Mary Dorene Erickson Courchene
Mary Dorene Erickson Courchene passed away September 29, 2014. She was born July 24, 1928 in Deer Lodge and graduated from Powell County High School in 1946. She attended college at Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Ore. where she obtained a degree in Religious Education. She then worked as a youth director at St. Johns Christian Church in Portland.
Dorene next moved to Ames, Iowa where she worked as the Christian Education Director and Campus Minister. She continued her education in Missoula where she received a Master’s Degree.
She taught school in Lander, Wyo., Cut Bank and Harlowton in Montana, and Aberdeen, S.D. She also taught high school at Sand Point, Alaska, a remote fishing village on the Aleutian Island of Popof.
Next she went to teach college level English at the Rocky Boy Reservation near Havre, where she met and married Dick Courchene.
After retiring she moved to the family home in Deer Lodge where she was active in the Christian Church, occasionally giving the sermon. When the congregation dwindled until it was no longer feasible to maintain the church, she worked diligently to get the property sold.
Dorene liked to travel and at one time she went to Finland to meet relatives from her father’s side of the family. She liked to write and corresponded with many friends and family on a regular basis. She tried emailing but shortly gave it up, preferring hand-written letters. A favorite time during her retirement was when former students, especially from Sand Point, would stop in Deer Lodge to visit with her. She loved old English Literature and liked to study the geology of the West and Northwest.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mary and Emil Erickson of Deer Lodge, brother Martin of Great Falls, and ex-husband Dick Courchene. She is survived by her brothers Clif Erickson of Seattle and Glenn Erickson of Anchorage, Alaska, and numerous nieces and nephews.
June Crosley Getchell
June Crosley Getchell, formerly of Deer Lodge, passed away peacefully on October 11, 2014 in Colville, Wash.
June was born in Dallas, Tex. on June 19, 1920 to Sarah Rae Wells and Fred Crosley. She was raised on a farm during the Great Depression in Halfway, Tex. She attended grade school in Halfway, Tex., high school in Plainview, Tex., and majored in journalism at Texas Tech - graduating in 1942. She also received a Teaching Degree in Montana.
June married Winfred (Windy) Getchell on June 6, 1947 in Missoula. Together they had two children, Ronald and Robyn.
In 1961, the family moved to Deer Lodge from Missoula. While living there, June worked as a receptionist/secretary for several years prior to teaching. June taught grade school in Deer Lodge for 18 years, one year at the Montana State Prison, and two years at the Shelton Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska.
June enjoyed gardening (her favorite flowers were red roses), camping, travel, and family. She was involved in church activities, serving the Lord tirelessly. She enjoyed an array of activities, i.e., painting, crocheting, knitting, and quilting. She was an avid reader and published a book about her life growing up in Halfway, Tex.
June is survived by her two children: Ronald (Deb) Getchell of Beaverton, Ore. and Robyn (Mike) Ludeman of Colville, Wash. Five grandchildren: Jason (Jena) Ludeman, Heather (Mark) Moffitt, Russ (Celia) Getchell, Sarah Ludeman, and Natalie Getchell, five great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Windy; parents, two brothers, one sister and infant daughter.
A celebration of June’s life was held on Tuesday, October 14 at the Parkview Assisted Living Center in Colville, Wash. Gravesite services will be held at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, on Thursday, October 16 at 10 a.m. Memorial Contributions may be made to Hospice of Spokane, P.O. Box 808, Chewelah, Washington, 99101.
James Carl Spalding
James Carl Spalding passed away unexpectedly on August 27, 2014 at the California home of his daughter and granddaughters. His passing occurred less than one year after his wife of 52 years, Roylene (Roy) Shink Spalding passed away on September 2013 in Olympia Washington. “Jim” Spalding was born on September 3, 1940 in Deer Lodge, to parents Dennis Spalding and Mary Scharf Spalding. Jim attended grades K-8 at St. Mary’s academy and graduated from Powell County High School in 1958. After graduation Jim joined the U.S. Navy on the “Buddy” system with five other Powell High School graduates and attended Boot Camp in San Diego, Calif. During boot camp Jim was selected to serve in a leadership position as squad leader. He was only one of four out of over 100 recruits in his company to qualify for the Under Water Demolition Team Training, the forerunner of the today’s Seal teams.
Jim served on the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Oriskany on the west coast until his discharge in September of 1962. In that same year Jim married Deer Lodge native Roylene “Roy” Shink and they took up residence in Deer Lodge while Jim was employed at the Anderson Phosphate Mine near Garrison as a contract miner. In 1963 he joined the Montana National Guard to complete his reserve obligation and became a member of the newly formed 19th Special Forces. In 1963-64 he attended the Montana Military Academy and graduated with a commission as 2nd Lieutenant. In 1965 he attended the U.S. Army Parachute Jump School in Ft. Benning Georgia and later the U.S. Army Infantry Officers Course also in Ft. Benning. Later that year Jim attended the U.S. Army Special Forces Officers course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center in Ft. Bragg North Carolina.
In 1966 Jim, Roylene and son Todd left Deer Lodge to pursue a career with the Washington Department of Corrections where his father Dennis was employed as a Sergeant at the Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Jim remained employed at the Washington State Penitentiary and in less than seven years attained the position of Captain. In 1973 he was promoted to an Associate Superintendent position at the Washington Reformatory in Monroe and served in that position until being called to fill the Warden position at the Walla Walla Penitentiary in 1978.
When Jim took over as Warden of the Penitentiary it was one of the most troubled and dangerous prisons in the United States, where escapes, assaults and murders were a weekly if not daily occurrence. Under Jim’s leadership the prison initiated a transition that was recognized nationally and written within national publications and books such as the infamous “Concrete Mama”. In 1981 Jim was appointed as the Deputy Director of Prisons of Washington State and in 1989 he obtained the highest leadership position in the state as Director of Prisons.
In 1993 Jim retired from Washington State after 28 years of service and left with a reputation as a tough but fair Warden and administrator. He was the first to say that his greatest success was in his marriage to Roylene. She stood by him and supported him through the difficult years of his career and was the best partner anyone could ask for.
Directly after his retirement from Washington Jim was appointed the Director of Corrections for the State of Idaho and retired from that position in 2003. In his final years of work he served as a consultant with the Homeland Security Department inspecting prospective jails in the United States for the housing of Illegal immigrants.
Besides his memorable and historical career in the field of Corrections Jim was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and mentor. He is survived by his daughter Lisa (Glenn), son Todd (Becky), five grandchildren Michael, Kelli, Melissa, Joshua and Sarah and two sisters Mary Ann and Denise.
A Memorial Service was held on September 18, 2014 in Olympia, Wash. with full honors from representatives and honor guards from Washington State Department of Corrections, Oregon Department of Corrections, Idaho Department of Corrections and the National Corrections Peace Officers Association from California. The U.S. Army also conducted a flag folding ceremony for the family.