The Billings Outpost

David Clarence Raidiger

David Clarence Raidiger, 77, of Billings, a tire salesman, died Wednesday, July 31, 2013, after a 10-year battle against kidney disease with complications caused by diabetes.

Dave “Rubberman/Digger” was born Nov. 13, 1935, in Roundup, the son of Clara Ruth “Dolly” Raidiger, and Edgar Clarence “Gramps” Raidiger. He attended school in Roundup through his junior year and moved to Billings in 1953. In the eighth grade, he was on the Roundup state champion basketball team.

He entered into the military in 1954. He played basketball for the military in Germany and was a sharpshooter on the court and a marksman with a rifle. He served until 1956 when he was medically discharged.

He married Audrey Fay Lewis in July 1958 and divorced in 1967.

He was an avid hunter and had a spot in the Little Belt Mountains known among friends as “Rubberman Point.” He had received care from Dialysis Clinic Inc., Rocky Mountain Hospice and the Veterans Administration Clinic.

Survivors include children, Guy Raidiger, Arden Raidiger Smith and Greg Raidiger; a sister, Bonnie Raidiger Zieske; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A celebration of his life will be held from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, at his home. Food and refreshments will be provided. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Donations and memorials can be made to the Dialysis Clinic Inc.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 16:33

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Michael Welsh

Michael Welsh, 72, of Billings, who worked for many years in workers’ compensation, died July 21, 2013, of complications following lung surgery.

He was born March 20, 1941, in Bronxville, N.Y., to Glenna and Vernon Welsh. He joined the Air Force after high school and served with the Strategic Air Command in Spain. He then attended the University of Seville in Spain.

Upon returning to the States, Mr. Welsh worked in a variety of jobs until he moved to Helena and was employed by Montana State Fund as a claims adjuster and manager for many years. He and his wife then moved to Billings, where he was workers’ compensation manager with Valor Insurance until the company closed in 2003. In 2004 he joined the Avitus Group as workers’ compensation team supervisor.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; two sisters, Jane Hamlin and Suzy Nickerson; and stepmother, Marcia Welsh.

A private ceremony was planned. Dahl Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Donations may be made to the Billings Animal Rescue Kare (B.A.R.K.).


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:56

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James Wulf

James Elmer Wulf, 59, of Billings, died in his home on July 19, 2013.

He was born March 24, 1954, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Elmer and Babe Wulf.  He graduated from East High School in 1972 and received a degree from Western Iowa Tech. He moved to Billings in 1988.

He returned to Sioux City years later and earned another degree at Western Iowa Tech. He returned to Billings shortly after.   

Survivors include siblings, Roger of Sioux City, Sharon Willison of Lovis, Calif., Larry of Sioux City and David of Salix, Iowa.

A family burial is planned in Sioux City. Dahl Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:55

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John “Jack” Gregory McCleary

John “Jack” Gregory McCleary, 62, who worked as an electrical contractor for many years, died July 24, 2013, of acute myeloid leukemia. He had 483 doctor appointments in 2012 and spent 119 days in the hospital.

He was born Feb. 15, 1951, in Billings to the late William G. and Marie M. McCleary. He graduated from Billings Central Catholic High School in l970 and was a member of Central’s State A Championship Football Team in 1968. He attended Western Technical College in Denver, Colo., and returned a year later to continue his studies in Billings.

He married Lynda Kaye Loff on Sept. 30, 1972. They moved to Denver, then back to Billings. On Oct. 11, 1974, he entered a four-year electrical apprenticeship with the International Brothers of Electrical Workers. He worked as an electrical contractor for Action Electric for many years and also at Mountain Electric.

In April 1976, Mr. and Mrs. McCleary moved to Laurel, and he rode his bicycle back and forth to Billings every day. On May 20, 1989, they moved to the Billings Heights, and he rode his bicycle 37 miles every morning before he went to work.

In July 2008, he contracted the beginning of a myriad of illnesses, beginning with his heart. On Jan. 23, 2012, he was diagnosed with leukemia, six weeks after he had a defibrillator/pacemaker implanted.

Despite his illness, he missed only one performance at his wife’s dance studio in 40 years, on June 8, 2013.

He was a longtime Mustang Baseball Booster.

He had received care from the Frontier Cancer Center, St. Vincent Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Houston DeBakey Clinic and the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute, among others.

Survivors include a daughter, Kary McCleary Ottinger; three grandchildren; brothers, Bill of Prescott, Ariz., and Michael of Great Falls; and a sister, Pattie McCleary Amestoy of Laurel.

A celebration of life will take place at 2 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Elks Lodge. Arrangements are by Dahl Funeral Chapel. 

Donations may be made to the McCleary Cancer Fund at US Bank in Billings.


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:53

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Grace Roberts

Grace Roberts, 93, of Billings, known for her gardening and cooking, died Friday, July 12, 2013, after suffering a stroke a few days earlier.

She was born April 9, 1920, in Montrose, S.D., a daughter of Charles and Theresa Kapaun. She went to school in South Dakota with her three brothers and four sisters, even being taught for a while by her oldest sister, Eva.

After high school, she lived in Breckenridge, Minn., and worked in the hospital there. She met Paul Roberts while he was serving in the Navy, and they married on Jan. 8, 1946, in Frazee, Minn., after his service overseas and his honorable discharge in 1945.

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts built a home in Pryor Creek, where they farmed, gardened, raised their children and were active members of St. Charles Mission Church for more than 50 years.She and her husband traveled to China and throughout the United States. After Mr. Roberts died in 2004, she lived at Highgate Senior Living and Valley Healthcare.

Survivors include three children, Sharon Bailey of Powell, Wyo., Vernon Roberts of Helena and Venieta Cox of Billings; six granddaughters; five great-grandchildren; and sisters, Eva Hanisch, Leila Wokasch and Margaret Borah.

Vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at St. Pius X Catholic Church. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. A luncheon at the Knights of Columbus will follow the interment.

Memorials may be made to Billings Area Catholic Education Trust or St. Charles Mission.


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:51

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Donald E. ‘Don’ Reiter

Donald E. “Don” Reiter, 80, a retired painter, died Tuesday, July 23, 2013 in his home.

He worked as a self-employed painter most of his life and later for School District 2, where he retired in 1995.

Survivors include his wife, Jackie; children, Terry Reiter and Pam Juvick of Billings, Steve and Debbie Reiter of Spokane, Wash., and Julie and Brian Johnson of Billings; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

As he wished, no services were held. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:51

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James Anthony Perusich

James Perusich, 73, a retired teacher, died at his home in Billings on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

He was born Nov. 15, 1939, in Butte to John and Ena Perusich. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Montana Western. He taught at Lincoln Junior High School and Will James Middle School.

Survivors include five children, Dorothy Bush of Great Falls, James Perusich of Billings, Donna McGarvin of Billings, Danette Dana of Hamilton, and a foster son, Art Boone of Billings; three brothers, Bill Perusich of Butte, George Perusich of Butte and John Perusich of Rapid City, S.D.,; and two sisters, Rose Nye of Butte and Florence Blazina of Anaconda.

Visitation was July 22 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Services were July 23 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. A celebration of life followed at 812 Sergeant at Arms.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 09:02

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Lynn Wood Okken

Lynn Wood Okken, 54, of Billings, an abstract painter who built a cabin in Roberts, died Saturday, July 13, 2013, of drowning while swimming at Lake Elmo.

He was born Feb. 11, 1959, in Billings to Arvin and Mari Okken. He had three sisters. He graduated from Billings West High School.

He served in the Marine Corps in Beirut, Lebanon, achieving the rank of lance corporal.

Survivors include his mother, Mari, and sisters, Vicki Lee Okken of Billings, Niki Lou Okken of Rush, Colo., and Jodi of Billings.

Services were July 22 at Mountview Cemetery. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Condolences may be sent to the Okken Family, P.O. Box 50782, Billings, MT 59105.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 09:02

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Nik Carpenter

Nik Carpenter, 71, an artist whose work was widely exhibited, died July 19, 2013, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

He and his twin brother, Texas, were born in Roundup on April 1, 1942, to Wayne and Donna (Fiske) Carpenter of Ryegate. He grew up on a ranch along Careless Creek in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and began drawing horses on sandstone bluffs with charred willow at age 7. He attended school in Franklin, Ryegate, Beehive and Dean and graduated from Absarokee High School.

He earned a bachelor of arts in education degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master’s degree from the University of Montana.

His art was shown and sold in the C.M. Russell Art Auction, American Canadian Art Classic, the World’s Fair Expo ’74, and many group and solo shows. His work was shown at Eddie Bauer, Wild Wings, Marshall Field, Quintana Gallery and Abercrombie and Fitch and in the homes of collectors throughout the world.

He donated artwork for fundraising events and helped the Special K Ranch, Chase Hawks Memorial Association, volunteer firefighters, ambulance services and hospitals.

He taught hundreds of kids and adults drawing, painting, and printmaking at the Young Artist’s Studio in Chicago and with classes or workshops in Ryegate, Billings, Bridger, Nye, Roberts and Red Lodge.

In the mid-’90s he invented his “Visions in Depth” series, creating images on multiple layers of anti-reflective glass. The golden eagle was featured in his series “Father Sky, Mother Earth and Man.”

Survivors include his companion and partner for 30 years, Erni Wegner of Belfry; a son, Jess; three grandchildren; and brothers, Tex of Ryegate, Ronald of Caldwell, Idaho, and David of Cheyenne, Wyo.

Cremation has taken place so that ground can be used for growing food to feed the living. Cremation & Funeral Gallery is in charge of arrangements.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 09:01

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Louis B. Nelson

Louis B. “Louie” Nelson, 85, who bought and sold cattle and sheep in Montana for 65 years, died Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

He was born May 19, 1928, to Nels and Mollie Nelson in Harlowton. His mother died when he was 2 years old, and he grew up on his father’s sheep ranch, the Campbell Ranch.

He married Lula McCabe in Harlowton in 1946, and they had three children. He married Joan Eliasson in 1976 and raised two stepsons. In 1996, he married Suzanne (“Sue”) Pochel.

Mr. Nelson bought and sold cattle and sheep for 65 years, the last 30 years for Torrington Livestock Cattle Co.

Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Connie McKay of Austin, Texas; stepsons, Todd Tripp of East Helena and Shawn Tripp of Big Timber; seven grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, at Harlowton Federated Church. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 09:00

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