The Billings Outpost

Sandra Foth

Sandra Lee Flaten Foth, 67, who worked as a waitress for much of her life, died on June 30, 2014, after battling stage four cancer and lung disease for four months.  

She was born to Clinton and Cora Flaten on Sept. 28, 1946, in Wolf Point. She attended the first eight grades at Turner School in the Prairie Elk community southwest of Wolf Point. She attended 3 1/2 years of high school in Wolf Point.

At age 18, she went to trade school in St. Louis. There she married Larry Bothe, and they had one son. They divorced around 1985, and she married Ron Foth in 1990. They moved to Montana and eventually settled in Billings. 

Survivors include a son, Patrick Laurence Bothe of St. Louis, Mo.; and six siblings, Sharon Riley of Lewistown, Marlene Potts of Hewitt, Texas, Marcia Fast of Lustre, Doug Flaten of Wolf Point, Connie Charette of Billings and Dave Flaten of Glasgow.

Burial of ashes and graveside memorial services will be held July 27 in Wolf Point. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Gifts may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 2110 Overland Ave., Billings, MT 59102.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 15:32

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Gary W. Warren

Gary Warren, 56, a co-manager with Energy Laboratories Inc., died June 19, 2014, at Billings Clinic.

He  was  born  Jan. 2, 1958, to Howard and Ann  Warren in Butte. He  graduated from  Butte  High  School  in  1976.

Hemarried  Nancy Reid  in  January 1976.

Mr.Warren served in theArmy before settling  in Billings. He worked  at  Selover  Buick  as  a  mechanic  before  returning to school and earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry  with  high  honors  at  Eastern  Montana College.

He  then  began  his career  at  Energy  Laboratories Inc. as  an  analytical  chemist and worked his way up to being a co-manager of the company.

He had received care from the Cancer Center at Billings Clinic.

Survivors include his wife;  children,  Joshua  Warren,  Jeremy  Warren  and  Jodi Cranford; four grandchildren; a sister, Margie Warren-Irmen; and brothers, Bob Stewart and Ken Yates.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday,  June 28,  at Harvest Church Heights Campus. Dahl Funeral Chapel has charge of arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 21:36

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Beverly Jean (Pine) McRae

Beverly Jean McRae, 82, who with her husband adopted 11 children of diverse ethnic backgrounds, died in the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

She was born Feb. 3, 1932, in Missoula, attended Pacific Lutheran University and lived in Wisconsin while her husband, Robert McRae, obtained his doctorate degree before finally settling back in Montana. Besides two children born to them naturally, Mr. and Mrs. McRae adopted 11 children in the 1960s.

She regularly opened her home to women’s Bible studies and played piano and organ for numerous churches.

Survivors include sisters, Doris Reich, Lorraine Moyer and Judi Dundas; her husband; children, Ross, Quentin, Kendall, Mary, Stuart, Anne, Sarah, Keith and Michelle, Kathryn and Nolan, William and Emily; 30 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Services were June 21 at First Presbyterian Church. Private family interment was in Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 21:35

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Lois (Premo) Witt

Lois Witt, 86, a daughter of Leland and Elva Premo, died June 20, 2014.

She was born Aug. 4, 1927, and grew up in Bridger. She married Stanley C. Witt at Bridger on July 3, 1945. They lived at Bridger and Glendive, before moving to Minot, N.D., where they lived for 31 years.

After retiring they did volunteer work with Mobile Missionary Assistance Program for eight years. For the remainder of her life, she lived in Billings.

Survivors include four daughters, Penny Brock of Reno, Nev., Rena Morris of Dallas, Terry Vandenoever of Billings and Stacey Mendro of Williston, N.D.; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; a sister, Shirley Mitchell of Canyon Ferry; and a brother, Don Premo of Bridger.

Services were June 24 at West Side Baptist Church in Billings. Interment followed in the Bridger Cemetery. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be made in her name to Lives Under Construction, 296 Boys Ranch Road, Lampe, MO 65681 or to LaVie Crisis Pregnancy Center, 2321 Broadwater Ave., Billings, MT 59102.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 21:31

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Charles Merrill Pelton

Charles Merrill Pelton, 69, who was involved in the livestock industry his entire life, died June 9, 2014, of cancer.

He was born Nov. 3, 1944, in Billings to George and Forestine Pelton. He attended Fishtail grade school and graduated from Absarokee High School in 1963. He held the basketball scoring record at the Shrine Auditorium for approximately 30 years.

He was employed by Drum Land and Livestock, working the feedlot in Billings, and the KRM and Whitcomb ranches south of Malta, and also the Cottonwood Grazing Association in Whitewater for many years.

Later, he worked for feedlots and ranches in the Boyd-Edgar area, most recently, Thompson Cattle Co. in Huntley. He was an avid team roper and chariot racer, accomplished horseman, excellent horseshoer and skilled AI technician. In recent years he spent many hours at Billings Clinic.

He married Lynn Green in 1964 and they had a daughter, Kim, and a son, George. They later divorced. In 1973 he married Doris Heller and accepted her son, Heath, as his own. They also later divorced. In 2000 he married Dawn Van Meter and helped raise his stepsons Waylon and Donnie Ray Van Meter.

Survivors include his wife, of Billings; a daughter, Kim Smith of California; a son, George Pelton of North Carolina; stepsons, Heath Myers of Joliet, Waylon Van Meter of Bridger and Donnie Ray Van Meter of Roberts; nine grandchildren; a great-grandson to be born in October; sisters, Kathleen Ostrum of Absarokee, Sara Kerr of Absarokee; and a brother, Bill Pelton of Billings.

Services were June 14 at the Montana Expo Center. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Billings Clinic Heart Rehabilitation Center or the Billings Clinic Oncology Center, P.O. Box 31031, Billings, MT 59107 or

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:10

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Donald G. Russell

Donald G. Russell, 75, who started Meadow Green Lawn Service and Meadow Green Sales and Service, died June 13, 2014, at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.

He was born March 15, 1939, in Lincoln, Neb., the son of Robert and Ruby “Coker” Russell. He had been a Billings resident for 28 years.

Mr. Russell was educated in Lincoln and served in the Navy as a jet mechanic for two years. He was employed with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and was co-owner of Howard and Russell Contractors. He also managed Lawnco Lawn Service, all in Lincoln.

He moved from Nebraska to Billings in 1986 and started Meadow Green Lawn Service. He later began selling Walker Mowers and started Meadow Green Sales and Service.

He married Elaine Wentland on May 3, 1980, in Lincoln on what would have been his parents’ 50th anniversary.

Survivors include his wife; a son, Craig Russell of Billings; a daughter, Tina Russell of Lincoln; and three grandchildren.

Visitation was June 18. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 19, at Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Memorials may be given to the American Lung Association.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:09

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Gerald ‘Gerry’ Ellis

Gerald Hayes Ellis, 84, of Billings, who had been an agronomist at Montana State University and Colorado State University, died June 12, 2014.

He was born March 5, 1930, in Moore, the youngest of eight children of Hayes and Gertrude Ellis. He served in the Korean war from 1951-1953 and acquired a master of science degree in agronomy from Montana State University in 1961. He retired at CSU in 1994.

He married Alice (Christie) Ellis on Dec. 18, 1960.

Survivors include his wife; daughters, Gennette Hogan of Billings, Susan Williamson of Platteville, Colo., and Becky Johnson of Billings; a son, Kerry Ellis of London; nine grandchildren; a great-grandchild; three stepgrandchildren; two stepgreat-grandchildren; and one great-grandchild on the way.

Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:08

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Karen Marie Kragt

Karen Marie Kragt, 29, of Billings, who had worked for Montana State University Billings for approximately 10 years, died of cancer on Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

She was born Nov. 15, 1984, in Missoula, one of three children of Jeffrey and Bernice Brandt.

She attended St. Joseph School in Rosemount, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., and MSU Billings, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

She had worked most recently for MSU Billings as a statistician for New Student Services.

On Oct. 17, 2009, she married Joe Eugene Kragt. She had received care from Billings Clinic Cancer Center.

Survivors include her husband; parents; a brother, Barry Brandt; a sister, Camille Grundhauser; grandparents, Charles and Alice Wellman; and grandmother-in-law Grace Kragt.

Rosary and a visitation Vigil service were held June 15 at St. Pius X Catholic Church. Funeral Mass was June 16 at St. Pius X. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be sent to MSU Billings Foundation, 1500 University Drive, Billings, MT 59101; St. Joseph School Scholarship fund, 13900 Biscayne Ave. W., Rosemount, MN 55068; Cretin-Derham Hall High School, 550 S. Albert St., St. Paul, MN 55116; or the American Brain Tumor Association (to help Glioblastoma research), 855 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 550, Chicago, IL 60631.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:08

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Louise Kinsey Vinner

Louise Kinsey Vinner, 95, who had worked until age 85 as an oil secretary, died Thursday, June 12, 2014.

She was born in Glendive on Nov. 30, 1918, the second child of Lee Roy and Jessie (Case) Kinsey. Her mother died soon after her birth, and she and her older sister, Doris, were raised by Mr. Kinsey’s second wife, O’Delia Rinehart. The Kinsey kids grew to six girls and four boys.

She moved from Glendive to Billings in the mid-1930s to attend Billings Business College and earned a secretarial certification. She married Jack Irving Vinner on July 22, 1944.

Mr. Vinner died in 1992. In 2001, she met a friend and companion, Bill Rogers, at St. Vincent Rehabilitation.

Mrs. Vinner was an oil secretary at Marshall Wells Oil Co., quitting work to raise her children. She returned to work at the Executive Building, Boardwalk Travel, and finished her career at Montana Oil Resources.

She was known for her cooking, especially apple pies, homemade cookies and holiday fruit cakes. She had received care from Tender Nest Assisted Living and Rocky Mountain Hospice.

Survivors include a daughter, Jackie Bernier; a son, Mark Vinner; two granddaughters; four great-grandchildren; brothers, Don Kinsey and Bill Kinsey; and a sister, Margaret Hull.

A vigil was held June 17 at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Funeral Mass was performed June 18 at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral. Interment followed in Sunset Memorial Gardens. A reception was then held at the church.

Memorials may be directed to Martha Ozonoff, CA&ES Dean’s Office, 150 Mrak Hall, University of California, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616. Note Marvin Kinsey Graduate Award in the memo line of the check.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:07

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George Spencer Minder

George Spencer Minder, 58, who worked as an administrator in hospitals in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, died Monday night, June 2, 2014, after battling cancer for a year.

He was born in Sidney on Oct. 24, 1955, to Ruth and Joe Minder. He attended schools in Lewistown and Sidney, graduating from Sidney High School in 1974.

Mr. Minder graduated from Montana State University in Bozeman with a bachelor’s degree in education. He taught and coached middle school and high school students for three years in Lima, then returned to MSU and obtained a master’s degree in public administration.

He worked as a director of human resources and chief executive officer at hospitals in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. At the time of his death, he was CEO of the Big Horn Hospital in Hardin.

He married Dawn Goebel on July 4, 1981, in Sidney. As newlyweds they backpacked across Europe for three months and later traveled to Fiji, China, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada.

Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Clara of Hardin; a son, Phillip of Billings; mother, of Lewistown; and sisters, Carolyn Minder of Boise, Idaho, and Shelley Wiederrich of Helena.

Service will be in Hardin at 1 p.m. June 12 in First American Lutheran Church. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 23:03

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