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Fort Benton —Kenneth (Ken) B. Courtnage, 88, of Fort Benton, died at home with family by his side Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Funeral service is Saturday, September 14, at 2:00 PM at the Geraldine United Methodist Church. Benton Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Ken was born in Great Falls, MT, December 29, 1924, to Marjorie and Harold Courtnage of Geraldine. He started school at the rural Sunnyside School north of Geraldine, and graduated from Geraldine High School in 1943.
Ken joined the Army in 1945, and served in Korea during WWII, returning safely to Montana in early 1947. On February 22, 1948, Ken married J. Iris Johnson in Butte, and they moved to New City, New York, where they owned and operated a hotel, bar and restaurant. In 1949 they bought a new 1950 Buick Special and returned to Montana where Ken began working for the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association (GTA), first in Chester, and then in Lewistown for a short time.
Shortly thereafter Ken and Iris moved to Moore where he managed the GTA elevator for 14 years. Next in his career was a move to Fairview, MT, where he managed the Fairview bean plant and grain elevator for the next 14 years until he retired in order to take over the farming/ranching operation north of Geraldine from Harold and Margie for the next 14 years. During the farming years Ken and Iris first lived in Great Falls and then moved to Fort Benton. Ken and Iris celebrated 65 years of marriage this year in February. Ken's focus in life has been his family and his community. He was proud to be a 50-year Master Mason, member of Pilgrim Lodge #102, and a life-long member of Montana Farmers Union. Throughout the years he supported a number of fraternal organizations and was also active in the Methodist Churches where he lived. He loved being a grandpa and most recently a great grandpa. Ken is survived by his wife Iris of Fort Benton;, his daughter Sandy of Fort Benton; his son Bill (Kathy) Courtnage of Geraldine; grandsons Nick (Melissa) Courtnage and son Henry of Moscow, ID; Brice (Victoria) Courtnage and son Ben and daughter Abby of San Clemente, CA; and granddaughter Mandi Courtnage of Fort Benton. He is also survived by many extended family members and friends. Ken was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Marjorie Courtnage; his sister Lois Huff; and grandson Fletcher Courtnage-McKinsey.
Son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, family guide and mentor: you are greatly loved and will be greatly missed, but will be in our hearts forever.
Memorials in Ken's memory may be made to the Florence Dedman Foundation Animal Shelter or the River & Plains Society, both of Fort Benton.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Sept. 5, 2013
Benton Funeral Home
1201 Front St Fort Benton, MT 59442