Charles Russell Heal
Billings, Montana —It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Charles Russell Heal of Billings, Montana on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Riverstone Hospice Home after a courageous 6 month battle with cancer.
Charles was born on August 10, 1934 to George Frederick Heal, Sr., and Bernice Thelma (Hill) Heal. He was the fifth child of eight siblings. Charles lived in Great Falls until he was three years old when the family moved to Centerville.
Charles graduated from Centerville High School in 1952 and began working for the Great Northern Railway. In 1954 he enlisted in the Army. He was proud to have served in the American zone in Berlin, Germany. He was honorably discharged in July of 1956 and returned to Centerville where he continued working for the railroad as a carman-welder. In the early 60's Charles also worked for Lewis Construction building power lines throughout the state. During a short period of time, he worked building missile sites in the Great Falls area prior to 1965.
On September 15, 1956, Charles married Elizabeth Barbara Wokich in Great Falls, Montana at the First United Methodist Church. They had three children, Pamela Lynne, Scott Charles, and Douglas Wayne. Charles and Elizabeth made their home in Stockett, Montana until 1968 when they moved their family to Great Falls. In 1974, Charles career moved he and his family to Billings where he worked for Burlington Northern in Laurel until his retirement in 1984.
Charles spent his time traveling to see grandchildren and their various sports and activities, reading, working around the home and in his yard, completing crossword puzzles, and watching Jeopardy, of which he was an arm chair champion until the end. He had a way of making up new words or phrases that sounded convincing, but were totally fictitious. Charles and Elizabeth were always around for their children and grandchildren, whether it was helping with farm work, remodeling projects or caring for grandchildren. Charles had a passion for Montana History and frequently imparted this knowledge to his family when he traveled across the state. Charles was known for his dry, mischievous sense of humor. He could always come up with a "one liner" that could make everyone laugh. We always knew when Charles was in a good mood because he would go about his task while whistling and he did this frequently. He was truly a talented handy man around his home and for his family. There was never a task he would not take on himself, especially with the help of his wife as partner.
He will be missed by many but we rejoice in the life and time he had with us. Charles is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth; daughter Pamela (John) Beach of Baker, Montana; son Scott Heal and Cynthia Yoshida of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; and son Douglas (Deanna) Heal of Augusta, GA. Charles loved and enjoyed his time with his eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Carson Beach and Ruth Kimani; Connor (Lynn) Beach, Laura Beach, Hillary Beach, Brandon (Erica) Heal and daughter Grace, Eleanor Heal, Sarah Heal, Grant Yoshida, Annaliese Yoshida, Michael Heal, and Lauren Heal. His surviving siblings include Violet (Ron) Levandowski of Great Falls, Montana, and William (Dolores) Heal of Helena, Montana and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Thelma Francetich, Isabel Ragland, Noramay Dussault, and brothers George Heal, Jr., and Thomas Heal.
His family would like to thank Dr. Sarah Stewart and the staff of Riverstone Hospice Home for their kind and loving care for our entire family during Charles passing. Charles left this life with dignity and honor and for that we are most thankful.
Charles loved to be at home and have family and friends come to share and visit. He enjoyed landscaping and working in his yard and with that in mind, his family has chosen to celebrate Charles life with a memorial service to be held this summer.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Feb. 26, 2014