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Alan Gilham

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MARTIN CITY - Alan Gilham, 78, died of natural causes Wednesday, July 11, at his home in Martin City.

Visitation is 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, at Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls. Funeral service is 1 p.m. Friday, July 20, at the mortuary, with interment in Woodlawn Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Canyon Community Church Educational Building in Coram, Mont.

Alan was born Nov. 10, 1933, in Browning to Calvin and Elinor(Smith) Gilham, and was the second of six children.

When Alan was 5 the family moved to a ranch between Browning and Cut Bank where they lived until he was nine when they moved to Spokane, Wash., for a short time during the Second World War. After the war, they moved back to the ranch and were there for several more years. Alan loved the ranch and always said his happiest memories were playing with his cousins and riding his horse, Big Enough Shorty.

He attended schools in Seville, Browning, Hot Springs and Spokane. In 1951, he joined the Air Force and served during the Korean Conflict, leaving the service with an honorable discharge in 1953. For most of his time in the service he was stationed in Goose Bay, Labrador and Thule, Greenland. While he was stationed in Minneapolis in 1953, he met and married Angela "Penny" Krebsbach and had two daughters, Tonilynn and Gloria. From 1953 to 1955, he worked for the Glacier Reporter in Browning as a Linotype operator, typesetter and proofreader, then in 1955, he went to work for the park service in Glacier National Park as a payroll supervisor.

In 1957, he and Penny divorced. In 1958, he married Lois Baeth in Martin City and they had three sons, Vernon, Gary and Doug, and a daughter, Rebecca.

From 1959 until 1987, he worked for Indian Health Service working his way up from a supply clerk to Hospital Administrator/Service Unit Director. During his time with IHS he worked in Montana, Oregon, South Dakota and Arizona. In 1987, after retiring from IHS, he and Lois moved back to Martin City where he went to work for the Lundgren family at West Glacier until 2001.

Alan is survived by his wife, Lois and children, Tonilynn Gilham of Portland, Ore., Gloria Fuzi of Hermiston, Ore., Gary (Wanda) Gilham of Kalispell, Mont., Doug (Debbie) Gilham of Columbia Falls, and Rebecca Gilham of Hungry Horse; grandchildren Shane and Jason Travis, Raymond and Matthew Dunn, John and Angela Fuzi, Nathanial, Clifford and Krystyn Gilham, Jye and Cathy McDowell, Jacob Harris, Gary and Brandon Curry, Skylur and Stephanie Gilham, Mariena Taylor, Michael and Melissa Matt, Christopher Gilham, Andrew Burd, and Brittney and Whisper Sellars; 25 great-grandchildren; sisters Shirley (Jim) Stirling of Mount Vernon, Wash., and Sharon Williams of Tooele, Utah; and a cousin, Robert Gilham of Riverton, Utah, who lived with the family for several years.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Vernon Gilham; brothers Mike and Dean Gilham; a sister, Doris Meineke; and a grandson, Russell Gilham.

Condolences may be posted online at www.columbiamortuary.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on July 18, 2012
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