Casey Emerson, 87, of Bozeman passed away Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2012. He was born Oct. 25, 1925, in Devils Lake, N.D., the son of Clarence Emil and Anna Emilia (Pederson) Emerson.
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Casey was born and raised on a farm in Devils Lake, N.D. and earned a teaching degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. While earning his degree, he met the love of his life, Bernice Jorde, and after two years of courtship the couple eloped to get married on Aug. 24, 1948, in Crookston, Minn.
Casey's first teaching job was in Irrigon, Ore. for a year. The couple then moved to Hardin, Mont. where Casey had the opportunity to coach, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and teach. In Hardin, the two also opened a Dairy Queen franchise and began their family with the joyous additions of Gary, Gail and Steve.
In 1960, Casey accepted another teaching and coaching position in Bozeman and soon after added two little girls, Susan and Jeni, to the family. He ultimately retired from the Bozeman School System after spending 29 years of teaching P.E. and math. While in Bozeman, he also earned his Master of Education in 1969 from Montana State University.
In Bozeman, after the success of Dairy Queen in Hardin, Casey continued to give his entrepreneurial spirit free rein. He created a fundraising business called School Mascots that distributed products for resale in schools and at political conventions. Casey and Bernice started King Tool, Inc. in 1978, a successful hand tool manufacturing company which is thriving to this day. He also started the Montana Inventors Association and in his later years ran a successful campaign to earn a seat in the state senate.
Sports were always a major part of Casey's life. Along with his coaching, he spent many summers as the Golf Pro at the Valley View Golf Club where he enjoyed teaching golf and running the pro shop with the help of his wife and kids. He also thoroughly enjoyed badminton and founded the Montana Badminton Association. In later years he was very proud that he competed on the national level in Badminton and also participated in some senior events, performing at the top of his age bracket.
Through every adventure in his life, he always had Bernice to aid and support him until he lost her to cancer in July 2005. In later years he loved to give her credit, and wished that he would have thanked her more often for being the best wife he could ever have. They were married 56 years before she passed away.
To say that Casey was passionate about his conservative political views would be an understatement, and he was never afraid to share his opinion. He believed in the importance of serving others, and touched thousands of lives as a teacher, coach, politician, and fearless small business owner.
Casey was preceded in death by his parents, his wife (Bernice), and daughter (Gail).
Survivors include his sister, Ilene Wilderspin of Michigan; his brother, Derby (Shirley) Emerson of North Dakota; and sister, Maxine of Wyoming, as well as his children: Gary (Cathy) Emerson of Bozeman, Steven Emerson of Gallatin Gateway, Susan (Terry) Melson of Belgrade, and Jeni (Aaron) Millikin of Carrollton, Va.; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. Casey's family extends an open invitation to join them for a celebration of his life at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, at King Tool building on 5350 Love Lane.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 7, 2012