Doris Jeannette (Hanni) Blakeley
On Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, Doris Jeannette (Hanni) Blakeley — a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend — passed away at the age of 89 from natural causes at the Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana.
Doris was born on July 16, 1932, in Butte, Montana, to Ahti and Minnie Hanni. She joined her older brother Gene and five years later, her brother Donald was born. The family resided in Butte before later moving to Virginia City, Montana, where Doris graduated high school.
It was in high school where Doris met the love of her life, Jack Blakeley. They eloped at the courthouse in Livingston, Montana, on July 7, 1950, when Doris was 17 years old. The couple resided in Virginia City, Montana, where they welcomed five children — Arlene, Donna, Jim, Pete and Jake — between 1952 and 1967. They would later welcome their sixth child, Zeke, who was born in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1969 and Doris called Deer Lodge home for the remainder of her life.
Doris valued family above all and will be remembered for her fun and amazing Thanksgiving dinners. She looked forward to this holiday and enjoyed hosting family and friends with open arms and a bottle of homemade peppermint schnapps.
When her children were younger, she would joyously cheer from the stands during football and basketball games — oftentimes cheering louder than any other parent. She loved her children dearly and was so proud of each of them. She continued this enthusiasm when she watched and cheered on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Doris loved to have a good time and was known to be the life of the party. She liked to include everyone and would quickly turn strangers into friends. She loved to celebrate, dance and laugh the night away. Her laugh was infectious and her red lipstick smile would light up the entire room. There was never a doubt that if Doris was having a good time, so were you.
After her husband Jack passed away in 2009, Doris was quite lonely and found comfort in the friendships she formed with her two daughters, Arlene and Donna. Besides spending her time with family and friends, Doris loved her cat Tommy. Together, they would watch reruns of the “Friends” TV series. Tommy would give Doris a peck goodnight and in the morning wake her with a pounce on her chest.
Doris was preceded in death by her husband Jack Blakeley; her son Jake Blakeley; her daughter Arlene Marshall; her grandson Ethan Blakeley; her father Ahti Hanni; and her mother Minnie Hanni.
She is survived by her daughter Donna (Bill) Beierle of Deer Lodge; her sons Jim (Sharon) Blakeley of Deer Lodge, Pete (Mary Rose) Blakeley of Salmon, Idaho, and Zeke (Trish) Blakeley of Butte, Montana; and her grandchildren Vince Shelton, Michael (Michelle) Blakeley, Darren (Kym) Shelton, Jenni Marshall, Michelle (Lee) Garrett, Josh (Vicki) Blakeley, Mindy (AJ) Collins, Steven Blakeley, and Perry Blakeley.
She is also survived by her great-grandchildren: Dylan Keith, Leanne (Patric) Higle, Garret Shelton, Kiya Shelton, Hallie Blakeley, Jaiden Meagher-Marshall, Devin Shelton, Parker Blakeley, Wyatt Blakeley, Luscienne Homer, Olivia Garrett, Carter Garrett and Ace Collins.
Honorary pallbearers will be Vincent Shelton, Michael Blakeley, Darren Shelton, Josh Blakeley, Perry Blakeley and Steven Blakeley.
A gravesite ceremony will be held on Friday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, Montana. A celebration of life will follow at the Elks lodge in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Vernon Fred Woodruff
Vernon Fred Woodruff, age 67 of Deer Lodge, Montana, fell asleep in Jesus’ arms on Saturday, Oct. 23, in Spokane, Washington, after suffering a massive stroke. Vernon was also known as Fred to his friends and Woody to his confidants.
Fred was born to Alice and Vergil Woodruff in 1954. He was sent to the military at age 17, where he served six years and acquired his nickname Woody. Fred did many things throughout his life — including logging and truck driving — but his true passion was being a mechanic. He received his trade degree as a mechanic in 1979.
Fred married Juli Lemon in 1980 and together they raised three children, Sosha, Brittany and Skylar. He owned Woody’s Auto Repair in Goldendale, Washington, for 10 years before he and Juli divorced. Fred moved first to Ogden, Utah, and then finally settled in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Fred’s joy was to minister to others, to spend time in the mountains with his son and to love on his grandchildren. Woody was known for his love for others. He welcomed anyone into his home and was known for giving great advice.
Fred was preceded in his death by his parents; his daughter Felicia; and his many uncles, aunts and cousins. He was survived by his sisters Patricia and Carolyn; his brothers Ed and Daryl; his ex-wife Juli; his daughters Sosha (Larry) Duff and Brittany (Josh) Ramirez; his son Skylar (Nicole) Woodruff; his granddaughter Topangia; and his grandsons Keilynn, Grayson and Kaynan.
A memorial will be held at a later date.
Dorothy Ann Rice
Dorothy Rice, 81, left us on Nov. 10 with her loving husband of 64 years by her side.
She was born on Nov. 24, 1939, in Anaconda, Montana. She graduated from Anaconda High School in 1957, and married the love of her life, Butch Rice, that same fall. They initially made their home in Anaconda but eventually moved to Deer Lodge and then finally, in their retirement years, to the Lost Creek Canyon. It was a beautiful setting where they enjoyed nature and frequent wildlife sightings.
Dorothy was very outgoing and made many friends wherever the couple lived. She worked for many years at the registrar’s office in Deer Lodge and then as a clerk for the Powell County High School until her retirement in 1994.
She was an excellent hostess and homemaker — she and Butch hosted many holiday family gatherings at their home, many of which turned into all-nighters! Dorothy was passionate about her many interests in life. As a gifted artist, she was an active member of the Deer Lodge Art Club and volunteered at the Old Prison Museum Gift Shop. She also belonged to the Copper Village Museum and Art Center and the Mountain Village Quilt Guild. Being an ardent cook and collector of recipes, Dorothy was naturally a member of the Lost Creek Recipe Club.
She was an avid reader and talented seamstress, making many beautiful quilts for her family and friends. Dorothy always enjoyed a competitive game of cards, especially pinochle or bridge — of which she usually was the victor. She was occasionally, teasingly, accused of “bending the rules” to her advantage!
Willing to pursue almost any activity, in her younger years she enjoyed bicycling, golf and downhill skiing. Later Dorothy participated in water aerobics, which led to her involvement with the Wet Hens Red Hat Society group. She suffered from many health complications throughout her life but maintained a winning spirit.
Dorothy was proceeded in death by her mother Ann Hoolahan; her father Jack Huffman; her stepfather Ray Hoolahan; her brother Bob Huffman; her parents-in-law Clint and Lillian Rice; and her brothers-in-law Lyle Rice, Tom Rice and Gene Burkey.
She will be sadly missed by her husband Butch; her sisters Kathy Cloninger and Betty Lou (Louie) Vaughn; her brother Shaun (Carol) Hoolahan; her brother-in-law Corky Rice; her sisters-in-laws, Wilma Burkey, Wanda Rogers, Lillian (Ron) Haffey, June (Merle) Rice-Craner, Phylis Rice, Lizzi Rice and Carol Rice; along with many nieces, nephews and friends.
A celebration of Dorothy’s life was held at the First Presbyterian Church on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Deer Lodge Art Club, the Copper Village Museum and Art Center or the charity of your choice. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
Kathryn Johns, 84 of Deer Lodge, died on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at the Deer Lodge Medical Center. Services are pending. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.
My dear brother Richard was born June 19, 1943, and he passed away peacefully on Oct. 29, 2021.
Richard spent most of his life in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was a keno manager. He married Sharon Ellis and enjoyed living in Las Vegas, raising his family, landscaping his property and driving his convertible in the scorching heat. Richard had three daughters: Lori Ann, Cristie Louise and Dixie Lyn.
Richard was preceded in death by daughters Cristie and Dixie. He is survived by daughter Lori Hauxwell; sister Marsha Young; grandsons Kyle and Devon; granddaughters Courtnee and Jordan; and great-granddaughter Lylah Alllison. Richard’s ashes will remain in his sister’s care.
Ethan Ryan Bossert
Ethan Ryan Bossert passed away in Deer Lodge, Montana, on Oct. 30, 2021, at the young age of 19.
Ethan was born on Aug. 8, 2002, in Livingston, Montana, to Kevin and Gwynne Bossert. He came into this world a fighter, four weeks earlier than he should have and weighing only 5 lbs. 5 oz. — small but mighty.
Ethan attended all of his K-12 years in the Deer Lodge and Powell County school districts. He graduated from Powell County High School with the Class of 2020.
Ethan had a genuine love for life and adventure. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, snowboarding, football and basketball. He also had a creative side that led him to love art and woodworking classes. He was never afraid to get his hands dirty working on his car and his truck when it was needed.
During his high school years, he was a wide receiver for the Wardens. He excelled in basketball his senior year, hitting his stride just in time. The Wardens reached the state games, winning the first game at a state tournament since 1983. Those were some of his proudest moments and his team achieved it by being great friends led by great coaches and never giving up the fight. He lettered for three years in both sports.
After graduation, Ethan’s adventurous spirit continued to soar, leading him to attend MSU-Gallatin in Bozeman and major in aviation. During the last 14 months of life, he earned his private pilot’s license and, most recently, earned his instrument rating. This love of flying earned him the nickname “Wing Man.” That name holds true to all of his friends.
Ethan was the true light in any room, a friend to everyone he met. He was the class clown, a notorious goofball and the best big brother, son, grandson, nephew and cousin. Since birth, he was known to everyone as the simple letter “E.” His closest friends later changed this to “E Money,” a perfect fit to his personality.
He was preceded in death by his grandmother Robyn Jacobs. He is survived by his parents Kevin and Gwynne, and his little brother Liam Bossert, of Deer Lodge; his grandparents Eugene and Dianne Bossert, of Park River, North Dakota; and Bernard and Evangeline, of Parker, Arizona. He is also survived by aunts, uncles and cousins Kory and Julie Bossert (Jameson, Ella); Kelly and Julie Bossert (Karter, Jackson, Peyton); Marisa Jacobs (Taylor, Fischer, Conner); Christin and Jake Thibodeau (Antawn, Evalynn); Molly and Chris Hall (Mia, Cortlend, Lauren); and William and Kelsea Jacobs (Piper).
Ethan’s final resting place is at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. Cleared for Take Off Pilot Bossert!
Memorials in honor of Ethan may be made in his name to the Warden Booster Club (P.O. Box 845, Deer Lodge, MT 59722). Donations will be used for scholarships and the Powell County athletic program.
Services were held on Sunday, Nov. 7, at Powell County High School.
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Ethan.
Kenneth Eugene Fenner
Kenneth Eugene Fenner went to be with the Lord on Oct. 31, 2021. Kenny was born in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, on June 4, 1938. Kenny wandered to Rudyard, Montana, at the age of 17 after attending a barn dance in Crary, North Dakota.
Kenny spent two years in the Army 101st Airborne Division as an army paratrooper. He then married Arlita, spent a short time in Anaconda and moved to Deer Lodge. Kenny worked at LP Lumber for 35-40 years and retired as an expert saw filer. Kenny was an avid softball player and bowler. Kenny was also a master of the chainsaw, ice fishing and driving the girls’ basketball bus to a Charley Pride 8-track featuring the song “Kaw Liga” with everyone singing along!! Kenny was a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge #1737 and a longtime member of the city council of Deer Lodge.
Lastly, Kenny was FAMOUS for his baked goods, always providing his favorite people the best of his buns, cinnamon rolls and cookies. Kenny was an amazing human, husband, friend, helper to anyone, father and worker — he will be greatly missed.
Kenny is survived by his wife Arlita of 60 years; daughters Gwen (Rod) McRae of Polson, Montana, Mindy (Perry) Miller of Deer Lodge, Montana, Hallie Sewell of Belgrade, Montana; eight grandchildren Kory (Ashlynn) Dyk, Christopher (Tara) Dyk, Lisa Dyk, Tyler Dyk, Shawn Miler, Ryan Miller, Hannah Sewell, and Seth (Khetri) Sewell; three great grandchildren Fynnly Dyk, Scout Dyk and Mack Dyk; sisters Judy Streiffle and Mary Lou McLean; and brother Gary Fenner.
The family suggested that memorials in honor of Kenny be made to the Deer Lodge Elks BPOE #1737 (P.O. Box 777, Deer Lodge, MT 59722). A funeral mass will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (605 Clark St. in Deer Lodge). Military honors will follow mass.
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Kenny.
Christian “Gene” Ronnemose
Christian “Gene” Ronnemose, age 80, of Deer Lodge, Montana, passed away on Nov. 2. Services are pending at this time. Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Gene.
Gayll R. Best
Heaven was blessed with a beautiful angel on Nov. 5, 2021, when Gayll R. Best joined her mother and father there. Gayll was the daughter of Helmer J. Lundgren and Ora M. Mosleth. She had one brother, Daryll Lundgren.
Gayll graduated from Butte High School in the Class of 1956. Following graduation, she worked at the Metals Bank, where many friendships were made. Later she met Raymond C. Feldt, and they eventually married. The pair moved to Helena where Gayll worked for Seaboard Finance Company. Together they owned the Spirit Shoppe and the Capri Lounge. They had one daughter, Debbie, before divorcing in 1969.
Gayll married Walter E. Best on July 30, 1970. Together they owned and ran Wally’s Place in Deer Lodge. They had two children, Heidi and Ty. They both left the bar business, moved to Butte and then later relocated to Silver Star. It was in Silver Star that Gayll created a beautiful country paradise for her family.
Gayll was preceded in death by her parents Helmer and Ora Lundgren; and her husband Walter E. Best.
She was survived by her brother Daryll Lundgren; her daughters Debora (Tim) Hansen and Heidi (Scott) Bernhardt; and her son, Ty J. Best. Gayll had six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. on the Jefferson River in Jefferson Acres in Silver Star, Montana.
Richard (Dick) Hanson
Richard (Dick) Hanson gained his angel wings on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at Helena’s St. Peter’s Health Hospital surrounded by his family.
Dick’s journey of life started on Jan. 11, 1964, when he was born to Duane and Carol Hanson in Deer Lodge, Montana, as the third of four children. He was born with many challenges, but he never let it hinder his spirit and always had a contagious laugh and smile.
At a very young age, he was at the Shodair Children’s Hospital in Helena undergoing many surgeries on his feet and having therapy. His family would bring him home on Friday afternoons and return him on Sunday evenings. At the age of 11 he started walking. After this time, and with his Mother’s persistence with the school, Dick was able to attend school. He went all the way through high school and graduated with the Powell County High School Class of 1983.
After graduation, Dick moved to Helena and became a resident under the care of West Mont. He lived in several of their group homes for 38 years until his time of passing. During this time, Dick participated in the Montana Special Olympics and received medals and ribbons. He loved listening to loud music, playing tricks on the staff, pinwheels or anything that spins, going for rides on the interstate — and he had great love and compassion for his resident friends.
We are so appreciative of the West Mont staff for all of the love and support they have shown Dick over the years. He had a special way of bonding with many of them, and they loved him unconditionally and became his family. Managers Lora and Amy made a promise to his Mother Carol when she was passing in 2019 that they would take care of him to the end. They never wavered on this promise, and we are forever grateful. Thank you so much!
Dick is survived by his siblings Duane and Yvonne Hanson of Deer Lodge; Debbie and Jim McOmber of Seeley Lake; and Rocky and Kim Hanson of Deer Lodge; as well as his nephew Christopher McOmber of Seeley Lake; his niece Chelsie and Nick Hansen of Great Falls; his Aunt Georgia Spence of Missoula; his great nieces and nephews; and numerous cousins.
He is preceded in death by his father Duane, his mother Carol and his nephew Josh McOmber.
While you were here, it was our job to love and protect you. Now that you are in Heaven, please be our guardian angel and watch over us. Rest in peace Dickie, know that we will miss you immensely but that you will remain in our hearts forever. Love you!!!
Memorials in his memory may be made to West Mont in Helena, to the Montana Special Olympics or to the charity of your choice.
Family and friends are invited to gather for a celebration of life on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, at the First Baptist Church (127 Sam Beck Road, Deer Lodge). A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. and the service will start at 11 a.m. Interment will be held at the Hillcrest Cemetery with a reception to follow at the Deer Lodge Elks Lodge. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family, or to share a memory of Dick.
Ethan Ryan Bossert
Ethan Ryan Bossert, age 19, of Bozeman and formerly of Deer Lodge, Montana, passed away on Oct. 30, 2021.
There will be a 1 p.m. funeral service on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Powell County High School gymnasium (709 Missouri Ave, Deer Lodge). The public can visit with Ethan’s family before the service starting at 12 p.m. A graveside service will follow at Deer Lodge’s Hillcrest Cemetery.
The family asks that memorials in honor of Ethan be made out to the Powell County High School’s athletic department. Checks can be made out to “PCHS Athletics” and sent to:
ATTN: Bossert Memorial
709 Missouri Ave
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Ethan.