Charles L. Tolliver Jr., 75, of Billings, who had worked at jobs ranging from rocket scientist to tree trimmer, died Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, at home.
He was born Sept. 17, 1939, the son of Charles and Ila Mae Tolliver Sr., in Bismarck, N.D.
He grew up in Billings, graduated from Billings Senior High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in math at Montana State University Bozeman. He earned a master of science degree in physics from The University of Alabama.
He married Kathleen Kleffner on Jan. 11, 1964, in Seattle. They eventually returned to Billings and raised seven children.
He had worked as an engineer at Boeing, rocket scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration analyzing vibration on the Saturn-5 Booster, aerospace engineer in St. Louis, car salesman in Billings, Mercedes mechanic in Billings, owner of a tree trimming business, computer programmer at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and property manager for his apartments.
He tinkered with invention most weeks of his life, including his last. He preferred working as an independent business owner rather than for a large organization.
After his body weakened and he lost the power to walk, he was able to remain at home through the care of his wife and children.
Survivors include his wife, of Billings; a brother, Ken Tolliver of Billings; two sons, John Tolliver and Peter Tolliver; five daughters, Gabrielle Tolliver, MaryAnne Stimpfling, Monica Forsberg, Helen Tolliver and Nikki Tolliver; and four grandchildren.
Services were Dec. 20 at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 12:30
ElRoy William Martin, 78, who farmed, worked in construction and was involved in logging, died Dec. 8, 2014.
He was born on a farm on April 18, 1936, in Arlington, Minn., to Alex and Lydia (Wallert) Martin. After attending rural and parochial schools in Arlington, he entered the Navy in 1956 and served on active and reserve duty until 1962.
He married Reinhild Wehnert on May 29, 1959. They lived for 28 years in the Gallatin Valley and most recently in Ryegate to be close to family.
In addition to years of cattle, sheep and hog farming, he worked construction, did tree trimming and janitorial work at several schools, sold Conklin products, did roofing and was involved in various aspects of the logging industry. He also logged in the Gallatin Canyon with his draft horse, Bert.
In 1973, after leaving Minnesota with his family and moving to Montana, Mr. Martin had a life-changing experience when he discovered God wanted to be a part of his life. In the last years of his life he was ever faithful to pray for his children and grandchildren.
He fought heart disease for 27 years and worked hard with his horses and doing yard work until the week he died.
Survivors include his wife, of Ryegate; children, Deb Barth of Baker, Alex Martin of Ryegate and John Martin of Bozeman; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Services were planned for later. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:29
Sharon Kautzman, 73, who had retired from Montana Health Federal Credit Union, died Dec. 6, 2014.
Survivors include siblings, Rusty Ebersole, Bob Ebersole and Janice Cromwell; sons, Alan Kautzman and Larry Kautzman; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A gathering to celebrate her life was held Dec. 15 at Parkhill Assembly of God. A light lunch followed. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:13
Phyllis Ruth Carter, 64, a theater volunteer and photographer, died of cancer on Dec. 12, 2014, at the RiverStone Hospice House in Billings.
She was born in Lakeview, Ore., on Dec. 3, 1950, the daughter of Jim and Dorothy Howard.
Her husband, Don Carter, preceded her in death.
She was an active member of Hope United Methodist Church.
She found housing and healthcare for a homeless man she befriended, and spent hours taking photos of high school seniors who could not afford professional senior portraits.
Survivors include her mother; a brother, Jeff Howard of Lakeview; a sister, Patty Westgate of Paisley, Ore.; a son, Darrell Carter; a daughter, Dawn Nickerson of Billings; and a grandson.
Services were held Dec. 16 at Hope United Methodist Church. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Donations may be made to the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:11
Shirley West “Sammy” Hanson, 84, who was the first woman executive at Petrolane and who had a passion for painting, died Dec. 12, 2014.
She was born Jan. 24, 1930, in Glendive, the daughter of Anthony Joseph West and Elsie L. “Medtke” West. She was a gifted pianist and valedictorian of her high school.
She attended Billings Business College, then began her career at Petrolane in California. She was the company’s first woman executive and the first to have designated parking.
She met her husband, Lloyd Hanson, in California and although they later divorced, they stayed good friends.
Ms. Hanson moved to Montana to be closer to her mother. She took a painting class at McCoy’s after retirement. She took many blue ribbons at MontanaFair and participated in art shows in Billings and Texas.
She had received care at Valley Health Care, Rimview Section.
At her request, no services were held. Cremation & Funeral Gallery were in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the local animal shelter.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:10
Rena Marie Crasco-Florcik, 51, of Billings, who had cared for many children and relatives over the years, died Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, at Eagle Cliff Manor after a brief illness.
She was born Aug. 22, 1963, in Malta, the daughter of Will James Crasco and Arlene (Babes) Trottier Crasco. She started school in Malta before her family moved to Beaver Creek in the Little Rockies. She later graduated from Malta High School in 1982 and moved to Billings, where she attended cosmetology school.
She worked in Washington for two years, then returned to Montana and earned an associate’s degree in business. She also worked as a caregiver for her grandmother, Rebecca Crasco of Beaver Creek. After returning to Billings, she married Vince Florcik Jr. on Oct. 5, 2002.
She was a member of the Medicine Bear Clan.
Survivors include her husband; a son, Walter of Billings; her mother, of Billings, whom she took care of for 17 years; her father and stepmother, Thelma, of Beaver Creek; two brothers: Dale Crasco of Billings and David Crasco of Beaver Creek; and a foster sister, Tami Kuhr of Chinook.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Killer Enemy Community Center in Lodge Pole. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Donations may be sent to the National Autism Society.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:08
Joyce M. Lynch, 79, died Dec. 11, 2014, of cancer.
She was born June 29, 1935, the daughter of Florence and Jene Johnson.
Survivors include a sister, Dorothy Johnson; a brother, Floyd Johnson; sons, Mike and Danny Donlan; daughters, Brenda, Sheila, Veronica and Lynda; many grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. She also helped raise Jason Johnson.
A graveside burial was held Dec. 13 in Sunset Memorial Gardens. Services were planned in Great Falls. Arrangements were in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:07
Jeffrey Lee Crouse, 61, who had worked at Walmart for 15 years, died of cancer on Dec. 2, 2014, at the Eagle Cliff Nursing Home.
Born on June 28, 1953, in Alexandria, Va., he was the son of the late James R. Crouse and Naomi J. Boley. He had lived in Billings since 1967.
Mr. Crouse served in the Army for four years and was employed at Walmart for 15 years.
He had received assistance from the Shepherd Fire Department and the staff at Eagle Cliff Manor.
Survivors include his mother, Naomi J. Boley; a brother, James Crouse of Vancouver, Wash.; a half-brother, George Thomas of Canta Clarita, Calif.; and two sisters, Linda Morken of Shepherd and Carol Rosin of Roundup.
Services were Dec. 8 at Huntley Methodist Church. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Contributions may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society or Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:44
Robert E. Steele, 78, of Billings, died Nov. 30, 2014.
He was born Aug. 18, 1936, the son of Velma and Wilson Steele. He had been married to Connie Steele.
Survivors include stepdaughters, Patsy Kline, Connie Deavila and Brien Steele; and seven great-grandchildren.
Services will be at noon Friday, Dec. 12, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars on State Avenue, then from 3-6 p.m. at Lee’s Saloon on South 27th Street for friends and a family gathering and food provided by Tami Myers and Lee Ash.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:43
Robert Keith Collins, 91, died at Sweetwater Retirement Community in Billings on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. He had moved to Billings from Spearfish, S.D., in July 2012 with his wife to be near family.
He had been a mining engineer, working in many countries, primarily for Baroid Division, NL Industries. Before joining Baroid as a senior field engineer at the Colony, Wyo., mine and mill, he had worked for Kennicott Copper in Chile and for the U.S. Geological Survey.
He became superintendent of the Colony mine and mill in 1962 and later was manager of Wyoming Bentonite Operations, supervising plants in several locations and lignite operations in North Dakota. He had served as president of the Wyoming Mining Association.
In 1978 he became Baroid’s director of mining operations in Southeast Asia with headquarters in Singapore. He supervised barite mining and exploration projects in Thailand, Malaysia, India and other countries.
In 1981 he became director of mineral resource procurement for the Eastern Hemisphere, stationed in London, England. He supervised mining and milling operations and contracted for procurement of barite throughout Europe and in North Africa and Turkey. He moved to Houston in 1985 and retired in 1986, moving to Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills.
He flew a Cessna 182 airplane and he served as lieutenant colonel and commander of the Lookout Mountain Civil Air Patrol Squadron in Spearfish. He was a member of the Black Hills Model T Club, the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite and Naja Shrine.
Born March 23, 1923, in Faith, S.D., to Effie (Stenning) Collins and Floyd Collins, he lived with his family in Faith, Dupree and Hayti, S.D., and Dulce, Minn., before settling in Belle Fourche, S.D. He graduated from Belle Fourche High School in 1941, served in the Army Engineers in North Africa and India in World War II, and graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1949.
He married Lorraine Hill in 1958 and the couple had three children, Laurie Moore of Billings, Robert Collins of South Dakota and Marian Rakestraw of Topeka, Kan. He also had four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Additional survivors include a brother, Harlan Collins of Vancouver, Wash.; and a sister, Audrey Kelso of Emblem, Wyo.
Services are planned in The Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, S.D. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:43