Charles Edward Beck
Charles Edward Beck, 1925-2019.
Charles Edward Beck (Charlie) left this world on the morning of October 6 at the age of 93. Mount Powell loomed at his back as it had for 60 plus years as he farmed and ranched in the Deer Lodge Valley. Charlie was born to Peter L. and Margaret (O’Keefe) Beck on November 20, 1925. His birth occurred at a midwifery on the north end of Second Street in Deer Lodge. In later years he was joined by three sisters, Marge (Shandy), Rita (Morgan), and Helen (Hallingstad). Only Marge survives. Charles was the apple of his mother’s eye. She called him Little Charlie and the name stuck for life. Whenever Charlie misbehaved the sisters remarked “Not our little Charlie.” Charlie received his primary education at a couple of one room schoolhouses, first being Bradley Tech near the family homestead at Beck Hill and later at Finn. He talked of walking to school and skiing when conditions allowed. At the tender age of 10, he was already responsible for tending the family sheep camps in the hills around Avon and Helmville. Later the family moved to Deer Lodge and lived on California Avenue. He worked at the Deer Lodge Creamery as a young man until graduating from Powell County High School at the age of 17. World War II was well underway, but despite his wishes to participate Charlie was granted an agricultural deferment. After high school he and best friends Emmett O’Keefe and Sam Beck worked construction, building highways and learning to be scraper hands.
In 1948 Charles married Rhea Farnsworth and they moved to his parents’ ranch at Helmville, the Spring Creek Ranch. They worked hard, building a new home on the ranch and welcoming their first child Diana (Warner). They had been snowed in all winter, so when delivery date drew close Charles hauled Rhea to Helmville on a horse drawn sleigh. Prior to the arrival of the next child (Pete) they managed to purchase a ranch in the Deer Lodge Valley and moved to the family ranch. Diana and Pete were joined by Charlie’s half-sister Barbara when her parents passed away, and later by younger brother Doug. Rhea passed away in 1982. Charles was known as an excellent farmer and rancher. His proudest achievement in agriculture was growing certified seed potatoes with his two sons in Deer Lodge and marketing them across the Pacific Northwest and into Canada. He was known for having some of the biggest calves in the county when marketing time rolled around.
In 1983 Charles married Karla Sherlock, and they created a beautiful home on Center Street in Deer Lodge. They had many wonderful years together until Karla passed in 2005. The couple wintered in Mesa, Arizona and enjoyed having a respite from the harsh Montana winter. One of Charlie’s final hopes was to return to Arizona for this upcoming winter. He remembered all too well feeding cows with a pitchfork from a horse drawn wagon or sleigh.
He is survived by his children Diana (John) Warner, Pete, and Doug, and half-sister Barbara (Jim) Weis. There are numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Celebration of his life was held on Saturday, October 12 at First Baptist Church, 127 Sam Beck Road, Deer Lodge, MT. Viewing was at 10 am, service was at 11 am. Luncheon followed at the Broken Arrow Lounge, Main Street Deer Lodge.
Laurel Elaine Penner (Denton)
Laurel Elaine Penner (Denton), 58, came into this world March 23, 1961 the youngest of five children to Ralph and Ruth Denton. She grew up in Deer Lodge along with her four brothers. She graduated from Powell County High School at the top of her class in 1979. Laurel met Larry Penner early in life and together they started a family and had many life adventures along the way.
Laurel was a very smart, talented lady who loved life. She was always a ray of sunshine, had the biggest heart and always happy to help anyone but she was never afraid to stand her ground. She had the best laugh and sense of humor. She could make you laugh when you least expected it! She loved having fun and was always willing to try new things. When life presented challenges she would always say “It’s okay” and press on.
She loved being a part of all the special moments with her family, friends from being outside in the country with her horse (Spice), in the mountains with her family having picnics, picking huckleberries, roasting marshmallows, shopping trips, going to drive in movies or hanging out at an after work get together, but most of all were the cherished moments with her grandchildren. She loved being there for her grandkids, didn’t matter what she was doing she always made sure to be there for them, cheering them on in the stands, a member of the PIT crew, having movie nights, traveling to Texas and art projects. As the best grandmother ever, she left behind many precious memories for her grandchildren to carry with them.
Laurel could always be found participating in fundraisers anyway she could. She always was the “go to gal” and popular with the kiddos from selling candy bars, cookies, raffle tickets and popcorn. Her favorite one was the local Missoula radio stations “KyssMass” for kids, she looked forward to that event every year. She was always supportive of her friends and family, no matter what!
After a short unexpected illness, surrounded by her family, Heaven called their angel home on the rainy afternoon of August 15, 2019. She leaves behind three children whom she was very proud of and loved to tell stories about. Melissa (Jerry) Kelly, Heidi (Brant) Pierson, Russell (Alejandra) Penner each of whom carry a part of her with them. Her five grandchildren whom she adored more than anything; Skyla and Ilyana, Tyler, Axel and Olivia, who all made precious memories with her. Her brothers Jeff (Lori) Denton, Ron Denton, and Mike Denton. Her partner in life Larry Penner. Several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
She reunited in death with her parents Ralph and Ruth. Cruising through the pearly gates in a corvette with her brother Barry welcomed with open arms by numerous other family members. She left a lasting mark on all those she met and is deeply missed. Her spirit will forever be a part of everyone she loved.
Death Notice: Donald Joseph Pocha
Donald Joseph Pocha, 80, of Helmville passed away October 10, 2019. The memorial service will be Friday October 25 11am at the Helmville Community Center. Luncheon to follow.