The Billings Outpost

Vincente F. Gutierrez

Vincente F. Gutierrez Jr., 62, who had worked in construction throughout Montana and Wyoming, died Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, of cancer.

He was born in Billings, one of nine children of Vicente and Cecilia Gutierrez. He attended Senior High School and graduated from Billings Vo-Tech. He entered the Marine Corps in 1974 and served overseas.

He worked on his cars and cruised around Billings listening to Mexican and country-Western music. He volunteered at Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Survivors include his companion of many years, Paulette; a daughter, Mary; a son, Andrew; sisters, Yolanda Gallardo, Teresa Hansen, Eugenia Winslow and Martha Tanner; and five grandchildren.

A vigil was held Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at Mary Queen of Peace. Rite of Committal will be at 2 p.m. with military honors at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 November 2015 19:46

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Martha Shelton

Martha Shelton, 93, died recently.

She was born Sept. 21, 1922, in Billings, a daughter of Henry and Effie Petri of Hebron, N.D. She was raised on a farm in North Dakota but quit school after eighth grade and went to Billings to live with her sister, Louise, who encouraged her to go high school. She graduated in 1943 from the Billings Senior High School.

After graduation, she worked in Seattle for Boeing until the end of World War II. In Seattle, she married Ross Wood on June 14, 1945. After the war, they moved to Forsyth, where they owned and operated Modern Locker Plant and Grocery Store. She moved back to Billings with her two children in 1958. The couple  finally divorced in 1973.

She married again on Sept. 21, 1990, to Leon Shelton; they divorced in 1995. She moved into assisted living following a stroke in 2014.

Survivors include children, Debra Schade and Doug Wood; and a niece-in-law, Gladys Baugh.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 November 2015 19:45

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Benjamin Stiffarm Jr.

Benjamin “Little Owl” Stiffarm Jr., 60, a journeyman carpenter, died Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in Billings.

He was born to Benjamin Sr. and Ida Stiffarm on March 23, 1955, in Berkeley, Calif. He attended Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle, Wash., and Eastern Washington University in Pullman, Wash.

Mr. Stiffarm participated in Sun Dances and was a pipe holder.

Survivors include his mother, Ida Stiffarm of Billings; a daughter, Rita Marie Broulette of Alaska; siblings, Deborah Rattler of Spokane, Wash., Mike Stiffarm of Rapid City, S.D., Jim Robideau of Nebraska and Nannette ManyHides of Browning; and a grandson.

Memorial Mass was on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Billings. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 November 2015 19:44

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Jennifer Lee Kelly

Jennifer Lee Kelly, 62, a longtime nurse, died Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

She was born in Seattle, Wash., on Nov. 14, 1952, a daughter of Ray and Georgia Safford. She graduated from Arapahoe High School in Colorado and earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Montana State University and a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner from Gonzaga University.

She had worked for the Crow-Northern Cheyenne Hospital for more than a decade and worked most recently with St. Vincent Healthcare.

A son, John Kyle, died in March.

Survivors include her husband, Tom Kelly of Billings; parents, formerly of Cody, Wyo.; a daughter, Nikki Caten of Billings; a son, Alex Caten; a grandson; and a brother and sister, Dan and Terry Safford.

Visitation was Nov. 11 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery with burial to follow in Laurel Public Cemetery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2015 21:13

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John A. Van Cleave

John Alvin Van Cleave, 80, of Billings, who had served in the Marine Corps, died Nov. 1, 2015, at his home.

He was born Aug. 12, 1935, in Hettinger, N.D., the son of Zeddie Earl and Florence (Palmer) Van Cleave. He married Wilma Hieb on Jan. 5, 1973, in Pierre, S.D.

He was honorably discharged from the Marines as a sergeant in 1957. He worked as a truck driver.

Survivors include children, Lori Dougherty of Canby, Ore., and LeAnn Ingle, Gerald Van Cleave and Walter Hieb, all of Billings; sisters, Joyce Hanson and Carol Tishmack; a brother, Everett “Bud” Van Cleave; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Private family services were planned. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2015 21:12

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Vita Ruth Hert

Vita Ruth Hert, 79, a certified nursing assistant for 20 years, died Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.

She was born Feb. 16, 1936, one of seven children of Sarah and Pearl Zable in Topeka, Kan. She married Kenneth Hert on Aug. 8, 1952.

They had six children: Terry Hert, Carol Fenton, Patty Lachenmaier, Tony Hert, Peggy Taylor and Kenny Hert, who preceded her in death. She also had 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was a CNA for 20 years and did crafts and crochet.

Services were Nov. 7 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2015 21:12

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Muriel Kay Swenson

Muriel Kay Swenson, 69, who had been a certified blaster on seismograph rigs, died at 4:09 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.

She was born in Williston, N.D., on Oct. 25, 1946, to Reid and Edith Grayson. She married Ronald Swenson on Sept. 15, 1966. The first year they were married, they lived in 18 different places.

She worked with her husband on seismograph rigs, and she also made the crocheted Lord’s Prayer that hangs in the Scobey Lutheran Church.

Survivors include her husband; parents, Reid and Edith Grayson; a sister, Karla Grayson; and a brother, Larry Grayson.

Services were Nov. 4 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Inurnment followed in Sunset Memorial Gardens. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 November 2015 11:50

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Keith E. Vermandel

Keith Eldon Vermandel, 63, of Pompeys Pillar, who drove a truck for 42 years, died Oct. 30, 2015, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

He was born Dec. 8, 1951, to Eldon and Bethene Vermandel. He married Penny Sorlie in 1992.

He had driven a truck for 42 years, and in the last year his wife joined him on the road until he was diagnosed with A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in August.

He drove for John Corcoran, Eddie Corcoran, Raymond Corcoran, RL Bertolino and others, but spent most of his driving career with Steve Nelson Trucking. He had received care from Rocky Mountain Hospice.

Survivors include his wife, Penny; a son, Colton; and sisters, Kathy Gehring and Peggy Brown.

At his request, no services were held. A celebration of his life will be held from 1-4 p.m. Friday at Homesteaders Hall, 748 Railroad Highway in Huntley. His ashes will be spread on Sharphead Ridge on the Vermandel Ranch. Dahl Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the A.L.S. Foundation.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 November 2015 11:49

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Arthur ‘Art’ Brownell

Arthur “Art” Brownell, 81, a third-generation railroad worker, died Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.

He was born May 20, 1934, to Arthur and Ruby Brownell in Glendive. In 1952 he graduated from Dawson County High School and attended Dawson County Community College for two years.

He started working at the age of 15 as a freight handler at the Northern Pacific Railyard in Glendive. He was the third-generation Brownell working for the Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads with a total of 130 years. Mr. Brownell retired in August 1991 with 41 of those years.

In 1957 he married Shirley Kemble, and they had four children. In 1971 he coached his son Craig’s football team to the city championship in Billings Central Park Little Guy Football League.

He married Cassandra (Sandy) Evans on May 30, 1987, in Las Vegas. After returning to Billings, he joined Golden K Kiwanis in 2002 and served as club president in 2006. He was also a member of the Masons for 60 years.

Survivors include his wife; children, Craig Brownell, Stacy Bertrand, Brad Brownell and Stephanie Nance; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Memorials may be made to Golden K Kiwanis, P.O. Box 20203, Billings, MT 59104.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 22:08

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George Gerber

George “Sonny” Gerber, 82, who had worked at Midland Foods and Valley Welders Supply, died Oct. 22, 2015.

He was born Feb. 9, 1933, to Mike and Anna Gerber in Silesia. He was raised as an Edgar farm boy, and married Delores Frickel in 1956.

Mr. Gerber worked at Midland Foods for 27 years, then Valley Welders Supply until he retired in 1997.

He was one of the first recipients to receive a Star Edwards heart valve at Deaconess Hospital in 1974.

He was an avid bowler, which included nationals, city and state tournaments, and he was a longtime member of the Elks.

Survivors include his wife; three sons, Mike, Gary and Grant; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and sisters, Josie Vladic and Gladys Smith.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at Pilgrim Congregational Church. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 22:07

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