Elsie Frieda Backman, 93, a retired government employee, died Sunday, May 20, 2012, at Sapphire Comfort Suites, Valley Health Care in Billings.
She was born in Orland, Calif., on Dec. 12, 1918, to August and Katherine Winter. She grew up on the family farm outside Orland, the sixth of nine children.
After two of her brothers went missing in action and one had been killed in the war in Europe, she entered World War II as a Navy Wave. On Skaggs Island Naval Base in California, she met Harvey Backman and they married in July 1945.
Mrs. Backman graduated from University of Wisconsin in radio communication during her service in the Navy. She worked for the federal government in accounting and retired after 20 years.
She volunteered as a Pink Lady for Deaconess Hospital, worked with the Host Program at Orchard School, was active in her church, in bridge clubs and in Sons of Norway.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:47
Tara Nichol Hanson, 27, died Saturday, May 19, 2012, at Billings Clinic.
She was born July 15, 1984, in Albert Lea, Minn., the daughter of Brian and Terry (Radke) Hanson. She had her first heart transplant when she was 15.
In 2004 she met Angel Alvarado and they had a son, Keegan. She had her second heart transplant on St. Patrick’s Day 2011.
Survivors include her husband, Angel; son, Keegan; parents; brother, Aaron; a sister, Leah; and grandparents, Glen and Sandy Vandegrift and Daniel and Judy Hanson.
Visitation was May 22-23. Services will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at Dahl Chapel.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:46
Richard “Dick” James Jacobson, Sr., 70, a key member of Jacobson Racing, died in the early evening hours of Sunday, May 13, 2012, at Billings Clinic from complications due to an emergency aneurism surgery.
He was born in Billings on Oct. 17, 1941, to Lena and Walter Jacobson. He attended Broadwater, Lincoln Junior High and Senior High schools. After schooling he joined the National Guard.
In 1964, Mr. Jacobson married Janice Marie Dassinger. He had just finished building a hill climber for his grandson, Jordan.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Richard; sisters, Nancy McCullough and Lynda McRae; a brother, John Jacobson; and two grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 26, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:45
Robert A. “Bob” Hein, 92, who worked more than 40 years for the railroad, died May 18, 2012.
He was the oldest of five boys and three girls, born Feb. 28, 1920, in Billings to Alex and Mary Hein. He attended Billings schools but took a job with the Northern Pacific Railroad just short of graduation in order to help support his family. He worked more than 40 years for the railroad, taking time to serve in the Army overseas in World War II.
After the service he returned to Billings and built his own home for his family of three. He was a gardener, hunted and fished and taught himself to play the accordion and violin. In his younger years he played with his uncles and father at German weddings.
In recent years he had been a resident at Autumn Springs Assisted Living.
Survivors include a brother, Marvin, and a sister, Phyllis, both of Austin, Texas; brothers, Russell and Gary, both of Billings; a son-in-law, Tom Blevins, and his wife, Diane, of Billings, two great-grandchildren; and their mother, Terri Blevins, all of Billings.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:44
Joseph Mehi, 88, of Billings, a longtime St. Vincent Healthcare employee who moved from Romania to the United States following World War II, died Sunday, May 20, 2012.
He was born Nov. 29, 1923 in Baia Mare, Romania, the son of Arpad and Erzsebet (Kondor) Mehi. He was inducted into the Romanian military, which was taken over by Germany. At the end of World War II, following the American liberation of the German prisoners of war, he became a POW of the Americans.
In 1946, he was released for recovery and rehabilitation at a Red Cross hospital in Austria. The Catholic Diocese of Chicago sponsored him to come to America in 1949. In 1950 he moved to Montana and became a U.S. citizenp.
On Feb. 14, 1955, he married Barbara Jean Fenlon at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral. He worked at St. Vincent Healthcare for 49 years. He built the St. Pius X Catholic Church altar in 1969.
Survivors include children, Mary Beth Mehi of North Aurora, Ill., Paul Mehi of Rainier, Wash., and Helen Madson of Billings; and two grandchildren.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:43
Carolyn Leuthold, 79, of Molt and Columbia, Mo., a lifelong civic activist and consumer advocate, died April 6, 2012, at home of pancreatic cancer.
She was born in 1932 in Monterey Park, Calif. She was valedictorian of her high school class in Estacada, Ore., and received a scholarship to Lewis and Clark College, where she earned a degree in English, education and library science. She did graduate study at the University of Montana.
In 1956 she served as an International Farm Youth Exchange delegate to Belgium, the first trip in a lifetime of international travel. Later in life she also lived for short periods in New Zealand, England and Romania. Her last international travel was a visit to Myanmar to check on a project that has sent 600,000 books there.
She taught school in Grants Pass, Ore., and San Clemente, Calif. More recently, she helped operate the family cattle ranch in Montana.
She was chairman of Mental Health Associations in Sweetgrass and Stillwater counties and in Boone County, Missouri. She was active in the Lake Basin Homemakers, the Columbus Garden club and Friends of the Stillwater Library. She was a member of the Billings Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:43
Bruce Thoricht, 61, of Billings, a retired meteorologist, died Monday, May 14, 2012, of cancer.
An avid student of movie and literature, he was fascinated by the natural world and loved science and technology. He had been a meteorologist for the National Weather Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Billings. He assisted on many large forest fires and other incidents as a fire weather meteorologist.
He served in the Air Force for nearly 10 years.
Survivors include his wife, Tracy; a son, Michael; a daughter, Tembre Roller; and brothers, Craig of Doylestown, Ohio, Douglas of Concord, N.C., and Russell of Canton, Ohio.
A private service will be held for the family. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 13:59
Joshua Blake Lawrence, 26, of Billings, died the morning of Saturday, May 5, 2012.
He was born June 23, 1985, to his mother, Rene Lawrence. He had attended Senior High School and held various jobs.
Survivors include his mother; a sister, Vanessa; grandfather, Bud; stepfather, Harley; and brother, Claire.
Services were held May 12 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 13:58
Jason Michael Cucciardi, 39, manager of Express Pawn, died May 10, 2012.
He was born Feb. 17, 1973, in Billings, to Dave and Judy Cucciardi.
He attended Rimrock Elementary, Lewis and Clark and Senior High schools and earned a degree in business from Montana State University Billings.
Survivors include his parents; brothers, Jeremy and Nathan Cucciardi; and Tammy Smith and her children, Clay and Jessie.
Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral. A reception will follow at the church and Rite of Committal will take place after lunch at Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park. Michelotti-Sawyers is in charge of arrangements.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 13:57
Gabriele “Gaby” Kelly, 59, who was born in Germany, died Thursday, May 10, 2012.
She was born Gabriele Schweikart, the daughter of Alfred and Anna Schweikart of Gersthofen, Germany. She married her husband of 34 years, Patrick Kelly, in Augsburg, Germany, on Dec. 29, 1977.
She made weekend trips on the boat with her immediate family and took annual vacations to Germany.
Survivors include her husband; two daughters, Monika Kelly of Billings and Christina Edel of Denver, Colo.; two grandchildren and one soon to be born; her mother, Anna Schweikart of Gersthofen, Germany; and two brothers, Harald Schweikart of Augsburg, Germany, and Frank Schweikart of Kaufering, Germany.
A gathering will be held in her home from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19. Contact any member of the family for her address if you would like to attend. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 13:56