Janice became a Ham Radio operator, allowing her to communicate with her daughter who was sailing foreign waters. Don and Janice retired to Fallbrook, Calif., where Janice volunteered at the Fallbrook Hospital and the Bottom Shelf. Even at 90, she faithfully attended exercise classes at the Community Center. Janice is preceded in death by her husband Don in 2012 and her youngest son, Gregg, in 2022. She leaves behind daughter Teri Southworth; son Tom Enger; granddaughters Amanda and Elizabeth; and great-grandchildren Kimber, Weslee and Lynkon.
Beverley Lorraine Hadley Thornton November 7, 1928 - February 23, 2022
Beverley Lorraine Hadley Thornton, 93, peacefully passed away on Feb. 23, 2022, at the certified family home of Kirsten and Julio Diaz in Athol, Idaho. At this time, the family would like to sincerely express their gratitude for the loving care given to her during her time with them. Beverley was born on Nov. 7, 1928, in Winchendon, Mass., to Bessie and Ray Hadley. Beverley married James Thornton in 1945 who preceded her in death in 1995. They moved to Montana in 1956 to raise their family of eight children: James Thornton, Jr., Marjorie Thornton (deceased in infancy), Steven Thornton, Marjorie Anne (Thornton) Wahl, Carol (Thornton) Knight (deceased), Gary Thornton, Donna (Thornton) Kelleher, Randy Thornton (deceased), Lorraine (Thornton) Wood. Beverley and James also have 18 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and 9 great-great-grandchildren. Beverley along with raising her family worked in many various occupations. She worked as a bus driver, cleaning lady, waitress, mail delivery, and her favorite, livestock care and general ranch hand. Beverley was an avid reader and she enjoyed gardening, knitting, canning, bowling, cards and most of all, talking to and associating with people, even complete strangers. We will all miss her “brightness” very much. There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. in Helmville, Mont. at the Saint Thomas Cemetery on Aug. 27, 2022. Following the memorial service will be a luncheon.
Jack Leroy Scharf September 2, 1937 - July 6, 2022
Jack Leroy Scharf, 84, of Helena, Mont., died on July 6, 2022 after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his children, Sandy (George) Countryman, Bruce (Nina) Scharf, Eric (Dini) Scharf, all of Helena, and Laura (Chet) Periman of Deer Lodge; his brother, Ron (Joyce) Scharf; his sister, Goldie (Dave) Enger; along with 10 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara (Ed) Johnson. Jack was born in Deer Lodge, on Sept. 2, 1937, to August Karl and Lorean Scharf. He lived in Pioneer (Gold Creek), where his love for gold-mining began. At the age of 5, his family then moved to Deer Lodge, where he met and later married Marjie White on Jan. 2, 1958. Growing up in Deer Lodge gave Jack the opportunity to make several life-long friends, whom he talked fondly of and spoke about all of their adventures up until his death. Jack enlisted in the National Guard in 1960. He served 9 years while working for the Milwaukee Railroad for 23 years. Following this, he and Marjie began a new adventure in Nevada City, Mont., where they started the Alder Gulch River of Gold Mining Museum. This museum allowed Jack to share his knowledge and tell his many stories about finding gold. Jack and Marjie spent many winters in Quartszite, Ariz., where they sold gold panning kits, jewelry derived from stones they had collected, and many other items they had constructed with their own hands. After supporting Marjie in her faith for many years, Jack was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses as well. Jack and Marjie were passionate about life and being on the go. They enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing and scavenging for treasure with family and friends. A memorial service will be held at The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Helena at 2 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2022. A reception will be held immediately following the service at 715 Sewell Rd. Helena, MT 59601.
Patty Meier Traverso April 25, 1966 - September 2, 2020
Patty Meier Traverso, 54, passed away in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 2, 2020, after a courageous battle with cancer. Patty was born April 25, 1966, in Deer Lodge to Nora and Dave Meier. Patty was a 1984 graduate from Powell County High School. She had one child, Katy Traverso Germain who was the light of her life! Patty spent many years in Gillette, Wyo. with her family and worked for a large mining company in Wyoming. Patty is remembered as a caring, generous, loving mother, daughter, sister, aunt, with a sense of humor and zest for life! Her positive spirit influenced both her family and those around her. She appreciated life to the fullest and was always ready for a new adventure, hiking trail, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, rock climbing or riding a camel. Through her compassion and willingness to help those in need whether family friends or strangers, Patty touched many people throughout her lifetime. Patty is survived by her parents Dave and Nora Meier, daughter Katy Traverso Germain, sister Shelly Deering, sister Mary Perkins, niece Zoey Perkins and niece Alyah Perkins. After a long wait for all the family to be present, a memorial and celebration of life was held for Patty at Laurin Montana Cemetery July 23, 2022. Those who wish to honor Patty’s memory may do so by making a donation to your local Humane Society or the Multiple Myeloma Foundation.
Norma Jean Witzel August 28, 1944 - July 14, 2022
Norma Jean Witzel, 77, of Nevada, formerly of Deer Lodge, died on July 14, 2022. Norma was born in Townsend, Mont., on Aug. 28, 1944, to Carl Mienke and Hazel Vincent Weber. Norma was raised in Deer Lodge, where she attended grade school as well as high school. She graduated in 1962 and briefly attended nursing school at MSU. As a teenager, she worked as a candy striper at the old hospital. Norma also worked at the Anaconda Lumber Company and later UBC as a secretary and bookkeeper.She enjoyed traveling and was excited to have been able take a trip with her dad, Carl, and sisters, Dorothy and Shirley, to tour Europe. She married Alfred Trask in 1965. They had one son, Jeffrey, in 1969. They later divorced and in 1976 she married her lifelong partner of 45 years, Dale Witzel. Norma and Dale worked alongside each other for years running Witzel’s Trailer Court and Home Rentals. She also worked at Colonial Manor in Deer Lodge as an Activities Director and loved being involved with and caring for the old folks. In 1992, Norma and Dale moved to Jackpot, Nev., where they owned and operated Bluesky Properties and RV Park for 20 years. She loved assisting and visiting with all the travelers who stayed at their park and made many friends there. She and Dale retired to Las Vegas in 2010. In recent years, she lived in an assisted living facility, Legacy House, where she was chosen to be the Ambassador for the community, continuing her passion to help people. Norma was crazy lucky at slot machines and always had a hunch for which ones were going to pay out. She enjoyed bingo, arts and crafts, seeing shows and live music. The list of people who Norma cared for and helped is too long to list as she had one of the biggest hearts a person could have. Norma is survived by husband, Dale Witzel; sisters, Dorothy Kinsfater and Shirley McLaughlin; brother and spouse, Ed and Kathy Groves; son and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey and Teri Lynn Trask; stepdaughters and spouses, Linda and Jimmy McMahon, and Rosie and Brad Grothwohl; stepsons and spouses, Ronnie and Michelle Witzel, and Randy and Sherri Witzel; 12 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Norma is preceded in death by her father, Carl Mienke; mother and beloved stepfather, Joe and Hazel Weber; and younger brother, Bill Weber. A funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the First Baptist Church, 127 Sam Beck Road, Deer Lodge, MT 59722. Visitation with viewing will be held one hour prior to the funeral at the church. A graveside service will immediately follow the funeral at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. Memorials in honor of Norma are suggested to Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family condolences or to share a memory.
Edward Rosicky December 29, 1936 - February 4, 2022
Edward Rosicky, 85, was born in Rezekne, Latvia on Dec. 29, 1936 to Joseph and Isabella Rosicky, their only child, who passed on to another world on Feb. 4, 2022, from a defective heart which he had inherited from his dad. It was a calm and quiet death at our house in Fremont, Calif., where we have lived together for over 44 years and have celebrated our golden anniversary. He is survived by his wife Valentina (Valia) Rosicky and some distant relatives in Latvia, of which I know only one. My life without Ed is completely different and now I am trying to adjust and accept it, but I miss Ed every day. Ed’s parents were also born in Latvia. Life was good for them, and only reluctantly, during World War II, when the communist Russian army was nearing the Latvian border, the family took the last German train that was leaving Latvia, with other people, and ended in Germany, thankfully, far away from the war zone. There, the people were sent to factories to build weapons to continue Hitler’s war. Because Ed was from Latvia, he was allowed to go to a German school, but German kids never accepted Ed because they were taught that only German people were superior, and Ed was pushed away. After the war ended in 1945, there was a possibility for refugees in Germany to emigrate to America, but Stalin wanted all slave people back home. So when the United States Congress had passed a special provision to admit refugees from Germany to the U.S., all slaves were excluded and left behind. But the Rosicky family, because they left the country before the USSR’s 1940 invasion of Latvia, could emigrate to the U.S. and ended in New Jersey, where summers are hot and humid. It was especially hard on Joseph who found work on a dusty chicken farm where he acquired a dust allergy for life. In 1950, the family moved to Deer Lodge because their Latvian friend who lived there found that all in Deer Lodge was favorable: the people, the climate with four seasons, and above all, the possibility of finding good physical work where fluent English was not required, and this was very appealing to the parents. After a short discussion, Joseph and Isabella packed their bags, and with their son, went to Deer Lodge, where they made their home. Being Catholic, they enrolled Ed in St. Mary’s Academy, where Ed had to repeat one grade to improve his English; however, when it was time to go to high school, they allowed Ed to register in Powell County High School, where Ed wanted to be in the first place, and not be taught by nuns.Here, too, Ed had quickly made friends and was accepted as if he had not come from far away. He played football, had a dislocated elbow and later, when his elbow was healed, also played basketball. In a good school, with good teachers and good courses, Ed was preparing himself to be an engineer, long before he knew what the word engineer meant. Therefore, Ed would say “I had no choice but to be an engineer.” Ed was really into his education. Each summer, during the summer break, Ed worked for the Milwaukee Railroad to earn money for his education. At that time, it was possible to achieve that goal: Education was not expensive. Ed had chosen a dangerous and responsible job that paid over $3 an hour, a lot of money then, but he missed many of his classmates’ summer recreational activities. While they had a good time, Ed in his labor uniform went to work to earn money for his schooling.Before graduating high school, Ed’s English became so elegant that he and Shirlee Bennett were chosen to compose, write and assemble the high school yearbook with teacher supervision. Ed graduated from Powell County High School in 1956. In 1960, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Gonzaga University, and in 1962, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Washington. Later, Ed was twice registered in the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers in California.The first registration was Feb. 12, 1975 as a Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering, and the second registration was Feb. 12, 1977 as a Professional Engineer in Nuclear Engineering. In 1962, Uncle Sam called Ed to serve in the Army, and because of his technical education, Ed was relieved from the Army Active Duty and sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the world’s largest military testing and research center. There, he was later assigned to the U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory as a Technical Project Officer. His work consisted of research in the area of materials and structural behavior under dynamic conditions. Within these two years, Ed passed four major courses and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1964. Later, Ed would say that it was the best time of his life. Ed had a 34-year career with the General Electric Company (GE). During that time his many papers were published for future references. His work took him to many places in America, often to Sweden and once to Russia where American engineers had to negotiate an important GE contract with Russian engineers.But after one week of intense negotiations and breaks for relaxation; eating, drinking vodka, playing the guitar, singing, laughing a lot, telling stories, taking city tours and almost becoming friends; Russian engineers never lowered their price. GE was unwilling to accept the Russian expensive price, so accepted the defeat and brought Americans home. Most of Ed’s responsibilities consisted of developing, testing and evaluating materials for nuclear thermionic application. From GE, Ed had many written congratulations for significant contributions in that field. Ed loved his job and finished his career with GE as manager of engineers and technicians performing research on materials used in the construction and operation of nuclear reactors producing electricity. After a long courtship, Ed and I were married in 1971 in a small Catholic Church near San Francisco with the reception following on the top floor of the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco with only about 50 close friends present. It was a marriage of love, support for each other and friendship. We traveled extensively in America, often to Deer Lodge, Mont., where I became acquainted with Ed’s friends and they became mine as well. We loved going to Europe and taking cruises in different parts of the world. We had a good life until Ed started dealing with his health issues. Then, much later, suddenly Ed told me of his desire to have a Memorial Service and luncheon in Deer Lodge, where he had said many times, his normal life had begun, and where his parents are buried. In accordance with Ed’s wish, a Memorial Service with luncheon to follow will be held on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, at 11 a.m. in St. Mary’s Center, Deer Lodge, Mont.