William Patrick Sloan

STANFORD William "Bill" Patrick Sloan, 56, of Stanford, died unexpectedly of natural causes Friday, Jan. 18, at his home.

A vigil service and time for sharing stories is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Stanford. A funeral Mass is 10:30 a.m. Friday at the church, with a private family committal of ashes to follow. Cremation has taken place. Cloyd Funeral Home & Cremation Service is handling arrangements.

He was born in Miles City, to Arnold and Irene Sloan, on St. Patrick's Day 1956, his Irish heritage shining through. He was the second youngest of eight children-his older sisters loved dressing him up with his very blonde, curly locks (yes, he had hair!). As a child, he mowed many lawns and always shoveled the neighbor's sidewalks, thus beginning his personal style of service to others. George Wright was a great mentor and friend to Bill, and as a child he would often visit George at his gas station in Miles City, working there later on. He spent his high school summers in Jordan, working for Carter Snell, who became another great mentor and favorite cowboy.

He spent most of his education at Sacred Heart Schools and graduated from Garfield County High School in 1975. Bill and his brother, Dean, started Sloan Brother's Construction in 1978 and built homes in South Gate Meadows in Miles City. In 1980, Bill persuaded his high school sweetheart, Jessica Isaacs, to marry him. For 19 years, Bill worked for Cenex and Cenex-affiliated co-ops in Miles City, Medicine Lake and Benchland before settling in Stanford in 1995. Bill and Jessica bought the NAPA store and opened Sloan's Auto and Farm Supply. Bill has provided the outlying communities with unmatched service, expertise and friendship for 17 years.

Bill was on the volunteer fire department in Medicine Lake and Stanford, later becoming fire chief in Stanford. One of his greatest passions was range land firefighting, and he worked hard at training others and building the department. He was very involved in the Catholic church, FFA alumni, Crime Stoppers and Chamber of Commerce. Bill was a man of deep conviction. He loved to hear and tell jokes and had a playful and mischievous attitude that won him many friends and fans throughout his life.

Family, firefighting and NASCAR were Bill's greatest loves in life. He will be remembered for his big smile, belly laugh and his willingness to always help a neighbor. We can assume that he has already called a friendly poker game with Dale Earnhardt, and he has probably learned that his proficiency at cussing is frowned upon.

Bill was preceded in death by his father in 1983.

Bill is survived by his wife, Jessica of Stanford; four children, son Benjamin (Heather) of Billings and daughters Melanie of Havre, Stephanie of Puyallup, Wash., and Natalie of the family home in Stanford. Also mourning the loss of his precious life is his mother, Irene Sloan of Billings; brother Dean (Terri) of Billings; sisters Annette (Dan) of Denver, Kathy of Bend, Ore., Nanci of Portland, Ore., Marlene (George) of Casper, Wyo., Elizabeth of Portland and Ardell (Greg) of Casper.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Stanford Volunteer Fire Department, Stanford Beautification Project or the and may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home.

Condolences may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Jan. 23, 2013