The Billings Outpost

Sydney Drager

Sydney “Syd” Drager, 74, of Billings, who had worked as a truck driving instructor, died Sept. 11, 2013, at Billings Clinic.

He was born July 8, 1939, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to John Lively Drager and Patricia N. (Knudtson) Drager. He joined the Navy in June 1958 and served on active duty until 1962 and in the reserves until June 1964. In 1963, he married Ann Marie Dzierzynski.

After being honorably discharged, Mr. Drager worked as a produce manager for Safeway, a warehouse supervisor for Northwest Bedding and truck driver for various companies. He was a member of the Teamsters Union until he retired from his job as a truck driving instructor in 2003. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Survivors include a son, John Drager of Billings; a brother, John Drager of Osburn, Idaho; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren, all of Billings.

A private memorial service was planned. Arrangements were by Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 09:09

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Elmer Lee Maichel

Elmer Lee Maichel, 83, of Billings, who loved working in his yard, died Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare after a short illness.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Shirley Maichel; two children, Lloyd Maichel of Billings and Lyle Maichel of Seattle; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

At his request, no services were planned. Inurnment was planned in Willow Creek Cemetery. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 09:08

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Roberta E. Swan

GREAT FALLS – Roberta Evelyn Swan, 81, former chief deputy clerk of court for Cascade County, died Sept. 21, 2013, at Peace Hospice of cancer.

She was born July 8, 1932, one of four daughters of Roger L. and Bertha L. Williams, on the Ashelot Bench near Sun River. She attended high school in Simms and graduated as salutatorian of her class in 1950. She was an active participant in 4H and played the clarinet in the Simms Marching Band.

Upon graduating from high school, she took her first job at General Mills as a clerk. She married Robert Pfennigs in 1952, and they had two children, Kathleen and Robert. Her first husband was killed in a car accident in May 1954.

She married Gabriel Swan at our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on July 21, 1956. They had three children, Margaret, Rebecca and James.

Mrs. Swan stayed home to take care of her family until she took a job as chief deputy clerk of court for Cascade County in 1979. She retired in 1997.

She made rugs and was a skilled seamstress.

Survivors include her husband; sisters, Helen Duncan and Marguerite Dahl; children, Kathi Barton of Washington, Bob Pfennigs of Great Falls, Peggi Skjelset of Washington, Becky Swan of Billings and Jim Swan of Arizona; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren, with twins due in February.

Funeral liturgy will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church with inurnment to follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of O’Connor Funeral Home.

Suggestions for memorials include Holy Spirit Church or Peace Hospice.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 09:08

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Norma Diebert Friess

Norma Diebert Friess, 83, of Billings, died Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.

She was born April 20, 1930, to Obe and Gladys Workman in Hysham, and she attended school there until her sophomore year. She then moved to Billings where she married Michael Diebert. They had three children.

Mr. Diebert died April 24, 1993. In 1997 she married Chester Friess.

Survivors include a sister, Helen Korber of Billings; sons, James of Marysville, Wash., and Richard of Minot, N.D.; a daughter, Dianna Burke; a stepson, David Seawater of the Philippines; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.

At her request, no services were held. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Donations may be made to RiverStone Hospice.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 09:07

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Harold Raymond Oak

Harold Raymond Oak, 89, of Park City, died at home on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, after surviving an aortic aneurysm, a heart attack and lower left leg amputation due to circulatory blood insufficiency.

He was born July 18, 1924, in Jamestown, N.D., to John and Pauline (Kercher) Oak. He graduated from high school in 1943.

He married Darline Helen (Steele) Oak on Dec. 6, 1945, in Moorhead, Minn., and they had seven sons. They lived in Jamestown, N.D., until 1967, then moved to Montana for his occupation as an operator engineer. He was proficient in construction as a crane operator, dozer operator, oiler and mechanic, making homes in Glendive, Fort Benton, Froid and finally residing in Park City in 1975.

Survivors include five sons, Willis, Jeffrey and Bradley, all of Park City, Darwin of Billings and Delfus “Duffy” of Laurel; a sister, Roxanne Carlson of Federal Way, Wash.; 15 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Park City Civic Center. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:41

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Calvin ‘Cal’ Stringfield

Calvin Scott Stringfield, 53, who had worked in sales and construction, died Sept. 8, 2013, at his home in Columbus.

He was born Aug. 13, 1960, to Hugh and Dorothy Stringfield in Eugene, Ore. He grew up in many cities throughout the Pacific Northwest and Colorado and ran his first marathon at age 11. In high school, he was involved in cross-country, football and baseball.

He attended the University of Idaho and the University of Nevada and graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor of science degree in business communications. He was in sales for the bulk of his career, finishing in pharmaceuticals. He recently switched to construction.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, biking, skiing, whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities.

Survivors include his father, Hugh W. Stringfield of Nampa, Idaho; a daughter, Kari D. Stringfield of Billings; and brothers, Stanley H. Stringfield of Sidney and Samuel J. Stringfield of Fruitland, Idaho.

Services were at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:33

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George Fleming Ainslie III

Longtime Lavina resident George Fleming Ainslie III, 56, whose blacksmithing work can be found in historical reconstructions and modern homes throughout the West, died Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013.

The youngest son of Cowgill Donn Ainslie and Mary Jane Parker, he was born Aug. 4, 1957. He earned the Eagle Scout Award, as had his brothers before him. He graduated with honors from Rocky Mountain College.

He married Charlotte Marie Kelly on Dec. 27, 1980, and they spent their honeymoon on Alaska’s North Slope.

Mr. Ainslie made his living in the centuries-old trade of blacksmithing. Prairie Elk Forge, established in 1985, sank its roots deep in Lavina, Montana, where he helped raise his three children while pounding iron in the backyard. His artistry can be found in modern architectural homes, as well as historic reconstructions in national parks. He participated in the restoration of Old Faithful Inn.

He and his family welcomed into their home exchange students from Japan, Hong Kong and China and worked with local children for 22 years with the 4-H Club.

Survivors include his wife, Charlotte Kelly Ainslie; three children, Kit, Miranda and Heather Peters; a grandson; and brothers, Bruce and Scott.

Services were held Sept. 15 in the Lavina Public School Gymnasium, followed by inurnment in Lavina Cemetery, and a community luncheon back at the school. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:28

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Roger Wayne Peterson

Roger Wayne Peterson, 56, of Billings, died Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.

He was born Aug. 2, 1957, to Edward and Barbara Peterson in Billings and had three siblings. He graduated from Senior High School.

Survivors include his companion, Marlys Williams; stepsons, Jason Williams, Jeffery Williams and Jerod Williams; siblings, Jeannette Stierle of Idaho, James Peterson of Billings and Lisa Turley of Billings; godparents, Tom and Charlotte Rudolf; and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Guests are asked to dress in blue jeans and T-shirts, as Mr. Peterson would have wanted it. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:26

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Frances Mae Bly

Frances Mae Bly, 101, of Billings, an accomplished upholsterer and wallpaper hanger, died Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.

She was born in Langdon, N.D., on May 4, 1912, to William and Etta Smith. They lived in Acton, and Frances attended school in Broadview.

She was baptized at age 98 on Aug. 13, 2010, at Wicks Lane Baptist Church.

She and her husband, William “Bill” Bly, lived for more than 50 years on Riverside Road in Billings. She supplied restaurants and families with vegetables. She, with her parents, hung wallpaper in the Northern Hotel.

Her last years were spent at RiverRidge Assisted Living in Eagle Cliff Manor, where she celebrated her 100th birthday and danced with her grandson to music by the Old-Time Fiddlers. She also had received care from Rocky Mountain Hospice.

Survivors include a daughter, Donna Germeraad of Columbia, Tenn.; five grandchildren; two step-granddaughters; 14 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:26

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Floyd Henry

Floyd Henry, 63, formerly of Shepherd and Billings, died at his home in San Manual, Ariz., on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013.

He was born in Tucson, Ariz., to Mamie and the late Calvin Henry Sr. on July 14, 1950. He graduated from Pueblo High School and attended the University of Arizona and Montana State University Billings.

He married Linda Trinkino in Colorado in 1975 and their two sons were both born while the family lived in Pine, a small community in the mountain area outside of Denver.

He arrived in Montana in 1983 and was involved in Little Guy Football, Little League, Youth Dynamics Inc., Trailways, the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and MSU Billings.

When he found the Montana winters too much for him, he returned to the Tucson area. At the time of his death, he lived in a rural community where he could walk outside, look at the desert – the mountains – the sky and plan his next garden or fishing trip.

Survivors include sons, Eric and Gerald; his mother; five brothers, Calvin, Harold, Delbert and David of Tucson and W.D. Spearman of Crockett, Texas; and two sisters, Althea Agboola of Tucson and Jessie Cobbs of Crockett.

A celebration of his life will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at 4527 Ryan Ave. in Billings. Family and friends are asked to bring a bag of hard candies or a gas card to be donated to those in need at local dialysis centers. Condolences may be shared with the family at the above address. For directions, call 545-8201.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:25

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