Bill Ohrmann once wrote in a letter to a friend, “I will be pretty well satisfied if the spirits of my faithful dogs will remember me.” Without speaking for those creatures, it’s certain that Bill’s humor, creativity, energy and kindness will be remembered by the humans who were fortunate enough to know him.
William Robert Ohrmann was born January 2, 1919, in a farmhouse outside Philipsburg. Soon after, his parents, August and Flora, moved the family to Ovando, where Bill’s first memories formed: Nights by kerosene lamp light, entertaining himself with toys his father carved out of wood from apple boxes; days of school and labor on the ranches his parents leased.
In 1933, the family purchased a ranch two miles south of Drummond, where Bill lived the rest of his life. His parents died of separate illnesses in 1938, leaving Bill in charge of the ranch. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps, primarily stationed in Northern Australia and Port Moresby in New Guinea.
In 1944, Bill met Phyllis Sliter, a schoolteacher from Minnesota. The two married in 1948 and settled back into life on the ranch, where they raised three children, Susan, Jane and John, and ran registered black Angus cattle until Bill “retired” in 1996.
All along, Bill quietly explored his creativity, producing hundreds of woodcarvings, bronze sculptures and other three-dimensional works. After he stopped ranching, Bill immersed himself in painting, ultimately producing more than 250 canvases that explored his deep-seated beliefs about justice and spirituality, his views on history and his visions of the future, and his impassioned concern for the plight of oppressed creatures and cultures of the earth. He drew inspiration from poetry by his friend, John Haines, and other great thinkers of history, from Buddha to Blake, Thoreau to Twain.
In 1999, 40 of Bill’s paintings were celebrated in a touring exhibition organized by the Missoula Art Museum. Since then, his life and work have been honored in a documentary film, “Be Thou Always As a Guest,” by Shawn O’Brien; a coffee table art book, “Tainted Revelations,” by Joe Ashbrook Nickell; and many newspaper and magazine articles. Bill’s gallery and museum at his home on Highway 1 south of Drummond — recognizable by the menagerie of welded steel animal sculptures in the yard and the “Usually Open” sign on the barn — remains a popular stop for locals and visitors alike.
Bill passed away on November 19. He is preceded in death by his parents; his three sisters, Jerry Hollar, Anita Shawen and Marjorie Benander; his daughter Jane Hultman; and dozens of beloved dogs, cats, horses, and Molly the mule deer.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Phyllis; daughter Susan (Randy) Peterson of Drummond; son John and his partner, Myrlin Rasmussen, of Drummond; grandchildren Callie (Peter) Klempay of Stafford, Va., and Ty Hultman of Philipsburg; and great-grandchildren Joey Klempay, Reagan Klempay, Haylee Hultman and Hanna Hultman.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation in Bill’s name to Five Valleys Land Trust (P.O. Box 8953, Missoula 59807; email@example.com) or Footloose Montana (P.O. Box 8884 Missoula 59807; firstname.lastname@example.org) or a charity of the donor’s choice. No funeral will be held; instead, the family suggests sitting by a quiet stream or having a conversation with friends in Bill’s honor. You could talk about wild places, your favorite art or a good dog you once knew. Bill would like that.
Michael William Denty
Michael William Denty, born October 22, 1941 in Deer Lodge, died in his winter home in Palm Desert, Calif. on November 22, 2014 with his partner, Suzanne Lintz Ives and family bedside. He managed Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia for 20 years which was later severely complicated by an acute bone marrow mutation. He was hospitalized for several months following a broken hip.
A 1959 graduate of Powell County High School in Deer Lodge, Mike went on to join the National Guard. He attended Montana State University and entered a Lafayette Oregon Trappist monastery where he was a monk for two years. He received his BS in philosophy at The University of San Francisco in 1970 and achieved a PhD from Notre Dame in 1975 where he also served as a teaching and graduate assistant.
Mike was a Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at a small church-related liberal arts college, Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from 1976 to 2003. He was most proud of his achievement in creating and implementing a three-year program of cultural immersion at the De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, where Aquinas students spent a fall semester with the native Blackfeet tribe. Admired by his brother Blackfeet, they named him “oohkotok,” or rock because of his fascination with the earth and his stable nature.
He was a member of Medical Ethics Committee at Spectrum Health Grand Rapids from 1992 to 2002, and since the early 70s, he was a member of the Sierra Club, promoting protection of the wilderness, protecting nuclear power, disputing and arguing with mining, logging and other special interests who polluted water and land. He favored forest growth protection and animal management.
Post doctoral studies included years of involvement in the Institute for Deep Ecology.
Mike and his wife, Charlotte, raised two sons, Sean and Devin, while Mike built his first house in Michigan. He retired to his native Montana where he acquired land and built his second home near Philipsburg.
Mike was a Renaissance Man, a devout questioner of all things; a book collector; wood worker, furniture builder and carver; fly fisherman; Irish dancer; arms trained specialist; historian; explorer; philosopher; loyal friend and exemplary family man.
He is survived by his love partner, Suzanne Lintz Ives of Deer Lodge and Palm Desert; the mother of his sons, Charlotte Stewart; Sean and his son, Gabriel; Devin, his wife, Darla, and sons, Evander and Logan. His only surviving brother, Tim and wife Francine and their family make their home in Deer Lodge. Mike also leaves many relatives in the West and East and devoted and loyal friends.
A memorial service will be held at the end of July in Deer Lodge culminating with his final wish, that his ashes be spread on the Continental Divide of the United States.
Jenni Dawson passed away Sunday November 23, 2014 at the Deer Lodge Care and Rehab formally known as Colonial Manor.
Jenni was born to Warren and Beverly Weer in Williston, N. D. on September 24, 1954. The family later moved to Deer Lodge where Jenni graduated from Powell County High School in 1972. She later graduated from Warm Springs State Hospital School of Practical Nursing in 1976 acquiring her LPN license. Jenni worked as an LPN at the Colonial Manor for 18 years. On August 12, 1977 Jenni married Clintt Dawson and together they had two children, Beverly (Dawson) Masters and Robert Dawson.
Jenni loved to read, whatever she could get her hands on she would be seen with a book in hand and a glass of ice to chomp on. She enjoyed playing cards; cribbage was her game giving up points just to have points to peg with. She loved to take care of her residents, Christmas was her favorite time for everyone she took care of, and loved to play Secret Santa. She treasured her time with her grandchildren, Chayne Masters and Channen Masters. You could walk in on her and Chayne having a intense conversation if they won the lottery what would they do and how the money would be broken down for taxes and so on. You could walk in she and Channen would be sitting drawing pictures, talking up a storm about anything and everything.
She was preceded in death by her father Warren Weer, mother-in-law Jean Dawson and sister–in-law Margaret Dawson. Jenni is survived by her husband Clintt Dawson, daughter Beverly Masters and son Robert Dawson all of Deer Lodge. Mother Beverly Weer and sisters Linda Weer and Sharlene (Greg) Muller. Two grandchildren Chayne and Channen Masters and countless aunts, uncles and cousins.
Per Jenni’s request there will be no services.
Michael James McWright
Michael passed away on November 27 after a brief illness. He was born on July 5, 1950 in Mandan, N. D. to parents Frank and Catherine McWright. Growing up he attended numerous schools and in 1968 graduated from Arvada High in Colorado.
In 1969 he would move to Key West, Fla. and join the United States Navy. He served his country for four years serving on the USS Kretchmer.
In 1973 he started his career in the National Park Service which would last over 32 years. He started his service in the NPS in the Denver regional office for two years before settling down in Deer Lodge where he devoted over 30 years restoring, rebuilding, and creating the National park known as Grant-Kohrs Ranch. As Facility Manager, he over saw every aspect of Grant-Kohrs. He loved the work and the people he worked with.
In 1990 he married his best friend and the love of his life Suzy. Together they bought an old school house spending years working together to make it the home of their dreams. To complete that dream in 1992 they added a son Dylan.
In 2005 Michael would retire from the NPS to finalize his dream of building a wood working shop. As a master Woodworker and carver in his own right he built all the homes furniture as well as restoring the home with his wife.
Michael was a loving father and husband regaling his family with dinner theater as well as endless jokes and pranks. He loved his animals, opening his home to dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish and turtles and would frequently watch as deer, rabbits, and birds enjoyed the yard.
Michael loved to laugh and make others laugh and he will be missed by all who knew him. Mike leaves behind his wife Suzy, his son Dylan, his sisters Kathy Barton McWright of Colorado and Pat (Ed) Burggraf of Washington; inlaws Tony Bosch, Marty Bosch (Kim), Dale Bosch (Lori) and Sherry Gloven (Stan) as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Frank and Kay, sister Nancy and inlaws Molly and Jerry.
The Memorial Service will be held at Jewell Funeral home on Thursday, December 4 at 11 a.m.
Montana State Prison officials are investigating the death of a state prison inmate Monday evening. Inmate Rory Johns #16912 was found in his cell unresponsive in a high security housing unit at approximately 7:30 p.m. Prison medical staff was immediately dispatched to the unit, but Johns was unresponsive. He was transported to Deer Lodge Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. The incident is under investigation and an autopsy will be performed by the state medical examiner. No foul play was suspected.
Rory Johns was born 8/1/1957, he was 57 years old.