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Lynn Sanders (1933 - 2014)

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Lynn Sanders

Big Timber —Lynn Sanders' amazing life came to an end at the Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber on June 10, 2014. He was born February 23, 1933, to parents Preston and Marquetta (Sis) near Greycliff at the homestead ranch of his maternal grandparents, Jacob and Caroline Hausserman. The family moved often as Preston, a Pentecostal minister, followed his calling to churches in Big Timber, Billings, Joliet, Albany, OR, and Seattle, WA. Lynn wearied of city living and returned to the ranches of Montana relatives whenever possible. After spending his freshman year in Seattle, he moved to the ranch of his cousin, Dorothy, and her husband, Delbert Huff. Lynn graduated from Absarokee High School in 1951 and joined the Navy in 1952, serving as an airplane mechanic. In 1956 he returned to the Huff ranch, engaging in his favorite work of ranching, vowing to never live in a city again.

Lynn married Julie Lesnik of Fishtail on August 12, 1961 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Columbus. Lynn managed and leased ranches near Absarokee, Harlowton and Ryegate as they pursued their dream of buying their own ranch. They were blessed with five children: Mike, Shane, Linda, Tom and Dan. Lynn thrived on work and was very proud he instilled this ethic in each of the children.

In 1973 they purchased a ranch at Springdale, near Hunter's Hot Springs. Many happy times were enjoyed, riding horses, raising cattle, hunting, hiking and swimming. This ranch was sold in 1989 and they bought another ranch 6 miles east of Big Timber. Declining health forced Lynn to sell his cattle and lease the ranch. He then engaged in other enterprises such as Sanders Repair, Double S Equipment and a Behlen steel buildings consultant. Lynn was licensed both as an equipment appraiser and realtor. Attending auctions became one of his favorite activities. He could see the "potential" in any piece of equipment and purchased many items to repair and resell.

Lynn was the Springdale School Clerk for many years. He was also a member of Jaycees and Farm Bureau and served on the FSA committee. One of Lynn's proudest accomplishments was helping design and build the bleachers at Sweet Grass County High School. Music was a very important part of Lynn's life. His talents included both singing and playing the guitar. He and Julie played at various community events, such as dances, benefits and weddings.

In October 2010 Lynn suffered a debilitating stroke. With the care of the staff at St. Vincent's Hospital, Advanced Care and New Hope he was able to return home. Music became an even more important part of his life as he entertained at Sr. Citizens' Centers and nursing homes, with the encouragement and support of family and friends.

Lynn is survived by his wife Julie, son Mike (Darlene); children Michael, Katelyn, Shane & Greta, son Shane, (Amy); children Devon & Breezy, daughter Linda (Clint); children Ella & Sal, son Tom (Teresa); children Wade & Josie, and son Dan (Tami); children William, Sophie & Madelyn, his sister Sandy and brother Art, extended family members Mike Lesnik, Peg and Ken Joki, John and Patricia Lesnik, Rita and Rick Westrum, Barb and Ed Lawson, Bonnie Lesnik and Don DeJarnett. He will be mourned by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers William and Jacob and brother-in-law Thad Lesnik.

Services will be held at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Absarokee at 6 p.m. on June 22 and at the Sweet Grass County Fairgrounds at 10:30 a.m. on June 23. If desired, memorials may be made to the Heart and Hands Hospice, PO Box 1337, Crazy Mountain Museum PO Box 83 or PMC Memorial Fund, PO Box 1228 all in Big Timber MT, 59011.

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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 20, 2014
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