Thelma C. Fleshman
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DUTTON - Longtime farmer and Dutton resident Thelma Carolyn (Gilje) Fleshman, 83, died of natural causes Thursday, March 10, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls.
Her memorial service is 1 p.m. Tuesday at United Methodist Church in Dutton. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Croxford Funeral Home and Crematory.
Thelma Carolyn Gilje was born in Great Falls on May 5, 1927, to Alice (Swenson) Gilje and Tobias Gilje. Five years later, her sister Shirley was born.
Thelma had a difficult childhood and had to grow up fast. She had many responsibilities on her family's farm, and had to cook for a harvest crew when she was only 12 years old.
Thelma's life took a change for the better after a memorable dance in Dutton when she was 15 years old: Bob Fleshman began courting her.
They married June 30, 1944, in Great Falls, when Thelma was 17 and Bob came home on leave from the Navy. While Bob was still in the service, Thelma went with him to Chicago, Norfolk and New York City. When Bob was discharged in November 1945, they came back to Dutton and Thelma finished high school by correspondence courses.
Thelma and Bob then settled down to a partnership of farming. For 27 years, they lived at the "old" houses (originally Bob's folks' homestead shack with several additions) on their farm six miles southeast of Dutton. They had their "new" house moved from Sun River to the homestead in 1972.
Thelma and Bob had four children: Barry, Bradley, Brian and Robin. As a Cub Scout den mother and Brownie leader, Thelma was very supportive of her children's activities. She was also very involved in the community as an Eastern Star member, and was active in UMW and in collecting for charities. For more than 20 years, she was the choir director for the United Methodist Church in Dutton.
Thelma was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She also was an incredible cook, a noted seamstress, and excelled at basket-weaving and other crafts. She was a most loving and beloved wife. She and Bob had an extraordinary marriage and enjoyed 68 wonderful years together.
Thelma is survived by her husband, Robert Fleshman of Dutton; sons, Barry (Susan) Fleshman and Bradley (Sandra) Fleshman, all of Dutton; a daughter, Robin (Doug) Byrne of Albuquerque, N.M.; grandchildren Kristy (Steve) Atwood of Miles City, Brooke (Tom) Preston of Kalispell, Logan Fleshman and Reid Fleshman of Dutton, and Joe Byrne, Kelsey Byrne and Dillon Byrne, all of Albuquerque; and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Alice and Tobias Gilje; her stepfather, Ole Holum; a sister, Shirley Baker; a son, Brian Fleshman; and a grandson, Nick Fleshman.
Thelma inspired many by her courage, loyalty and love. Her passing leaves us with a void in our hearts, but her spirit and legacy will live on.
Condolences may be posted online at www.gftribune.com/obituaries.


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Published in Great Falls Tribune on Mar. 14, 2011.
Memories & Condolences
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11 entries
March 16, 2011
So sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you and yours during this difficult time. God bless you.
Rosemary Younce
March 16, 2011
Brad, Sandy, Brooke, Logan and Reid,
I am so sorry for your loss. I never had the pleasure of meeting Thelma, but she must have been a very loving , and kind person to have raised such a wonderful family as you all are. You are all in my prayers.
Darla Glibbery
March 16, 2011
We were so sorry to hear of Thelma's passing. She will be greatly missed. Know that our prayers are with you Bob and all the family at this difficult time.
Sam & Zola
March 16, 2011
I am sorry to hear about Mrs. Fleshman's passing. I had the opportunity to care for her recently and she truly was a beautiful soul. God bless.
Amy Peterson
March 15, 2011
Angela Hertoghe Rasmussen
March 15, 2011
I am truely sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. My heart is sad. Cyndy Wyatt
March 15, 2011
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Bill Erickson
March 14, 2011
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Jim Dahl
March 14, 2011
We're saddened to hear about Thelma's passing. Such a loss to all her family and also to the Dutton community. Sorry to have to miss the services, but we are still in Arizona. God Bless you all!
Russ & Stella Verbael
March 14, 2011
Brad and Families, So sorry to hear of your mothers passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Terry Salo
March 14, 2011
Thelma was once of the most patient individuals I've ever met. She guided us through choir and Brownies, but was much more than that to me - she was my Mom.
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