Grace Lorraine (Romee) Allen, 84, who raised 10 children on Billings’ South Side, died Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at St. Vincent Hospital from complications due to melanoma.
She was born July 24, 1928, to Carl and Eva (Streitmater) Romee at the Blue Creek homestead. The youngest of four children, she was delivered by an aunt, Lena Schneider. She spent her early years with a sister, Betty.
At age 16 she moved to Billings to attend Lincoln (Senior) High School. She worked at Kresse’s and lived in an apartment while graduating from high school.
She married Patrick M. Allen on Nov. 7, 1947, at The Church of the Little Flower. He died on Easter Sunday 2007. In addition to caring, cooking and baking for their children, she raised a large garden and had apple trees.
She was a die-hard Democrat and a devout Catholic at Little Flower Catholic Church and School. She helped form Sacred Heart Guild, and together with the women of Little Flower, served bazaar turkey dinners and funeral meals for many years.
Survivors include a sister, Betty Allen of Billings; 10 children, Connie Goodman, Kathy McIntyre, Jim Allen, Patsy Kahler, Jeff Allen, Cindy Falk, Jerry Allen, Mark Allen, Chris Allen and Carla Heimbigner; 30 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
Visitation was May 3 at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Vigil and Rosary were May 3 and Memorial Mass was May 4, all at Little Flower Church.
Memorials may be made to Little Flower Church (Mary Queen of Peace), The Smile Train, or a veterans’ charity.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:42
Dorothy McLaughlin, 76, who was instrumental in founding Senior Helping Hands Inc., the Senior Community Service Employment Program, the Montana Association for Female Executives and the Museum of Women’s History, died in the early morning hours of April 29, 2013.
She was born May 6, 1926, in Kansas City, Mo., the oldest of five children of Earl Henry Klopfenstine and Hazel Loucille Allen. Due to the early death of her father and her mother’s illnesses, at the age of 7 she assumed responsibility for the housework and care of her younger siblings. She graduated at age 16 from East High School in Kansas City.
When she was 20, her first marriage produced two children, Margi (Margaret) Carol Gant and Michael Lynn Gant. The family moved to California, and she became chief bookkeeper for Ehrhart & Associates Inc. Engineers & Constructors. She then served as office manager for Relief Printing Corp. of California.
Three years after divorcing her first husband, she married Patrick Michael McLaughlin. In 1976, at age 50, she received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from California State University, Los Angeles. In 1987, at age 61, she received a master’s degree in business from Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, Calif.
Following Mr. McLaughlin’s retirement, the moved in 1976 to Billings. She volunteered as a Pink Lady at St. Vincent Healthcare and served as volunteer director at the Southside Senior Citizens Center. She and Agnes Crow co-founded Senior Helping Hands Inc., an organization that helps senior citizens remain in their homes.
In 1977, she was selected to establish the NRTA/AARP Senior Community Service Employment Program in Montana. Her efforts resulted in national recognition, an Outstanding Director Award and an invitation from first lady Rosalyn Carter for tea at the White House. She was also transferred to the Dallas, Texas, site to assist in establishing that program. She retired in 1987 to return to Billings.
During her tenure as director of the Senior Community Service Employment Program, she initiated monthly breakfast meetings for professional women to provide opportunities to network and exchange ideas. The group soon outgrew the dining room, and in 1980 she co-founded the Montana Association for Female Executives and served as its first president.
In 1995, with her work and support from Chancellor Ronald Sexton, the Museum of Women’s History opened in the basement of Eastern Montana College’s McMullen Hall. It later relocated to 2822 Third Ave. N.
Survivors include a daughter, Margi Gant of Billings; a sister, Maxine Wilson of California; a half-sister, Ginger Guevara; and a longtime friend, George Sherman of Billings.
A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 9, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery, 29 Eighth St. W. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be sent to the Museum of Women’s History, 2822 Third Ave. N., Billings, MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:41
Greg Chirrick, 43, of Billings, an outdoorsman who was active in his church, died April 24, 2013.
He was born on July 26, 1969. He graduated from Senior High School in 1987 and married Darcy Anderson on April 18, 1998.
He enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and skiing, and he coached his boys in various sports. He counseled married couples, hung out with high schoolers and was active in his Accountability Group.
Survivors include his wife; sons, Connor and Dylan; daughter, Ryen; mother, Margaret Chirrick; and brother, Rick Chirrick.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 1, at Harvest Church, 1235 Wicks Lane W. Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel
Donations may be made to: Scottish Rite Sponsorship Program, 1610 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102; or to Fred Nelson Ministries – CLDI, 109 S. 32nd St., Billings, MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:19
John Franklin Pinnow, 79, of Billings, a welder and machinist who also had a farm near Shepherd, died Monday, April 29, 2013.
He was born July 21, 1933, in Miles City and was raised on a farm with seven siblings. The farm was homesteaded by his father, Carl Pinnow, and mother, Dora (Hoffman) Pinnow. He graduated from eighth grade at Kinsey grade school near Miles City.
He enlisted in the Marines and spent boot camp at Camp Pendleton in California. He served for a year and a half in Korea during the Korean War.
After military service, he married Theresa Studer, and they moved to Billings in 1957. He was a welder and machinist for Beall Pipe and Tank, Glacier Bit Service and Billings Machine.
He also bought an 80-acre farm outside of Shepherd and continued to commute to Billings for his day job.
After his son graduated from Shepherd High School in 1977, he and his son opened their own welding and machine shop, Midland West MFG, a business that involved the whole family. The business is still family owned by Steve Pinnow.
Survivors include children, Diana, Stephen and Gayle, all of Billings; sisters, Helen Bender of Miles City and Doris Waddell and Martha Bell, both of Billings; and two granddaughters.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, May 3, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:18
Wayne Kincaid, 81, a drywell contractor for many years who also worked on a ranch near Melville, died April 26, 2013.
He was born Jan. 19, 1932, and grew up around Sandpoint, Idaho. After working as a drywall contractor, he spent his later years working on the Fairview Ranch out of Melville, running the heavy equipment.
He was married to M.J. Kincaid for nearly 30 years, and they raised a family in Billings. He retired to Loon Lake, Wash.
He had received care from the Cancer Center in Spokane, Wash., the Loon Lake Clinic and Valley Nursing Home.
Survivors include three children, Kraig Kincaid, Kim Schutz and Kobi Andersen; three brothers, Glenn, Dean and Neal Kincaid; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A private memorial will be held. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Donations may be sent to the local homeless shelter or animal shelter.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:17
Elaine Fisher Eckley, 90, of Billings, who had raised four children and worked for MetLife, died Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
She was born in Rice Lake, Minn., on Aug. 23, 1922, to Frank and Edith Fisher. When she was 15, she moved to California with her mother, brother and sister. As a teenager she worked many jobs to help support the family.
She married Kermit “Koke” Eckley of Montana, whom she met at a USO dance in Sacramento during World War II. They settled in Sidney, and she was busy sewing, knitting, crocheting, painting, quilt making and cooking.
In 1963, after the sudden death of her husband, she moved her family to Billings and went to work for MetLife. She spent her final years at St. John’s Lutheran Ministries.
Survivors include three daughters, Kay Olness, Jami Livengood and Susan Root; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; a great-great-granddaughter; a brother, Bob Fisher; and a sister, Betty Kline.
Private family services will be held. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:16
Donald “Don” James Ryan, 82, a retired KOA Inc. who founded two nonprofit corporations, died of cancer on April 25, 2013.
He was born on a farm near Missouri Valley, Iowa, on June 21, 1930, to Leo Ryan and Ruth Cecelia Welbourn Ryan. He attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison for both his bachelor of business administration and master of business administration degrees. He was an Iowa state champion and a three-time Big Ten wrestling champion.
He was an executive for KOA Inc. After his retirement, he formed two nonprofit corporations whose missions were to organize teenagers to undertake public service projects that would benefit low-income families.
Paint Up Montana Inc. painted 115 houses in 14 Montana cities at no cost to the homeowners. Called to Serve Inc. was involved in helping low-income people, providing thousands of hooded bath towels for babies, backpacks with gifts for students, and new winter coats.
Mr. Ryan was also a strong Pro-Life advocate and spurred the building of 15 pro-life highway signs across Montana, raised funds to buy 1,000 pro-life bumper stickers, organized the distribution of 5,000 hoodies for babies for Montana crisis pregnancy centers and helped to organize the Culture of Life convention in Billings recently.
He worked for many years with the Diocesan vocation director in an effort to increase vocations to the Catholic priesthood and to help raise money for the seminarians.
Survivors include Jane, his wife of 60 years; five children, Patrick, Kathy McMeekin, Rita Henkel, Teresa Hjellum and Ann Vollum; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Both the Vigil and Funeral Mass were held at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. The vigil was April 29, and the Funeral Mass was April 30. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Memorials may be made to Family Services or St. Vincent de Paul Society, 2610 Montana Ave., Billings MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:15
Ralph Bond Jr., 84, who helped build the Conoco refinery and worked many years there, died April 27, 2013.
He was born in LaCrosse, Wis., on Feb. 28, 1929, the only son of Merle Bandle and Ralph Bond Sr. The family moved to Billings, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, William Durham, and spent some years in Colstrip and on their farm in Absarokee, before moving back to Billings.
He attended school in Billings and Colstrip before graduating in 1947 from Absarokee High School, where he played basketball. He attended Rocky Mountain College from 1947 until 1949. He began working at Continental Oil Co. in 1949 as a member of the original “49ers” and helped with construction of the Billings refinery.
He served in the Navy during the Korean War, from 1950 until May 1954. He was aboard the USS Bataan aircraft carrier and attained the rank of electrician’s mate second class.
After military service, he returned to Continental Oil Refinery, where he worked until 1985 as a pump mechanic, pump mechanic foreman, and later as craft supervisor.
He served as president of the Local 2-470 Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers union for many years. He also served as chairman of the Yellowstone Democratic Party. In 1968, he ran unsuccessfully for the Montana Legislature.
He married Patricia Ann Hould on Sept. 4, 1954, in Pasadena, Calif. She died in 1973. In 1990 Mr. Bond married Gail Gullard Fritz in West Yellowstone. She died in November 2010.
During his young adult years, he was a member of the Billings Mounted Quadrille and performed routines on horseback at rodeos and parades.
Survivors include children, Michael Bond of Casper, Wyo., Richard Bond of Billings, Margaret of Corvallis, Ore., and Brian of Buffalo, Wyo.; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and stepchildren, Kerry, Cassidy and Shadd.
Visitation was May 1 and services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Interment with military honors will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 35200, Billings, MT 59107-5200.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:15
Aron G. Strange, 66, who founded the Musicians Rendezvous in 1990, died Sunday, April 21, 2013, at his home in Joliet.
He was born in Wichita, Kan., on Feb. 2, 1947, and graduated from Wichita Heights High School in 1965. He was the eldest of three boys of Ronald W. and Virginia L. (Ramsey) Strange.
He moved to Montana in 1978 where he was the president of Strange Inc.
Survivors include sons, Sean G. and Zane I.J.; brothers, Donald L. and Ronald W.; and three grandchildren.
The 2013 Musicians Rendezvous on Aug. 9-11 at Itch-Kep-Pe Park in Columbus will be dedicated in his memory. He was the founder of the Rendezvous in 1990.
Memorials may be given to The Musicians Rendezvous, Whitebird Community Center (c/o of Bill Calovis, 445A McNaley Road, Columbus, MT 59019).
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:14
Loretta Lael Wroot, 77, of Billings, who played the organ and loved square dancing and clogging, died Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare.
She was born March 27, 1936, in Greybull, Wyo., the daughter of Richard and Belle (Frederickson) Wheeler. She attended school in Greybull and at the University of Wyoming. She lived in Ten Sleep, Wyo., before moving to Billings in 1974. From 1985 to 1990 she lived in Colorado Springs, Colo.
She had worked for her brother in Colorado at an accounting office. In Billings she worked at Treasure State Costume and for Selover Honda Car Dealership.
She painted and also created birthday and wedding cakes. She had a passion for gardening and was a member of the Heights Ditzy Divas of the Red Hat Society. She was a breast cancer survivor and had received care from St. Vincent Healthcare.
Survivors include children, William Wroot of Loveland, Colo., Lael Parker, Dawn Townsley and Theresa Roll, all of Billings, and Leah Agee of Colorado Springs; 16 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; a sister, Sally Watson; and brothers, Larry and Dean Wheeler.
Services were April 14 at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Interment of ashes was planned for later.
Memorials may be made to LaVie, 44 Wicks Lane, Billings, MT 59105.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:35