Robert Allen Fagan, 89, of Billings, a World War II veteran and American Legion district commander, died Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, at Parkview Convalescent Center.
The son of George and Orabelle Fagan, he was born Oct. 28, 1923, in Hampton, Neb. He was raised in the Conrad area. During World War II, he served with the 163rd Infantry in the South Pacific, receiving the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
On Nov. 20, 1944, he married Norma Woodbury in Sydney, Australia. In 1947 they moved to Cut Bank, where he worked in the grain industry. In the early 1970s they moved to Billings where he worked for Johnstone Supply.
He served as commander of American Legion Yellowstone Post 4 and as district commander for District 11. Each year he attended his unit reunion in Helena where he was the youngest member. He also belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus and the Elks Lodge.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Royal of Billings; daughters, Colleen Wigen and Patricia Fagan, both of Billings; a sister, Betty Zarn of Cut Bank; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral Mass was Feb. 25 at Holy Rosary Parish with military honors at Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary had charge of arrangements.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 18:04
Ronald Schultz, 81, who worked in the rock and masonry business, died Feb. 23, 2013.
He was born April 18, 1931, in Billings to Frank Manuel Schultz and Louise Kohl Schultz. He spent his teen years working on ranches in the Bull Mountains and racing horses.
He collected cowboy hats and antique tools and hunted arrowheads. He raised many dogs. His pride was the stone retaining wall he built at his favorite place in the Bull Mountains.
Survivors include his wife, Mavis; a son, Tim Schultz of Shepherd; five grandchildren; and sisters, Mary Bangart of Joliet and Joyce Brumfield of Billings.
In accord with his wishes, there will be no formal funeral. A gathering will be held in the spring at the cabin in the Bull Mountains. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be sent to RiverStone Hospice, 123 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 18:04
William E. “Gene” Brum, 86, who worked for the railroad for more than 30 years and enjoyed the outdoors, friends and family, died Feb. 17, 2013.
He was born in Fort Collins, Colo., in November 1926 to J.P. “Pete” and Mary Brum. His mother died when he was 2, and he went with his father to Washington. From there, they came to Billings, where he attended school.
He joined the Navy and served in World War II and Korea, then he worked for the Northern Pacific (Burlington Northern) Railroad. He was also employed as a mechanic with Cummins Diesel, Owens Trailer and Associated Foods. He later worked as a bus aide for First Student, retiring in 2007.
He was active in Cub Scouts and Little League with his sons. He was secretary-treasurer for the International Association of Machinists Union Local 622 for 25 years. He was also a member of the American Legion and Elks Lodge. Mr. Brum was active in a bowling league and participated in the Big Sky State Games.
His wife, Viola, died in 1984.
Survivors include four sons, Richard of Dixon and James Waite, Loren and Russell, all of Billings; two daughters, Kristi Burns of Baker and Charlene Hughes of Billings; five sisters, Ilene McCully of Tujunga, Calif., Lillian Steinbrink and Dolores Bernhardt, both of Billings, Betty Arginziano of Lowellville, Ohio, and Darlene Silverman of California; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, followed by services at 11 a.m. at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:32
Phyllis Sanchez, 74, of Billings, a teacher who had worked for Head Start and the Migrant Council, died Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.
She was born April 27, 1938, in Billings, the daughter of Felix and Margaret (Alva) Ontiveros. She attended Garfield School and Lincoln Junior High School.
On Oct. 23, 1954, she married David R. Sanchez at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. She attended Eastern Montana College, and after her children were in school she started her teaching career.
She worked for Head Start at North Park and in daycare at First Congregational Church. She worked for the Migrant Council and set up an education program for children in the ’70s, located in Poly Drive School. She was also employed with Billings Deaconess Hospital for a short time.
She was a lifeguard at South Park pool and participated in dance programs at Lincoln Center.
Survivors include her husband, David; children, Dennis Sanchez, Diana Parrott, Ronald Sanchez, Ben Sanchez, Bonnie Sanchez, Gary Sanchez, Frank Parrott and Felicia Sanchez Rivera; 14 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a brother, Paul Ontiveros.
She had received care from a niece, Lori, the last two weeks.
Vigil services were Feb. 15 and a Memorial Mass on Feb. 16, both at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Interment will be held later. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:31
Jason James Shaw, 32, of Billings, died Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.
He was born in Billings to Bradley James Shaw and Sheri Wyrick on March 4, 1980.
Survivors include his parents; grandmothers, Kathy Shaw and Janet Jones; sisters, Chandra Shaw, Katie McLees and Morgan McLees; and a son, Tayson Riojas-Shaw.
Services were Feb. 18 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:30
Lee C. Mills, 90, who had a long career in aviation, died Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at the Billings Clinic.
He was born in Sibley, Iowa, on May 30, 1922, to Doris Katherine Mitchell and Harley Mills. His parents subsequently divorced, and his mother married William Gustin and the family moved to Miles City in 1927.
Mr. Mills graduated from Custer County High School in 1940. He worked for Carl Brodston in Charlie Hatch’s garage as an apprentice auto body repairman, then moved in 1941 to Billings and worked at Lew Chevrolet garage in the body and paint shop.
In 1942, while working for Northwest Airlines as an apprentice mechanic and ramp attendant, he entered the Army Air Force and was assigned to the Mechanic School at Sheppard Field, Texas, and the Advanced Engine School at Chanute Field, Ill.
His service experience included 22 months at the air base at Jorhat in the Assam province in India. This base was involved in flying supplies across the Himalaya mountains to China over the route known as “The Hump.”
His assignments included ground crew chief responsibilities for the maintenance of a four-engine transport aircraft and flight engineer duties. He accumulated 652 hours of flight time and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (twice), the Air Medal (twice) and the Presidential Unit Citation (twice).
Upon his rotation back to the States, he married Stella Leone on April 25, 1945. He was subsequently assigned to Homestead Air Base in Florida as a flight engineer instructor.
After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Mills lived in Billings while he went back to work for Northwest Airlines. After an assignment in St. Paul, Minn., he returned to Billings and worked for Gillis Flying Service, managing the shop and parts departments for 10 years.
In 1959 he was recruited by the Federal Aviation Agency as a field maintenance inspector and was assigned to Fresno, Calif., and Helena. In Helena, he participated with the Montana Aeronautics Commission in the establishment of a Flight Instructor Refresher Program, which became a national effort to reduce aviation accidents. He also developed a slide program that he presented to pilot groups in Western Montana. The program was demonstrated to Regional Headquarters, then sent to the 90 field offices and became a national program.
Mr. Mills also worked with the Montana Aeronautics Commission to establish an annual airplane mechanic refresher seminar. He was promoted to field office supervisor in Helena and after 12 years was transferred to Fargo, N.D.
After 27 years, he retired, and he and his wife moved back to Billings. They taught round dancing at state conventions and festivals in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Montana. He was a member of the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, the CBI Hump Pilots Association, the Eagle Lodge in Fargo and the Elks and Moose lodges. He also made audio tapes of books for people with sight challenges, in addition to helping people learn English as a second language.
Survivors include a son, Stephen; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Services were Feb. 19 at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Committal was in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:29
Clayton Michael “Mike” Mooney, 53, who worked at a family painting business for many years, died Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, of cancer.
He was born in Billings on May 1, 1959, to Harold and Blanche Mooney. He went to school in Elliston and then in Billings.
He worked at Mooney Painting Inc., a family business, for many years, and also at other jobs.
His pastimes included hunting, fishing and camping in Judith Gap. He also had a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Survivors include his wife of eight years, Monica Chalman; her two children; his mother; two boys, Michael A. Mooney and Dylan L. Barker; a brother, Rock Mooney; and a sister, Jo Richardson.
Services were held Feb. 19 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Donations in his memory may be made to the National Federation of the Blind Montana Chapter at any US Bank location.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:28
Michael Stephen “Frenchie” French, 46, who had owned and operated a bar on Fort Peck Lake, died in Billings on Feb. 14, 2013, from a heart attack.
He was born in Malta on Nov. 3, 1966. At the age of 5, he was initiated into the Kiowa Gourd Clan by his grandfather, Jacob, and great-grandparents, Jane and Stephen Ahtone.
He graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1985 and attended Oklahoma University in Norman, Okla. He completed his bachelor’s degree in 1996 at Eastern Montana College.
Mr. French married Nixie Wilcoxon in 1991. In 1996, he and his family moved to Salt Lake City where he pursued a master’s degree in social services. He practiced his counseling skills at Yellowstone Boys Home in Billings and as a social service counselor in Wolf Point.
He had worked for Mustang Tour Ice, the Eagle Nest Lounge, Granary, The Winner’s Circle, 1145 Club and Billings Deaconess Hospital.
In 2007, he and his mother became owners and operators of the Gateway on Fort Peck Lake. After the Gateway burned in October 2011, he returned to Billings Clinic as a kitchen supervisor.
He had attended several powwows of the Kiowa Tribe in Mountain View, Okla.
Survivors include his father, Alden French of Billings; a son, Steven of Glasgow; a daughter, Paris of Dickinson, N.D.; former wife, Nixie Gagne of Glasgow; and grandfather, Alvida French.
Visitation was Feb. 18 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Memorial Mass was Feb. 19 at St. Bernard’s Parish.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:27
The Rev. Martin Norbert Francis Fisher, 86, of Billings, retired chaplain at St. Vincent Healthcare, died Feb. 9, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare.
He was born in Dickinson, N.D., on Oct. 25, 1926, to Earl V. and Faith Bernadette (Brown) Fisher. He was baptized at St. Patrick’s Church in Dickinson and received the saints name of Martin when he entered the Benedictine Order at the monastery of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, N.D., in June 1944.
After he was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1951, he spent 21 years working in educational apostolates in the Benedictine Community. He earned degrees from St. Pius X School of Music at Manhattanville College of Sacred Heart in Purchase, N.Y., in sacred music and from Notre Dame in liturgy.
He was sent to Bogota, Colombia, in 1968 to work in the educational apostolate of the Benedictines of Assumption Abbey. In 1972 he was sent on assignment in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.
In February 1983 the Holy See granted him permission to leave the Benedictine community and become a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.
From 1987 until retirement, he was a chaplain at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. He continued serving the diocese as a substitute priest until he moved to Bonaventure of Billings Senior Living Community.
He continued even there offering priestly and pastoral services to those in residence. He recently assisted the Rev. Joseph Ponessa in providing an English translation of the Psalms.
Survivors include a brother, Deacon Donald E. Fisher.
Vigil will be held at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. Mass of Christian burial will follow at noon Friday, Feb. 15. Committal will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:34
Ryan Michael Eaton, 26, who started a T-shirt business with his brother, died early Saturday morning, Feb. 9, 2013, of cancer.
He graduated from Billings West High School in 2005. He continued his education at Montana State University Bozeman and later transferred to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles to complete a degree in graphic design.
After completing school, he moved back to Bozeman to start a T-shirt business with his brother Dallas. They started a company called United Luv.
On Dec. 20, 2011, Mr. Eaton was diagnosed with a rare cancer called synovial sarcoma. While undergoing treatment, he decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from United Luv to purchase iPads and tablets for patients at cancer treatment centers. His partner Dallas is continuing their mission.
Survivors include his parents, Vicki and Sheldon; brothers, Dusty and Dallas; fiancée, Katie Johnson; and grandparents, Betty and Bill Eaton.
The family will greet friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at Faith Chapel.
Donations may be sent to the United Luv project at 3215 Reimers Park Drive, Billings, MT 59102. All donations will go directly to local cancer treatment centers.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:31