Derek James LaTray January 10, 1985 - October 3, 2022
Derek James LaTray, 37, died unexpectedly on Oct. 3, 2022. He was born into this world Jan. 10, 1985, in Deer Lodge. He moved to Oregon where he spent the next 14 years with his mom, Terry; his sister, Desiree; and brother, Trace. At 14 he came back to Deer Lodge and lived with his grandparents, Pat and Harold LaTray, before settling in with his other mom, Sheila Zachary. Through his high school years, D.J. spent a lot of time working in the family meat shop until he found his way to Anaconda Job Corps. He graduated with certificates in welding and carpentry. Later on he started working at Montana State Hospital, where he made a lot of friends and enjoyed working with the people there. D.J. was an avid gamer and spent his free time playing Xbox and meeting new friends from all over the world. Dom was his best friend and the perfect dog for him. He was preceded in death by his mom, Terry; grandma Pat; uncle Duck; and aunts, Sandy and Wanda. He is survived by his father, James; grandfather Harold; aunts, Sheila, Jennifer, Lila and Debbie; uncles, Butch and Dale; sisters, Heather, Cassie, Desiree, Dallas, Terilyn, Kirsten and Carol; brothers, Trace, Justin, John and Nathan; nephews, Dominic, Blake and Hunter; nieces, Justice, Hope, Bailey and Paige. He is also survived by his good friend, Martin, as well as countless cousins and other friends. We all saw D.J. for the giant teddy bear with a huge heart that he was. While he could never seem to see his shine, we were all blinded by it. Our world will be a little emptier without him, but our love will never end. Cremation has already taken place and a celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Sheila’s house, 1004 Oregon, in Deer Lodge. It’s a potluck, so everyone is invited to bring a dish and your stories about Derek.
Mary Grayce (Bisch) Hoppe July 3 1930 - September 26, 2022
Mary Grayce (Bisch) Hoppe, 92, came into this world like a little firecracker on July 3, 1930. Her parents, John and Helen Bisch, celebrated when their red-headed baby girl survived the difficult pregnancy. She grew up in constant motion, talkative and independent. She left this world with a hint of red hair on Sept. 26, 2022, at Deer Lodge Medical Center with her children surrounding her during her last days. Being raised on a farm in Cleveland, Minn., gave Mary a strong work ethic and strong arms as she hauled buckets of water into the house. With five brothers and one dear sister, she learned to stand her ground and speak her mind. As a young girl, she entertained her family by reciting the lines and songs of performances she had seen only once. Attending Good Counsel Academy in Mankato for a year of high school was a wonderful memory for Mary. When she returned to Cleveland High School to graduate, her classmates voted her “Best All-Around Girl.” She attended college for a year at Mankato State and then worked as a dental assistant and at Walgreens soda fountain with her brother Harold. One of Mary’s favorite stories was from when she was working a summer job at the Jolly Green Giant Canning Plant. She mentioned to a coworker that one of the workers was very handsome. Her coworker Alvera said, “That’ s my brother.” She introduced them and thus began their journey. Earl and Mary were married, Aug. 15, 1951. When Earl returned from the Korean War, they set up a home in Mankato, where he began his career as a carpenter. Mary’s high energy was put to use as they raised five boys and four girls who became responsible people with not one known outlaw among them. She was a loving, generous mother who was very proud of her children. Mary raised her family in the Catholic faith with Holy water being sprinkled as they left the house. She fiercely defended her children and taught them to stand up for their rights and do the right thing. Not having a driver’s license until she was 47, she got her children to appointments using public transportation, got them to church every Sunday, kept a clean house and cooked delicious meals. Her family appreciated her famous potato salad, bread pudding, chicken n’ dumplings and angel food cake with strawberries. Mary loved to shop and find a good bargain. Her creative side could be seen when she would perform Christmas plays, sing, make bookmarks, cards, decorate cakes, write dozens of letters and an occasional newspaper article. Mary’s outfits were colorful. As an ambitious decorator, she stripped the woodwork and painted the dining room purple, while pregnant. She added special touches to any presentation. In 1975 Earl and Mary packed up the house and kids, and started a new life a mile outside of Deer Lodge. Mary loved many things about Montana: the view of Mount Powell; picking huckleberries, chokecherries and elderberries to make jams and wine; the chickens in the yard and selling their eggs to her many friends; walking the country roads at a fast pace, and small-town life. Once she got her driver’s license and a purple car with the plates, “PRPL LDY,” many opportunities opened up. She took on a career as the Welcome Wagon representative, which was perfect for a friendly lady who liked to chat. She joined the Women’s Club and the American Legion Sunshine Committee. Mary was now able to shop on her own schedule and go to church any day of the week. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was an important part of her spiritual and social life. She loved to sing in church, relax in the Peace Garden with her friends and dress up as a Pilgrim to greet people at the Thanksgiving Feast. On Aug. 15, 2021, she and Earl celebrated their 70th and last wedding anniversary with their children. Earl died Dec. 12, 2021, and she missed him very much. To cheer her up, her children would take her to 4Bs to have some good laughs over coffee and her favorite lemon meringue pie. We will miss her feisty spirit, her long telephone monologues, her wisdom and her humor, among many things. Her words will always be in our mind and her love is forever in our hearts. Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Earl Harry Hoppe; her parents, John and Helen Bisch; her brothers, Harold, Robert, Stanley and Allie Bisch; her sister, Lorretta Curran; and Godmother Grayce Vaughn. She is survived by her children, Allen (Sue) Hoppe in Shoreview, Minn., Mary (Jerry) Stringer in Helena, Connie Girard in Deer Lodge, Gwen Hoppe (Jim Day) in Missoula, Terry (Katrina Gennis) Hoppe in Greenough, Jerry (Marie)Hoppe in Cheney, Wash., Roseanne Hoppe in Anchorage, Alaska, Charlie (Anne-Marie) Hoppe in Sparks, Nev., John (Kirsten) Hoppe in Anchorage; her 100-year-old brother Lawrence Bisch in St. Paul, Minn.; sisters-in-law Dorothy Bisch of Minnesota, and Alvera Carufel in Hastings, Minn. Mary was very proud of her 23 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, some who called her Aunt Wow. Her oldest niece, Faye Bisch, was able to talk to her on her last days. A rosary will be held at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 605 Clark St., Deer Lodge, and a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 29. Burial will take place immediately after the funeral; the reception will follow at St. Mary’s Hall, which is adjacent to the church. Condolences can be sent to 134 Pasture Lane, Deer Lodge, MT 59722. The family would like to thank those who cared for her at her home and in the hospital, and the many community members who greeted her while she was shopping.
David Alvin Thomas Jr. died Friday, Oct. 7 of natural causes while living at the Southwest Montana Veteran’s Home in Butte. A longer obituary is forthcoming.