Ralph Bond Jr., 84, who helped build the Conoco refinery and worked many years there, died April 27, 2013.
He was born in LaCrosse, Wis., on Feb. 28, 1929, the only son of Merle Bandle and Ralph Bond Sr. The family moved to Billings, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, William Durham, and spent some years in Colstrip and on their farm in Absarokee, before moving back to Billings.
He attended school in Billings and Colstrip before graduating in 1947 from Absarokee High School, where he played basketball. He attended Rocky Mountain College from 1947 until 1949. He began working at Continental Oil Co. in 1949 as a member of the original “49ers” and helped with construction of the Billings refinery.
He served in the Navy during the Korean War, from 1950 until May 1954. He was aboard the USS Bataan aircraft carrier and attained the rank of electrician’s mate second class.
After military service, he returned to Continental Oil Refinery, where he worked until 1985 as a pump mechanic, pump mechanic foreman, and later as craft supervisor.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:15
Aron G. Strange, 66, who founded the Musicians Rendezvous in 1990, died Sunday, April 21, 2013, at his home in Joliet.
He was born in Wichita, Kan., on Feb. 2, 1947, and graduated from Wichita Heights High School in 1965. He was the eldest of three boys of Ronald W. and Virginia L. (Ramsey) Strange.
He moved to Montana in 1978 where he was the president of Strange Inc.
Survivors include sons, Sean G. and Zane I.J.; brothers, Donald L. and Ronald W.; and three grandchildren.
The 2013 Musicians Rendezvous on Aug. 9-11 at Itch-Kep-Pe Park in Columbus will be dedicated in his memory. He was the founder of the Rendezvous in 1990.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:14
Loretta Lael Wroot, 77, of Billings, who played the organ and loved square dancing and clogging, died Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare.
She was born March 27, 1936, in Greybull, Wyo., the daughter of Richard and Belle (Frederickson) Wheeler. She attended school in Greybull and at the University of Wyoming. She lived in Ten Sleep, Wyo., before moving to Billings in 1974. From 1985 to 1990 she lived in Colorado Springs, Colo.
She had worked for her brother in Colorado at an accounting office. In Billings she worked at Treasure State Costume and for Selover Honda Car Dealership.
She painted and also created birthday and wedding cakes. She had a passion for gardening and was a member of the Heights Ditzy Divas of the Red Hat Society. She was a breast cancer survivor and had received care from St. Vincent Healthcare.
Survivors include children, William Wroot of Loveland, Colo., Lael Parker, Dawn Townsley and Theresa Roll, all of Billings, and Leah Agee of Colorado Springs; 16 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; a sister, Sally Watson; and brothers, Larry and Dean Wheeler.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:35
Homer S. Ford Jr, 89, of Billings, who had been regional supervisor for the Division of Wildlife Service in Portland, Ore., died Wednesday, April 10, 2013, after suffering crippling pain.
He was born Sept. 19, 1923, in Alhambra, Calif., the only son of Homer S. Ford Sr. and Ida Friend. When he was still young, the family moved from California to Ellensburg, Wash., where he lived until entering the military service in 1942. Mr. Ford served 3 ½ years with the Marine Corps during World War II, with overseas duty in the South Pacific.
He married Mary Schell in 1944 and after an honorable discharge received a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. In June 1966 he became regional supervisor for the Division of Wildlife Service at Portland, Ore.
In 1976 he retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Mr. and Mrs. Ford raised fruit, cattle and other crops. Mrs. Ford died in 1997. In 1999 he moved to Billings and married the former Dorothy Prill Miner. They traveled until ill health kept them homebound.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; sons, Mike, Fred and Douglas; a daughter, Barbara; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; a sister, Margaret; a stepson Andrew Norstrum; son, Nate; and stepdaughter, Andrea Renee Griffith.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:23
Ray D. Lewis, 73, who taught and coached for 26 years and also owned a construction company, died April 11, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare.
He was born July 6, 1939, the son of Rose Rang and Ray Lewis. He graduated from Fairview High School in 1957, Northern Montana College in 1961 and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Eastern Montana College.
He married Charlotte Eder in 1960.
Mr. Lewis taught and coached for 26 years with stops in Lodge Grass, White Sulphur Springs, Absarokee, Billings Central Catholic High School, Huntley Project and Broadview-Lavina.
He owned and operated Mudjacking Construction for 41 years, doing jobs across Montana and Wyoming.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:22
Gerald Earl Morris died Thursday, April 11, 2013, from complications of cancer.
Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Barbara; children, Larry, Shawn, Jason and Kimberly Feldkamp; a brother, Guy; sisters, Dee Gottwig and Orvetta; 13 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
Private family services will be held. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:19
Diane Lynn Weil, 54, of Billings, who loved taking care of her rose bushes and enjoyed a good potluck, died Wednesday, April 10, 2013.
She was born Feb. 3, 1959, to DuWayne and Shirley Strom in Wadena, Minn. On Jan. 14, 1981, she married Tim Weil.
She enjoyed spending time at the property in Martinsdale. She had received care from Eagle Cliff Manor and from Rocky Mountain Hospice.
Survivors include daughters, Tanya and Natasha Weil, both of Billings; three grandchildren; and siblings, Kerry Strom, Larry Strom and Doug Strom, all of Billings, and Shelly Kudrna of Draper, Utah.
Services were April 12 at Atonement Lutheran Church in Billings. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:18
Adam Herauf, 91, of Billings, a World War II veteran who enjoyed playing the banjo, died Monday, April 8, 2013.
He married Hilde Braun on Feb. 7, 1944. He served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater, achieving the rank of gunners mate second class. He took part in the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Hilde; and children, Diane Glantz of Bigfork and Duane and Terry, both of Billings.
Memorial Mass was April 13 at St. Thomas Parish in Billings. Private family inurnment was planned. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:17
Wilfred E. ‘Bud’ Lawrence, 73, who had worked at many jobs and mastered skills of every kind, died April 9, 2013, at his home.
He was born Feb. 26, 1940, to Wilfred and Thelma Lawrence in Columbus, the fifth of seven children. In his younger years, he raced cars in Columbus and grew to love Harley-Davidson and cars of all types.
Survivors include his life partner, Linda Hearn; daughters, Joann, Rene and Mary Sue; brother, Frank; sisters, Ginger Reed, Mary, Alice and “Tootie”; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:16
Evelyn Schanz, 92, of Billings and formerly of Ryegate, died at Aspen Meadows Nursing Home on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.
She was born at Rothiemay, a daughter of Glenn and Margaret Reed. She graduated from Ryegate High School and in 1939 married Steve Schanz of Ryegate. They lived in the Ryegate area and ranched at Rothiemay until moving to Billings in 1995.
Mrs. Schanz was a homemaker who enjoyed cooking large meals. She also enjoyed raising a garden, canning vegetables and cross-stitching.
Survivors include a daughter, SueAnn Hawthorne; a son, Dennis; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Memorial Mass will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at St. Mathias Catholic Church in Ryegate. Rite of Committal will follow in the Ryegate Catholic Cemetery. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:15