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Allen, Patsy  
Patsy Diane Allen Augusta —Patsy Diane Couch, 69, passed away on June 20th 2015. She left us peacefully in her sleep at home, while surrounded by loved ones. Patsy was born to Fred and Beverly Couch on July 24, 1945 in Great Falls. Patsy was raised in Sun River, and attended school at Simms. On November 28th 1964, Patsy married her high school sweetheart, Butch. They spent some of their best years together raising their son and daughter on the Cobb Ranch where Butch was a foreman and Patsy was a ranch cook. In 1980, Patsy started her 33 year journey as librarian and teachers aid at Augusta School. She not only left an imprint on all the students and faculty's heart, but the whole community as well. Patsy's pride and joy was her grandkids and great grandkids. She trademarked the song "You are my Sunshine" as the family song. Her family will continue the tradition, and always remember her by it. She was preceded in death by mother and father, Fred and Beverly Couch and brother Terry. Patsy is survived by loving husband Lonnie (Butch) Allen, sisters Judy Bistodeau, Connie Sisko, and brother Tommy Couch. Children; LeAnn Renee Allen Smith (Darrel) and Bret Lee Allen (Callie). Grandkids; Brittany Gulick, Shayla and Taylor Heckman, Aspen, McCall,Trey and Brooke Allen. Great Grandkids; Kylie and Jayce Gulick. A Rosary will be held Tuesday, June 23rd, 7:00 pm at the St. Matthias Church in Augusta. Memorial funeral services will be Wednesday June 24th, 1:00 pm at the same location.
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 23, 2015
Bitz, Evelyn  
Evelyn Petr Bitz Big Sandy —Evelyn Petr Bitz passed peacefully away on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 in Big Sandy, MT. A service celebrating Evelyn's life will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, June 29 at the Methodist Church in Big Sandy, with luncheon following in the fellowship hall. Evelyn was born at Hopp-Illiad southeast of Big Sandy in 1935, the youngest child of eight born to Anna and Frank Petr. She spent her early years roaming the river breaks and attending Iliad school. After 8th grade, Evelyn moved with her mother to town and graduated as Senior Class President and Valedictorian of Big Sandy High School in 1951. In high school, she loved her writing classes and playing her clarinet. She was proud of playing for President Harry Truman on his whistle-stop tour! Evelyn worked part-time at H. Earl Clack's while attending Northern Montana College in Havre. In October 1952, Evelyn married her high school sweetheart, Leo George Bitz, at the ripe old age of 17! Leo often mentions the first time he saw Evelyn standing against the school wall when she came to town for 8th grade tests-it was something like love at first sight. She talked about their first date being a drive in the mountains-for that girl who loved to roam the hills, it was a special first date! After her graduation with a teaching certificate in 1953, the couple moved to Big Sandy, where Leo farmed and Evelyn taught first grade. Evelyn was a natural teacher with a special gift for engaging children, but only taught for one year, quitting after she began her family. Julie, Mark and Bart, her five grandchildren and many little friends were blessed to learn and play with Evelyn! Even during the last months of her life, she delighted in playing with little great-grandson Levon. Evelyn was a great cook and excellent gardener, renowned for her oatmeal cookies and chocolate cream pie. A typical harvest dinner was pork with caraway seeds, mashed potatoes, veggies and two kinds of pie. Her home was filled with books, notebooks full of her writings, flowers and music! When her sisters came to visit, Evelyn played the role of cruise director, planning outings and adventures. The laughter usually lasted until the wee hours of the night when the "Petr" girls came to visit! She took her 1951 Senior Class President job seriously, too, planning fun class outings every five years until very recently. She loved planning special trips and shopping the sales at Herburglars! She enjoyed playing bridge and really did it up when the bridge ladies were coming over. She was a long-time member of the Methodist Church, Eastern Star and helped with Rainbow Girls. Mostly Evelyn loved her family. She was a loyal helpmate to her "Georgie,' from helping him write checks and keep the books to cooking healthy foods. She was very caring to her mother and siblings and was a letter writer extraordinaire. She made holidays so special for her family, creating special dinners and imaginative gifts. Reading stories with Mom! Evelyn was serious about learning but loved being silly with her kids, so every character had its own voice and personality. She loved her Montana home but made sure her children were introduced to the world of literature, music and culture. She loved to write poetry and short stories, was always editing and dreamt of being a published author someday. Taking care of her family and home didn't leave too much time for that dream, but going through her things, one discovers treasure: bits of poems and stories tucked away throughout her house! After their kids were out of school, Evelyn and Leo started spending part of each winter in Arizona, making new friends and memories at Picacho Peak. She prepared for every excursion to Arizona in the motor home of the moment as pioneer women of old must have prepared their wagons. She enjoyed gambling and playing bingo a bit and loved the spring poppies and hummingbirds. Evelyn had a damaging heart attack when she was 72, and life changed a little after that. Leo started helping her a bit more around the house - of course, he had to meet her standards! As Evelyn's health gradually declined, Leo made Evelyn his mission, getting her to doctor's appointments, shopping for her, and perhaps occasionally nagging her about her diet. She was a fighter and joked about her many jet, helicopter and ambulance rides. She resided mostly at Big Sandy Medical Center since October 2014; the staff became her angels. During Evelyn's last months, her family did their best to show their love. Bart stopped in to pray with her nearly every day, and her Washington kids came as often as they could. She got to have one more Christmas Eve with most of the family at Julie's. Leo and Evelyn continued to enjoy their regular Sunday evening date watching Masterpiece Classic. She particularly loved the photo viewer from Mike and visits with the grandkids and Levon. She got to see her sister Elizabeth a few weeks before her death. Her last outing was a special one - the Celtic Women concert in Great Falls with Leo, Bart and Julie. Evelyn is survived by her husband, Leo Bitz, children Julie Bitz Myers, Mark (Jane) Bitz and Bart Bitz, grandchildren Christopher (Lisa) Myers, Aaron (Ashley) Myers, Matthew (Julie Ann) Myers, Kate Bitz, Nate Bitz, and one great-grandson, sisters Helen Moes, Lillian Blazek, Mary Nance, Elizabeth Timmerman, Frances Keller, and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her mother and father, brother Frank Petr and sister Ann Jones. Memorials may be made to the Big Sandy Medical Center Nursing Home and the Big Sandy Historical Society. You may leave condolences for the family at www.hollandbonine.com
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 28, 2015
Cage, Billy  
Billy D. Cage Great Falls —Billy Dee Cage, born 1962 in Anchorage AK, died June 20, 2015 at a local hospital. Arrangements have been entrusted to Croxford Funeral Home. Survivors are parents, Billy & Patty Cage of Wyoming; daughter, Morgan Lynn Teague; three brothers, Larry (Linda) Cage; twin brother, Bobby (Sissy) Cage; Troy (Sabra) Cage; two sisters, Sherry (Rod) Driggers and Debby (Ron) Linder; as well as many nieces and nephews. Billy worked construction many years and had a gift of compassion working with the elderly. He enjoyed the outdoors, camping, boating, and his dog, Piper, whom he cherished and took everywhere. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Billy's life will be held at Gibson Park on Wednesday, June 24th at 11:00 AM. Family and friends are welcome and lunch will be provided. Condolences to the Cage family may be shared at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 23, 2015
Crawford, Nina  
Nina Rubye Crawford OGDEN, UT —With loving staff and family, Nina Rubye Crawford, 93, of Utah formerly of Valier, peacefully passed away at the Legacy House of Ogden on June 17, 2015. She had resided in Ogden, Utah since October of 2013 to be close to her daughter's family and roommate with her sister, Louise. A funeral service will be held on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Valier Methodist Church in Valier, Montana. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Rubye was born on December 2, 1921 in Owensboro, Kentucky to Charles H. Collins and Alice Atherton Collins. She was the youngest of a family of seven brothers and sisters. Rubye grew up in Owensboro where she graduated from Davis High School. She was employed in the secretarial field in Kentucky however, later in her career she traveled to Montana to be near an older sister and was then employed at Glacier National Park. After her future husband, Ted returned from the service, he frequently visited Glacier National Park where he met and courted Rubye. They were married on December 10, 1946 in Valier and lived together for 66 years before Ted's death. Their family was complete with two daughters and a son who were raised on the family farm. Throughout her life, Rubye actively participated in her community. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and was the blood donation chairwoman for the American Red Cross in Valier for 20 plus years. Rubye also attended the Valier Baptist Church and the Valier Methodist Church. She was a mother who supported and encouraged her children in their many endeavors and taught them to be strong, successful individuals. We thank her for all of her efforts in molding us. She also, very much enjoyed her grandchildren and great grandson who looked to her for love and her style. After being a busy mother, homemaker and farmer's wife, Rubye and Ted lived in Surprise, Arizona for retirement in the winter where they had many friends and activities. In the summer they lived on the family farm. Later in 2000, they moved to Great Falls. Rubye is survived by her daughters Carolyn Caylor of Portland, OR and Suzan (John Bizzell) Crawford of Layton, UT; son Theodore (Dianna) Paul "Tex" Crawford Jr. of Valier; five grandchildren; one great grandson and her older sister Louise Sweeney of Ogden, UT. She was preceded in death by her husband Ted; her parents; three brothers; two sisters and a grandson. As a family, we would like to thank the excellent staff at Highgate Senior Living in Great Falls and Legacy House of Ogden for their compassionate and loving care of our mother, Rubye. Memorials in Rubye's name are suggested for the American Red Cross, PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018 or Inspiration Hospice, 835 East 4800 S, Suite 240, Murray, UT 84107. Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com .
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 24, 2015
Evenson, Daniel  
Daniel James Evenson Billings — At the age of 50, our beloved Daniel James Evenson tragically passed away June 24, 2015. Born in Billings on Nov. 15, 1964, to Ernest and Elizabeth (Murdoch) Evenson, he grew up with three brothers and two sisters and graduated from Billings Senior High in 1983. He started working in a dairy, then with a cable company and for the rest of his career, he worked in retail where he met Jennifer Patterson. They married in 1992, and from this union a beautiful gift named Bailey Roxanne was bestowed upon him in 1997. His greatest accomplishment was being a good father. Danny was known as a hard worker, skilled at every task he undertook and everyone's favorite uncle. He will be remembered forever for his unique, infectious laugh and his quick witted humor influencing all who knew him and those he met in passing. He was the ultimate teaser and practical joker. His charismatic personality drew people to him and made them feel good about themselves. All who knew Danny loved him deeply. Dan is survived by his daughter, Bailey, five siblings and their families. We will never understand how God was able to fit such a big heart inside a man of Danny's stature. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 30, at First United Methodist Church.
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 27, 2015
Frank, Donald  
Don Frank Great Falls —At 4:11 am on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 our cowboy, Don Frank, galloped away to his next fishing trip. At his request, no services are planned. Inurnment of ashes will take place on Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm at Fort Harrison Veteran's Cemetery in Helena, MT. Donald George Frank was born August 6, 1936 in Nolo, PA to Carl and Nellie Frank. On April 29, 1961 he married Eleanor Oravec in Cheyenne, WY. They welcomed two daughters, Regina and Robin into their family and all who knew Don loved him - except, possibly, for a few who worked for and were a little afraid of "The Chief!" He served 31 years in the United States Air Force, retiring in 1985 at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. Don was a lifetime member of the NRA and the North America Hunting Club. He was an avid hunter and fisherman; loved the outdoors and enjoyed reading and playing cards. He enjoyed being Pap to his grandchildren and great granddaughter. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Eleanor; daughters Regina Oechsle of Layton, UT and Robin (Jeff) Bryant of Orem, UT; sister Barbara (Jim) Simmons of Nanty Glo, PA; grandchildren Spencer Bryant of Missoula, MT, Tyler (Jessica) Bryant of Helena, MT, Jenny (Danny) Heffner of Cottonwood Heights, UT, Joshua (Anna) Bryant of Biloxi, MS, Amanda Oechsle of Cottonwood Heights, UT, Lindsey Bryant, Zac Bryant, Nic Bryant, and Matthew Bryant all of Orem, UT; one great-granddaughter Violet Heffner of Cottonwood Heights, UT; and one great-grandchild due January 2016. We love you and will see you again one day! Condolences may be left online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com .
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Published in Great Falls Tribune from June 24 to June 28, 2015
Keller, Jack  
Jack L. Keller Great Falls —Jack died peacefully surrounded by family on June 24th, 2015 at the age of 79. He is survived by his devoted wife of almost 57 years, Gloria, his four beloved children: Scott (Brenda) Keller of Great Falls, Brenda (Brian) Roark of Sunburst, Jerry (Lorie) Keller of Great Falls, Rod (Linda) Keller of Great Falls, 13 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, his brother, Leo "Bud" (Martha) Keller (Wyoming), several nieces and nephews, his mother-in-law, Gladys Nyberg (Great Falls) and brother-in-law, Gary (Lucy) Olson (Florida). He is preceded in death by his parents and his brothers: Gene, Lyle, and Bob Keller. Jack was born on March 23, 1936 in Loomis, South Dakota to Charles & Anna Keller. He attended school in Counsil Bluffs, Iowa before enlisting in the United States Army, serving in the Korean War as a cook. Jack moved to Shelby, Montana where he met the love of his life, Gloria Olson. They were married August 23rd, 1958 and raised four children. Jack and Gloria enjoyed camping, fishing, and playing cards with their children and close friends. Jack worked for Shelby's 7-UP bottling company before going to work for Shelby Distributors for 18 years. He then worked as a compressor operator in the Kevin area oil field where he sustained an injury and had to move to Great Falls to continue medical treatment. After moving to Great Falls, Jack enjoyed volunteering at the VFW and the Great Falls Senior Center. He was happiest surrounded by family and friends. Jack meant the world to his family. His compassion, smile, and sense of humor will be greatly missed. We'd like to express thanks to Dr. Legan, Dr. Barnes and Dr. Dietrich and the staff at Benefis Healthcare System. Memorial donations may be made to the Great Falls Senior Center's Evening Pinochle Club. A celebration of life with military honors will be held Saturday, June 27th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at 1913 9th Avenue South.
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 26, 2015
LaPlant, Bradley  
Bradley LaPlant Browning —passed away on June 22, 2015 in Browning, MT. A wake began June 23, 2015 at Cut Bank Creek (LaPlant ranch). Rosaries held June 25 at 7:00 pm at Bear Home. Mass will be held June 26 at 11:00 am the Little Flower Parish in Browning, MT. Burial at the LaPlant cemetery with Military Honors. Feed to follow will be announced. Bradley was born on January 1, 1947 in Browning to the late Clara Guardipee and Frances LaPlant Sr. Bradley was raised in Greasewood on the LaPlant Ranch, served in the United States Army and went on to attend the University of California at Berkley returning to MT in 1979 to raise his family with his wife Patty. Bradley is preceded in death by his mother and father, Clara and Frances LaPlant, sisters, Ernestine LaPlant, Henrietta LaPlant, and brothers Louis LaPlant, and Dale LaPlant. Bradley is survived in death by his wife Patricia Silvas LaPlant and 10 children, Galen Dale Hall, Christy Horn, Sharon LaPlant-Dorame, Sundore LaPlant, Marshall LaPlant, Wilber LaPlant, Kathereen LaPlant, Danielle, LaPlant, Marten LaPlant, Joseph LaPlant, Brandy Salway and 17 grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 26, 2015
Maphies, Pricilla  
Pricilla Ann Maphies Vaughn —Graveside services and burial will be held at 1:00 PM Friday, June 26th at the Choteau Cemetery for Pricilla Ann Maphies, age 71, of Vaughn, Mt who died Sunday, June 21st at Benefis East Healthcare in Great Falls. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Gorder Jensen Funeral Home of Choteau. Pricilla was born March 11, 1944 in Spokane, WA, the daughter of Robert W. and Margaret (Sansaver) McMullen. She married Milton James Maphies on July 11, 1967 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. She was a homemaker living in Vaughn since 1991. She enjoyed animals, especially her dogs, working in the yard, shopping and collecting things. She especially enjoyed time with her grandchildren and the times she spent with her husband on the road in his truck. Pricilla is survived by her parents Bill and Margaret McMullen of Choteau; children: Mila (Eric) Knight of Pueblo West, Colorado and Michael (Dona) Couture of Great Falls; 2 sisters: Jenice Morrison of Bismarck, N D., and Bella Maya Valladolid of Great Falls and a brother: Bobby McMullen of Magna, UT; and 3 grandchildren: Shelby Knight of Anchorage, AK, Colin Knight of Pueblo West, CO and Sierra Couture of Great Falls, MT She was preceded in death by her husband and a brother, Mike McMullen. Memorials are suggested to the Sletten Cancer Institute. Online condolences may be left at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 24, 2015
McKnight, Bruce Eugene  
Bruce Eugene McKnight Great Falls —Bruce Eugene McKnight, 79, of Great Falls passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 24, 2015, at his residence after an extended fight with larynx cancer. A viewing will be offered from 6-8 pm on Wednesday, July 1st in the Rose Room Chapel at Croxford Funeral Home. His funeral service will be held at the same location at 11 am Thursday, July 2nd with burial to follow at Manchester Cemetery. Bruce was born on November 30th, 1935 to Claude and Carolyn McKnight in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. He grew up there, where he later attended and graduated from the local high school. In 1970, he married Shirley Kuebler in Great Falls and they had two children together. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and served 22 years in the United States Air Force before retiring in 1977. He then began his own business opening up a gas station and auto repair location for several years before retiring to spend more time with his family. Bruce was an avid outdoorsman who spent a great deal of his recreational time fishing and hunting the back trails and waterways of Montana with friends and family. He also was a skilled gardener and often grew a variety of vegetables in his garden and was fond of sharing his harvests with those close to him. He is survived and remembered by his four sons: Carl (Jill) McKnight of Johnson City, Tennessee, Donnie McKnight of Raleigh, North Carolina, Mike (Darlene) McKnight and Bruce (Traci) Wayne McKnight of Dawson Springs, Kentucky; Four sisters: Stacie Wyatt of Madisonville, Kentucky, Zenobia Lanham, Theresa Woodruff, and Maybelle Sizemore of Dawson Springs, Kentucky; nine grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and other loved ones. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, and his loving wife Shirley. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com
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Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 28, 2015
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