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Henry Edward McDermott

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SHELBY Henry Edward McDermott, 93, a man of quiet strength and resolve died of natural causes Monday, Dec. 10, at the Marias Care Center in Shelby.

Memorial services are 2 p.m. Saturday at Whitted Funeral Chapel. Burial with military honors will follow in the Sunburst Cemetery. A reception will follow at the New Life Community in Shelby.

Affectionately known as "Gink" to family and friends, he was born July 10, 1919, in Sweet Grass. One of 12 children born to Peter Jr. and Ruth A. (Barnes) McDermott, he grew up at West Butte Coal Mine. Working the coal mine alongside his grandfather, father and brothers, Henry developed amazing skills as a mechanic and was charged with keeping the mining equipment in good working order. He was educated at the McDermott Country School and graduated from Sunburst High School.

Henry was inducted into the U.S. Army in the summer of 1941. After basic training he was stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wash., where he helped establish and man coastal defense gun batteries. In 1942 he was deployed to Hawaii and then a ship's gunner and forward observer on New Britain Island and the Philippines. He was discharged in September 1945 after serving 36 months overseas.

He married Charlotte J. Winter on Nov. 9, 1959, in Conrad. Henry was stepfather to Charlotte's three children, Roger, Dennis and Sharon, and together they had son Steven. He spent most of his life farming and ranching in Oilmont and was lucky to be able to make a living doing what he loved. Charlotte died Sept. 26, 1999. Henry continued to farm until 2006, finally retiring at age 86.

In the last years of his life, Henry was fortunate to find a loving partner and companion in Viola Jane Bykonen. On Dec. 12, 2003, Jane and Henry married in Shelby. Jane's nine children, 23 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren welcomed Henry into their family. Together they enjoyed retirement, traveling and spending time with family.

He was a member of Living Faith Baptist Church, VFW and American Legion.

Survivors include his wife, Jane McDermott of Shelby; daughter Sharon (Roger) Linnell of Newcastle, Wash.; sons Steven (Nancy) McDermott of Cumming, Ga., Roger (Sharon) Winter of Park Rapids, Minn., and Dennis (Doris) Winter of Cut Bank; nine grandchildren; brothers Rodney of Belfair, Wash., and Kenneth of Fairfield; sister Beverly Nash of Cut Bank; stepchildren Becky (Larry) Coon of Glendive, David (Clella) Bykonen of Shelby, Dan (Diana) Bykonen of California, Jim Bykonen of Shelby, Paul (Janie) Bykonen of Billings, Joe Bykonen of Shelby, Mary (George) DeVera of Shelby, Tim (Dawn) Bykonen of Shelby and Laurie Ann (Alan) Holler of Hamilton.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Charlotte; six sisters; and four brothers.

Condolences may be posted online at and/or

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Dec. 14, 2012
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