Gene R. Burt
Gene R. Burt, lifelong Powell County resident and rancher, passed from this life September 14, 2020.
Born May 20, 1926, Gene attended area schools before joining the Navy at age 17 to fight in WWII. After his discharge, Gene worked for the Forest Service leading a pack train to stock fish in high mountain lakes. He then worked as a ranch hand for an area rancher before building his own ranch from the ground up with nothing but spit and grit.
He was married to Bette for 53 years before her death in 2011. The couple was the epitome of American hard work, determination and sacrifice, building ranches in the Avon and Deer Lodge valleys.
Gene was the last of four brothers, Clayton, Everett and Russell Burt.
His son, Tim Lacy, also preceded him in death.
Gene is survived by daughters Mickie (Dan) McQueary and Marianne (Mike) Saylor, both of Deer Lodge, and daughter-in-law Laura Rodriquez (Bob) of Billings. Eight grandchildren include Troy and Jeff McQueary of Deer Lodge, and Megan Francisco of Butte, Aaron Lacey of Oklahoma, Jon and Brian Lacey and Marlena Lanini all of Billings, and Shanna Lewis of Livingston. He was also blessed with 15 great-grandchildren.
As was Gene’s request, no services will be held. We will remember a useful and rewarding life; a cowboy’s dream come true.
Betty Shirley Van Etten Lewis
Monday, September 7 after a morning filled with blueberry pancakes and baseball, Betty Shirley Van Etten Lewis took her last earthly breath. Her warm, soft, silly, brave, song filled, and loving heart quieted and she made her journey to her heavenly home surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
Betty was born November 16, 1925 in an upstate New York winter into a joyful large family of meager means. She graduated from Corning High right before WWII ended, married Ronald Lewis and braved a move far away from all she knew to the southern Arizona desert, and then again 20 years later to Western Montana. Her career of nearly 50 years in executive administration spanned corporations, public schools and government. She sang all the time, took piano lessons at 80, co-authored a book at 94, and not only survived, but thrived through several health challenges. Her best work beyond her vocation was raising four children and actively grandparenting her six grands and eight greats.
She was taken from her Montana home three and a half years ago by a fluke accident which left her living in the care of her daughters Denise and Donna in their respective states. She came home to Montana in June.
We know her heavenly welcome included those who journeyed before her: her parents Omar and Marguerite Van Etten, husband Ron, son John Joseph, sisters Wanda, and Pauline, brothers Bobby, Billy and Scoop, friends Gloria, Carol, Bill and Gail. She is survived by her children Denise and Carl Premschak, Daniel and Claire Lewis, David and Deborah Lewis, and Donna and Bill Jones; her grandchildren Hunter, Mylisa and Jesse, Evan and Bre, Lillie, Emily and Joe, and Dylan; and her great-grandchildren Charlotte, Erik, Lisette, CJ, Lyla, Kole, Skyler and Kadyn; her sisters Marguerite Hill, Norma Wilson, Helen (Vern) Madison, Alicia Lewis and numerous nieces and nephews.
Betty was laid to rest at a family gathering at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge on September 12, 2020. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Anaconda Pintler Hospice or one close to your heart, and bowl a line, knit for someone, or sing your favorite song. All we ask of you, is forever to remember her as loving you.
Please visit www.buttefuneralhome.com to offer a condolence or share a memory of Betty. Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Betty and her family.
Darlene Yvonne Mahagin
Darlene Yvonne Mahagin, of Deer Lodge, has passed away.
She is laid to rest at Hillcrest Cemetery—in the plot closest to the access road of the Masonic Hill there. Her gravestone is adjacent to those of her parents—Raymond Hale, and Emma Louise Hale—both longtime Deer Lodge residents.
Darlene is survived by her brother, David Hale, and sister-in-law Pat, from Ennis, brother Larry Hale, and sister-in law Rosemary from Phoenix, Ariz., nephews Mike and John and nieces Susan and Julie, from the Larry Hale family, sister Margaret Hale from Portland, Ore., son Mark Mahagin from Kennewick, Wash., son Tim Mahagin of Vera Cruz Mexico, and son Dennis Mahagin, of Deer Lodge. She also leaves behind a brother-in-law, Mark Dahl, from Butte, nephews Matt Summerfield of Dallas, Tex., David Hukill from Manchester, N.H., and Lance Hukill, of Denver. Also left behind is a daughter-in-law, Sabrina, from Caracas, Venezuela, and two grandchildren, Samantha and Joseph, of Caracas.
Darlene Mahagin was a graduate of Butte High School, where she was the head majorette in the marching band. She worked for a time at the FBI in Denver, before marrying Donald Mahagin, of Butte—who passed away in 1995.
The couple raised three sons in Kennewick, Wash. Darlene then went back to college, and earned a Bachelors Degree from Eastern Washington University. Darlene was a gifted pianist, and sang in the renowned national group, Sweet Adelines. She also taught English as a Second Language to students at Eastern Washington University. A truly kind and caring human being, Darlene will be missed by those who were fortunate enough to know her, and to love her.
Claire (Burgess, Forsman) Woodward
Claire (Burgess, Forsman) Woodward, 83, passed away peacefully at her home on September 6, 2020 after a long battle with Alzheimers.
Claire was born in Dillon, on February 19, 1937 to Clarence and Meryl Burgess. Oldest of four, the family moved to Anaconda when she was young, where she would graduate from Anaconda High School in 1955. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert Forsman, in June 1955. They settled in Anaconda and raised their five children in the same 3rd St. neighborhood. A stay at home mom until the youngest started school, she then joined her husband as a school bus driver. A job she enjoyed for nearly 20 years.
Claire and Robert’s marriage ended and in 1979 she started a new chapter in her life when she met and married Alan Woodward. They would eventually settle in Seeley Lake and purchase a mechanic repair shop. In 2000 they would retire to Deer Lodge, spending winters in warmer climates and the summers camping.
Claire was preceded in death by her parents, nephews Billy and Jason Pickett and granddaughter Teddi Forsman. She is survived by her husband, Alan Woodward, her siblings; brother Jack Burgess of Billings, sister Marilou (Wye) Bisch of Anaconda, sister Barb (Pat) Mulcahy of Butte. Her five children; Bill (Nancy) Forsman of Deer Lodge, Debbie (Gary) Grubaugh of Helena, Vicki (K.C.) Koss of Vancouver, Wash., Steve Forsman of Helena, and Richard (Angie) Forsman of Deer Lodge. She was also blessed to have many beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
Due to covid-19 there won’t be any services at this time, we will notify if services are scheduled at a later date.