The Billings Outpost

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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Connie Studer

SHERIDAN, Wyo. — Constance “Connie” Long Studer, 77, of Sheridan, who co-owned Studer Construction Co. with her husband, died in Billings on April 3, 2013.

She was born Sept. 3, 1935, in Billings, a daughter of Malcolm and Thelma Long. She attended Billings Senior High School and received degrees in education from the University of Oregon and Eastern Montana College. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

She married Dean Studer on April 22, 1957, and they spent the majority of their 56 years in Montana. As co-owners of Studer Construction Co., they spent several years living in parts of Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming, including two years in Yellowstone National Park, working on highway construction jobs.

Mrs. Studer spent more than 30 years dedicated to the Girl Scouts of America, Junior League and the St. Vincent DePaul Society. She was a longtime member of the Yellowstone Country Club, Spanish Trails Club in Las Vegas and, most recently, the Powder Horn Club in Sheridan, where she played in the Ladies Golf Leagues.

She was a devout Catholic and committed much of her time to supporting the church. She was also committed to local charities, including Mayfair (she was one of the original founders), the Billings Catholic Schools, the Youth Search Program and the Mount Carmel Youth Ranch in Clark, Wyo.

Survivors include seven children, Kathy Wiggs, Chrissy Walker, Colleen Houghton, Caroline Thelen, Cece Feltman, Dean Studer Jr. and Cynthia Bradley; 23 grandchildren; one pending great-grandchild; a sister, Cynthia Foster; and a brother, Joel Long.

A Vigil Service was held April 5 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Funeral Mass was April 6 at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary assisted with arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:54

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Wilma Leona Dougherty Conley

Wilma Leona Dougherty Conley, 101, who had been a cook at Deaconess Hospital in Havre, died March 27, 2013, at Horizon Hospice Home in Billings.

She was born on a farm near Guernsey, Iowa, on July 28, 1911, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Lee Robert and Esther Jeanette (Sanders) Dougherty.

She attended school in Guernsey, then her family moved in her junior year to Brooklyn, Iowa, where she graduated in 1928 from Brooklyn High School. She worked at various jobs before moving to Malcom, Iowa, where she married Clark Vernon Fogel.

The family moved to Havre in 1941, and the marriage ended in 1943. She and the children returned briefly to Iowa, then she came back to Havre to marry Paul Henry Conley in 1944. He died of cancer in 1959.

When her children were gone and left home, she started work as a cook at Deaconess Hospital. She retired there in 1974, then cooked at the Havre Senior Center until 1982.

She was active in Van Orsdel Methodist Church and ran the kitchen there for a few years. She was Worthy Grand Matron in the Order of the Eastern Star in 1974-75.

In addition to cooking, she also loved sewing and crocheting.

Survivors include children, Don of Havre, Jim of Centerville, Del., Joan Gaspard of Pensacola, Fla., and Colleen Wright of Billings; two stepdaughters, Florence Kline and Pauline Wilson; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; six stepgrandsons; and five great-great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.

Services were April 1 at Hope United Methodist Church, with a luncheon afterward. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 17:00

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Ethel Ellen Snider

Ethel Ellen Snider, 86, of Billings, who had worked at Billings Deaconess Clinic, died Saturday, March 30, 2013.

She was born in Miles City on May 7, 1926, to Edmond J. Leischner and Bertha K. (Sieler) Leischner. They moved to Billings in 1934, and she attended school in Billings. She worked at Billings Deaconess Clinic for about 16 years.

She married Donald C. Snider on July 30, 1959, and they lived on a ranch west of Colstrip at Castle Rock for about 16 years and then moved closer to the town of Colstrip.

Survivors include a son, Charles D. Snider, and a grandson.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, April 12, at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 405 S. 36th St. W. in Billings. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 16:59

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