Roger Bergum Hougen, 89, went to be with his beloved on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007, in Billings, surrounded by his family.
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Roger was born Feb. 3, 1918, in Nerstrand, Minn., the son of Thomas Hougen and Julia Bergum Hougen. In 1924 he moved with his parents to Spion Kop, Mont. Roger attended grade school there and high school in Great Falls.
Roger helped his father on the farm until the Depression forced him to seek work elsewhere. He worked odd jobs and as a laborer on Grand Cooley Dam before starting a vending company in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
During the war, he joined the Army Air Corp, where he tested and installed radios in B-25 bombers. He was proud of his military service and was present at the testing of the first atom bomb in New Mexico.
After the war, Roger returned to his vending business and later went into the restaurant, bar and nightclub businesses in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. He loved to work and continued to go to work every day until the time of his death.
On Jan. 29, 1968, Roger married the love of his life, Bonnie Wise. They lived in Bozeman for many years before moving to Billings in 2002. Roger was an avid gardener and clock collector and never missed an auction. He loved to travel and was always looking for a new adventure. In later years, he and Bonnie wintered in Arizona; however, he was always anxious to get back to Montana and back to work and to family.
Roger enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, especially the youngest, his girl, Haley. He also enjoyed teasing his children and grandchildren, and we all grew to love and expect it. As the head of our family his wisdom and guidance will be greatly missed. Roger will be remembered for his generosity, his incredible sense of humor and his endless love for his family and friends.
Roger is survived by his children, Phyllis Thornton of Billings, Barbara Hougen of Portland, Ore., Vicki Bertz Britt (Deb) Hougen, of Billings, Tom Hougen of Bozeman and Sheila Hougen of Billings; 14 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and friends, Bud and Deanna Tuss of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Jeff Flatness of Bozeman.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Bonnie; a son, Gerald; a sister, Carol; three grandchildren and one nephew, Tommy Collins.
A graveside service for Roger will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1-800-252-5470; American Heart Association, 2812 First Ave. N., Suite 216, Billings, MT 59101; Billings Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 1178, Billings, MT 59103 or to a charity of one's choice.
Arrangements are in the care of the Dahl Funeral Chapels in Billings and Bozeman.
Dahl Funeral Chapels
10 Yellowstone Avenue
Billings, MT 59101
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Oct. 7, 2007