The Billings Outpost

Justin Richardson

Justin John Richardson died in the arms of his parents, Vincent and Ashley Richardson, on the day he was born, Dec. 10, 2014. He weighed 11 ounces, was 10 1/2 inches long and took a few short breaths before his death.

Survivors include two siblings, Gianna Johnson and Elliot Richardson; his paternal grandmother, Kathy Richardson-Schell; great-grandmother, Margaret Kressin of Billings; maternal grandmother, Heidi Solberg; grandfather, Frank LaMere; and great-grandmothers, Lonnie Christensen and Margrette LaMere, both of Billings.

Services were held Dec. 20 at Cremation and Funeral Gallery. Interment was in Mountview Cemetery, and a luncheon reception was held at First Church of Nazarene in Laurel.

Donations may be made to The Ramsey-Keller Memorial, 4456 Laredo Place, Billings, MT 59106.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 12:32

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Kurt Groepler

Kurt Groepler died Nov. 28, 2014.

Survivors include his wife, Donma; a daughter, Kalie; two grandchildren; and a brother, James.

Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 12:31

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Charles L. Tolliver Jr.

Charles L. Tolliver Jr., 75, of Billings, who had worked at jobs ranging from rocket scientist to tree trimmer, died Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, at home.

He was born Sept. 17, 1939, the son of Charles and Ila Mae Tolliver Sr., in Bismarck, N.D.

He grew up in Billings, graduated from Billings Senior High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in math at Montana State University Bozeman. He earned a master of science degree in physics from The University of Alabama.

He married Kathleen Kleffner on Jan. 11, 1964, in Seattle. They eventually returned to Billings and raised seven children.

He had worked as an engineer at Boeing, rocket scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration analyzing vibration on the Saturn-5 Booster, aerospace engineer in St. Louis, car salesman in Billings, Mercedes mechanic in Billings, owner of a tree trimming business, computer programmer at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and property manager for his apartments.

He tinkered with invention most weeks of his life, including his last. He preferred working as an independent business owner rather than for a large organization.

After his body weakened and he lost the power to walk, he was able to remain at home through the care of his wife and children.  

Survivors include his wife, of Billings; a brother, Ken Tolliver of Billings; two sons, John Tolliver and Peter Tolliver; five daughters, Gabrielle Tolliver, MaryAnne Stimpfling, Monica Forsberg, Helen Tolliver and Nikki Tolliver; and four grandchildren.

Services were Dec. 20 at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 12:30

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Elroy William Martin

ElRoy William Martin, 78, who farmed, worked in construction and was involved in logging, died Dec. 8, 2014.

He was born on a farm on April 18, 1936, in Arlington, Minn., to Alex and Lydia (Wallert) Martin. After attending rural and parochial schools in Arlington, he entered the Navy in 1956 and served on active and reserve duty until 1962.

He married Reinhild Wehnert on May 29, 1959. They lived for 28 years in the Gallatin Valley and most recently in Ryegate to be close to family.

In addition to years of cattle, sheep and hog farming, he worked construction, did tree trimming and janitorial work at several schools, sold Conklin products, did roofing and was involved in various aspects of the logging industry. He also logged in the Gallatin Canyon with his draft horse, Bert.

In 1973, after leaving Minnesota with his family and moving to Montana, Mr. Martin had a life-changing experience when he discovered God wanted to be a part of his life. In the last years of his life he was ever faithful to pray for his children and grandchildren.

He fought heart disease for 27 years and worked hard with his horses and doing yard work until the week he died.

Survivors include his wife, of Ryegate; children, Deb Barth of Baker, Alex Martin of Ryegate and John Martin of Bozeman; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:29

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Sharon Kautzman

Sharon Kautzman, 73, who had retired from Montana Health Federal Credit Union, died Dec. 6, 2014.

Survivors include siblings, Rusty Ebersole, Bob Ebersole and Janice Cromwell; sons, Alan Kautzman and Larry Kautzman; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A gathering to celebrate her life was held Dec. 15 at Parkhill Assembly of God. A light lunch followed. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:13

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Phyllis R. Carter

Phyllis Ruth Carter, 64, a theater volunteer and photographer, died of cancer on Dec. 12, 2014, at the RiverStone Hospice House in Billings.

She was born in Lakeview, Ore., on Dec. 3, 1950, the daughter of Jim and Dorothy Howard.

Her husband, Don Carter, preceded her in death.

 She was an active member of Hope United Methodist Church.

She found housing and healthcare for a homeless man she befriended, and spent hours taking photos of high school seniors who could not afford professional senior portraits.

Survivors include her mother; a brother, Jeff Howard of Lakeview; a sister, Patty Westgate of Paisley, Ore.; a son, Darrell Carter; a daughter, Dawn Nickerson of Billings; and a grandson.

Services were held Dec. 16 at Hope United Methodist Church. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Donations may be made to the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:11

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Shirley West Hanson

Shirley West “Sammy” Hanson, 84, who was the first woman executive at Petrolane and who had a passion for painting, died Dec. 12, 2014.

She was born Jan. 24, 1930, in Glendive, the daughter of Anthony Joseph West and Elsie L. “Medtke” West. She was a gifted pianist and valedictorian of her high school.

She attended Billings Business College, then began her career at Petrolane in California. She was the company’s first woman executive and the first to have designated parking.

She met her husband, Lloyd Hanson, in California and although they later divorced, they stayed good friends.

Ms. Hanson moved to Montana to be closer to her mother. She took a painting class at McCoy’s after retirement. She took many blue ribbons at MontanaFair and participated in art shows in Billings and Texas.

She had received care at Valley Health Care, Rimview Section.

At her request, no services were held. Cremation & Funeral Gallery were in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the local animal shelter.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:10

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Rena Crasco

Rena Marie Crasco-Florcik, 51, of Billings, who had cared for many children and relatives over the years, died Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, at Eagle Cliff Manor after a brief illness.

She was born Aug. 22, 1963, in Malta, the daughter of Will James Crasco and Arlene (Babes) Trottier Crasco. She started school in Malta before her family moved to Beaver Creek in the Little Rockies. She later graduated from Malta High School in 1982 and moved to Billings, where she attended cosmetology school.

She worked in Washington for two years, then returned to Montana and earned an associate’s degree in business. She also worked as a caregiver for her grandmother, Rebecca Crasco of Beaver Creek. After returning to Billings, she married Vince Florcik Jr. on Oct. 5, 2002.

She was a member of the Medicine Bear Clan.

Survivors include her husband; a son, Walter of Billings; her mother, of Billings, whom she took care of for 17 years; her father and stepmother, Thelma, of Beaver Creek; two brothers: Dale Crasco of Billings and David Crasco of Beaver Creek; and a foster sister, Tami Kuhr of Chinook.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Killer Enemy Community Center in Lodge Pole. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Donations may be sent to the National Autism Society.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:08

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Joyce M. Lynch

Joyce M. Lynch, 79, died Dec. 11, 2014, of cancer.

She was born June 29, 1935, the daughter of Florence and Jene Johnson.

Survivors include a sister, Dorothy Johnson; a brother, Floyd Johnson; sons, Mike and Danny Donlan; daughters, Brenda, Sheila, Veronica and Lynda; many grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. She also helped raise Jason Johnson.

A graveside burial was held Dec. 13 in Sunset Memorial Gardens. Services were planned in Great Falls. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:07

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Jeffrey Crouse

Jeffrey Lee Crouse, 61, who had worked at Walmart for 15 years, died of cancer on Dec. 2, 2014, at the Eagle Cliff Nursing Home.

Born on June 28, 1953, in Alexandria, Va., he was the son of the late James R. Crouse and Naomi J. Boley. He had lived in Billings since 1967.

Mr. Crouse served in the Army for four years and was employed at Walmart for 15 years.

He had received assistance from the Shepherd Fire Department and the staff at Eagle Cliff Manor.

Survivors include his mother, Naomi J. Boley; a brother, James Crouse of Vancouver, Wash.; a half-brother, George Thomas of Canta Clarita, Calif.;  and two sisters, Linda Morken of Shepherd and Carol Rosin of Roundup.

Services were Dec. 8 at Huntley Methodist Church. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Contributions may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society or Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:44

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