Lester Slonaker

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Lester Raymond Slonaker

GREAT FALLS —Lester Raymond Slonaker, a lifelong Montanan and longtime Great Falls resident, died Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 97 after a brief illness.

A visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2014 at Schnider Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church with burial to follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery with military honors. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Les led a full, active and varied life. He was born on September 6, 1916 to George Elmer and Bessie Alma (Griffee) Slonaker, growing up on a homestead near Zurich. He served in combat as an Army paratrooper in the Pacific Theater in World War II, fighting in the battles of Corregidor and Noemfoor. He worked as a carpenter and craftsman, helping to build many homes in Riverview in the '60s. He later went to work for the Postal Service, from which he retired. Les and his wife, Inez (Gregori) Slonaker, were married in Black Eagle in 1946. Last October they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.

He embraced life, and savored its many joys with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile. He was quick to make a joke, and equally quick to lend a helping hand whenever it was needed. He was an accomplished hunter and outdoorsman, and a good hand on horseback. He loved watermelon, ice cream, and just about any other dessert, but he maintained a trim and vigorous physique even into his 90s.

Les was also a lifelong learner. He valued education and was proud that all four of his children received college degrees. Les was an avid reader, and especially enjoyed reading about Montana history and places of interest. Even in his late 90s, he could reel off lines of poetry he had learned in a one-room schoolhouse in the 1920s.

Les had a soft, gentle personality. He especially enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, Inez, Les is survived by their four children, Deloris (Jim) Pribyl, Dennis Slonaker, Dorothy Conlan, and Larry (Sandi) Slonaker; grandchildren Ron (Renee) Pribyl, Debra (Wayne) Klemann, Lesa Pribyl, and Anne Conlan; five great-grandchildren, Kyle, Kameron and Kody Pribyl and Elizabeth and Courtney Klemann; brother Leland; sisters Olive Sheppard and May Gertson; and all his beloved nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Fred and Don; and sisters Margaret Pridgeon and Eleanor Blevins.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.

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Funeral Home
Schnider Funeral Home
1510 13th Street South
Great Falls, MT 59405-4501
(406) 727-1368
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Apr. 20, 2014
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