Janet Elaine Barkhoff August 12, 1953 - October 15, 2022
Janet Elaine Barkhoff, 69, of Deer Lodge died Oct. 15 from medical problems. Janet was born Aug. 12, 1953, in Columbia Falls, Mont. She was the second child of six born to Melvin and Patricia Stevens. She married Art Barkhoff, and they were together for over 40 years. She had two children, Tom Elmose (Angelena) and Erin Barkhoff (Jerry Good). She had three grandchildren: Zoe, Kaley, Jerry. They were the love of her life. They grew up poor children, but Janet was rich with goodness of heart and caring. When they were young their dad would take them to Grammas and Roy’s. Janet would tear into her uncle Roy, so he called her a wildcat. All the family loved her and her stamina. Janet was preceded in death by her father, Melvin Stevens; brother, Daniel Stevens; and her sister, Terry Vorhes. She is survived by her children; grandchildren; mother, Patricia Stevens; three sisters, Cathy Jennings (Steve), Vickie Downard, Christine Phichter; and brother-in-law, Terry Vorhes. We will love you always. She was quite a character. Services for Janet were held Oct. 24. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Janet. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Janet and her family.
Delia Pierce May 8, 1970 - September 26, 2022
Delia Pierce, 52, died Monday, Sept. 26. She was born May 8, 1970. She was a kind and loving sister, daughter and friend. Her great nieces, Abigal Granthum, Ember Seitzinger, and great nephew, Ben, all called her Grandma. She played that role with great pleasure. Delia was a loving mother to her nephews Cody Grantham, Christopher Pierce and niece, Jessica Pierce. She loved them as though they were her own. Delia enjoyed cooking, entertaining her family and camping. She is survived by Elizabeth (Betty) Stone, Tina Pierce, Joseph Pierce, Karl Pierce, Irma Marrell, Patrick Pierce and Rosa Pierce, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest Sr. and Evelyn Pierce; sister, Eva Pierce; brothers, Evan, Ernest Pierce Jr, Blaine, Cliff; and her beloved niece, Jessica. She is, and always will be loved.
Veronica Candace “Khandi” Gersitz Tomsheck October 29, 1963 - September 27, 2022
Khandi, 58, was born October 29, 1963, in Elizabeth, N.J., to Gerald and Maureen Gersitz. In 1964 the family moved to Deer Lodge to be closer to family. Khandi was raised in Deer Lodge and worked in different places in her earlier life. While living in Butte with her sister Debi, Khandi saw an ad to become a nanny to two children, as she loved children dearly. Khandi and Debi drove to Sunburst to become a nanny and never left. While in Sunburst, she met her future husband, Rex, and they were married Feb. 28, 1987. They became a family of four. Rex had two children, and so did Khandi. They also became foster parents and adopted two beautiful girls. Their family was complete, with a total of six children. Khandi worked several jobs – group homes, assisted living and home health. She was passionate about caring for others, especially the elderly and disabled. She also worked in restaurants and successfully ran a restaurant. One of Khandi’s deepest passions and greatest memories was camping with family. Every year in July, the family camp trip, hosted in different locations around Montana, brought Khandi much joy. She got to spoil her grandbabies and enjoy being around family. The family also enjoyed the frybread that was Khandi’s specialty. This love of camping was sparked by her mother, as she took her family camping as often as possible. Khandi’s dream was to become a camp host, and in the summer of 2022, Khandi got her dream job at Dry Wolf campground in the Little Belt Mountain area. Her dream was cut short due to illness. Khandi was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) on Sept. 13, and died Sept. 27, with family by her side at Peace Hospice in Great Falls. Khandi leaves behind her loving husband of 35 years, Rex Tomsheck. She is survived by her six children, Jeremy (Amber), Ed (Kris), Cindy (Briar), Sheena (George), Jessica and Satyn; fourteen grandchildren; two great-granddaughters with a third on the way; her brother, Karl (Heidi); her sisters, Debi (George) and Suzi (Don); many nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family members. She is preceded in death by her mother, Maureen Walter; brother, Mark Moody; grandparents, Clyde and Fern McCleary Harvey and Emma Rodgers; and her in-laws, Robert and Ethel Tomsheck. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Lutheran Church of Sunburst and can also be viewed on the church’s Facebook page. Thank you for all the well wishes and cards the family has received. They are very appreciated during this time. Condolences can be made to www.asperfh.com.
David Alvin Thomas, Sr. July 11, 1922 - October 7, 2022
David Alvin Thomas, Sr., 100, father of three, former Navy sailor, hard-rock miner and bartender, died a peaceful death Oct. 7 while living at the Southwest Montana Veteran’s Home in Butte. He is survived by his three children, Danny Griffith Thomas (Wasilla, Alaska), David A. Thomas, Jr., (Ogden, Utah) and Carol White (Newcastle, Wyo.). He has four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Dave attended Butte High School and later, in January 1941, he joined the Navy. While aboard the USS Helena, he survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Guadalcanal and the sinking of the Helena in the Battle of Kula Gulf. A few minutes before the Japanese attacked Pear Harbor, Dave was swabbing the deck of the Helena with another sailor. The balmy Honolulu weather allowed the men to mop in their skivvies. When the general alarm sounded, his shipmate said he was going below deck to put on clothes. Dave stayed on deck. His shipmate didn’t return. An exploding torpedo had killed him. After the Helena was sunk at Kula Gulf, Dave, who couldn’t swim, floated for five hours at night in the oil stained ocean before being rescued. Japanese subs were circling, listening for the cries for help from floating, often wounded, sailors. One of the Japanese ships shelling the Helena, the Amagiri, was the same ship that rammed John F. Kennedy’s PT 109. Later, at a medal ceremony Dave got to shake General Douglas McArthur’s hand. McArthur, seeing him in a tee-shirt and shorts, promised him a new uniform. He was happy about this news until he learned he had to pay for the new clothing. Later he was part of a PT boat crew stationed in the Aleutian Islands. In November 1946, with the rank of gunner’s mate first class, he was honorably discharged. Dave mined coal at Klein, chrome at Nye, phosphate at Garrison. He tended bar in Roundup, Bozeman, Lima, Dillon, Sheridan and Deer Lodge. He loved bartending. He said he loved hearing people’s stories. When tending bar in Dillon, he liked to listen to the sheep ranchers and their herders talk about their business deals and their lives. He gave bottles of cheap wine to the down-on-their luck herders. He took in abused dogs from PAWHS, the Deer Lodge humane society. He trained them. He showed the dogs that they could be loved and that they now had nothing to fear. We thank Mary Newman, Dave’s caretaker, the apple of his eye, for her friendship and emotional support to him. His landlords, Bonnie and Issie Juarez, cared for him when Mary couldn’t. Dave Littlefield did dozens of plumbing and electrical repair jobs on his trailer. Dennis Pritchard checked in on him and hauled firewood to his porch. Kenny and Arleta Fenner made him homemade soup when he was sick. Amy, his favorite bartender at the Corner Bar, insured he’d plenty of firewood. We thank the staff at the Butte Veteran’s Home. Registered nurses Mary and Julie, CNAs Codi, Jordan and Candy professionally nursed Dave and guided us through the dying process. We thank former vet’s home CNA Nicole and home-care specialist Emma for coming in on their off-duty time to attend to Dave. The friendliness of Butte people is boundless. Dave often didn’t see eye to eye with his children. In life and so often in death, things can become messy, they can be complicated. Norman Maclean, in “A River Runs Through It,” said everyone will look upon a loved one and ask the same question: “We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.” Nightly, Dave prayed for his children. He loved them completely, the best he could love, without complete understanding. Dave wanted a party and not a funeral. So on his 101st birthday, July 11, 2023, there will be a military honor ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery and later an all-you-can-eat party. Both events will be announced in the Silver State Post in June.