The Billings Outpost

William R. Gibson

William Roy Gibson, 97, of Billings, who had been a vice president of finance for the Anaconda Co., died April 7, 2013, from congestive heart failure.

He was born Feb. 19, 1916, in Edmond, Wis., to Roy William and Martha Francis Hunt Gibson, the fourth of five siblings. After growing up on the family farm, he moved with his family to Gary, Ind., and Hobart, Ind., where he graduated from Hobart High School. Shortly thereafter he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and saw three months of service at Bovill, Idaho, and six months at Topango Canyon, Calif., where he served as secretary in the Forest Service office.

He stayed several months with an uncle in Missoula, then worked as a miner in Phillipsburg and helped build the Fort Peck Dam.

He graduated from the Chicago College of Commerce in June 1938 with a degree in accounting. He then returned to Montana and married Arlette Irene Williams on Sept. 23, 1939.

He served as district comptroller and vice president of finance for the Anaconda Co. before the family returned to Butte after serving two years for the Company in Tucson, Ariz. In the early ’40s, he and his family moved to Columbus, where he was chief bookkeeper for the Anaconda Co. at the chrome mines at the Benbow and Mouat operations. The family returned to Butte after the mines ceased operations.

He retired after more than 37 years of service. They moved to Billings in January 1979 when their son Mike suffered a brain aneurism that left him disabled until his death in December 1994. In Billings, Mr. Gibson became a real estate broker specializing in the sale of ranches and mobile home parks.

In 1999, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson won the American Red Cross and St. Vincent Hospital Family Heroes Award and were honored with a Heroes Award Breakfast. He had received care from Rocky Mountain Hospice.

Survivors include children, William Roy Gibson Jr. of Billings, Cami Chandler, Kaycee Hodges, Steven Douglas Gibson of Billings and Christopher; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services were at Dahl Funeral Chapel on April 17, followed by a reception. Interment will be in the Philipsburg Cemetery at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 18, with a reception following at the Granite County Cultural Center in Phillipsburg.

Memorials may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice or the American Heart Association.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:15

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Mary Ellen Phillips

Mary Ellen (Leas) Phillips, 95, who farmed with her husband, died in Billings on April 10, 2013.

She was born on Nov. 21, 1917, in Veedersburg, Ind. She married R. Gordon Phillips in August 1942. They took over her family’s farm in Indiana, then retired to Florida in 1981. After Mr. Phillips died, she came to live at Westpark Village for the last seven years.

Survivors include two daughters, Polly Taggart and Susie Merrill; two sons, R.G. Phillips and Tom Phillips; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A celebration of her life was held April 13 at Westpark Village. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:13

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Sarah M. Allen

Sarah M. Allen, 83, who had operated Sid Allen Construction with her husband, died Thursday, April 4, 2013.

She was born in Billings on Dec. 24, 1929, to Herbert and Nora (Lavender) Morehouse. She married Sidney A. Allen on Jan. 4, 1947, in Park City. They started Sid Allen Construction and operated it until they retired in 1977.

She had received care from Eagle Cliff Healthcare Community and the Alliance Resource Center.

Survivors include daughters, Carol Osborn of Eugene, Ore., Colleen Allen-Todd of Brainerd, Minn., Yvonne Boespflug of Billings and Kathy Nelson of Pelican Rapids, Minn.; 10 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.

Services were held April 8 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Inurnment followed in Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Memorials may be made to Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County, 1505 Ave. D, P.O. Box 20895, Billings, MT 59104.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 22:07

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Harley O’Donnell

Harley O’Donnell, 92, who built a commercial-scale turkey operation and wrote two books on local history, died Thursday morning, April 4, 2013, after a brief illness.

He was born in Billings on Sept. 11, 1920, the second son of Ignatius and Afton O’Donnell. The family lived on Hesper Farm, west of Billings, and the boys attended Elder Grove Elementary and Billings High School.

He married Lucile Thiel on Nov. 9, 1941, and they built the only commercial-scale turkey operation in Montana.

Mr. O’Donnell was a 4-H leader and active in the Elder Grove School, Yellowstone County Farm Bureau, Yellowstone Historical Society, Pioneers of Eastern Montana and the Western Heritage Center. He was a board member of Parmly Billings Library for 10 years.

After he retired, he became an expert on local history beginning with his grandfather, I.D. O’Donnell, a pioneer who had been instrumental in the introduction of irrigation to the Yellowstone Valley and had helped build the sugar factory in Billings.

Harley O’Donnell self-published two books, “The Big Ditch” and “Montana Monographs,” which was based on interviews conducted by his grandfather with pioneers who came to the state in the 1870s and 1880s. Mr. O’Donnell’s third manuscript, his grandfather’s biography, is awaiting a publisher.

Mr. O’Donnell and other volunteers have worked for years to uncover evidence of Lisa’s Fort, which was on the Yellowstone River near a sandstone rock inscribed in the early 1800s with signatures of Manuel Lisa and John Colter. He spearheaded the formation of the Yellowstone Basin Preservation Society.

Survivors include daughters, Sue Carol Delger and Patricia Jeanne Wiggins of Billings and Dawn Lucile Remington of Smithers, British Columbia; three grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild.

Services were at Smith Funeral West Chapel. Interment was in Mountview Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Yellowstone Basin Preservation Society, 2212 Hoover Lane, Billings, MT 59102; or Yellowstone County Museum, 1950 Terminal Circle, Billings, MT 59105.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 22:03

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Ernestine C. Muehling

Ernestine C. Muehling, 94, of Billings, who loved to travel on back roads with her husband, died in her sleep on Monday, April 8, 2013.

She was born in Ohio on Feb. 22, 1919, and married Carl Muehling on June 25, 1946. They moved to Montana. He died in 2005.

Survivors include a sister.

At her request, no services will be held. Private family burial will be held later. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 22:02

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W. Lee Hurt

W. Lee “Bear” Hurt, who worked in construction, died the morning of Monday, April 8, 2013.

He graduated from University of Montana with a degree in education and taught for a year. He then went to work for various construction companies, most notably Fisher Construction, Empire Sand and Gravel and the Montana Department of Transportation.

He had received care from RiverStone Hospice.

Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Mary Lou of Billings; a daughter, Tiffanie; and four granddaughters.

At his request, no services were planned. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. His ashes will be dispersed on the Antlers Ranch north of Meeteetse, Wyo.

Memorials may be made to the Audubon Conservation Education Center, 7026 S. Billings Blvd., Billings, MT 59101.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 22:01

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Timothy Paul Owen

Timothy Paul Owen, 71, of Billings, a retired pastor who had been involved in Peacemaker Ministries, died in his home on Sunday, April 7, 2013, of a glioblastoma brain tumor.

He was born in Leadville, Colo., on May 2, 1941, the second son of Estel and Frances Owen. He married Edie Marjerrison on June 22, 1962.

He graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Portland State University and earned a master of divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in June 1967. In June 1983 he received a doctor of ministry in theology from Fuller.

He was the youth pastor at Little Church of Sherman Oaks and at Garland Avenue Alliance Church in Spokane, Wash. In October 1970 he became pastor of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Ellensburg, Wash. He received ordination from the Christian and Missionary Alliance in May 1973.

After 31 years as the pastor in Ellensburg, he became Rocky Mountain District superintendent in Billings, where he retired in August 2012. Over the last 10 years he became involved in Peacemaker Ministries, working to resolve conflict through biblical principles.

Survivors include his wife; sons, Randy and Geoff,; five grandchildren; his mother; brothers, David and Phil; and sisters, Kathy and Elaine.

A celebration of his life will be held at Faith Chapel in Billings at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13, with a reception to follow at 517 Shiloh Road. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Donations for the C&MA Conciliation Ministries may be sent in care of Tim Owen Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 35000, Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3500. For information, call the C&MA Rocky Mountain District Headquarters at (406) 656-4233.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 22:00

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Dean L. Wulff

Dean Lamonte Wulff, 81, who co-founded Louie & Dean’s Montana Truck and Car Salvage, died April 4, 2013, from complications of a recent heart attack.

He was born Jan. 18, 1932, in Leonard, N.D., and grew up on the family farm there. He was the second child born to William and Ella Wulff. His father died when he was a toddler and his mother married Nick Brown, which brought seven other brothers and sisters.

He began driving a truck in 1953 and later hauled cars for Convoy Trucking, which brought him to Montana. He married Rayona Tate in 1957. They had four children: Bill, Tom, Karen Lekse and Sandra.

In the late 1950s, he and Louie Schoenbeck opened Louie & Dean’s Montana Truck and Car Salvage in the Billings Heights. In the early 1960s it was moved to its present location in Lockwood.

Mr. Schoenbeck died in 1977, and Mr. Wulff ran the business by himself until suffering a debilitating stroke in 1997. His eldest son, Bill, has been running it since.

He was a lifetime member of the Billings Trap Club. He spent the last four years of his life at Eagle Cliff Manor. He also had received care from Rocky Mountain Hospice.

Survivors include two granddaughters; a brother, Hank Wulff; and siblings, Cleo Brown, Clayton Brown, Connie Nennig and Pati Pogorzilski.

Visitation was April 10-11 with services set for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, at Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Donations may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 2110 Overland Ave., Suite 111, Billings 59102; or to LCCS-Spay/Neuter Fund for Pets, 2113 Walter Road, Billings, MT 59105.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:59

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Caroline Wittmer

Caroline Wittmer, 81, who had worked at Midland Packing until her retirement, died April 8, 2013.

She was born July 17, 1931, in Linton, N.D., to George and Katie Wingerter. In 1942 she moved with her family to Billings.

She married Harold Wittmer on July 26, 1947.

Survivors include five children, Rose Hutzenbiler, Gloria Reno, Mary Wittmer, Barb Pedersen and Jim Wittmer; seven grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and a brother, Leo Wingerter.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, April 12, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Memorials may be made to the Montana Rescue Mission.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:58

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Roger W. Dvorak

Roger Dvorak, 73, of Billings, who had owned and operated his own semi-truck, died Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

He was born Sept. 13, 1939, to Frank and Esther (Schleining) Dvorak in Billings. He worked on the family homestead in Worden until he enlisted in the Army on Sept. 13, 1956, his 17th birthday. He married Patricia “Pat” Sikora on July 9, 1960.

Mr. and Mrs. Dvorak had lived in Detroit, Mich., Salt Lake City, Utah, and St. Paul, Minn., before returning to Montana. They lived on the family homestead in Worden for several years and purchased a home in Billings in 1977.

Mr. Dvorak spent years working at Pierce Packing and Beall Trailer & Transport, where he was a welder. He was an owner operator of his own semi-truck and traveled the country with his wife.

Survivors include daughters, Cynthia Church, Laurie Salo and Christie Thielen; sons, Michael Dvorak and Rodney Dvorak; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life was held April 7 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:55

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