Brett L. Toney, 27, a Helena electrician died in an avalanche near Townsend on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007, while doing what he loved, snowmobiling with two of his lifelong friends.
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Brett was born on Jan. 11, 1980, in Helena. He graduated from Broadwater County High School in 1998. In 1999 he started working for Gold Rush Electric as an apprentice electrician on his way to obtaining his electrical license in November 2004. He founded and became the proud owner of Toney Electric in 2005.
Brett received a Meritorious Service Award from the Montana Highway Patrol in November 2001 when he helped rescue Tom Olds, who was having a heart attack on the family ranch up Six Mile while hunting.
On Aug. 17, 2002, Brett married Sarah J. Tracer (daughter of Dale and Kristina Tracer of Victor and Robert and Susan Gleich of Montana City) in a beautiful ceremony at his parents' home. They spent their first anniversary combining up Six Mile on his grandfather's ranch. When he learned that he was going to be a father, Brett built a beautiful home for his new family. Brett and Sarah have two gorgeous daughters, Baylee Jane "Goosey" born on July 27, 2002, and Cameron Jolee "Sissy Sue" born Sept. 27, 2006. Sarah and his daughters were the loves of his life. Baylee was his apprentice, going downstairs to work with her dad. She loved to go with her dad to Kris' house to work on snowmobiles and get dirty. Brett could always make Cameron smile ("Hi, baby sis, let me see a smile").
During Brett's high school years he enjoyed playing basketball and competing with Kris and Kirk to see who could dunk the ball with the most flair. Brett lived to hunt and snowmobile with his band of brothers –- Kris, Jason, Kirk, and Dustin. They competed with each other to see who could get the biggest set of horns. Many of these outings were on his grandfather's Townsend ranch and Jason's grandparents' ranch in Jim Ball Basin. His passion was to be outside doing anything with his friends, including ice fishing, shooting whistle pigs (gophers), riding motorcycles, and hunting. He spent many hours fixing the snowmobile that seemed to break down every time he was out. He enjoyed working on his sled as much as he loved riding it. That was good because he lived to push to the envelope in everything he did. He had gold fever and spent endless hours searching for gold with his metal detector and gold pan.
Brett had a great sense of humor. He teased Jason about his yellow sled -– the banana. He seemed to have a nickname for everything and everybody. He loved to try to get the best of his sisters. One day they were spotting elk and his sister painted the binoculars with liquid mascara and when he put them to his face he came out looking like a raccoon.
Brett's mentor in life was his dad -– Bart. He learned his mechanical abilities from watching his dad working on his snowmobiles when he was growing up. When Brett decided to form his own business, his mom and dad were there to guide him and help him create a very successful company.
He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Lloyd Toney, Harold Reid, and George Dundas.
Brett is survived by his wife, Sarah and his daughters, Baylee and Cameron; his parents, Bart and Trish; his sisters, April who is married to Jon Wilhelm, and Amber who is married to Shawn Livermore; his maternal grandmother, Margo Dundas; paternal grandmother, Lesley Reid; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and a nephew. He was Uncle Cha-chee to his nieces and nephew.
He will be missed by his many clients, friends, family, and his remaining band of brothers.
Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Broadwater County High School auditorium in Townsend. A reception will follow in the school's multipurpose room. Burial will be in Radersburg Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Brett Toney Memorial Fund at American Federal Savings Bank.
Connors Funeral Home assisted the family with the services.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 21, 2007