Donald Edward Jarvenpaa, 77, a retired high-voltage lineman, farmer and rancher, died at 10:17 a.m. May 17, 2013, in the Billings Clinic Intensive Care Unit, where he had spent his last 17 days following emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm.
He was born to Frank Edward and Jean Marie Jarvenpaa on Oct. 28, 1935, in Detroit, Mich. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 20, which led to 15 orthopedic surgeries over the past 40 years.
He graduated from Cass Tech High School in Detroit in 1954 and began working at General Motors. He joined the Air Force and was stationed as a radar technician at the Cut Bank Radar Base in 1958. He married Christe Violet Hanson in 1960 and completed Air Force duty in 1962.
In 1963, he became a high-voltage lineman with Glacier Electric Co-op. In 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Jarvenpaa bought the Crooked Nail just north of Cut Bank on Cut Bank Creek. They expanded their holdings to 1,200 acres and paid it off in 20 years, working as farmers and ranchers on evenings and weekends.
He was promoted to operating superintendent for the last 10 years of his career, which ended in 1992. By this time, the farm and ranch production had been leased out and later placed in the Conservation Reserve Program.
He became caregiver to his wife, who died of cancer in 2000. He then assisted in the care of his former supervisor and friend, Warren Evers, Mr. Evers’ wife, Anne, and finally his sister-in-law, Sharon Hanson Ghidelli.
In recent years, he had wintered in Roberts near his son’s vacation rental.
Survivors include sons, Frank of Roberts and James Christopher of San Francisco, Calif.; sisters, Ella Gibson of Port Huron, Helen Glenby of Long Island, N.Y., and Carol Hayes of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and three stepgrandchildren.
Services will be at 4 p.m. May 25 at Roberts Methodist Church. A dual service for him and his wife will be held in late June at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Cut Bank. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Family condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 2, Roberts, MT 59070. Memorials may be sent to the Roberts Café, P.O. Box 58, Roberts, MT 59070, to help provide “home cooked” meals to those in need.
Last Updated on Friday, 24 May 2013 00:29
Theresa Ann Pinnow, 75, of Billings, died Saturday, May 11, 2013, at home.
She was born April 1, 1938, in Excelsior, Minn., to Louis and Viola Studer.
Survivors include three children, Diana, Stephen and Gayle; and two granddaughters.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:30
Wilma Arleen Simonson, 70, of Billings, who worked for Albertsons and in airport security, died at home on Friday, May 10, 2013.
She was born March 30, 1943, to William and Mary Knorr in Wolf Point and had six siblings. On July 29, 1962, she married Lyle Simonson in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, spending 21 years as a military spouse. She worked for Albertsons for 11 years and in airport security for two years.
Survivors include her husband, of Billings; children, Lorie Hunt of Joliet, Natalie Gore of St. Paul, Minn., Kris Simonson of Seattle, Wash., and Nathan Simonson of Billings; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Services were May 15 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:29
Richard “Dick” Roebling 77, who had worked on ranches and owned the Kirby Saloon, died May 10, 2013, at his home.
He was born Sept. 13, 1935, in Sheridan, Wyo., to Louise and Robert Roebling. He grew up in the Kirby area and graduated from Busby High School.
He worked various jobs in his early life, including work for the Farley Ranch and McRae’s Greenleaf Land and Livestock. In 1987, he and his wife, Delores, purchased the Kirby Saloon, retiring from there in 2001, then moving back to the ranch and then to Shepherd three years ago.
In 1965 he married Delores Becker-Kukes, who had five children. Their son Richard Dean was born a year later. He had previously been married to Doris Greenfield, and they had a daughter, Corrine, and son, Tracy.
Survivors include his wife; daughters, Carrie Mullin, Diana Perkins, Marilyn Watson and Corrine Duncan; sons, Andy Kukes, Leeroy Kukes and Tracy Roebling; a sister, Almira Briggs; grandchildren; and great- grandchildren.
Services were May 14 at Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:28
Virginia Margaret Knudsen, 95, who had lived in Billings for 62 years, died May 14, 2013, in Billings.
She was born the sixth of 10 children of Estella and Oscar Husted in Dillon on Sept. 26, 1917. She grew up on a ranch in The Big Hole Valley.
After her marriage on July 11, 1936, she spent many years outside Montana prior to her arrival in Billings. She retired in 1978 from Billings Public Schools after working at Lewis and Clark Junior High School.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, William Knudsen. She had received care from TenderNest and Rocky Mountain Hospice.
Survivors include sisters, Idella Massara of Ross, Calif., and Judith Knudsen of Sonoma, Calif.; a daughter, Peg Deno of Fridley, Minn.; Roger Knudsen of Billings; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A private family service will be held. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Donations can be made to the Humane Society of Yellowstone County.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:26
Ronald Joseph Di Liberti, 60, of Mossyrock, Wash., formerly of Roundup, died May 11, 2013.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Mr. Di Liberti lived in numerous states and his service in the Army during the Vietnam War took him to foreign countries as well. In 1988 he married Christine Virginia Munro in Yelm, Wash.
A self-taught tool, die maker and machinist, Mr. Di Liberti loved woodworking, horseback riding and fishing.
He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Survivors include his wife, Christine, of Mossyrock; children, Leila of North Dakota, Bradley of Utah and Mariah of Missouri; and five grandchildren.
Burial will be in the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in Laurel. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:26
Gerald Lee Dorow, 94, a chemical engineer who served as a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps during World War II, died May 9, 2013.
He was born at home on Nov. 15, 1918, in Imlay City, Mich., the only child of Louise Martha Retz and Samuel David Dorow, who were the children of German immigrants.
He grew up in Detroit and was a trumpet player with military bands while still in high school. He worked as a carpenter with his father to pay for college, graduating from Lawrence Tech as a chemical engineer.
After training at Cal Tech, he was sent to India during World War II as a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps where he directed planes flying over “the Hump” (the Himalayas).
He married Florence “Katy” Booth on July 11, 1947.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Gregory Dorow; daughters, Sharie Pyke, Deanna Patz and Tammy Freeman; 12 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be at Smith West Funeral Chapel on Thursday evening, May 16, with services at 1 p.m. May 17.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:25
Hilda VanDriest, 94, who had been a welder, cook and ranch wife, died Wednesday, May 8, 2013.
She was born on Valentine’s Day in 1919 to Edward E. and Emma Siemers of Montana. She attended school in Shepherd and took courses at the Polytechnic Institute of Billings. She had six siblings.
She had been a shipyard welder in Seattle, Wash., a cook at the Horse Shoe Club & Vegas Club, and a ranch wife.
She made quilts for family, friends and veterans’ hospitals. She also made paintings on canvas and backs of old frying pans, and she refurbished antiques. She also collected plants and flowers.
She married Gaylord VanDriest in Columbus on Oct. 26, 1953, and they were a ranch couple who raised Hereford and angus cows until his death in 2002. She had received care at Eagle Cliff Manor.
Her family included two children, Joe Joines of Oxnard, Calif., and Faye Chace of Portland, Ore.; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery, 29 Eighth St. W. in Billings. A luncheon for family and friends will follow at Barkemeyer Park in Huntley around 1 p.m.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:23
Louella Rhodes, 78, of Billings, who worked 30 years for St. Vincent Healthcare, died Saturday, May 4, 2013, at Horizon Hospice Home.
She was born Sept. 5, 1934, in Joliet to Guy “Bud” and Helen Bassett. She had three siblings.
She served in many areas at St. Vincent Healthcare, from a nurse’s aide to a unit clerk. Her favorite ward to work in was maternity.
She was preceded in death by three husbands, Frank F. Farber, Austin Whitefox and George Rhodes.
Survivors include a son, Frank W. Farber of Billings; a daughter, Bobbi L. Whitefox of Billings; a son, Tucker Rhodes of Seattle; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
No services are planned. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:23
Richard C. Freeberg, 94, of Billings, who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, died Thursday, May 9, 2013, at RiverStone Hospice House.
He was born Aug. 29, 1918, to Fred and Josephine Freeberg in Wolf Point. He enjoyed lunches at the Adult Resource Alliance.
Survivors include sons, Wayne Freeberg and Darrell Freeberg; a daughter, Melodie LaChapelle; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held later. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be sent to the Adult Resource Alliance, 1505 Ave. D, Billings, MT 59102; or RiverStone Hospice, 123 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:22