The Billings Outpost

Virginia Margaret Knudsen

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

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Ronald J. Di Liberti

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

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Gerald ‘Gerry’ Lee Dorow

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

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Hilda VanDriest

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

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Louella Rhodes

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

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Richard C. Freeberg

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

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Thomas A. ‘Tom’ Voorhees

Thomas A. “Tom” Voorhees, 85, a longtime petroleum engineer and a golfer who shot six holes in one, died May 11, 2013.

He was born June 15, 1927, in a farm house in Hebron, Ohio, to Florence and Robert Voorhees. He graduated from high school in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., in 1945. He joined the Naval V-5 program for naval aviators and spent about five years in the Navy, mostly as a co-pilot in four-engine land planes (PB4Y-2).

He graduated from New Mexico School of Mines with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering in 1954. He was employed by Cardinal Drilling Co. as an engineer responsible for operating the 11 drilling rigs the company owned. He continued this employment until 1977.

In 1966, he married Carolyn Jo Kuchinski of Bridger. After retirement, they bought a home in Indian Wells in the California desert. They spent winters there and summers in Billings.

Mr. Voorhees was an avid golfer and had a single-digit handicap most of his life. A stroke in 2006 left him with impaired vision and ended his golfing days.

In 1989, Mr. and Mrs. Voorhees moved to Flathead Lake and built a home on a canal from the Flathead River. They moved into Mission Ridge in Billings in 2007.

Survivors include his wife, Carolyn “C.J.” of Mission Ridge; a daughter, Susan Schurr of Remington, Switzerland; a son, Robert Voorhees of Durango, Colo.; four grandchildren; two great-grandsons; and a sister, Pat Rhoda of St. James, Fla.

A private graveside service in the Bridger Cemetery was planned. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary had charge of arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:21

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Carol Marie Davis

Carol Marie Davis, 80, of Billings, who raced stock cars with her husband in the 1950s, died Saturday, May 11, 2013.

She was born in Lead, S.D., on April 9, 1933. She was an only child, adopted by Ernest James Walker and Kathrin Marie (Adams) Walker. She married Earl Wayne Davis on Aug. 4, 1950.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis lived many places throughout the 1950s prior to settling in Billings. They raced stock cars in the 1950s, and in the 1960s and 1970s she assisted Mr. Davis on numerous home improvement projects. She was an accomplished electrician, skilled builder and decorator.

They participated with their children in scouting, baseball and camping.

Survivors include sons, Corey and Ken; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A private family service was planned. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:21

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Robert William ‘Bill’ Johnston

Robert William “Bill” Johnston, 74, a Korean War veteran and RV salesman, died in his sleep at 4 a.m. May 6, 2013, in his home.

He was born June 17, 1932, in Helena to Mary Roselda Coram and Andrew Wallace Johnston. The youngest of six children, he was raised in Helena and graduated from Helena High School in 1951.

The same year he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Navy Reserve and was on active duty in 1953-56, serving as a fire controller on the USS John A. Bole during the Korean War. He received an honorable discharge in 1957.

On June 2, 1954, he married Leona Pisk in Hollywood, Calif. When he returned from active duty, he and his brother Andy owned and operated their car business, Johnston Motors, and later added RV sales to the business.

He learned the product by using it, so he and his wife traveled the country, visiting Mexico, Arizona, California and Washington.

In 1973 he took his last drink and joined Alcoholics Anonymous.

They moved to Billings in 1997 to be with their granddaughters, Chelsia and Cassidy.

Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Carmen Leach; two granddaughters; and a sister, Margaurite Wildey of Yucca Valley, Calif.

Services will be at 1 p.m. July 3 at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home & Crematory in Helena. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of local arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:20

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Norma Dorothy Fagan

Norma Dorothy Fagan, 89, of Billings, a licensed practical nurse who was active in veterans groups, died Friday, May 3, 2013, at Grand Park Vintage Suites.

One of 13 children, she was born July 19, 1923, in Sydney, Australia. She married an American soldier, Robert Fagan, on Nov. 20, 1944, in Sydney. They had been married 69 years when he died on Feb. 19, 2013.

In 1947 they moved to Cut Bank and in the early 1970s to Billings. She had worked in Cut Bank and at Western Manor and Parkview Convalescent Center in Billings.

She was a member of Holy Rosary Church, the American Legion Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary and the United Veterans Council, and she volunteered with Disabled American Veterans.

Survivors include a son, Royal of Billings; daughters, Colleen Wigen and Patricia Fagan, both of Billings; two brothers, “Mush” and “Cab” Woodbury of Australia; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral Mass was May 8 at Holy Rosary Church and Rite of Committal was at the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary had charge of arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 20:19

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