ENNIS -- Donald Owen Thexton, 85, of Ennis passed away Friday morning, Nov. 23, 2007, at Madison Valley Hospital.
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Donald was born June 26, 1922, at the Thexton Ranch, six miles south of Ennis, the last of six children born to Montana pioneers Thomas and Mary Ann (Foreman) Thexton. His birthplace is now listed in the National Registry of Historic Buildings.
Don started school in the one-room Varney schoolhouse but soon transferred to Ennis, due to the inconvenience of transportation to and from the Varney School. He roomed with a number of Ennis families during his school years, including sisters and brothers-in-law, Gladys and Lewis Chamberlin and Annie and Ed Neville. Don was active in all Ennis High School activities, and scored the winning basket during a divisional basketball playoff game as a freshman.
Following graduation from Ennis High School in 1942, Don was granted a draft deferment to work on the family ranch and provide food for the troops during World War II. Until it was sold in 1981, Don worked on the Thexton Ranch, which had been in the family for 109 years. He trailed cattle annually to and from the pastures in the National Forest lands on West Fork of the Madison River, about 40 miles from the Thexton Ranch.
Don was very active in numerous community activities. He was a member of the Masons for more than 50 years, during which time he was the Worshipful Master of the Lodge and its long-time secretary. Don helped organize the Madison Valley Rural Fire District, was appointed by the Madison County Commissioners to help organize a City-County Planning Board and served for many years on the Madison Valley Consolidated School District Board.
Don loved socializing and enjoyed talking with everyone, be they Ennis natives or people who traveled from around the world to fish on the Madison River. His favorite story was being the "Montana Moses" by leading fishermen stranded in a boat on Spring Creek back to the promised land of the main channel of the Madison River.
Another one of Don's pastimes included water witching and well drilling, and he frequently visited Varney-area construction sites to check water-well depth. Don enjoyed being the local weatherman during his retirement and time at the Madison Valley Manor.
Marjorie Rose Bull of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, became Don's bride on Nov. 20, 1955, in her hometown of Medicine Hat. Marjorie preceded Don in death. They had one son, Duane, married to Le; both reside in Ennis. Other descendents include a granddaughter, Natasha, of Stanford, Calif.
The Masonic Funeral Rite will be conducted at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, evening at the K&L Mortuary in Ennis. Funeral Services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Presbyterian Church of Ennis with the Rev. Jean Johnson presiding. Burial will immediately follow at the Ennis Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Presbyterian Church.
Memorials are preferred to the Madison Valley Hospital or to the Ennis Ambulance.
K & L Mortuaries
109 West Second
Whitehall, MT 59759
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 25, 2007