The Billings Outpost

Richard Charles Whitesell

Richard Charles Whitesell, 77, of Billings, retired area director for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, died Sunday, July 7, 2013.

He was born May 10, 1936, to Diel and Harriet Carter Whitesell in Mobridge, S.D. The family lived at Wakpala, S.D., and Fort Yates, N.D., before moving to Yakima, Wash., in 1941. He attended elementary school in Yakima until 1946 when he and his father moved back to Fort Yates. He lived with his grandparents until he started high school, and then became a boarding student at Standing Rock Community School. He graduated from high school in 1954.

He served in the Marine Corps from July 1954 until 1958. He enrolled at Dickinson State College in 1958 and graduated in 1961. He earned a master’s degree in school administration at South Dakota State University in 1969.

He taught and coached at Brockton, then in 1963, he took his first position with the BIA as teacher and coach at Pierre Indian School in Pierre, S.D. In 1965 he transferred to Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School in Eagle Butte, S.D., and in 1967 was promoted to high school principal.

In 1969 he was selected as a Department of Interior management trainee and while in Washington, D.C., he was selected as superintendent of Riverside Indian Boarding School in Anadarko, Okla. In 1971 he transferred to Flandreau Indian School in Flandreau, S.D. He served as superintendent there until 1976 when he became an administrator for the BIA.

He worked as assistant area director for Indian services at the Phoenix Area office. In 1977 he was selected as superintendent of Flathead Agency in Ronan. In 1981, he went to Fort Washakie, Wyo., and served as agency superintendent until 1983, when he was selected as regional director for the Rocky Mountain Region in Billings. He held that position until he retired in 1994.

He also had served as acting regional director for California in Sacramento, Calif., and as acting assistant secretary for trust and economic development and later as acting associate commissioner of Indian Affairs, both in Washington, D.C.

He went back to work in 2003 as superintendent of schools at Frazer. He retired for the second time in 2006 but then worked as superintendent of schools at Brockton from January until July 1, 2007. When the position in Brockton became vacant again, he agreed to work there until July 1, 2009.

He was an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service, the American Legion and the Elks Lodge.

Survivors include four children, Robin Jean Whitesell of Billings, David Charles Whitesell of Stevensville, Richard Patrick Whitesell of Columbus and Taylor Dielann Whitesell of Billings; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Inurnment will be in the veterans cemetery in Fort Lincoln, Mandan, N.D. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 12:28

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Grace E. (Harmala) Jarvi

Grace E. Jarvi died July 13, 2013, at Bonaventure Senior Living, where she had lived for the past two years.

She was born on the Lammert DeVries homestead east of Roberts, one of five children of Charles and Margaret DeVries. She attended Roberts school starting in 1932. Graduating in 1944, she married Emil Harmala.

They lived on a ranch west of Roberts and had six children: Marcia McCleary of Roundup, Gary of Billings, Martin of Billings, Wally of Benton City, Wash., and Mark and David of Billings. She had 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

After Mr. Harmala died in 1969, she married Elmer Jarvi, who had two children, Irene Roat of Hayden, Idaho, and Larry Jarvi of Corvalis, Ore. They lived on the farm for two years before moving to Joliet, then later to Billings. She moved to Sweetwater Retirement Center, then to Bonaventure after having a stroke in 2010.

She was interested in genealogy and had written at least 13 different family trees. She also made afghans, crocheted and did other craft projects.

Visitation was July 17 at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 18, at Roberts Methodist Church. Interment will be in Roberts Cemetery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 12:28

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Stephen Charles Harrison

Stephen Charles Harrison, 41, who had worked 21 years for CTA Architects, died Friday, July 12, 2013, while fly fishing on the Stillwater River with a friend, Curt Chapman.

He was born Oct. 12, 1971, in Casper, Wyo., one of three children of Gerald and Dolly Harrison. He grew up in Linch and Edgerton, Wyo.

He played baseball in Little League and the Babe Ruth League and also played soccer in Buffalo, Wyo. He graduated from high school in Midwest, Wyo., in 1990. He was involved in basketball, wrestling and track and was the quarterback and kicker for the football team, which won the state championship his senior year.

He wrestled all four years of high school, placing second his junior year and fourth at state his senior year. He took first place at the state track meet in pole vault his senior year. After high school, he played softball for 20 years and also played golf.

He graduated in 1992 from Phoenix Institute of Technology with an associate degree in drafting and went to work for CTA, where he remained until his death.

He married Tricia Chapman on Feb. 10, 1995, in Las Vegas.

Survivors include his wife; daughters, Payton, Paige and Grace; parents; and a sister, Amy Wilhelms.

Services were held July 17 at Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Memorials may be made to First Interstate Bank, ATTN: Christina Garza, 2501 Central Ave., Billings, Montana 59102.


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 12:26

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Nancy K. Henry

Nancy K. Henry, 60, of Billings, who grew up in Wyoming and lived for a time in Hawaii, died in her sleep on July 6, 2013, after a short illness.

She was born in Buffalo, Wyo., to Elizabeth and Gene and grew up on the family homestead. She married Michael in 1974 on Oahu, Hawaii, and they lived there for several years.

She had received care from Billings Clinic.

Survivors include her husband; children, Tanya and Shasta; a sister, Paula; and a brother, Richard.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, July 12, at Mountview Cemetery. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Memorials may be made in her name to Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:54

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Patricia A. Schultz

Patricia A. Schultz, 69, who had taught school and worked in mortgage banking, died July 3, 2013, after a five-year battle with cancer.

She was born Dec. 24, 1943. Her husband, Wally, died in 2006 of cancer.

She had lived during winter months on Isla Mujeres, Mexico. She was known for her gardening and home decorating.

Survivors include sisters, Melissa, Meg and Jinny; her island family, Angela and Hugo; and her sweetheart, Jon.

Vigil services were July 10. Memorial Mass will be at noon Thursday, July 11, both at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:53

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Dorothy Jean Kukla

Dorothy Jean Kukla, 86, of Billings, died Tuesday, July 9, 2013. She had been a resident of Highgate Assisted Living for six years before moving to Aspen Meadows.

She was born July 28, 1926, to Glen and Mary Smith and had eight siblings. She married Frank Kukla in Worland, Wyo., on Nov. 15, 1941.

She and her husband farmed with Ollie Kukla in Burlington, Wyo., later purchasing a wheat farm on Blue Creek by Billings. After retiring, they moved to Florida before coming back to Billings.

Survivors include a sister, Betty Johnson; daughters, Sydney Heidema and Merrylee Roberts; a son, Gerald Kukla; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at noon Thursday, July 11, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:53

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Billy M. Hayes

Billy Markwood Hayes, 88, of Billings, a retired heavy equipment operator and welder who became interested in Western history and stamp collecting, died Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare.

He was born Feb. 22, 1925, in Gering, Neb., the son of Benjamin and Margaret (Haney) Hayes. He graduated from Gering High School.

He worked as a heavy equipment operator in Scottsbluff, Neb., and as a welder in Gering. He married Virginia DeWitt in Sidney, Neb., in 1949. They moved from Nebraska to Lovell, Wyo., in 1985 and later to Billings.

While in Lovell, Mr. Hayes was a master Mason from Tri-Mountain View Lodge 35 and was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He lived at the South Forty apartments in Billings.

Survivors include sons, Jerry Hayes of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Alan Hayes of Torrington, Wyo.; a daughter, Linda Elwood of Torrington; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were planned in West Lawn Cemetery in Gering. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:52

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Robert ‘Bob’ Keller

Robert “Bob” Keller, 82, a retired printer, died June 28, 2013, at RiverStone Hospice.

He was born on March 23, 1931, and graduated from Bismarck High School in 1949. He learned the printing trade at Wahpeton School of Science and had worked at the Bismarck Tribune, Sidney Herald, Miles City Star and Livingston Enterprise. He retired from Artcraft Printers in Billings in March 1998.

He married Donna Anderson on Oct 27, 1979.

Survivors include his wife; children, Kathye Partridge of Portland, Ore., Keith Keller of Billings, Karen Tracy of Bismarck, N.D., and Kurt Keller and Kay Hotchkiss of Billings; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services are planned for next summer. Arrangements are by Cremation and Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be sent to RiverStone Hospice or the American Cancer Society.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:51

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Leon Ernest ‘Ernie’ Fritz

Leon Ernest “Ernie” Fritz, 86, who was descended from a long line of pioneers, died Monday morning, June 24, 2013, at Aspen Meadows in Billings.

His great-great-great-grandfather, Martin Luther Fritz, came to Philadelphia as an indentured servant from Alsace (now a part of France) in 1771. He fought in the American Revolution and is believed to have crossed the Delaware River with Gen. George Washington. After the war, he settled in western Pennsylvania, then in Ohio. His sons and grandsons continued moving west, through Indiana and Illinois, then to Iowa.

Mr. Fritz’s grandfather Benton moved to Billings in 1906 from Marcus, Iowa. His father, Leon Samuel Fritz, homesteaded near Duck Creek in 1912 and received a land patent in June 1917. He married Laura Baker of Tacoma, Wash., and Ernie Fritz was born Aug. 5, 1926, and grew up on the ranch.

He attended Senior High School but was not able to graduate because he was bucked from a horse and lay in a coma for several weeks. During his recovery, he had to learn how to walk and talk again. He was known for the Harleys he rode and the fast cars he drove.

He married Gail Gullard in 1951. Their sons, Kerry, Cassidy, and Shadd, were raised in the log house they built on the ranch, where they grew wheat and raised cattle.

Mr. and Mrs. Fritz separated, and he later married Ann Wargo.

In the last 30 years of his life, Mr. Fritz became a Christian, a committed recovering alcoholic and counselor for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Survivors include sons, Kerry of Billings, Cassidy of Elkhart, Ind., and Shadd of Billings; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Private family services will be held. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 July 2013 10:54

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Gloria T. Ratcliff

Gloria T. (Orlando) Ratcliff, 89, a lifelong resident of Billings, died June 28, 2013, at the Billings Clinic.

Her parents, August and Angelina Orlando, immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s, and she was born on Oct. 28, 1923, the ninth sibling in a family of 10.

She was in the first graduating class of the new Senior High School in 1941, then attended Johnston School of Business. Early employment was at the downtown Woolworth, and she also worked for an insurance firm as a secretary. She was employed with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs before getting married.

She married Edward “Eddy” Ratcliff on Jan. 8, 1955, in St. Patrick’s Church.

She was a full-time mother for many years and, starting in the early 1970s, worked for the U.S. Geological Survey (Mining Division) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. She retired in 1985 after more than 20 years of government service and was a member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees for many years.

She was known for her spaghetti and meatball dinners and was involved in league bowling.

She had received care from Billings Clinic and from Canyon Creek Memory Care facility in Billings.

Survivors include sons, Dave of Ellensburg, Wash., and Joe of Billings; a grandson; a great-grandson; a stepgreat-granddaughter; and a sister, Margaret Pickett, and a brother, Bob Orlando, both from Billings.

Visitation was July 1, and Vigil Service was July 2, both at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Funeral Mass was at 10 a.m. July 3 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. Rite of Committal will be in Mountview Cemetery. Reception will follow committal at St. Thomas. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 July 2013 10:53

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