Valentine “Val” Ott, 95, who built and operated the Big Dipper Drive-In, died in his sleep on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, at the RiverStone Hospice House.
He was born Jan. 21, 1919, in Estavan, Saskatchewan, Canada, the son of Felix and Mathilde (Michel) Ott. He was one of 13 brothers and sisters. In 1922 his parents moved the family to Fromberg and farmed until the end of the Great Depression.
Mr. Ott enlisted in the Army in 1940 and served at Honolulu before the Pearl Harbor attack. He returned to Montana after medical treatment.
He worked with the Northern Pacific Railroad in Laurel for 20 years. He also built one motel, then a second, an apartment complex, houses, a mini mall and two fast food restaurants, including the original Big Dipper Drive-In, which he operated until 1977. He retired at age 80.
He married Frances M. Schmidt on Valentine’s Day in 1942 and celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary this year. He had received care from RiverStone Health and RiverStone Hospice House.
Survivors include a son, Bob Ott; two grandchildren; a brother, Michael Ott of California; and a sister, Annie Rekdal of Billings.
Funeral Mass will be at noon Thursday, Nov. 20, at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, followed by burial in Sunset Memorial Gardens. Arrangements are by Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Donations may be made to RiverStone Health, 123 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101-4200.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 13:28
Nickie Rafter, 53, of Billings, who worked at COR Enterprises, died Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Billings.
She was born in Bozeman on Oct. 18, 1961, to Wendell and Sherall Rafter. She graduated from Bozeman High School in 1979.
She participated in Special Olympics and in Growth Thru Art.
Survivors include her father, Garry Rafter of Helena, Rixon Rafter of Ketchikan, Alaska, and Kathy Armstrong of Chester; stepfather, Carl Franks; and by Teddy Alexander.
Services were Nov. 19 at COR Enterprises. Inurnment was planned later. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials can be made to COR Enterprises, 2121 Lampman Drive, Billings MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 13:27
C. Louise “Wheezy” Schmaing, 64, who had worked in several jobs, died of leukemia in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2014.
She was born June 9, 1950, in Billings to Bud and Jane Hutchinson. On April 9, 1986, she married Michael Schaming. They spent most of their life together on Frances Lane until in 2005 they moved into a new home on Lake Elmo Drive.
She had worked for Safeway Stores, Boise Cascade and as a forewomen at Interstate Brands.
She had received a stem cell transplant on June 1.
Survivors include her husband; her mother; children, Wesley Herren, Susan Hirsch, Miken Harnish and Tara Brown; a brother, Dev Hutchinson; sisters, Myral Yanchisin, Patsy Warden, Audrey Hutchinson and Jeanie Philhower; and eight grandchildren.
Friends and family will celebrate her life at noon Friday, Nov. 21, at the Eagles Club, 526 Laurie Lane. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be made in her name to Help for Homeless Pets, P.O. Box 1282, Billings, MT 59103.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 13:26
Cole Derick Hammond, 31, who counseled people with disabilities, died on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.
Born Jan. 26, 1983, he was raised in Saco by his parents, Fred and Gayle Hammond. He graduated from Saco High School in 2001 and moved to Billings that fall to attend Rocky Mountain College.
He married Heather Shea in August 2005. He was a talented musician who jammed on guitar with his friends. He was working toward a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.
He had been working for the state of Montana helping people with disabilities while struggling with a disability of his own. For the past four years, Mr. Hammond struggled with an undiagnosed medical condition that caused him great pain.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Sheamus, of Billings; and parents.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 15. Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at Dahl Funeral Chapel with a luncheon to follow. Ashes will be laid to rest in a private family ceremony in Saco.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:26
Randal Scarlett, 42, who worked at the Conoco Phillips refinery, died in his home of natural causes on Nov. 2, 2014.
He was born April 18, 1972, to Robert and Sharon Scarlett in Kamloops, British Columbia. He started grade school in Miles City, and completed elementary school at Lincoln Elementary in Bismarck, N.D. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Bismarck before going to Bismarck State College for a two-year program in power plant technology.
After earning his degree, he worked in Morris, Minn., doing control board work. He moved to Billings in 1996 to be a refinery operator at Conoco Phillips. His last title was refinery control technician. He was a member of United Steelworkers.
He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to hunt and fish.
Survivors include his parents; stepmother, Kathy Schaan; sons, Auston Openshaw and Zachary Scarlett; a brother, Jim Scarlett; a sister, Kim Scarlett-Reamer; and a stepsister, Nicole Schaan.
Services were Nov. 7 at Dahl Funeral Chapel, followed by a reception.
Memorials may be made to the ALS Foundation, on behalf of his uncle, Gerry Mitzel.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:26
Valarie Elaine Klovstad Bender, 78, of Billings, who had worked as a secretary, died Oct. 24, 2014.
She was born on Valentine’s Day 1936 in Fargo, N.D., the daughter of Mattie and Elmer Klovstad. Her family moved to Billings when she was 5 years old. She was a graduate of the Billings Senior High class of 1954 and attended the 60th class reunion this past summer.
She attended Billings Business College and was a secretary for 15 years at Midland Materials, then worked for Harry Anderson, a dentist, before retiring.
In 1956, she married Richard Bender. They divorced in 1962. They had three children, Jennifer, Russell and Gregory. She had one other marriage to Edward Marlow, which also ended in divorce. For the past 30 years her partner was Ervin “Erv” Kuehn, who died in April 2014.
Ms. Bender was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. After surgery, she was told she was cancer free. In 2012 the cancer returned in her stomach. She endured another surgery which revealed that the cancer had metastasized. She had received care from RiverStone Health Services.
Survivors include a daughter, Jennifer Jorgenson of Renton, Wash.; sons, Russell Bender and Gregory Bender of Billings; three grandchildren; a brother, Howard Klovstad of Billings; and a sister, Connie Crystal of Bozeman.
Services were at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, followed by a brief gravesite service at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 11:07
LaVerne Mary Dilbeck, 87, who taught school for many years, died in Jim and Nancy Nielsen’s home on Oct. 23, 2014, after a lengthy illness.
She was born in Fargo, N.D., on June 24, 1927, to Vern and Myrtle Pickart. She lived most of her youth in Miles City.
She graduated from Montana State University in 1949 with a degree in education. She taught school in Glendive, Columbus, Park City, Laurel and Billings until 1992.
After graduating from college, she taught in Glendive where she married Donald Nielsen in 1950. They had three sons, Donald, Robert and James. She married Melvin Dilbeck in 1966; he died in 2008.
She had received care from RiverStone Hospice.
Survivors include sons, Donald of Denver, Robert of Houston and James of Billings; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a brother, Robert Pickart of California.
Services will be at noon Friday, Nov. 7, at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in Billings. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings.
Donations in her honor may be made to RiverStone Hospice or any of the Montana State University campuses.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 11:06
Bonnie Jean Pagitt, 77, who was known for her ceramics and poetry, died Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, at St. John’s Lutheran Ministries of pancreatic cancer.
She was born to Joseph and Gertrude Ruby on March 20, 1937, in Toledo, Ohio. She married Herman Pagitt in October 1954.
Survivors include children, Cindy Scott, Dolly Hatch, Polly Dickinson, and Rick Pagitt; eight grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; and siblings, Joe Ruby and MJ Robbins.
A celebration of her life was held Monday, Nov. 3, at St. John’s Lutheran Chapel. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 11:05
Pearl Theresa Kunda Nolan, 76, who taught in reservation schools throughout Montana, died early Monday morning, Oct. 20, 2014.
She was born Dec. 31, 1937, to Harry and Bernadine Kunda in Polson. After raising six children, she received a teaching degree and taught music, art and English.
She was active in her church for many years. She also worked with her hands crocheting, knitting, sewing, painting, drawing and writing.
Survivors include a sister, Anglie Kruckenberg; a brother, Michael Kunda; a sister, Anne Stewart; children, Robert Nolan, Beth Lawyer, Beverly Wise, Veronica Nolan, Becky Murrell and Larry Nolan Jr.; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Rosary was held Oct. 24 at Little Flower Church. Memorial Mass was Oct. 25 at Little Flower Church. Arrangements were by Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Memorials can be sent to Mary Queen of Peace Church, 210 S. 34th St., Billings, MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:38
Tillie White, 96, of Joliet, who ranched with her husband for many years, died Friday evening, Oct. 24, 2014.
She was born Aug. 25, 1918, in Broadview. Her family moved to Shepherd, then to Roberts, where she started school, and finally to Boyd where she completed her education.
She married William “Buster” White in 1937 and after several years in Bear Creek they moved to their ranch south of Boyd where she lived until his death in 1979. She then moved to Joliet where she spent her remaining years.
She was active in the Roberts United Methodist Church as well as the Boyd Ladies Aid.
Her life was centered around her family.
Survivors include sons, Don White, Glen White and Rick White; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Services will be at the Roberts United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, with interment to follow in Rockvale Cemetery. Dahl Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the Roberts United Methodist Church.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:34