Vernon Louis Waldenberg
Vern Waldenberg passed away from complications of COVID-19 on January 5, 2021, at the age of 86. Vern was a beloved husband to wife Joanne, father of 9, and grandfather of 25. He was born and raised in Great Falls Montana, where he raised his family. Vern and Joanne then spent their later years living in Spokane, Washington.
Vern attended Central Catholic High School, and it was during these years that he became enamored with the brilliant and beautiful Joanne Bennett. They were married in 1952 and celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this December. With 5 daughters and 4 sons, Vern wore the title of "Dad" as his proudest achievement. The early years were filled with raising his brood on what he fondly called "the ten acres" at the end of Wilkinson Lane. His children have many wonderful memories of feeding, grooming, and riding horses with their Dad, mowing the lawn on his riding lawn mower and helping him tend his property on his Fordson tractor. Evenings were spent in lively dinner conversations around the table while savoring our mom's cooking.
Vern loved the outdoors and passed that love onto his children. Summers were memorable as we packed up the Rambler for camping excursions to the mountains. As the family grew, he was soon pulling a camp trailer to Lincoln or Swan Lake for weekend outings.
The family was over the moon when he and our Uncle Glenn bought the Smith River Cabin in the 70's. It was new territory to explore and plenty of open space for this huge family. Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles were treated to Smith River floating and summer evenings around campfires under the stars, with kids occupying every corner of that cabin. Together, Vern & Joanne built their new cabin in Lincoln Montana, where again a new generation of kids, the pack of grandkids explored the forest around the cabin.
Vern was a plumber by trade. While raising nine children, Vern also ran the family business Central Plumbing and Heating, which Vern's father Louie Waldenberg founded, a tradition now proudly carried on by Vern's sons.
His wisdom, inventiveness, and caring for others had him putting seatbelts in our Rambler in the 60's before they were commonly installed in cars. He was ahead of his time, always willing to learn from others and frequently sharing his latest self-help read with his kids. He was a good listener and had a way of dispensing advice and a lesson for every situation that came up. He will be dearly missed by so many.
Vern was preceded in death by his parents, Louie and Naome; granddaughter Katie (Mitchell) Davis; and his brother Bill Waldenberg. He is survived by his wife Joanne and his nine children, Vern Jr. (Jill), Christine (Jim) Forzley, Carol, Mary Kay Mitchell, Mike (Stacy), Linda (Carl) Baltrusch, Dave (Debbi), Karen (Bryan) Enseleit, Jim (Nancy), and 25 grandchildren along with 18 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Glenn (Phyllis) and Terry (Becky).
A celebration of a life well lived will be held next summer once it is safe to gather again.
If you wish, the family asks you make a donation in loving memory of Vern to Peace Hospice of Montana in Great Falls or to the charity of your choice