Casey Lynn Gates was born on July 9, 1978, in Norton, Kan., and passed away at the age of 44 from stroke complications on March 17, 2023, in Missoula. Casey was the beloved husband of Amber Gates (née Smith of Deer Lodge) and devoted father to Brielle Gates; little brother to Lori Starnes (Royce City, Texas); and Rusty Gates (Malaga, Wash.); cherished uncle to Aislin Sparks, Trevor and Sarah Gates; and a friend to many. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Sharon Gates (Winfield, Kan). Casey spent his childhood on a farm in western Kansas. His family eventually relocated to Winfield in his eighth-grade year. He graduated from Winfield High School with the Class of 1997. After graduation, Casey lived in Arkansas City, Kan., and worked at Calmar in Winfield, while attending Cowley College and earning associates degrees in Criminal Justice and Machine Tool Technology. He married Amber on Dec. 18, 1999. The couple moved to El Dorado, Kan., in 2003. Casey joined the staff at El Dorado Correctional Facility in 2008, eventually working on the Special Security Team. In 2012, the couple moved to Deer Lodge where Casey worked at Montana State Prison for two years. He later worked for Boeing for five years before transitioning to facility maintenance at Deer Lodge Medical Center in June of 2021, where he worked up to the time of his passing. When Casey wasn’t working at a job or around the house, he spent time traveling, fishing, and hiking with family or cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs. He had just completed his bucket list item of seeing his team win an AFC Championship and was planning to check off a 2,100 mile through-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2024. Although Casey’s time with us was cut short at just 44 years, he lived a full life with 23 of those as a husband and four as a father. We can learn from his life to love family deeply, work hard, dream dreams and follow those dreams passionately.
Donald William Briggeman November 3, 1924 - March 13, 2023
Donald William Briggeman, 98, passed away Monday, March 13, 2023, in Deer Lodge. He will be remembered as a person who deeply cared for people and for the impact he made as an educator and administrator of schools. Don was born on Nov. 3, 1924, in Deer Lodge at St. Joseph Hospital. He was raised on the family ranch at Jens along with his brothers, Bernard and Martin, and sisters, Frances and Carmel. Don attended high school in Deer Lodge before enlisting in the Air Force in 1943. He served in the South Pacific and returned home from the war in 1945. He was working at the Conoco gas station in Deer Lodge when he first saw Georgia Davis passing by on her way to work. They eventually met, had a first date at a fireworks display on July 4th, 1947, and married in 1949. They were together for the next 66 years until Georgia passed away in 2015. Don continued his college education in Missoula and Dillon before starting his career as a teacher in Deer Lodge. From 1951-1969, he worked as a junior high and high school English and Social Studies teacher, and then as high school principal. He was a charter member of the Deer Lodge Jaycees during that time and was also instrumental in the early construction of the Deer Lodge Golf Course. Don was an avid golfer and played into his late 70s. Don and Georgia moved to Billings in 1969, and he eventually took on an administrative role at the newly formed Career Center for the local high schools. He retired in 1979, and the family moved with their six-year-old son, Vince, back home to Deer Lodge. Their house, south of town, became a hub for family gatherings on both sides, as well as the meeting place for Vince’s friends over the years. Don is survived by his son, Vince (Yael Livny) of Portland, Ore., and his grandchild, Georgia. Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on May 6, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 605 Clark St. in Deer Lodge. Rite of Committal with Military Honors will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery. A luncheon will be held at St. Mary’s Hall following the services. Please visit www.axelsonfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Donald.
Cecilia “Cece” Burgess August 30, 1945 - March 2, 2023
On the evening of March 2, 2023, Cecilia “Cece” Burgess, 77, passed away at the Community Hospital of Anaconda due to complications from cancer. She was born in Deer Lodge on Aug. 30, 1945, and was the fourth child of Velva and Ora Bain. Cece spent her childhood in Gold Creek before moving to Garrison as a teen. She married her husband, Bob Burgess, on June 5, 1964, and the next year, on April 15, 1965, welcomed their son Clifford to the world. Four years later they decided to make the trek with their son from Montana to Oregon where they would spend the next 40 years building their lives. There Cece saw the birth of her two granddaughters, Shauntee and Shelby, and was able to watch them grow from babies to adults. She devoted her life to being a good wife, mother, grandma and nana. If Cece wasn’t spending time with her family, she enjoyed doing crafts, especially sewing as well as gambling - she loved a good bingo hall. In 2009 Cece and Bob decided it was time to come home to Montana, and they did just that, buying property just outside of Garrison and building their dream home where they could live their retirement in the place they knew they were meant to be. Cece is survived by her husband, Bob; son Cliff Burgess; granddaughters Shauntee and Shelby; sisters Mary Canary, Joy Tuttle, Lee Bain; and her great grandson, Hunter Burgess. Please visit the longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family condolences or to share a memory of Cece. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home has been privileged to care for Cece and her family.
Margaret Ellen Channel August 19, 1944 - March 19, 2023
Margaret Ellen Channel, 78, passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, March 19, 2023. She was an avid lover of music, and enjoyed playing piano and writing songs. She was born in Harlowton on Aug. 19, 1944 to Vern and Marion Jenks. She is survived by her brother, James Jenks in Salt Lake City; her daughter, Andrea Fabian; and granddaughters Alyssa and Natalie Fabian of Pittsburgh, Penn. No services will be held at the wishes of the decedent. She will be lovingly missed by all who knew her caring and compassionate ways.
Jeffrey “Jeff” Jay Johnson June 2, 1953 - March 6, 2023
Jeffrey “Jeff” Jay Johnson, 69, of Deer Lodge, passed away on March 6, 2023. From an early age, Jeff loved fast and risky things. He has a long history with a love for and use of hang gliders, ultralight airplanes, his Harley and Corvettes. No matter how many times he fell and crashed, he always got back on or up. That’s what his family and friends loved about him. He is very much missed. Jeff is preceded in death by his parents John Johnson and Lillian Janosko. Jeff is survived by his wife Lorna; his sons John, Jared, Matthew and Justin; sisters Barbie Pierce and Aimee Kniaziowski; 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Private family services will be held at a later date. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Jeff. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Jeff and his family.