Char-Koosta News

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For the Record

December 2003 Obituaries

POLSON -- Donnie Ray Anderson, 45, died on Dec. 24, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital here. He was preceded in death by his mother in March 2003. Donnie is survived by his wife Joan (Polson); stepson Vincent (Polson); two sons, Jeremiah and Michael (both of Vancouver, WA); one daughter, Star (Calif.); stepfather Larry Biggs (Texas); and two sisters, Gloria Christianson (Anchorage) and Elynn Muir (Ruidoso, NM). Cremation has taken place and no services are planned.

DIXON -- Doris W. Bennett, 73, died on Dec. 7, 2003, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula of natural causes. She was born Dec. 14, 1929, in Shoshoni, WY. She worked as a waitress at the 4B's Restaurant on East Broadway in Missoula from the time it opened until retiring in 1988. Doris is survived by her sons, Charles Bowers (Salt Lake City) and Timothy Bowers (Stockton, MI); her daughters, Nickie Fontaine (Frenchtown), Wanda Stokes (Dixon), Shauna Baldwin (Missoula), Pamela Cline (Salem, OR), and Princess Taber (Evaro); her brothers, Niles Halley (American Fork, UT), and J.R. Halley (Salt Lake City); her sisters, Melba Marshal and Shirley Halley (UT); 13 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. Private family services will be held at a later date.

RONAN -- Lois Catherine Bissonette, 87, died on Dec. 24, 2003. She was born to George and Nellie Heron Sanderson on July 20, 1914, in Worland, WY, where she graduated from high school. She married Fabian Bissonette on June 3, 1934. They ranched up Six Mile in Frenchtown for more than 20 years, and moved to Ronan in the early '60s. Fabian preceded her in death in 1970. She worked in the Ronan School Lunch Program and retired at age 70. Her interests included needlework, puzzles, reading, and visiting with her family and friends. Survivors include her children and their spouses: Dorothy (Bob) Danforth, Jacqueline (Gayland) Ingalls, Vivian (Bob) Deneault, Deanna Neff, George (Linda) Bissonette, Lynn (Arthur) Bissonette-Berkeley, Norale (Meryl) Young and Twyla Bissonette; 18 grandchildren; and special extended family members LaVerne, Frank, Tim, Tom, Dan, Pat, John and Robert McGreevey (all of Ronan). Cremation has taken place. A memorial service was held Dec. 27 at the Evangelical Covenant Church.

POLSON -- Otto Robert Brueckmann, 86, died on Dec. 25, 2003, from natural causes at St. Luke's Community Healthcare Network in Ronan. He was born July 28, 1917, in South Houston, Texas, to Otto and Ida May Saunders Brueckmann. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Anna Brueckmann, his parents, sisters Sydonia Thompson and Ida Wilson, brother Charles E. Brueckmann, and daughter Irene Brueckmann Johnson. He married Anna Jeanette Elverud in 1947 in Clark Fork, ID. Otto attended school in Pablo before serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Montana. He worked for Boeing in Seattle, did ironwork and mining in Butte, hauled milk for the Polson Creamery, was a flagman and night watchman for the state of Montana working construction on U.S. Highway 93, and later sold tools and cleaning supplies throughout western Montana. Following retirement, he spent much of his time fishing and hunting. He is survived by his wife; their children, Edward Brueckmann and wife Susan (Pablo), Robert Brueckmann and Roy Brueckmann (both of Polson), and Ida Brueckmann Corrigan and husband Garry (Polson); 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Services were held at Pablo Christian Church in Pablo on Dec. 3.

RONAN -- Mary C. Conway, 51, died on Dec. 2, 2003, of heart failure at Missoula's Community Medical Center. She was born Nov. 24, 1952, in Pittsburgh, the daughter of Charles and Marlan (Burke) Conway. Mary's main focus was to assist the developmentally disabled in Montana. She began her mission in Charlo in Sept. 1981, where she taught special education until June 1982. From Sept. 1982 until June 1984, she was the behavior therapist for the Dillon schools. She then moved to Flathead Industries in Kalispell, where she was "Employee of the Year" for 1985 and continued her employment until 1991, when she moved to the Mission Valley where she worked for Mission Mountain Enterprises. She had a special talent working with the autistic and decided to pursue this passion by taking a teaching position in Vancouver, WA, in 1996. She returned to the Mission Valley a year later. She continued to be active in the community until Feb. 2001, when she moved to Pennsylvania. She returned to Montana in October 2003. She is survived by her life partner, Gary Dietrich (Ronan); three brothers, Charles, James and Robert Conway and a sister, Barbara Welsch; numerous nieces and nephews; and her dog Goldie. Memorial services were held on Dec. 13 in Ronan.

POLSON -- Richard E. "Dick" Craig, 72, died from natural causes on Dec. 15, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital here. He was born July 12, 1931, in Pocatello, ID, to Richard M. and Rose Marie (Ringo) Craig. He attended schools in Idaho and Calif. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. In 1967 Dick and his family moved to Gresham, OR, where they bought a grocery store. Dick then became superintendent of Lusted Water District for the next 20 years. He and his wife worked with Youth With a Mission for 17 years, including mission trips to Japan and the Philippines. He also did weekly Radio Free Europe broadcasts into Romania. He started a Laubach Adult Literacy Center, teaching English as a second language at the center there. In 1995 Dick, his wife and oldest son moved to Big Arm, where he enjoyed the diverse pleasures of Montana. He attended Polson Alliance Church. His greatest joy was his sons and their families and he always looked forward to big family gatherings. Richard is survived by his wife Dena; sons David Craig, Jim Craig, Richard and his wife Susan, and Kevin and his wife Cheryl; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Dec. 27 at the Polson Alliance Church.

RONAN -- Eva Webber Cross, 105, long-time resident of St. Luke Extended Care Facility here, died on Dec. 20, 2003. She was born on Dec. 28, 1897, in Red Lodge, to pioneers John and Mary Webber. She graduated from Red Lodge High School and worked on the family ranch and in the family greenhouse until she married James L. Cross in 1919. Eva and Jim graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractics in 1921. They went on to raise award winning chinchillas in Red Lodge for many years. The couple lived a varied life that ranged from growing oranges in Florida to operating a malt shop in California. They retired to Polson in 1972. Eva led an active life. She loved to entertain her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with tales of life in early Montana. She worked hard and always maintained she would rather wear out than rust out. In October of this year she realized a longtime dream and took a helicopter ride from Ronan to the south end of Flathead Lake. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and three sisters: Irene Campbell, Alice Johnson and Laura Weaver. She is survived by her son John (Osceola, MO); four grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held at St. Luke Extended Care Facility on Jan. 5, 2004.

CAMAS PRAIRIE -- Sid Cross, 80, died here on Dec. 6, 2003, of an apparent heart attack. He was born March 4, 1923, on Camas Prairie to Dick and Marie Cross. Sid loved Camas Prairie. He farmed the land and raised his family there. He attended grade school in Camas Prairie and graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1941. Except for a short time working in an aircraft factory in California before World War II, Sid lived on Camas Prairie all of his life. Sid married Mary Lou Bras in 1955. Together they had three children: Ben, Carlene and Melanie Cross. They also have 12 grandchildren. Sid was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Herb and Gordon Cross. Funeral services were Dec. 10 at Lonepine Hall.

RONAN -- Olive A. Donaldson, 92, died at St. Luke Extended Care here from natural causes on Dec. 8, 2003. She was born July 3, 1912 at Valley Creek to Eli and Nancy Morigeau. She married William Edward Gefeller and they had five children together. They later divorced. Olive moved to Washington and married Bill Donaldson. They retired at Blue Bay. After Bill died Olive moved to Lakeview Village in Polson. She was a homemaker for most of her life. She was also preceded in death by three sons, William, Robert and James Gefeller. She is survived by two daughters, Susan and Sandra (WA); sister Stella Jamison (formerly of Polson); and several nieces, nephews and other relatives. A memorial Mass was celebrated on Dec. 11 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Polson.

POLSON -- Glen Junior Fulkerson, 61, of Polson, died on Dec. 27, 2003, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula of cancer. Glen, a tribal member, was born on June 20, 1942, in St. Ignatius to Geraldine Dupuis Fulkerson and Ray A. Fulkerson. He was a lifelong resident of Polson and will be remembered by many as a local milkman for Darigold and a one-time co-owner of the Polson Town Pump. During the last 22 years, Glen worked for the Lake County Sanitation Department at the landfill, operating heavy equipment. Glen attended elementary school in Polson and graduated from Polson High School in 1960. He went on to attend Kinman Business College in Spokane for two years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and any moose, elk, deer and fish were invited to join him at the dinner table anytime. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Lorraine and brother Robert DePoe. He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Phyllis; daughter Gerri Fulkerson (Duvall, WA); son and wife Mark and Merry Fulkerson (Edmonds, WA); grandchildren David, Micold, Michelle and Josh; great granddaughter Makyla; and his stepchildren, Tom Kantola and family (Olympia, WA), Chris Kantola and family (Camano Island, WA), Rod Kantola and family (Bothell, WA) and Cory Colbert and family (Chelan, WA). Also grieving Glen's death are his sisters, Jeanie Schwarz (Charlie Griffith) of Polson and Carol Martin (Larry) of Seattle; brothers Douglas Fulkerson (Espie) of San Diego and Bruce Fulkerson (Margie) and family of Spokane; plus many nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held on Dec. 31 at the Grogan Funeral Home. Inurnment followed at Lakeview Cemetery.

RONAN -- Francis "Frank" John Gallagher, 91, died of natural causes on Dec. 28, 2003, at St. Luke Extended Care Facility here. He was born Nov. 26, 1912, in Vallejo, CA, and resided there most of his life. His parents were John and Elizabeth (Attridge) Gallagher. Frank attended schools in Vallejo, graduating from Vallejo High School in 1932. He also attended the University of California-Davis. Frank was a St. Luke Extended Care resident since November 1997. He is well remembered at the facility for keeping the "temperature just right." Rosary services and burial were Jan. 5 in Vallejo. Burial followed at All Souls Cemetery there.

GREAT FALLS -- Leah May Thompson Graham, 66, died on Dec. 6, 2003, at the Hospice House in Great Falls. She was born May 16, 1937, in Valley View, a daughter of George and Flora Thompson of Polson. She grew up in the Valley View area and graduated from Polson High School in 1955. She moved to Richland, WA, and worked in blueprinting at the Hanford nuclear power plant. She married Gary Lee Graham in 1955 and moved to Kansas. She returned to Montana in 1956 and since then had lived in Eureka, Kalispell and Great Falls. She was preceded in death by her father, George William Thompson; sister Freda Sparks; brothers, Bill and Cecil Thompson; and a great-granddaughter. Surviving are her mother, Flora Emma Olsen Thompson (Polson); her children, Marty Graham and Kathy Ronke (Great Falls), and Greg Graham (Pilot Rock, OR); and 11 grandchildren. Private family services were held following cremation.

POLSON -- Betty Margaret (Hall) Heliker, 83, died on Dec. 27, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital here of pneumonia. She was born Feb. 10, 1920, in Ann Arbor, MI, to Charles and Selma Hall. She grew up in Ann Arbor, graduating from high school there in 1937. She graduated with two degrees from the University of Michigan. She and George Heliker were married in 1942. From 1945 to 1952, they lived in Westacres, an experimental community near Pontiac, Mich. In 1955, the Helikers moved to Missoula and lived there until 1978. Betty worked as a counselor for the University of Montana Counseling Center and later as a social worker for the Missoula Elementary Schools. After retiring in 1978, Betty and George lived in Big Sky and Bozeman, before settling on the west shore of Flathead Lake's Polson Bay in 1987. Betty loved Montana. She was an avid skier, backpacker, canoeist, sailor and golfer. Betty is survived by her husband of 61 years, George; son Russell and his wife, Linda Brock (Vancouver, BC); daughter Cindy (Volcano, HA); and a sister, Irene Childs (Denver). Her family plans a memorial service for next summer at Flathead Lake.

RONAN -- E. Lavonne Hughes died on Dec. 8, 2003, of cancer. She was born Oct. 23, 1926, to Kenneth and Edna Disbrow in Round Butte. She grew up there and married Norman L. Hughes on July 6, 1950. They moved to Libby in 1951 and lived there until Norman's retirement in 1984. She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Leonard Disbrow. Survivors include her husband; a daughter, Sharon Vandiver; and eight grandchildren. Funeral services were held on Dec. 13 at Shrider's Mortuary with burial following at Calvary Cemetery in Ronan.

PABLO -- Elizabeth "Rusty" Maroney, 73, died at her home here of natural causes on Dec. 26, 2003. A memorial Mass was celebrated on Jan. 3 at the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission.

RONAN -- Mable Estella "Stella" Parker died at St. Luke Extended Care here on Dec. 25, 2003. She was born to Lon and Catherine (Mathis) Stonehocker near Wyndmere, ND, on Oct. 24, 1905, the third of 10 children. She moved with her family to the Mission Valley in 1913. They traveled by the steamship Klondike to the shoreline east of Polson. They rented part of the Dixon Ranch, setting up a canvas-roofed "dugout" for a two-room home. Stella attended the Ducharme School until the family moved to a farm near Pablo. She completed schooling through the 11th grade at the Pablo schools, then graduated from Ronan High School in 1924. She married Frank G. Parker on June 15, 1927, at Round Butte. They spent the next few years in central California. They returned to Montana in the spring of 1934, settling in the Round Butte area west of Ronan Stella spent her life in the hard work of farm life, enjoying her garden and flowers, especially roses. She was a member of the Round Butte Women's Club. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by three sisters, five brothers, one grandson and one great-grandson. She is survived by her children, Eileen and spouse Roy D. Waugh (Butte), Vivian Aylesworth (Ronan), and Glen Parker and spouse Jeniel (Saratoga Springs, UT); and one brother, Lloyd Stonehocker (Seattle). Additional survivors are 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and seven great great-grandchildren. Services were held at the Ronan Christian Missionary Alliance Church on Dec. 31.

POLSON -- Mabel Roske, 96, died of natural causes on Dec. 5, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital here. She was born Aug. 9, 1907, in White Earth, ND, to Lewis and Bell (Weltha) Anderson. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Joseph, one sister and a brother. She is survived by her son, Donnal Roske (Missoula); her daughter, Barbara Leggo (Nehalem, OR); two grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren. A memorial service was conducted on Dec. 9 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and followed by inurnment at Lakeview Cemetery.

PABLO -- Donald E. Rundquist, 67, died on Dec. 5, 2003, at his home here. He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy (Pablo); son Jamie Rundquist and wife Laura (Oracle, AZ); daughter Debbie Marengo and husband Brad (Polson); four grandchildren; one great-grandchild; three brothers; and one sister. A memorial service was held on Dec. 10 at the Kingdom Hall in Polson.

RONAN -- Hubert Hugh Sager, 77, died here on Dec. 22, 2003, of diabetes. Hubert was born on Jan. 1, 1926, in Le Veta, CO, to Hugh Maurice and Sarah Sager. He spent his childhood in Colorado and Arkansas. At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a Seabee in the South Pacific through World War II. On Jan. 20, 1946, he married Grace Seines of Ronan. Last January they celebrated their 57th anniversary. Hubert retired from Plum Creek Lumber Co. after working there as a certified lumber grader for more than 30 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Virginia Lee Thornton and numerous cousins, aunts and uncles. Survivors include his wife; son Hubert B. and wife Margie (Colville, WA); sons Roland E. Sager (Bowdoinham, ME), and Robert L. Sager and wife Linda Kae (Republic, WA); daughter Ronna J. Walchuck (Ronan); 13 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. Services were held on Dec. 29 at the Pablo Christian Church. Graveside military services followed at Mountain View Cemetery in Ronan.

RONAN -- Bernice "Bonnie" Sias died on Dec. 20, 2003, at St Luke's Extended Care Facility here. She was born Aug. 9, 1912, in Polson to Mary Jane Tallman and Xavier Bisson. She was one of seven children and a member of the Conf. Salish-Kootenai Tribes. At an early age the younger children were sent to Chemawa Indian School in Oregon. After graduation, Bonnie returned to the reservation. She was the last survivor of siblings Ernest "Pat" Bisson, Rita Burge, Elsie Courville, Anna Courville, Alvin "Nick" Bisson and Edith Bisson. In 1936, she married Lyle Peterson. They had two children, Lorraine and Lorin, and lived on the east shore at Blue Bay. Bonnie graduated from the Chicago School of Nursing and worked at hospitals in St. Ignatius and Anaconda, and in Pocatello, ID. At the start World War II, Lyle joined the Navy. When the war was over, they returned to Blue Bay. Not finding a job in Montana, Lyle went to South America to work. The couple later divorced. In 1953, Bonnie married James Sias and moved to Ronan. They had two children, Terry and Corky. Jim and Bonnie were divorced in 1979. She is survived by her four children, Lorraine Carter, Lorin Peterson, Terry Edmo and Corky Sias; 10 grandchildren, Cherie Austin, Debbie Troyan, Greg Brown, Wayne Peterson, Missy Hensley, Kathy Peterson, K.J. Edmo, Michelle Edmo, Cheryl Dawn Edmo and Spencer Sias; 11 great-grandchildren, Sean and Kyle Austin, Larry and Tammy Troyan, Billy Brown, Courtney, Kyle and Kenzie Couture, Dakota, and Hunter and Madison Peterson. There is also one recently born great-great-grandson, Ashton Glatz. Mass of the Christian Burial was celebrated on Dec. 27 at the Sacred Heart Church in Ronan. Burial followed in the Ronan Cemetery.

RONAN -- Michael "Teddy Bear" George Stanger died as a result of injuries from an auto accident here on Dec. 14, 2003. He was born on Dec. 14, 1963, in Polson to Francis Stanger and Martina Quequesuh Stanger. He graduated in 1983 from Polson High School. Later on, he went to school and obtained his CDL to become a truck driver. Among his many hobbies were stockcar racing, short drives, motorbike riding, going into the woods, powwows, visiting and telling stories, hunting, country-western music, and TV wrestling. His work included post and poling, Christmas treeing and cutting firewood; he worked for Smith Construction; he did farm work around the Flathead Valley; was a firefighter at Hungry Horse Ranger Station; and worked for Tribal Maintenance. He was last working for the S& K Housing Authority, with the maintenance lawn crew. His two boys were the love of his life. He especially loved his nephews, Donald and Frank Jr., and his niece, Beverly Miller, too. He was very close to his brother, Frank, and his sister, Amelia Stanger Iukes. Simple things made him happy. He was preceded in death by his mother, Martina Quequesuh Stanger; daughter Tina Stanger; brothers Isaac Adams, Billy Stanger and Bobby Morigeau; and numerous aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces. Survivors include his father, Francis Stanger and his wife Tiny (Lonepine); his brother Frank Stanger and his wife, Darla, and their children Donald, Frank Jr., and Beverly (all from Polson); his sister, Amelia Iukes (WA); brothers Francis Auld (Elmo), Adrian Mahseelah (Arlee), Adrian McKee (Ronnie Stanger) from Polson; his two boys, William and Mikel Stanger (Pablo); his former wife, Geraldine Gardipe (his Amy) from Pablo; his fiance, Cheryl Gardipe (Pablo);. his mother-in-law, Margaret Gardipe; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. The wake began on Dec. 15 at the Longhouse. Mass was celebrated on Dec. 17 in the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission. Burial followed at the old Polson Cemetery.

HOT SPRINGS -- Chris Stobie, 71, died of cancer at his home here on Dec. 6, 2003. Born March 12, 1932, in Plains to Ruth Aeimesseger Stobie and Victor Stobie, Chris was raised at the Stobie Ranch up Thompson River. After graduating from Plains High School in 1951, HE and relatives started a logging business. In 1952 he joined the Army and was stationed in Germany. After his discharge he returned to the Stobie Ranch and started logging again. Chris attended the Univ. of Montana, studying journalism. He then ran a hardware/grocery store with his family, and several grocery stores in Sanders Co. He also operated heavy equipment and built many of the roads in the Thompson River drainage. He served in the Montana Legislature (1977 to 1983), and was: chairman of the Republican Central Committee, Sanders Co. Fair manager and board member, president of the Rocky Mountain Assoc. of Fairs (1974) and manager-director (1963 to 1981); president of the Sanders Co. and Paradise-Plains Chambers of Commerce; chairman of the Natural Resources Committee of Sanders Co.; and on the board of directors for the Montana Food Distributors Assoc. He was also a rodeo announcer and auctioneer. He and Ruby Sheffer were married on June 26, 1960. He will be remembered for his practical jokes; love of fishing, playing pinochle, poker and cribbage; and the numerous things he sold for good causes and the many people he helped. He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 43 years; two children and their spouses, Robin and Jeff Miller, and Jim and Paula; six grandchildren; his brother Herb and wife Juanita; sisters Victo VanCampen, and Peg McCarthy and husband Larry; and numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services were conducted on Dec. 13 in Plains.

POLSON -- Glen Vandenberg Vergeront, 86, died at his home here on Dec. 2, 2003. He was born June 18, 1917, in Madison, WI, to Glen W. and Elizabeth Vergeront. He grew up and attended schools in Barron, WI, and graduated from Barron High School in 1935. He graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in 1939 and received his master's degree in 1940 from Montana State Univ. He was a professor of rural sociology at North Dakota State Univ. in Fargo, ND, where he worked on his doctorate degree. He married Ruth Tower on Oct. 6, 1945. They moved to Polson in 1947, where he ranched. Ruth died in 1974. He married Geraldine McElwee on May 21, 1977. She died in 2000. Glen was a former Polson School Board trustee, served on the Lake County Agriculture Stabilization Committee, St. Joseph Hospital Board and the Polson City Library Board. After retirement, Glen traveled through all 50 states and over six continents. He always enjoyed tracking the stock market, studying thoroughbred horses, and going to the Polson Rotary Club every Tuesday. He was preceded in death by his parents; two wives; an infant son; daughter Betty; and stepdaughter Sharon. He is survived by his two brothers, Robert and John (both of WI); daughter Ann Gilbert and husband Bill (Stanwood, WA); two sons and their wives, Chip and Karen and Charlie and Heather (all of Polson); and a stepson, Rod McElwee and his wife Carol (Belgrade); 11 grandchildren; four great grandchildren; plus numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held on Dec. 8 at the Grogan Funeral Home in Polson.

ANACORTES, Wash. -- Lydia Vessey, 86, died of natural causes on Dec. 30, 2003, at her home here. She was born on March 11, 1917, in Norfork, NE, to Peter and Christina (Kaiser) Starkel. She was a certified seed-potato grader and a nurse's aide for 15 years in Montana, but had been retired for the past 35 years. Lydia was an avid reader, primarily of the Bible and history books. She was active for 56 years as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and shared God's purpose for the earth to be inhabited in true peace. She prayed for man's hope for the future; that was her dedication in life. She was a homemaker and loved gardening. She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell M. Vessey; two sisters, Mary and Frieda; and seven brothers. Lydia is survived by her son, Kenneth M. (Missoula); two daughters, Annette V. Garvin (Anacortes) and June V. Johnson (Chewelah, WA); seven grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; two brothers, Victor Starkel (Ronan) and Walter Starkel (Polson); and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held on Jan. 10 in Anacortes.

ST. IGNATIUS -- William J. "Bill" Wheeler died on Jan. 4, 2004, from injuries sustained in an auto accident on Dec. 31, 2003. Bill was born in Willmar, MN, on April 7, 1923, to Thomas and Emily (Rosenquist) Wheeler. In 1941, at the age of 18, Bill went to Vallejo, CA, to work on submarines. He was at Pearl Harbor went it was bombed. In 1943, he returned to Montana wherehe ranched, mined, and owned and operated a trailer park and store. He also manufactured his own mining equipment and packaged and sold barite. At the time of his death, he had a large cattle ranching operation at Post Creek. He was married twice. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Thomas, Joseph, Michael and John; sisters S. Marie (Osborne), Frances (Van Dusen) and Mary Wheeler; an infant daughter, Bridget; and a grandson. He is survived by his and Blanche Lanoue Wheeler's 12 children (and their spouses): Mary and Bob Van Gieson (WA), William and Yvonne (Superior), Emily and Lee Van Gieson (WY), Frances and Bob King (Missoula), Katherine and Tim Hammond (Missoula), Michelle and Peter Wilkins (WA), Judith and Wayne Maxwell (Missoula), Thomas (Superior), Michael(AZ), Joseph and Linda (Missoula), Dorothy (Missoula), John and Mary(Missoula), and Peter (Missoula); three children born to him and his wife, Judy (and their spouses): Billie and Brian Anthony, Paul and Dana, and Shane and Donna (all of St. Ignatius); stepson and wife, Randy and JoAnn Rupert (Polson); two sisters, Dorothy Ryan and Katherine Phillips; and numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Mass was celebrated on Jan. 15 in St. Ignatius. Interment followed at the St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery.

ARLEE -- Donald M. "Shorty" Wolverton, 89, died at his home here on Dec. 9, 2003. He was born Nov. 12, 1914, in Baker to Harold and Rebecca Foster Wolverton. In 1936, he and his "adopted" family, the Duffields, moved from eastern Montana to Arlee to escape the drought. He married Margaret Duffield in 1937. After living in various towns in western Montana, they moved back to Arlee in 1957 and purchased the house they had lived in when first married. There they remained for the next 47 years. Gifted mechanically, Don was the first one to rig vacuum brakes on his trailer when hauling logs off Saddle Mountain. He worked in the woods and sawmills for many years and set up 27 sawmills for various companies. His skill was such that during World War II his employers insisted he be given deferred status. He loved to create machines from scratch and was very proud of the heavy-duty log splitters he built over the last several years while in his late 80s. For the last 35 years, he worked on farm and logging equipment, traveling out to work on the equipment. Even up to the past year he was in demand for his knowledge of older equipment. He enjoyed his family and friends immensely and spent many hours after retirement at his "office," as the family affectionately called the Stockman's Bar in Arlee. He will also be remembered for his storytelling. Surviving him are his wife, Margaret Duffield Wolverton (Arlee); three daughters June Coloff (Puyallup, WA), Laura (Tim) Carlyon (Lolo), and Kathy (Mike) Paterni (Missoula); three sons, Michael and wife Lennie (Wasilla, AK), David (Arlee) and Laramie and wife Debra (Arlee); nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and a brother, Ronald (Mount Clemens, MI). Don requested no formal services, so the family set up a time for sharing and remembrance on Dec. 21 at the Arlee Senior Citizens Center. Cremation has taken place. In the spring his ashes will be buried at the Wolverton family plot in Baker.


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