The Billings Outpost

Richard Fisher

Richard “Bud” Stevens Fisher, 94, who operated a ranch at Fly Creek, died May 31, 2013.

He was born Dec. 23, 1918, in Sheridan, Wyo., to Agnes Stevens Fisher and Richard Thomas Fisher. He married Wilma Sherod on Sept. 12, 1939.

He held many jobs and moved frequently before settling down on a ranch at Fly Creek. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher stayed there until retirement and then moved to Worden.

Survivors include his wife of 74 years; a daughter, Peggy Ellison; eight grandchildren; and 24 great-grandchildren.

No services were planned. Dahl Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 19:41

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E. Jack Cooney

E. Jack Cooney, 76, of Billings, died Saturday, June 1, 2013.

He was born June 29, 1936, in the Bronx, N.Y. He had made his home in Billings since 1992.

He married Caroline Diebert Stockton in Billings on May 24, 1997.

Mr. Cooney was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Knights of Columbus.

Survivors include his wife and a stepson, Ken.

Vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 6, and Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Friday, both at St. Bernard’s Parish, with Rite of Committal in Holy Cross Cemetery. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of arrangements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 19:40

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Clara B. McGuire Phelps

Clara B. McGuire Phelps, 93, formerly active in the Billings community and politics, died May 19, 2013.

Mrs. Phelps was born on the family ranch at Rocky Prairie, Wash., on Jan. 11, 1920, the only child of John D. McGuire and Isabel Whitaker McGuire. She graduated from Tenino High School in Tenino, Wash., in 1937.

After college training courses, she went to work for the state of Washington Licensing Department in 1939. During World War II, she became one of the first women to manage the Licensing Department. She also received clearance from the U.S. State Department to send and receive secret wartime messages.

She married Lt. James Harvey Phelps on Nov. 4, 1942, in Olympia, Wash. He died March 9, 2008.

In 1944, Mr. and Mrs. Phelps moved to Pocatello, Idaho, where he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1970 they moved to Billings, where Mr. Phelps worked as a railroad safety inspector with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Mrs. Phelps moved to Beaverton, Ore., in 2010 to be with her children.

Mrs. Phelps had been active in the Idaho PTA, serving as president; was a Cub Scout den mother and Girl Scout leader; and was active in the United Methodist Church as board chairman for two years. She served Methodist Church Circles as president and wedding chairman and was on the endowment committee. She taught Sunday school and was a United Methodist Youth Fellowship adviser. She was a 50-plus year member of Moss Agate Chapter 126, Order of the Eastern Star in Billings.

She was a member of The Mother’s Club of DeMolay in Pocatello and worked with Bethel 1 of the International Order of Job’s Daughters in Pocatello. In Billings, she had served as the guardian of Bethel 7 and was an honorary member of Bethels 7 and 10. From 1976 to 1977, she served as grand guardian of Montana of the International Order of Job’s Daughters, and from 1978 to 1979 was supreme fourth messenger for the organization.

She served on many political central committees and political campaigns  and met many elected officials, including three U.S. presidents. She had been a member of the Daughters of Washington Pioneers, the Social Order of Beauceant and a Shrine Lady. She had been active in the Yellowstone Chapter of the Audubon Society.

Survivors include a son, James Howard Phelps III of Beaverton; a daughter, Martha Ann Brooks-Waley of Beaverton; four grandchildren; five stepgrandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and seven great-stepgrandchildren.

Burial was May 28 at the Masonic Memorial Park Cemetery in Olympia with Eastern Star graveside services conducted by the Tenino Eastern Star Chapter. Viewing was May 28 at Funeral Alternatives in Tumwater, Wash.

Donations may be sent to the Scottish Rite Language Clinic, 514 14th St. W., Billings, MT 59102; or to the Montana Audubon Society, P.O. Box 595, Helena, MT 59624.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:49

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Elvina Sunwall

Elvina Sunwall, 89, a longtime technician at Deaconess Hospital in Billings, died May 22, 2013, at Aspen Meadows Retirement Community, two months after her sister, Milly Sunwall, died.

She was born March 6, 1924, on the family farm south of Homestead, the 11th of 13 children born to Anders and Margarethe Sunwall, emigrants from Norway. She attended Zich School, and in 1942 earned a high school diploma at Froid Public School.

She briefly attended Lutheran Bible School in Fergus Falls, Minn., returning to the farm to help after the death of her mother.

In 1943 she moved to Conrad and worked as a clerk at J.C. Penney. In 1948 she completed a year of Bible study in Fergus Falls.

In 1949 she played the piano and sang at tent meetings held by Evangelist Clarence Haaland. She later moved to Billings and worked at Kress Dime Store as a clerk, then as head of the children’s department.

In 1950 she took a job at Deaconess Hospital laboratory as a histologic technician. She retired in 1989 and moved in 2009 to Aspen Meadows with her sister.

She attended Billings Bible Church and later Yellowstone Lutheran Brethren Church.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 1, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Her ashes will be interred at Sunset Memorial Gardens following the service.

Donations are welcomed to Lutheran Brethren International Missions, P.O. Box 655, Fergus Falls, MN 53567.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:49

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Edwin ‘Ed’ Jirges

Edwin “Ed” Jirges, 82, a retired truck driver, died at St. Vincent Healthcare on May 8, 2013.

He was born near New Hradec, N.D., on Dec. 22, 1930, to Mary (Faiman) and Fred Jirges. He married Cecelia Krank on Dec. 31, 1951.

They lived on the family farm until moving to Billings in 1954.

He was an over-the-road truck driver for Kraft Foods and Consolidated Freightways, retiring in 1993.

Survivors include his wife, Cecelia; children, Renee Buzzetti, Lyle Jirges, Karen Shrum and Alton Jirges; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Visitation was May 11-12 at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. A vigil rosary was held May 13 at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Funeral Mass was May 13 at St. Pius X Church. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery at St. Pius X Church, where he was a charter member.

Those who wish may donate to St. Pius X Church, 717 18th St. W., Billings, MT 59102; or American Heart Association, 2812 First Ave. N., Billings, MT 59101.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:48

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Elva ‘Tiny’ Gunn

Elva “Tiny” Gunn, 86, who farmed and ranched with her husband and was an active volunteer, died Saturday, May 25, 2013.

She was born Sept. 3, 1926, to Nora (Jackson) and Mathias H. Rapstad, the fifth of nine siblings. Her early years were spent in Ingomar, where she started first grade, moving to the Pompeys Pillar area in 1934. She attended Huntley Project School, graduating in 1944.

Upon graduating, she moved to Custer and worked at the local grocery store. She married William “Bill” Gunn on Aug. 4, 1946, and they farmed and ranched in Custer.

She was active in the Order of Eastern Star Jephthah 116 Chapter, where she was a past worthy matron. She was a Peg-A-Way 4-H leader, Sunday school teacher and Billings Deaconess Hospital volunteer.

She was a member of the Custer Congregational Church, Custer Friendly Circle, North Side Do-Better Homemaker Club, Montana Cattlewomen’s Association, Yellowstone County Cowbelles, Shiloh United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women and American Legion Auxiliary.

Mr. and Mrs. Gunn moved to Billings in 1978, and she worked at Rocky’s Bootery, Cole’s Department Store and Le Boutique. She cared for her husband for more than six years during his illness.

In the past year and a half, she had received care at Jensen Cottage at St. John’s Lutheran Home.

Survivors include a son, Ron Gunn; a daughter, Connie Grammens; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and sisters, Thelma Kratochvil and Connie Durfee.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, May 31, at Shiloh United Methodist Church, 1810 Shiloh Road. Interment will be at the Custer Cemetery at 3 p.m. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Billings, 1144 North 30th St., Billings, MT 59101.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:48

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Kathie Ann Curry

Kathie Ann Curry, 66, of Billings, who started Kitchens Plus with Mike Myers, died Sunday, May 19, 2013, from a heart attack she had suffered the previous afternoon.

She was born Dec. 8, 1946, in Pittsburgh, Pa., the first child of Robert and Mabel Curry. Her father’s Air Force career moved the family to many places. She graduated from Great Falls High School.

In 1986 she moved to Billings. In 1988 she and Mike Myers became soul mates. In 1989 they started Kitchens Plus. She was the bookkeeper for the company, retiring in 2004.

Survivors include a brother, Scott Curry of Spokane, Wash.; and a sister, Barb Carrier of Billings.

No services were planned. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:47

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Eleanor Ann (Clellen) Ball

Eleanor Ann (Clellen) Ball, 80, of Billings, who had worked at First Federal Savings and Loan and then Tractor and Equipment Co., died May 24, 2013.

She was born Feb. 21, 1933, in Hettinger, N.D., to Connie and Laura Clellen. She was raised in Mildred and Lavina, where she graduated from high school.

She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Billings. She had lived at Sage Towers retirement home for the past 14½ years. She had received care from RiverStone Health and St. Vincent Healthcare.

Survivors include a daughter, Debbie Ball Degel of Billings, and three grandchildren.

At her request, no services were held. Arrangements were by Cremation and Funeral Gallery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:46

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Erica Marie Yurian

Services will be May 31, 2013, for Erica Marie Yurian, 22, an administrator in the Denny Menholt body shop.

She was born on Oct. 12, 1990, to Mark and Paulette Yurian. She spent her young years in Gold Creek before returning to Ballantine and excelling in school and sports, especially volleyball, at Huntley Project.

After graduating from Huntley Project in 2009, she attended Montana State University Billings for one year before taking a position as an administrator in the Denny Menholt body shop.

Survivors include her parents; brothers, Robert Quanbeck and Jacob Yurian; a sister, Trisha Yurian; and grandmothers, Abbie Quanbeck and Barbara Yurian.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Harvest Church Heights Campus, 1235 Wicks Lane W. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Contributions to her memorial fund can be made at Stockman Bank in Worden.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:46

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Margaret P. Lind

Margaret P. Lind, 87, died at her home on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

She was born in Loman, Minn., on Jan. 17, 1926, to James and Marna Christie. She married Chet Lind, and they moved to Montana in 1956.

Survivors include a son, Bill Lind of Billings; daughters, Kathie Todd and Chrystee Ballan, both of Billings; a stepdaughter, Judi Kieper in Minnesota; three grandsons; nine great-grandchildren; stepgrandchildren; great-grandchildren; and a sister, Millie Ballan of International Falls, Minn.

Services were May 29 at Messiah Lutheran Church. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Memorials may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 19:45

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