Ron Becker, 70, former track superintendent at MetraPark, died July 5, 2015, at his home in Ballantine.
He was born May 14, 1945, in Billings to Ed and Elma Becker. He married Gen Becker on Feb. 9, 1965. They celebrated 50 years of marriage this year.
He helped his father farm on the Huntley Project for several years, then worked at ranching before going to work at Stanley Structure in Billings, where he was plant manager for 10 years. He then transferred to Colorado.
Mr. and Mrs. Becker later moved back to the Project, and he worked as track superintendent at MetraPark for several years. He then worked in construction until his retirement.
He took up oil painting in Colorado, and he also carved small tractors and farm equipment, as well as cabins and whatever his imagination came up with.
Survivors include his wife, of Ballantine; a sister, Donna Lesser of Bozeman; a son, Thad Becker of Milliken, Colo.; a daughter, Kimberly Pfauth of Castle Rock, Colo.; three granddaughters; and five great-granddaughters.
Services were July 10 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. A reception followed at Valley Baptist Church in Huntley. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:40
Lauri Werner, 61, of Billings, who worked for the Montana Department of Revenue, died Wednesday, July 8, 2015, of brain cancer.
She was born April 8, 1955, in Cut Bank, one of four children of Bruce and Catherine (Marles) Werner. She loved cooking and was awarded Miss Betty Crocker in high school. She also enjoyed gardening.
Survivors include a son, Russell Wilcox of Hamilton; and four grandchildren.
Services were held July 14 at Cornerstone Community Church. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be made to the Cornerstone Community Church, 4525 Grand Ave., Billings, MT 59106.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:39
Jamie Ann (Yurt) VanDoren, 48, who worked in Laurel for the Yellowstone County treasurer, died July 11, 2015, of a brain tumor.
She was born Aug. 20, 1966, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, the first of three children born to Marcia and Roy Yurt of Park City.
She began her education in Somerset, Pa., and in 1984 graduated from high school in Simms. On Sept. 8, 1990, in Billings, she married Jamey K. VanDoren.
She was diagnosed with a brain tumor on June 13, 2015. She had received care from the Billings Clinic Intensive Care Unit and from RiverStone Hospice.
Survivors include her husband; children, Bethany and Caleb of Park City; parents; brother, Roy Yurt of Fort Collins, Colo.; and a brother, Paul Yurt of Billings.
Services will be in the Park City School gym at 10 a.m. July 18, conducted by the Rev. Steve Odom of Park City Baptist Church. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be made in her name to Western Security Bank, 20 Montana Ave., Laurel MT 59044.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 10:39
Gladys Ward, 95, who was active in the Democratic Party and helped found the Widowed Persons Service and Support Group in Billings, died Sunday, June 28, 2015.
She was born Mary Gladys Milam on March 22, 1920, in Billings to Elbert Earl Milam and Grace Belle Lyda Milam. She grew up on the family ranch on Pryor Creek outside of Huntley.
She attended Pioneer Progressive and Broadwater Elementary schools but did not complete high school until she received a GED in 1966. She attended Billings Business College and worked as a bookkeeper, office manager and title researcher at Hanlon Oil and Abstract Guaranty.
She started and helped run several small businesses including the 3B’s Ice Cream Parlor and King Koin Launderette and kept the books for the family’s construction ventures.
In 1936 she married Forrest Blankenbaker. The couple lived in Gary, Ind., for several years, returning to Billings at the outbreak of World War II. She became a widow in 1972.
She aided many local candidates in the Democratic Party, walking her precinct, knocking on doors and serving as a polling place election official.
She began working at the Yellowstone Clerk and Recorder’s office in 1974. She was married to Arley Burton from 1977 until his death in 1987.
With support from AARP and a couple of advocacy trips to Chicago, the Widowed Persons Service and Support Group in Billings was founded.
She made thousands of phone calls to contact the recently widowed in the Billings area, offering a friendly hand and an invitation to join with others in card games, dances and dinner parties.
One widower she met in 1990 was Edwin Ward, whom she married.
Mrs. Ward was active in the Billings chapter of the Elks Club, calling volunteers and acting as a receptionist and volunteer staff scheduler. She and her husband also traveled widely.
Survivors include her husband; daughter, Joyce Roderick of Redmond, Wash.; and a grandson.
A reception luncheon is planned for 1 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the Elks Club, 934 Lewis Ave, Billings, MT 59101.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:59
Lawrence “Larry” Restad, 96, a World War II pilot and a longtime employee of Billings Hardware, died June 30, 2015.
He was born in 1918 on a farm north of Billings to Ole and Fredrikke Restad. The family moved closer to Billings when he was a teenager.
While in high school he started working part-time at Billings Hardware Co., which would be his place of employment for decades except for a hiatus due to World War II.
After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army Air Corps and spent most of 1943 as a gunner on B-24s and B-17s in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. He flew 25 missions, including one on which his damaged plane had to crash land, earning him a Purple Heart.
After his tour in the Aleutians, he went through flight school and became a B-25 pilot.
After the war, he married Irene Caras, whom he met while taking classes for pilot training at what is now the University of Montana in Missoula.
They settled in Billings, and he went back to work at Billings Hardware. He had made three hunting trips to Alaska. He had received care from Highgate Senior Living.
Survivors include his wife, Irene; a son, Mark; three grandchildren; and brothers, Lee and John.
A private service was held with military honors at Mountview Cemetery. A reception and gathering was held July 7 at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings.
Dahl Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made in his name to ZooMontana.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:58
Brian Justin Ostlund, 42, who loved to ski and snowboard, died June 29, 2015, at his home.
He was born to John and Connie Ostlund on June 15, 1973, in Billings. He later married Shelly Goffena.
He enjoyed riding motorcycles and flying planes with his father.
Survivors include his father, John Ostlund; mother, Connie Keil; ex-wife, Shelly; children, Lexis and Dylan; siblings, Amy Cox, Cara McClung, Stephanie Cook and Tyler Cook; and grandmother, Rose Lance.
A celebration of life was planned at the Ostlund ranch. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Donations can be made to an educational fund for Mr. Ostlund’s children at Western Security Bank, 495 Main St., Billings, MT 59105 – Attn: Judy. Checks may be made payable to John Ostlund, trustee.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:49
Keith Allen Hatvick, aka Hattwig, died Saturday, June 27, 2015.
His parents were Dean Hatvick and Corrine Kleinhans.
Survivors include brothers, Joseph Hatvick and Buzz Hatwigg; and a sister, Capri Helgeson.
Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 10, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery with interment to follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens. A reception will directly follow graveside services at The Quality Inn Homestead Park in the Homestead Room at 2036 Overland Ave. in Billings. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:48
Leo V. Hodnik, 91, a retired heavy equipment operator, died June 25, 2015.
He was born in Bearcreek on April 11, 1924, the son of John and Apolonia Nagoda Hodnik, and grew up in Bearcreek and Scotch Coulee. As a young man, he worked in the coal mines of Bearcreek and the gold mines around Cooke City.
As a heavy equipment operator, he worked construction jobs across Montana. He was a member of Local 400 for more than 50 years, many with Bill Hash, Midland Materials and Long Construction in Billings and Colstrip.
Mr. Hodnik married Myrna Mae (Mitzi) Whitmore in 1953. She died in 1967.
He had received care at the Billings Clinic.
Survivors include sons, Jim and Joe; and a daughter, Debra.
Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel. A graveside service was planned at Bearcreek Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Bearcreek Cemetery fund.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:44
Robert Kenneth Lammers, 69, of Billings, died Sunday, June 28, 2015.
He was born Aug. 19, 1945, to Ted and Ruth Lammers in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., and was named in memory of his “Uncle Bob,” whose plane was shot down in World War II.
He graduated from Billings Senior High School, then joined the Army and was a Vietnam veteran, receiving the National Defense Service Medal.
He had received care from Wendy Tucker and from Billings Health and Rehabilitation.
Survivors include his mother, Ruth Lammers; two brothers, Terry Lammers and James Lammers; and a sister, Tena Lammers-Redfield.
Graveside services with military honors will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, at the Yellowstone National Veterans Cemetery. Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:44
Benjamin H. Gittings, 72, who had a career in engineering and management, died June 25, 2015.
He was born Dec. 17, 1942, in Waterloo, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in industrial engineering.
His first wife, Barbara (Kelly) Gittings, and his second wife, Judi Henjum, preceded him death.
Survivors include a brother, Mike Gittings; son, Mark Gittings; daughters, Sheryl Gittings-Randall and Laura Gittings-Carlson; and five grandchildren.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at the Heights Family Funeral Home and Crematory.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:33