Norine Evelyn Goddard June 1, 1935 - May 22, 2023
Norine Evelyn Goddard, 87, of Deer Lodge, passed away at Continental Care in Butte on May 22, 2023. Norine was born in Chadron, Nebr., on June 1, 1935. She was the third of four children born to Walter and Mary Munkres. The family moved to a farm in the Deer Lodge valley when she was in first grade. She attended school at St. Mary’s Academy and Powell County High School, plus one year of high school in California. Norine married Don Goddard when she was 17 years old. They had three children - Tom, Jan and Dawn. Family life involved a lot of team work to allow Norine to attend four years of college at Montana State University to become a registered nurse. After gaining work experience, she took advantage of an opportunity for more schooling to specialize in psychiatric nursing. This was her fondest area to work. Norine was a member of the Immaculate Conception parish in Deer Lodge. Her husband Don preceded her in death in 2003, plus a daughter, Mary, age 2, in 1957, as well as her parents; brothers Melvin and Harold Munkres; in-laws, Floyd and Barbara Goddard, Chet and John Goddard, Jody Fink, Helen Irey; and numerous nieces and nephews. Survivors include children, Tom (Dana) Goddard, Dawn Goddard, Jan (Bill) Alexander; 12 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; sister Eileen (Al) Kinney; brother-in-law Mick Goddard; sister-in-law Mary Lou Shields; and numerous nieces and nephews. A Funeral Mass will take place at a later date. Memorials in honor of Norine are suggested to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Deer Lodge or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Please visit axelsonfuneralhome.com to leave a condolence or share a memory of Norine.
Teresa Marie Smith June 11, 1930 - May 18, 2023
Teresa Marie Smith, 92, went peacefully to her heavenly home on May 18. She was born June 11, 1930, to John and Marguerite (Hollenback) Rogers in Deer Lodge, the sixth of eight children. As a devoted wife, mom and gramma, she gave her life caring for her family. She married Wayland D. Smith on Nov. 12, 1949; they spent 73 years together and raised 12 children. Her early years were spent on the ranch in Gold Creek. She attended grade school at the Pioneer Wallace School. Her high school years were spent in Missoula at Sacred Heart Academy, graduating in 1948. She gave many years of service to the Cub Scouts and Helena Gold Rush Lions. She was an accomplished seamstress, blessing many with her gift, even cross stitching baby quilts two days before her passing. She loved solving various types of word puzzles. She instilled in her family a love of board and card games of all kinds, and the joy of family time, even staying up to the wee hours of the morning on sister weekend. She will be truly missed by all of us. She is survived by 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, Alan (Shelly) Smith; 34 grandchildren; 38 great grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren and three on the way. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayland, who was called home to the Lord on Dec. 3, 2022; her parents; seven siblings; son Denis; one grandson Chris; and two sons-in-law Rick Rambo and Tim Olsen. Mass will be held in honor of Wayland and Teresa at noon on Thursday, June 22, at the Cathedral of St. Helena, 530 N. Ewing St. A reception will follow in the Brondel Center of the Cathedral. Interment with military honors will follow the reception at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison. Prior to Teresa’s passing, the family had already planned a celebration of life for Wayland on Saturday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Helena (1867 Washington St.). We will still be having that celebration; now for the two of them. We welcome all family and friends to join us on Saturday as well. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Teresa.
Thomas Wayne McElderry November 25, 1950 - April 11, 2023
Thomas Wayne McElderry, 72, was born to Daniel and Jean McElderry in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 25, 1950. He was the third child of seven brothers. After a couple years, the family moved home to Montana. This is where Tom would spend the rest of his life. He lived in many homes between the towns of St. Ignatius, Missoula and Deer Lodge. His final childhood home was with the Smith family in Deer Lodge during his senior year of high school while his father spent a short period working in another state. Tom always liked to stay busy. He would fondly recount the different sports that kept him occupied in his youth, his favorite being wrestling; as well as his jobs in both the hay fields and spud cellars, especially his work at Frank Lovell’s potato farm. His first career was chosen for him when he graduated high school as he was drafted into the military. He proudly served his country in the army and spent part of his service in Korea during the Vietnam Era. After his time in the army was complete, he enlisted in the Montana National Guard and was honorably discharged 20 years later. During that time, he also spent 17 years working at the Phosphate mine near Deer Lodge. Tom enjoyed the physical labor and comradery with his fellow miners. The mine eventually closed, and the company paid for him to go back to school. Tom chose to attend the nursing program at Montana Tech in Butte and graduated in 1995 as a licensed practical nurse. He spent the majority of his nursing career at Montana State Prison, first in the infirmary and then in the mental health department, which he had a passion for. Tom met the love of his life, Kathy, in 1992. He saw her walking to work one day and knew he had to meet her. He got her number, asked her out, and the rest was history. Together they had one daughter, Janay. Tom would often tell people his wife and daughter was the best thing that ever happened to him, though they began to wonder about that when his granddaughter Charlotte was born. He was a very proud grandfather. Serving others brought Tom great joy. He always hoped that through him others would be pointed back to Christ. At the time of his death he worked for the Powell County Council on Aging, driving the community bus to get people to various appointments, served at the local Elks lodge and occasionally cooked for the men’s breakfast at the First Baptist Church. Tom went home to be with Jesus on April 11. He was preceded in death by his father and mother Daniel and Jean McElderry and his brothers Daniel, Glen (wife Terry) and Kenneth McElderry. Tom is survived by his wife Kathy of Deer Lodge; daughter Janay (Garrett) Karnath and granddaughter Charlotte of Butte; brothers Bob McElderry of Omak, Wash., Doug (Roxi) McElderry of Butte and Jeff McElderry of Butte; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on June 3 at First Baptist Church in Deer Lodge.
Ivan Wallgren April 24, 1924 - May 5, 2023
Ivan passed away peacefully just days after his 99th birthday. He lived in Rathdrum, Idaho, for 11 years, but Deer Lodge, where he lived for 58 years, was the place he always considered home. He was born on April, 24, 1924, in Rolette, N.D., to Carl and Lunia Wallgren. Most of his childhood was spent in Cando, N.D., where his dad was a blacksmith. He graduated from Cando High School, but was drafted into the Army to serve in WWII before the graduation ceremony took place. He served in the 25th Infantry Division and was awarded a Purple Heart before returning home in January, 1946. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Education from the State Normal and Industrial College in Ellendale, N.D. A mutual friend introduced Ivan to Diane Hess and they married in 1948. They went on to have two children, Terry and Vicki, then moved to Deer Lodge, in 1954. Ivan taught shop at the Powell County junior high. He retired in 1984 and spent his time skiing, cutting gemstones, researching the family genealogy and restoring old Fords. Ivan and Diane loved going to car shows in the Northwest to show off their restored ’67 Mustang convertible and ’55 fat-fender Ford pickup, and helped host the Territorial Days Rod Run at the Old Prison in Deer Lodge for several years. In addition to the multitude of trophies they took home, they also enjoyed seeing many friends at shows year after year and traveling to visit family. Ivan and Diane were active in St. John’s Lutheran Church and the Elks in Deer Lodge. Ivan enjoyed the friends he made in Rathdrum at Golden Spike Estates, the Rathdrum Senior Center and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Ivan was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, his wife, Diane, and their daughter, Vicki. He is survived by his son Terry – PCHS class of ‘67 (Mary) of Rathdrum; three grandsons: Cory (Holly) Matkin of Jefferson City, Lee (Kirsten) Matkin of Havre, and Brett (Stephanie) Wallgren of Tulsa, Okla.; six great-grandchildren: Michael, Ryan, Wyatt, April, Colter and Harper; one great-great grandson, Reid; and many nieces and nephews.
Karen Beck Vergeront July 9, 1948 - May 13, 2023
Karen Beck Vergeront was born July 9, 1948, to Sam and Betty Beck in Deer Lodge. She was raised as a country kid of the 50s with neighbors, cousins and friends. There were blue skies, horses to ride and gates to open. This was also the time that her Grandma Mary made sure she got to Sunday School and her mom had her take piano lessons from Sister Marianna. She attended grade school in Deer Lodge and went to Powell County High School where she would make lifelong friends. After high school, she attended Flathead Valley College in Kalispell, worked vocational rehab in Bozeman, spent some time in Lewiston, Idaho, and back to Deer Lodge before moving to Polson where she would marry Chip Vergeront. They would live on Tower Road and raise their family in a house that she made into a home. Polson was a good fit for her personality - that she never met a stranger. She would use her piano skills in many ways. She accompanied the Port Polson Players for numerous plays, taught hundreds of students to play the piano; in the Polson Schools she would accompany all grades of choir, and she accompanied many students at district and state music festivals. She played at countless church services and would accompany for memorial services where she would often be complimented by the performer for having the ability to make the songs flow so smooth. In the 80s she attended Cursillo at the Lutheran Camp and for the next 23 years she would serve as a member of the music team at Camp Marshall. When Montana Rock Products employed H2B workers from Mexico, Karen found a new passion, the Spanish language and the Mexican culture. She spent six weeks in Puebla, Mexico, in a Spanish emersion school. Then for a number of years she would travel many a backroad of Old Mexico and spending time in the homes of friends in Hueyotlian, Tlaxcala. As a mother she would say raising kids is like herding cats. She enjoyed each one of them from infants to young adults and now with families of their own. Somewhat like a Mama Bear encouraging and guiding them but when they crossed the line - they knew it. When she reached retirement age, she started substitute teaching at Polson Schools. With her zest for life, she was a remarkable teacher with many teachers requesting her for their classroom. In 2019 she was offered the opportunity to teach music at Valley View and Dayton schools. She really enjoyed putting together her teaching program and was gratified watching students learn. Her students did care for her, and it wasn’t unusual while in a store shopping that a young student would come up yelling, “Mrs. V,” and give her a hug. In February 2021, after a few events, she was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor. With the skill of an incredible medical team and prayer from loved ones, she was able to remain with us for an extra two years, inspiring us to believe we do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Karen was preceded in death by her parents; Dr. Earl and Betty Coriell, Sam Beck, and her sisters Marilyn (Tom) Weingart, Janet (Wayne) Womack. She is survived by her husband, Chip Vergeront; their children, Jerry (Kim) Vergeront, grandchildren Megan and Lee; Marc (Becky) Vergeront, granddaughter Lauren; Tawni (Kirk) Murphy, granddaughter Kylie; Alison (Michael) Pease Vergeront, grandchildren Rosabella and Ledger; and added son Rudy (Lupita) Beristain, grandsons Omar and Victor; and sister Rita Chase; brothers Steve (Sharon) Beck and Randy (Olivia) Coriell. Karen, 74, died on May 13 in her home, surrounded by family and friends. We would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Logan Health in Kalispell, St. Luke’s - Southshore, St. Luke’s - Ronan, St. Joseph’s - Polson, Partners Home Health and Partners Hospice, and friends and members of the Karen’s Crew that kept her in their prayers. A Celebration of Life was on May 20 at the Polson Community Church. A burial followed at Lakeview Cemetery. The family requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions towards a future scholarship in Karen’s name. Please feel free to send monetary gifts to Alison Vergeront at 48 34th Ave. NE, Great Falls, MT 59404. Messages of condolences may be shared online with the family at www.lakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. Arrangements are under the care of Lake Funeral Home.