Mary Sue (Andress) Barber October 5, 1961 - November 20, 2022
Mary Sue Barber, 61, of Deer Lodge, Mont., died Nov. 20, 2022. She was born on Oct. 5, 1961, near Seoul, South Korea. Because of extremely difficult circumstances there, her mother placed Mary Sue for adoption, and she was adopted at age 8 by the Andress family of Golden Valley, Minnesota, where she arrived on March 25, 1970. Mary Sue attended school in the Robbinsdale school district (Minnesota) – Sunny Hollow Elementary, Sandburg Middle School and Armstrong High School, graduating in 1980. She sang in choir, participated in vocational technical club and was active at Calvary Lutheran Church. Mary Sue held a variety of jobs in the hospitality and related industries through the years, in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah and Montana. She had one child, James T. Barber, from her marriage to JT Barber. She reconnected with her birth mother and family when they moved to the U.S. In Deer Lodge she found a home and family on the staff at the Safeway grocery store, where she worked for 20 years. She got hugs from little kids and brightened customers’ days with her smile. She won regional competitions for being the best “sample lady” in the business, out-selling everyone on special promotions. Mary Sue had a deep love of nature – the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior in Minnesota, the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Colorado, the mountains and streams near Deer Lodge where she would camp and harvest wild things. She faced many challenges in her life and made it through with remarkable resilience. She had a kind and generous heart and touched so many people’s lives. In her last month of life she was making wild rice soup for a friend who had survived a car accident. Mary Sue was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2021 and lived through a series of aggressive treatments for the next 12 months. Mary Sue was preceded in death by Chong Sun Dollarhide (Richard) and James Andress. She is survived by James T. Barber, Jonithan Barber, Shelby Andress, Gene Dollarhide (Un Chong), Yong Pae Choi (Chong Rose), Liz Andress (Steve Solbrack), Paul Andress (Margot), nieces and nephews – and so many in Deer Lodge who loved her. Private family memorial gathering planned for January in Minnesota. Memorial gifts may be directed to a charity of your choice, in honor of Mary Sue’s generous heart.
Donald Earl Dalton January 18, 1935 - December 1, 2022
Donald Earl Dalton came into this life on Jan. 18, 1935, and left it in the early hours of Dec. 1, 2022. He went gently into that good night just as he wanted, taking his last breath at home on Little Blackfoot River Road, south of Elliston. Born in Golden, Colo., to Robert John Dalton and Ruth Ellen (McIntyre) Dalton, Don spent his youth in Golden and San Bernardino, Calif., working summers with his brothers in family mines and mills in Nevada and Arizona. After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines, he served two years in the U. S. Army posted to Korea. Back home, Don joined his family’s agricultural minerals business, R. J. Dalton and Sons. Over the years he also built and remodeled many houses. Don’s surviving brother, Frank, believes the happiest time of Don’s life was when he moved to Montana in 1985 and mushed dogs with Dave Torgerson. Don spent many nights caring for and training sled dog teams with Dave, often on the road to Kading Campground up the Little Blackfoot River. Those countless training nights led to travels to race sled dogs as far north as Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. With his keen engineering mind and countless skills, Don hand-produced dogsleds that continue to travel moonlight trails to this day. Don was well known and respected throughout the mushing community; his friends spread to the far reaches of North America, only to gather at yearly events, the most notable the Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, which traveled throughout western Wyoming. Don was a fixture at this event for nearly two decades. He later became a grandfather figure to Dave’s children, Maria, Sydnie and Emilie Torgerson. Don was an avid horseman his entire life and liked nothing better than trail rides with friends, astride Cody, his favorite mount, who is now 32-years-old. From his front window he trained his binoculars on the comings and goings of foxes, elk grazing on the mountain opposite his house, and the birds living in, or just passing through, the Little Blackfoot/Telegraph Creek area. Don was the neighborhood Mr. Fix-it, whether what needed fixing was a lawn mower, a dirt bike, a vacuum cleaner, car, truck or snow blower. His green pickup was at the ready to pull other drivers out of ditches and snow banks, night or day. He used his favorite tool, a chain saw, to clear trails, cut up deadfall on the road and to fell many Christmas trees for friends over the years. Surviving Don are his younger brother, Frank, and Frank’s wife Trina, of Riverside, Calif.; Roberta Kay, wife of his late brother Robert, of Tucson, Ariz.; and his only sister, the late Mary Hornsby, who was also of Riverside. Don possessed a kindness that he spread throughout the Elliston area; he supported and touched many lives in our valley community. He loved the Little Blackfoot Valley and those in the Valley loved and cared for Don as well. His family, friends and neighbors, dog and horse will miss him greatly. Don’s parting wish was to “maybe have a little party for me.” A celebration of his life is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Avon MT Community Center, lunch provided by the Avon Café. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Don.
Don Stoecker March 3, 1933 -December 4, 2022
Don Stoecker, 89, was born March 3, 1933, and died on Dec. 4, 2022. He grew up in California, and after serving in the Navy moved to Montana where he worked on ranches in the Big Hole and Philipsburg area. Don developed an interest in birds and became an excellent birder and supporter of Montana Audubon. He established the Christmas Bird Count at Warm Springs, which is still being conducted today. Although Don had no formal training in ornithology, he studied hard and became known as an outstanding birder in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In Don’s later years he lived in his van and followed the birds to Texas in the fall. There he led bird walks at several National Wildlife Management Areas. Each spring he would return to Montana with his friends, “the birds,” during spring migration. Don was a friend and mentor to many birders during his active years of birding. When Don could no longer care for himself, he moved into the IVY retirement home in Deer Lodge where he enjoyed an easy life with someone else cooking for him until his death. He had one sister who remained in California. Don was laid to rest at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Don.
Wayland D. Smith May 7, 1928 - December 3, 2022
Wayland D. Smith died Dec, 3, 2022. He was born May 7, 1928, to Alva and Margaret Smith in Bartlesville, Okla., the oldest of four children. He was a proud World War II Navy Vet with 76 years in the American Legion. He was a Master Electrician, retiring as Electrical Inspector at age 92. He was a member of Knights of Columbus since 1964, being inducted into the 4th degree in 1966, serving as Master from 1989 to 1993. He was also an accomplished craftsman, blessing many with his gift. He was a beloved husband, dad, and grandpa. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Teresa (Rogers) Smith; six daughters, Sharon (Sid) Helgesen, Janet (Tim) Olsen, Linda (Mike) McElderry, Annie (Ron) Ockert, Lisa (Rick) Rambo, Kim (Rocky) Hanson; five sons, Christopher (Debbie) Smith, David (Randi) Smith, Shawn Smith, Michael (Colleen) Smith and Alan (Shelly) Smith; 34 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings, son Denis, one grandson Chris, and two sons-in-law Rick Rambo and Tim Olsen. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled in June 2023. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Wayland.