Walter Herman died peacefully on Sept. 15, 2011, of Parkinson's disease in Billings, MT.
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Walter, born Feb. 10, 1922, in Scottsbluff, Neb., was the 10th child of Jacob and Catherine Leis Herman's 11 children. Immigrants from Hussenbach, Russia, his parents instilled a strong Volga German work ethic in Walter as they toiled together with their children in the sugar beet fields of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana.
Walter met the love of his life, Genevieve Pope, at a dance in Hardin, and they married in 1944. Walter built houses by day and tended bar by night. They moved with Walter's parents to Yakima, Wash., for a short time, where they farmed and where their first daughter Janice was born.
Upon their return to Hardin, Walter continued to build houses until he and his brother Eddie opened a Phillips 66 gas station in Billings. Later, Walter did road construction with his dump truck while Genevieve worked. They had two more daughters: Cathie in 1952 and Debi in 1957.
They raised livestock following their move to Bozeman in 1958. Walt continued in his trade of home building, which eventually led to the founding of Moore & Herman Construction. What free time the family had was spent at 4-H events and auctions, traveling around the state visiting relatives, snowmobiling and fishing, as well as building several homes of their own west of town.
The Hermans moved to West Yellowstone in 1973, where they purchased the Round Up Motel and Snowmobile Tours and later the Rustic & Wagon Wheel Campgrounds. Walter tirelessly volunteered his time with the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce until they retired to Billings in 1990.
Walt was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1996. Two years later, Genevieve, his business and dance partner of 53 years, passed away. Walter stoically carried on without complaint for 13 years until his death at 89 years.
His family will remember him as devoted, fair and generous, always wearing a pearl-snapped western shirt, a turquoise belt buckle and a wide smile.
Walt liked to drop a hook in Hebgen Lake and a quarter in a slot machine. His keen business mind, remarkable memory for stories and details, and pinochle prowess, along with his love for cars, antiques, ice cream and his grandbabies, will be fondly remembered.
A private family service was held. Walter is survived by three daughters, Janice Handsaker (Larry), Cathie Schoer (Gary) of Billings, and Debi Herman of Kansas City; his sister Clara Cintola; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Special thanks to Butterfly Homes for the loving care they provided for the last seven years of his life and the compassionate care of Rocky Mountain Hospice for his final month.
Memorials may be made to www.parkinson.org or www.RockyMountainHospice.com.
Smith Funeral Chapels - Downtown
925 South 27th Street
Billings, MT 59101
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 25, 2011