WOODS BAY — Anthony (Tony) Welzenbach, 70, of Woods Bay, passed away on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula, of natural causes related to a heart condition.
Tony was born in Wolf Point, on March 5, 1947, to Lola and William (Bill) Welzenbach. He was the youngest of ten, including four half siblings. Growing up in Wolf Point, he enjoyed sports and hunting, and had a wide network of friends. Tony set the Montana high school shot put record, which stood for over 20 years, and was a baseball state champion.
He received a scholarship to play football for the Montana State Bobcats and stood out as a broad-shouldered offensive lineman for the Big Sky Conference Champions (1966, 1967 and 1968). After a short stint playing in the Canadian Football League, Tony moved to northwestern Montana. He took quickly to the mountains, hiking, skiing and backpacking often with his children from the time they were preschoolers on trips to Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Tony made his first career as a tree planting contractor, personally planting hundreds of thousands of trees, and leading rough-and-tumble crews reforesting mountainsides in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Alaska. He also had careers in construction contracting and real estate development.
His international travel included trips to Nepal, Thailand, a driving tour of Europe, and many winters spent in Central America and the Caribbean, primarily in Costa Rica. He loved boats and being on the water, with adventures that included captaining his sailboat between Hawaiian Islands, and hundreds of days boating on Flathead Lake.
He was a loyal friend and beloved father and grandfather. His survivors include his children, Corinna and Wilhelm (Willy) Welzenbach, of Seattle, Washington and Missoula, respectively and Willy’s children Alena (eight) and Isadora (five). He will be buried on Saturday, Feb. 10, in the Ronan Cemetery at the foot of the Mission Mountains, near his parents and brother Charles (Corky). A celebration of life will be planned for summer 2018 on Flathead Lake where his friends and family will have a chance to share the wonderful, outrageous, and cherished stories of his life. He has been selected to join the Bobcat Football Hall of Fame in January 2019 in Bozeman.