The Billings Outpost

Michael J. Moran

Michael Joseph Moran, 68, owner of Mike Moran Builders, died of cancer.

He was born in Great Falls on Sept. 16, 1946, the first child of Merrill Arthur and Mary Ellis (nee Scott) Moran. He graduated from Great Falls High School in 1964, then moved to Billings.

He graduated from Eastern Montana College in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in education. He married Marlene Marie Meyer at St. Pius X Catholic Church on Dec. 29, 1972.

He was the owner of Mike Moran Builders and built many custom homes throughout Billings.

He was an avid collector of art, especially etchings by Ace Powell. Along with his passion for art, he enjoyed matting and framing the art himself. 

He was a charter member of the Absaroka Region of the Porsche Club of America. He enjoyed downhill skiing and travelling with his family.

A daughter, Katie, died in 1999.

Survivors include his wife; a son, Chad; a brother, John Moran of Missoula; a sister, Sue Moran of Salt Lake City; and a friend, Theresa Wehr.

Visitation was July 22 at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at St. Pius X Catholic Church. Committal will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the Katie Moran Scholarship Fund through the Billings Area Catholic Education Trust.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:09

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Donna Jean Clark

Donna Jean Clark, 75, who had been a security video examiner for Kwik Way convenience stores, died July 19, 2015, at Billings Clinic.

She was born Jan. 10, 1940, to Cecil and Molly Collar. She grew up on the south side of Billings and attended Garfield School for nine years, missing one full year due to rheumatic fever. She also attended Billings Senior High School.

After leaving school, she went to work for Billings Wholesale Hardware. She married Richard “Dick” Clark on June 7, 1959.

After the children were in school, she  worked in the library at West High School. She earned her GED in the mid-’80s.

After leaving West High School, she put together mailers for different companies and then became a security video examiner for Kwik Way Convenience stores, which she could do from home.

She and her husband were season ticket holders to the Billings Mustangs. During the last six months, she met new friends at Billings Clinic Dialysis.

Survivors include her husband; children, Dean Clark of Billings, Debbie Kern of Lewistown and Doug Clark of Virginia; a brother, Richard Collar of Red Lodge; eight grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. July 27 at Faith Evangelical Church, 3145 Sweetwater Drive.. A reception follows the graveside service. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Donations may be made to Greenview Church of God, 1227 Greenview Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24502; or to Faith Evangelical in Billings.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:08

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Richard Deane Bell

Richard “Dick” Deane Bell, 87, a teacher, coach and school principal, died July 15, 2015.

He was born May 28, 1928, in Sidney to Adolph “Duff” and Emma Quilling Bell. He graduated from Sidney High School in 1946. He went to Havre Normal School for one year and at age 19 began teaching in a one-room school in Enid.

During the long, cold winter of 1949, he learned to play the piano. He played at the restaurants of his son, Todd, and at nursing homes after his teaching career. Other country schools he taught at were Moore and Ridgelawn. He earned a master’s degree in education from Montana Normal School in Dillon.

In the early 1950s at Lambert he taught seventh and eighth grades in all subjects and coached high school basketball and track. His team won the Class C District tournament in 1958, the first time in years. He received the Nick’s Picks Award in 1959 for Coach of the Year.

In 1959 he accepted the high school varsity Class B basketball coach position for one year in Circle. He subsequently accepted the elementary school principal position at Bo-Peep Elementary School in Circle, and was in that position five years.

He was elementary school principal in Bridger from 1966 until he retired in 1980. On May 25, 1991, he married Jena De Haven.

Survivors include his wife; sons, Deane Bell and Todd Bell; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a brother, Robert; and a sister, Betty Kay Bell Olson.

A celebration of life service was held July 21, at Cremation and Funeral Gallery, followed by a reception at Fort Rockvale. Burial was in Sidney Cemetery with a gathering for family and friends on July 22. Following the committal, lunch was served at the Assembly of God Church.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:07

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Clarence Wiberg

Clarence Alden “Lucky” Wiberg, 82, of Billings and Shepherd, who had been involved in many area businesses, died July 11, 2015.

He was born Sept. 22, 1932, in Minneapolis to Ingrid Johanna Borg and Alden Clarence Wiberg. When he was 6, his mother died, and his Aunt Thresa and Uncle Gunder Linge raised him and brought him to Billings on a family move for employment.

He married Leona Elsie Love on Feb. 6, 1952.

He had attended Broadwater School, Lincoln Middle School and Billings Senior High School. He was a veteran of the Korean War and had served as a cook at the Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver. He later became the first male cook for St. Vincent Hospital.

He and his wife owned the KFC-Jolly Boy Drive-In, Lucky’s Chick Inn and Fountain Drive-In. He was active with Civil Air Patrol, working his way up to major, providing a family environment for foreign exchange cadets and contributing CAP services for Search and Rescue.

He had been a salesman for American Tobacco (where he got his nickname) and for International Diamond Corp. He had been a traveling salesman for Lipton, bringing Wonder Bread to Billings.

He had been a partner in Barter Bank and Automatic Vending Services, purchasing the 17 Club. He had been chief executive officer of Bastian Wells and a security officer and stallman for Montana State Fair.

He built two homes in the Heights and developed the Crossroads Shopping Mall.

Survivors include his wife, Lee Wiberg of Billings; children, Deb Wiberg of Billings and Doug Wiberg, of Shepherd; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and a half-brother, Ken Wyberg of Minneapolis.

A gathering of family and friends for a celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. July 26 at Heights Family Funeral Home & Crematory, 733 W. Wicks Lane.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:07

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James Mitchel Cain

James Mitchel “Mick” Cain, 66, an artist who worked in many media, died June 11, 2015, at the University of Colorado Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit in Aurora, Colo., following multiple brain surgeries.

He was born Nov. 27, 1948, in Jordan to James and Dorothea Cain and graduated from Sweetgrass County High School in Big Timber. He joined the Navy in 1968 and served on three aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War.  He married Lynne Rollman on Jan. 13, 1973.

He created lawn sculptures, paintings, wood carvings, cabinetry and, most recently, a front door for his son’s home. During his work, he broke bones and cut off three fingers on his left hand, and he invented many tools to help him complete his creations.

He graduated from Dawson Community College and Eastern Montana College and completed a master’s degree in psychology from Montana State University Billings in 1996. A family member said, “He was a true hippie, an animal lover, fiercely independent, and a man of few words (unless you brought up the government and the direction that this country is heading).”

Survivors include his wife; sons, Christian and Dan Cain; a brother, Timothy Cain; a sister, Jane Gorder; and a granddaughter.

Services will be at 10 a.m. July 25 at Rocky Mountain Community Church, 2832 Broadwater Ave., Billings, MT 59102.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:41

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Katherine Deichert

Katherine Deichert, 79, who helped the elderly in the community, died July 7, 2015.

She was born to Michael and Eva Jahner on May 20, 1936, at Selfridge, N.D., the 10th of 12 children. She married William Deichert on Nov. 5, 1952, in Bismarck, N.D., and then moved to Billings.

She enjoyed crocheting, antiques and dancing.

Survivors include her husband; a sister, Christene Fode; a brother, Ray Deichert; a son, Billy; daughters, Debbie Hartman and Eva Sharp; six grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.

Services were July 11 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Burial followed at Sunset Memorial Gardens, then luncheon at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:41

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Ron Becker

Ron Becker, 70, former track superintendent at MetraPark, died July 5, 2015, at his home in Ballantine.

He was born May 14, 1945, in Billings to Ed and Elma Becker. He married Gen Becker on Feb. 9, 1965. They celebrated 50 years of marriage this year.

He helped his father farm on the Huntley Project for several years, then worked at ranching before going to work at Stanley Structure in Billings, where he was plant manager for 10 years. He then transferred to Colorado.

Mr. and Mrs. Becker later moved back to the Project, and he worked as track superintendent at MetraPark for several years. He then worked in construction until his retirement.

He took up oil painting in Colorado, and he also carved small tractors and farm equipment, as well as cabins and whatever his imagination came up with.

Survivors include his wife, of Ballantine; a sister, Donna Lesser of Bozeman; a son, Thad Becker of Milliken, Colo.; a daughter, Kimberly Pfauth of Castle Rock, Colo.; three granddaughters; and five great-granddaughters.

Services were July 10 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. A reception followed at Valley Baptist Church in Huntley. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:40

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Lauri Werner

Lauri Werner, 61, of Billings, who worked for the Montana Department of Revenue, died Wednesday, July 8, 2015, of brain cancer.

She was born April 8, 1955, in Cut Bank, one of four children of Bruce and Catherine (Marles) Werner. She loved cooking and was awarded Miss Betty Crocker in high school. She also enjoyed gardening.

Survivors include a son, Russell Wilcox of Hamilton; and four grandchildren.

Services were held July 14 at Cornerstone Community Church. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be made to the Cornerstone Community Church, 4525 Grand Ave., Billings, MT 59106.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:39

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Jamie Ann VanDoren

Jamie Ann (Yurt) VanDoren, 48, who worked in Laurel for the Yellowstone County treasurer, died July 11, 2015, of a brain tumor.

She was born Aug. 20, 1966, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, the first of three children born to Marcia and Roy Yurt of Park City.

She began her education in Somerset, Pa., and in 1984 graduated from high school in Simms. On Sept. 8, 1990, in Billings, she married Jamey K. VanDoren.

She was diagnosed with a brain tumor on June 13, 2015. She had received care from the Billings Clinic Intensive Care Unit and from RiverStone Hospice.

Survivors include her husband; children, Bethany and Caleb of Park City; parents; brother, Roy Yurt of Fort Collins, Colo.; and a brother, Paul Yurt of Billings.

Services will be in the Park City School gym at 10 a.m. July 18, conducted by the Rev. Steve Odom of Park City Baptist Church. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be made in her name to Western Security Bank, 20 Montana Ave., Laurel MT 59044.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:39

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Gladys Ward

Gladys Ward, 95, who was active in the Democratic Party and helped found the Widowed Persons Service and Support Group in Billings, died Sunday, June 28, 2015.

She was born Mary Gladys Milam on March 22, 1920, in Billings to Elbert Earl Milam and Grace Belle Lyda Milam. She grew up on the family ranch on Pryor Creek outside of Huntley.

She attended Pioneer Progressive and Broadwater Elementary schools but did not complete high school until she received a GED in 1966. She attended Billings Business College and worked as a bookkeeper, office manager and title researcher at Hanlon Oil and Abstract Guaranty.

She started and helped run several small businesses including the 3B’s Ice Cream Parlor and King Koin Launderette and kept the books for the family’s construction ventures.

In 1936 she married Forrest Blankenbaker. The couple lived in Gary, Ind., for several years, returning to Billings at the outbreak of World War II. She became a widow in 1972.

She aided many local candidates in the Democratic Party, walking her precinct, knocking on doors and serving as a polling place election official.

She began working at the Yellowstone Clerk and Recorder’s office in 1974. She was married to Arley Burton from 1977 until his death in 1987.

With support from AARP and a couple of advocacy trips to Chicago, the Widowed Persons Service and Support Group in Billings was founded.

She made thousands of phone calls to contact the recently widowed in the Billings area, offering a friendly hand and an invitation to join with others in card games, dances and dinner parties.

One widower she met in 1990 was Edwin Ward, whom she married.

Mrs. Ward was active in the Billings chapter of the Elks Club, calling volunteers and acting as a receptionist and volunteer staff scheduler. She and her husband also traveled widely.

Survivors include her husband; daughter, Joyce Roderick of Redmond, Wash.; and a grandson.

A reception luncheon is planned for 1 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the Elks Club, 934 Lewis Ave, Billings, MT 59101.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:59

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