The Billings Outpost

Margaret A. Fendrick

Margaret A. Fendrick, 86, died July 12, 2015, in Billings.

She was born Sept. 17, 1928, in South Heart, N.D., one of 15 children of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kudrna. She attended South Heart School and worked at Winkie’s Ice Cream Parlor before marrying Frank Fendrick on June 27, 1949. Two years later they moved to Billings and were married for 64 years until his death.

She enjoyed camping, sporting events, yard work and dancing with friends at the Moose and Eagles lodges. She was a lifetime member of St. Pius X Parish.

She had received care from TenderNest and RiverStone Hospice.

Survivors include a daughter, Sharon Halligan; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; four brothers, Don Kudrna, Ray Kudrna, Wayne Kudrna and Bob; and four sisters, Dorothy Ficek, Eleanor Badinger, Darlene Betchner and Delores Raab.

Visitation and vigil were held July 27 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Funeral Mass was July 28 at St. Pius X Parish. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:30

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Bonnie Wamsley

Bonnie Wamsley, who had been a dental assistant and volunteer, died July 24, 2015, after a three-year battle with cancer.

She was born in 1943 in Billings to Doris and Tom Bardwell of Columbus.

After her jobs as a dental assistant, she spent much of the rest of her life doing volunteer work to help others. In her later years she traveled, fished, hunted, camped and took cruises.

She had been married to Jere for 47 years.

Services were planned for later. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be sent to Meals on Wheels, 1505 Grand Ave., Billings, MT 59102.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:29

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Donna Giesick

Donna Giesick, 70, who worked in special education and was a foster parent, died July 25, 2015.

She was born Donna Seader on Jan. 21, 1945, in Hardin to Conrad and Katherine Seader. She graduated from high school in Hardin in 1963 and then from Hollywood Beauty College. After graduating, and with only $300, she opened her own salon in 1965, Chateau de Hair Fashions. It remained open for 12 years.

On June 28, 1974, she married Dennis Giesick. She wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and sold her business in 1977.

After her boys reached a certain age, she went to work in special education classes at their elementary school, Miles Avenue. Through Youth Dynamics, she and her husband became therapeutic foster parents. For the next 25 years, they opened their home to more than 50 troubled boys.

Survivors include her husband; sons, Eric Adam, Joshua Conrad, Shawn Christopher, Kasey and Travis; a daughter, Patti Fink; a sister, Dorothy Mayer; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a lifelong friend, Sharon Kukes Day.

A celebration of her life will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Guests are asked to wear her favorite color, blue, to the service. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Donations may be made to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:29

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Larry Saksa

Larry Saksa, 53, died July 18, 2015, riding his Harley home to Roundup from Red Lodge.

He was born Jan. 1, 1962.

Survivors include four sons, Dustin, Gary, Derrick and Jesse Saksa; Cass Jasso; and a longtime friend, Margaret Morse.

Services were July 26 at Riverfront Park. A potluck meal was served. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:28

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Robert J. McRae

Robert James McRae, who had been a full professor, dean and department head at what was then Eastern Montana College, died in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, July 23, 2015.

He was the son of a sheepherder and spent the first months of his life with four siblings and his parents in a sheep wagon in the hills of Eastern Montana. His father died before he was a teenager, and he graduated with a class of 22 students from Garfield County High School in 1949. He studied math, physics and English at the University of Montana and worked with fellow students to create the “M” on Mount Sentinel.

At the University of Montana, he was a member of the Honor Society and joined the ROTC program. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army in 1953. Three years later he married Beverly Jean Pine of Missoula. They had two children of their own and adopted 11 children.

He earned a doctorate in physics in the late ’60s from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, then returned to Montana. He was hired at Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University Billings) as a college physics teacher.

Eventually he became a full professor, department head and a dean, and he held multiple titles on an acting basis within EMC’s administrative staff. Dr. McRae retired as director of Graduate Studies and Research before moving into emeritus status.

He was an expert in accident reconstruction, spending hours in his home office, or kitchen table poring over mathematical equations with reams of handwritten notes and a slide rule.

He helped establish multiple campus- and community-based Bible studies, including a local Intervarsity Chapter at EMC and a nondenominational community Bible study known as the Thursday Night Group.

He had received care from Valley Health Care.

Survivors include brothers, George McRae and Bruce McRae; a sister, Jackcee Anderson; children, Ross, Kendall, Quintin Kingfisher, Mary, Stuart, Anne, Sarah, Keith, William, Kathryn Meadnis and Emily; 30 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel. Services were July 27 at First Presbyterian Church, followed by interment in Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park. A reception followed at First Presbyterian Church.

Donations may be made to the MSU Billings Foundation where two separate scholarships, including the McRae Service to Humanity Award, have been previously established.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:28

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Evelyn Anita Morris

Evelyn Anita Denniston Gilmore Morris, 58, of Billings, died in the early morning hours of July 21, 2015. 

She was born in Thermopolis, Wyo., on Aug. 26, 1956, to Bertha Moore and Lee Denniston.

Survivors include her mother, Bertha Herden; two daughters, Sheri Deon and Tina Blair; numerous siblings; eight grandchildren; and a longtime soulmate, LaVaugh Whitesel.

A celebration of her life will take place later. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:27

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Gladys Ward

Gladys Ward, 95, who was active in the Democratic Party and helped found the Widowed Persons Service and Support Group in Billings, died Sunday, June 28, 2015.

She was born Mary Gladys Milam on March 22, 1920, in Billings to Elbert Earl Milam and Grace Belle Lyda Milam. She grew up on the family ranch on Pryor Creek outside of Huntley.

She attended Pioneer Progressive and Broadwater Elementary schools but did not complete high school until she received a GED in 1966. She attended Billings Business College and worked as a bookkeeper, office manager and title researcher at Hanlon Oil and Abstract Guaranty.

She started and helped run several small businesses including the 3B’s Ice Cream Parlor and King Koin Launderette and kept the books for the family’s construction ventures.

In 1936 she married Forrest Blankenbaker. The couple lived in Gary, Ind., for several years, returning to Billings at the outbreak of World War II. She became a widow in 1972.

She aided many local candidates in the Democratic Party, walking her precinct, knocking on doors and serving as a polling place election official.

She began working at the Yellowstone Clerk and Recorder’s office in 1974. She was married to Arley Burton from 1977 until his death in 1987.

With support from AARP and a couple of advocacy trips to Chicago, the Widowed Persons Service and Support Group in Billings was founded.

She made thousands of phone calls to contact the recently widowed in the Billings area, offering a friendly hand and an invitation to join with others in card games, dances and dinner parties.

One widower she met in 1990 was Edwin Ward, whom she married.

Mrs. Ward was active in the Billings chapter of the Elks Club, calling volunteers and acting as a receptionist and volunteer staff scheduler. She and her husband also traveled widely.

Survivors include her husband; daughter, Joyce Roderick of Redmond, Wash.; and a grandson.

A reception luncheon is planned for 1 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the Elks Club, 934 Lewis Ave, Billings, MT 59101.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:59

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Lawrence Restad

Lawrence “Larry” Restad, 96, a World War II pilot and a longtime employee of Billings Hardware, died June 30, 2015.

He was born in 1918 on a farm north of Billings to Ole and Fredrikke Restad. The family moved closer to Billings when he was a teenager.

While in high school he started working part-time at Billings Hardware Co., which would be his place of employment for decades except for a hiatus due to World War II.

After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army Air Corps and spent most of 1943 as a gunner on B-24s and B-17s in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. He flew 25 missions, including one on which his damaged plane had to crash land, earning him a Purple Heart.

After his tour in the Aleutians, he went through flight school and became a B-25 pilot.

After the war, he married Irene Caras, whom he met while taking classes for pilot training at what is now the University of Montana in Missoula.

They settled in Billings, and he went back to work at Billings Hardware. He had made three hunting trips to Alaska. He had received care from Highgate Senior Living.

Survivors include his wife, Irene; a son, Mark; three grandchildren; and brothers, Lee and John.

A private service was held with military honors at Mountview Cemetery. A reception and gathering was held July 7 at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings.

Dahl Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made in his name to ZooMontana.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:58

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Brian Justin Ostlund

Brian Justin Ostlund, 42, who loved to ski and snowboard, died June 29, 2015, at his home.

He was born to John and Connie Ostlund on June 15, 1973, in Billings. He later married Shelly Goffena.

He enjoyed riding motorcycles and flying planes with his father.

Survivors include his father, John Ostlund; mother, Connie Keil; ex-wife, Shelly; children, Lexis and Dylan; siblings, Amy Cox, Cara McClung, Stephanie Cook and Tyler Cook; and grandmother, Rose Lance.

A celebration of life was planned at the Ostlund ranch. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Donations can be made to an educational fund for Mr. Ostlund’s children at Western Security Bank, 495 Main St., Billings, MT 59105 – Attn: Judy. Checks may be made payable to John Ostlund, trustee.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:49

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Keith Hatvick

Keith Allen Hatvick, aka Hattwig, died Saturday, June 27, 2015.

His parents were Dean Hatvick and Corrine Kleinhans.

Survivors include brothers, Joseph Hatvick and Buzz Hatwigg; and a sister, Capri Helgeson.

Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 10, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery with interment to follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens. A reception will directly follow graveside services at The Quality Inn Homestead Park in the Homestead Room at 2036 Overland Ave. in Billings. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:48

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