Death Notice: Rebecca Brown
Rebecca Munden Brown, 67, of Deer Lodge, died on Sunday, September 27, 2020 in her home in Opportunity, of natural causes.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is entrusted with Rebecca’s funeral arrangements. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
Gene R. Burt
Gene R. Burt, lifelong Powell County resident and rancher, passed from this life September 14, 2020.
Born May 20, 1926, Gene attended area schools before joining the Navy at age 17 to fight in WWII. After his discharge, Gene worked for the Forest Service leading a pack train to stock fish in high mountain lakes. He then worked as a ranch hand for an area rancher before building his own ranch from the ground up with nothing but spit and grit.
He was married to Bette for 53 years before her death in 2011. The couple was the epitome of American hard work, determination and sacrifice, building ranches in the Avon and Deer Lodge valleys.
Gene was the last of four brothers, Clayton, Everett and Russell Burt.
His son, Tim Lacy, also preceded him in death.
Gene is survived by daughters Mickie (Dan) McQueary and Marianne (Mike) Saylor, both of Deer Lodge, and daughter-in-law Laura Rodriquez (Bob) of Billings. Eight grandchildren include Troy and Jeff McQueary of Deer Lodge, and Megan Francisco of Butte, Aaron Lacey of Oklahoma, Jon and Brian Lacey and Marlena Lanini all of Billings, and Shanna Lewis of Livingston. He was also blessed with 15 great-grandchildren.
As was Gene’s request, no services will be held. We will remember a useful and rewarding life; a cowboy’s dream come true.
Betty Shirley Van Etten Lewis
Monday, September 7 after a morning filled with blueberry pancakes and baseball, Betty Shirley Van Etten Lewis took her last earthly breath. Her warm, soft, silly, brave, song filled, and loving heart quieted and she made her journey to her heavenly home surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
Betty was born November 16, 1925 in an upstate New York winter into a joyful large family of meager means. She graduated from Corning High right before WWII ended, married Ronald Lewis and braved a move far away from all she knew to the southern Arizona desert, and then again 20 years later to Western Montana. Her career of nearly 50 years in executive administration spanned corporations, public schools and government. She sang all the time, took piano lessons at 80, co-authored a book at 94, and not only survived, but thrived through several health challenges. Her best work beyond her vocation was raising four children and actively grandparenting her six grands and eight greats.
She was taken from her Montana home three and a half years ago by a fluke accident which left her living in the care of her daughters Denise and Donna in their respective states. She came home to Montana in June.
We know her heavenly welcome included those who journeyed before her: her parents Omar and Marguerite Van Etten, husband Ron, son John Joseph, sisters Wanda, and Pauline, brothers Bobby, Billy and Scoop, friends Gloria, Carol, Bill and Gail. She is survived by her children Denise and Carl Premschak, Daniel and Claire Lewis, David and Deborah Lewis, and Donna and Bill Jones; her grandchildren Hunter, Mylisa and Jesse, Evan and Bre, Lillie, Emily and Joe, and Dylan; and her great-grandchildren Charlotte, Erik, Lisette, CJ, Lyla, Kole, Skyler and Kadyn; her sisters Marguerite Hill, Norma Wilson, Helen (Vern) Madison, Alicia Lewis and numerous nieces and nephews.
Betty was laid to rest at a family gathering at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge on September 12, 2020. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Anaconda Pintler Hospice or one close to your heart, and bowl a line, knit for someone, or sing your favorite song. All we ask of you, is forever to remember her as loving you.
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer a condolence or share a memory of Betty. Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Betty and her family.
Darlene Yvonne Mahagin
Darlene Yvonne Mahagin, of Deer Lodge, has passed away.
She is laid to rest at Hillcrest Cemetery—in the plot closest to the access road of the Masonic Hill there. Her gravestone is adjacent to those of her parents—Raymond Hale, and Emma Louise Hale—both longtime Deer Lodge residents.
Darlene is survived by her brother, David Hale, and sister-in-law Pat, from Ennis, brother Larry Hale, and sister-in law Rosemary from Phoenix, Ariz., nephews Mike and John and nieces Susan and Julie, from the Larry Hale family, sister Margaret Hale from Portland, Ore., son Mark Mahagin from Kennewick, Wash., son Tim Mahagin of Vera Cruz Mexico, and son Dennis Mahagin, of Deer Lodge. She also leaves behind a brother-in-law, Mark Dahl, from Butte, nephews Matt Summerfield of Dallas, Tex., David Hukill from Manchester, N.H., and Lance Hukill, of Denver. Also left behind is a daughter-in-law, Sabrina, from Caracas, Venezuela, and two grandchildren, Samantha and Joseph, of Caracas.
Darlene Mahagin was a graduate of Butte High School, where she was the head majorette in the marching band. She worked for a time at the FBI in Denver, before marrying Donald Mahagin, of Butte—who passed away in 1995.
The couple raised three sons in Kennewick, Wash. Darlene then went back to college, and earned a Bachelors Degree from Eastern Washington University. Darlene was a gifted pianist, and sang in the renowned national group, Sweet Adelines. She also taught English as a Second Language to students at Eastern Washington University. A truly kind and caring human being, Darlene will be missed by those who were fortunate enough to know her, and to love her.
Claire (Burgess, Forsman) Woodward
Claire (Burgess, Forsman) Woodward, 83, passed away peacefully at her home on September 6, 2020 after a long battle with Alzheimers.
Claire was born in Dillon, on February 19, 1937 to Clarence and Meryl Burgess. Oldest of four, the family moved to Anaconda when she was young, where she would graduate from Anaconda High School in 1955. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert Forsman, in June 1955. They settled in Anaconda and raised their five children in the same 3rd St. neighborhood. A stay at home mom until the youngest started school, she then joined her husband as a school bus driver. A job she enjoyed for nearly 20 years.
Claire and Robert’s marriage ended and in 1979 she started a new chapter in her life when she met and married Alan Woodward. They would eventually settle in Seeley Lake and purchase a mechanic repair shop. In 2000 they would retire to Deer Lodge, spending winters in warmer climates and the summers camping.
Claire was preceded in death by her parents, nephews Billy and Jason Pickett and granddaughter Teddi Forsman. She is survived by her husband, Alan Woodward, her siblings; brother Jack Burgess of Billings, sister Marilou (Wye) Bisch of Anaconda, sister Barb (Pat) Mulcahy of Butte. Her five children; Bill (Nancy) Forsman of Deer Lodge, Debbie (Gary) Grubaugh of Helena, Vicki (K.C.) Koss of Vancouver, Wash., Steve Forsman of Helena, and Richard (Angie) Forsman of Deer Lodge. She was also blessed to have many beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
Due to covid-19 there won’t be any services at this time, we will notify if services are scheduled at a later date.
Wilma Jean Greany (Coughlin)
Wilma Jean Greany (Coughlin) passed away at the age of 91 on September 10th, 2020 in Bozeman, surrounded by her loving family.
Billie, as she was called by family and friends, was born in Deer Lodge on August 29, 1929 to William and Hazel (Meade) Coughlin. She was raised in Deer Lodge and graduated from Powell County High School in 1947. Billie attended Western Montana College in Dillon earning a teaching certificate and upon graduation she taught first grade in Thompson Falls.
On November 24, 1949 Billie married Paul Greany in a Thanksgiving morning ceremony in Helmville. In 1950, the couple moved to Deer Lodge where Paul was employed at the phosphate mine and Billie worked at the Registrar’s Office; in 1951 they moved to Drummond, where Paul became a jobber for the Continental Oil Company. Billie was a housewife and mother to four children when she and Paul purchased Miller’s Dry Goods in 1959. Initially located in the Drummond Hotel, they moved the business, Greany’s Dry Goods and Western Wear, west of town and it was coined, “The Biggest Little Store in Montana”. Billie sold everything from fabric and thread to shoes, boots, jeans and western hats. The store was opened six days a week from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. with Billie at the helm, always dressed to the nines!
In 1981, when Billie was 52, she and Paul purchased the former Anthony’s building in Deer Lodge, opening a second store, which Billie operated until she retired in October 2013 at the age of 84.
Billie and Paul raised their four children in Drummond, supporting the many activities of each including football, basketball, track, music lessons, and 4-H.
Throughout her life, Billie epitomized the pioneer spirit of her family, who came to Montana by covered wagon in the 1850’s. She was an entrepreneur and accomplished business woman who ran a successful business for over 54 years, always greeting her customers with a smile and twinkling Irish eyes. She had wonderful business acumen and knowledge of her products; she could size up a customer and make recommendations in a flash.
Billie was an avid and accomplished bowler and participated in league play for over 30 years; she enjoyed playing bridge, had a beautiful soprano voice, sang in the church choir and played the piano and organ. She did the daily crossword puzzle and rarely missed her favorite program, “Wheel of Fortune.”
No matter the weather or the road conditions, she was Paul’s best friend and biggest fan, traveling with him as he pursued his winter sport of chariot racing in Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. “Paul ’n Billie” were said together as one name, reflecting their inseparability. She was always there to lend her support and encouragement and to enjoy the fun and friendship of their many supporters.
Billie was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Paul, brother, Jim Coughlin and sister, Arlyne Paisley.
She is survived by her children, Patrick (Kathy), Augusta; Dannette (Sameer) Merchant, Morristown, N.J.; JD (Deb), Bozeman; Paula (Grant) Savage, Farmington, N.M.; 13 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 19 at St. Thomas Parish in Helmville, MT. Interment will follow at the Helmville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to the Helmville Cemetery, PO Box 90, Helmville, MT 59843 or the charity of your choice.
Alec M. Tolon
On September 3, 2020 the world lost a beautiful soul. Alec M. Tolon lost his life in a tragic automobile accident.
Alec, born June 4, 1995, was the youngest of five siblings, Trever Denny (Sidney Hodgson), Brett Tolon (Marlena Tolon), Christopher Ball (Cecilia Spoon), and Marina Ball. He and his brothers and sister loved each other fiercely. Alec seemed to form a different special bond with each of them and with everyone whose lives he touched.
Anyone who met Alec remembered him; he was just that kind of person. Alec was passionate about many things; he loved gaming and spent a lot of time on-line with his friends. Alec just finished building his own computer and was very proud of his work. Alec was working on getting an education in computer programming. Alec loved the outdoors and he enjoyed being in the mountains and shooting his guns.
Alec was blessed to have a very large family; he is survived by his grandparents Lois Tolon, Fred and Bernice Verlanic, his parents Dan Tolon, Kam Verlanic and David Ball. His four remaining siblings and nieces and nephews whom he loved deeply, Alaiya, Bentley, Braydon and Addilyn, Jacob and Adam. They will miss his unconditional love and guidance as they grow. He will be deeply missed by his lifelong friend Tony Bosch and his very large extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins who will also think of him often and fondly.
We are all so thankful to everyone who has reached out to us in this horrible tragic time. We are deeply saddened that we will never get to see what Alec could’ve done with his life and for this world. We will forever miss him.
Services will be announced at a later date. The family will be hosting a get-together September 20 at 2 p.m.
Death Notice: Margaret (Marge) Sowa
Funeral Services for Margaret (Marge) Sowa will be held Saturday, September 26, 2020 at St. Thomas Church in Helmville. Rosary at 10:40 a.m. with Mass at 11 a.m. Burial following the service at Helmville Cemetery. Lunch at Helmville Community Hall.
Samuel Jennings Chappelow
Samuel Jennings Chappelow, 88, passed away on August 3, 2020. Sam was born on June 4, 1932 in Independence, Mo., to Edwin and Eva Chappelow.
He graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1951. In November of 1952, he was drafted by the Army and was stationed in Austria.
He attended Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, graduating with an Associate degree in 1959.
It was at Graceland where he met the love of his life, Marilyn Eliason. Sam married Marilyn on December 28, 1958, two children were born to this union: Keith and Joylyn.
In 1954, he became an ordained Deacon, he later became a priest, then a pastor at Deer Lodge, and became an elder in the Community of Christ. Sam continued his education at the College of Eastern Montana from 1960-1962. He was a lumber grader for 12 years and then copper smelter for six years.
In 1984, Sam, Marilyn and Joylyn moved to Independence, Mo., making it their final home. He had a passion for making ceramics, adult coloring and reading good books. Sam was known to everyone in the community as a very sweet, loving man who loved hugs and his dogs.
He is survived by his two children Keith (Karen) and Joylyn Chappelow; four grandchildren, Michael (Aimee), Brent (Josh), Elizabeth (Cameron) Kulhanek and John; two great-grandchildren; adopted daughter Donna; and many loved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Marilyn Chappelow; siblings Edwin Chappelow, Ester Friend, and Mary Dyer; and parents Edwin and Eva Chappelow.
Due to Covid-19 limitations, a memorial service will be held at a later time. In his honor, contributions to the East Independence Community of Christ Church would be appreciated.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.speakschapel.com (Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel (816) 373-3600)
Laura Marie Shafford
LAURA MARIE SHAFFORD, 87.
Laura passed away in Deer Lodge on August 24, 2020.
Laura was born in Anaconda on September 10, 1932 to Patsy D. Lorello and Gladys M. (Frazer) Lorello. The middle child and only girl of three children, Laura didn’t like school and dreamed of being a mommy. That was immediate on August 16, 1951 when she married Elwood Shafford who had two children. Over a 20 year period, Laura bore six boys.
Whether it be kids, mechanics, or butchering, she loved being a part of the clean-up crew. Laura enjoyed the family camping/fishing trips to the mountain lakes west of Deer Lodge. All were invited to the Italian family dinner nights. She was an integral part in raising many grandchildren. Later, she cleaned houses for elderly friends and faithfully cared for her mother and husband during Alzheimer’s. She always woke up in a good mood and looked for the good in everyone.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Richie and Howie, husband Elwood, sons Jerry, Jack, and John, stepson Billy and granddaughter Jodi. She is survived by her sons Jim, Joe, and Jed (Karrie) stepdaughter Susie (Marty) Mavrinac, nine grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. At Laura’s request, no services will be held. Memorials are donor’s choice.
Laura Marie Shafford
Laura Marie Shafford, 87.
This is written in the honor of my Mother, Laura Marie Shafford. She was born into this world September 10, 1932 and passed August 24, 2020 at the age of 87. She is the daughter of Pat and Gladys Lorello and the sister of Howard and Richard Lorello. Mom raised six boys. Mom was survived and preceded by many. She was one of the greatest ladies ever to walk the grounds of this Earth. And most importantly the greatest Mother anybody could ever have! A Mother that gave her undivided attention to every sibling. Every meal was a home cooked meal for the entire family and for any friend or neighbor who stopped by. She also chose the best and most honored man that most have ever known. Together they made the most out of life, in an era of time when most every innovative items were hitting the store shelves. Dad was a working man who worked for the Anaconda Company so most all of those items made it to our home. Making Mom’s life the most fulfilled and completed life a Mother could ever live. On my Dad’s days off we were definitely out camping somewhere in the mountains. On his working days Mom loaded the car with picnic baskets and off to the Columbia Gardens or Fairmont we went. When the Gardens closed I don’t think we missed a park or special event that the community had to offer. There was no rest for such a great Mother. She was for sure and most importantly our Mother, but she worked as well. She worked at the Galen hospital laundry for years, she worked house keeping at Fairmont Hot Springs. In her later years she cared for her Mother and then Dad who both suffered with Alzheimer’s disease. Mom in her latest years suffered from dementia. I cared for her and kept her in her home for as long as I possibly could. The most difficult decision I had ever made was to take her from her home and put her in a care facility. Just as hard was not to be able to honor her wish for her to die in her home in her own bed due to the fact I was not her power of attorney. But I know you are an understanding Mother and I hope the sun, the moon, and the stars take you to the best place ever! I LOVE YOU MOM AND I HOPE YOUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE INFINITE TAKES YOU TO A WONDERFUL PLACE!!!
With love, your son Joe