LaVon Knudsen Bedord

MISSOULA - The independent spirit of longtime Missoula resident LaVon Knudsen Bedord released its grip on 90 years of living Sunday, Feb. 6, 2005.

The eldest of four children, she was the daughter of Martin and Gertrude Knudson. Her walk through life began Jan. 24, 1915, in Badger, Minn., where her father worked as a telegrapher and later a depot agent for the Soo Line Railroad.

In time, and after many moves, the family settled in Voltaire, N.D., where she graduated from high school in 1932. A two-year stint at Minot State Teachers' College led to a short career as an elementary teacher in rural North Dakota. Wishing to further pursue her vocation as an educator, she moved to Missoula and attended the University of Montana.

Soon after her arrival, she met and married Sverre Knudsen on Aug. 25, 1940. A Knudson married a Knudsen!

After Sverre's death in 1977, she sold the family home in Missoula and moved to their house on Flathead Lake. Several years later, she met Albert Bedord, a retired farm implement dealer from Missoula. Following their marriage in 1985, they spent summers at Flathead Lake and winters basking in the warmth of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Even after Albert's death in 1990, LaVon continued to divide her time between Flathead Lake and Lake Havasu, sharing her life with family and friends in both places.

In the face of a significant vision loss due to macular degeneration, she returned to Missoula in 1998 as a full-time resident. During the past several years, she has been living at Grizzly Peak Retirement Residence.

LaVon wore many hats on her path through life. A devoted parent, she was always deeply interested and involved in the activities that go along with having four children. Her wide-ranging skills as a homemaker were evident in her talent to transform a pot roast into gourmet fare or a few yards of cloth into a beautiful prom dress. A dedicated gardener, her homes were always a welcoming sight with their beautiful flower garden arrays.

Since her early years in Missoula, she was engaged in many civic activities as president and lifetime member of the Missoula Women's Club. During the late 1950s, as part of her association with the Women's Club, she hosted a weekly television program focusing upon area human-interest stories. Her Scandinavian heritage led to even further civic involvement with a lifetime membership in the Sons of Norway, where she served as chapter president in the 1970s.

Even though failing eyesight made reading impossible, she found alternative ways to sustain her lifelong quest for knowledge. LaVon loved stimulating conversation shared over strong coffee and freshly baked cookies. A Christian since birth, her faith-based life included a keen understanding of the Bible and its message. In the end, her life of meaning and substance will be in evidence for generations to come.

With the power of her ever-present love, she provided strength to her family: son, Gerhard Knudsen and wife Gayle of Missoula; daughter, Margit Hatcher and husband Jim of Helena; son, John Knudsen and wife Lauren of Missoula; daughter, Trudi Shjeflo and husband Doug of Kalispell; granddaughters, Olivia Shjeflo of Kalispell, and Elyse and Jocelynn Knudsen of Missoula; grandsons, Brad Dawkins of Great Falls, Erik Dawkins of Bozeman, and Leif Shjeflo of Wenatchee, Wash.; a sister, Marjorie Knosp of Mill Creek, Wash.; a brother, Darrell Knudson of Richardton, N.D.; and, before his death, younger brother, Winslow Knudson.

Visitation will be Thursday, Feb. 10, from 2 to 7 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 11, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Garden City Funeral Home. Services celebrating the life of LaVon Knudsen Bedord will be Friday, Feb. 11, at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Missoula with Pastor Chris Flohr officiating. Interment will be at the Missoula Cemetery following a reception at Nordic Pines. Brad Dawkins, Erik Dawkins, Jim Hatcher, Elyse Knudsen, Doug Shjeflo and Leif Shjeflo will be pallbearers. Memorials may be given to the St. Paul Lutheran Church Organ Fund, the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association.

Pearl V. Copeland

HAMILTON - Pearl V. Copeland, 86, of Hamilton passed away Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, at the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospice Center of natural causes.

She was born Oct. 29, 1918, in Tampico, the daughter of Ole J. and Johanna M. Olson.

Pearl graduated from Victor High School in 1937. She married Vernon L. (Bud) Copeland on Sept. 3, 1939, in Victor. She spent her life as a homemaker and was a waitress for many years in Hamilton.

Pearl was a dedicated member of the Grantsdale Community Church, past President of the Eagles and was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Drill Team for many years. She was an avid gardener and loved to grow flowers, she was a very talented quilter, and she also enjoyed crossword puzzles and reading. Pearl was always smiling, she was easy to laugh with and had a quiet sense of humor. Pearl will be remembered for her kindness and her giving nature. She was a proud parent, grandparent and great-grandparent.

Pearl was preceded in death by her husband, Bud Copeland, 11 brothers and sisters and numerous nieces and nephews. She is survived by daughter, Sharon Brown-(Grant) Wheeler; grandchildren, Debby (Rob) Spencer and Dennis (Judi) Brown; and great-grandchildren, Tiffany, Kiel and Ryne Spencer and Tonya Tanner and Sara Peterson; daughter, Bonnie (Rick) Snowden; grandchildren, Bill (Julie) Northey, Andy (Alissa) Snowden and Darci Snowden; and great-grandchildren, Mark, Alex and Kevin Northey; daughter, Jeanette Copeland; granddaughter, Brenda (Tim) Houlihan; and great-grandchildren, Patrick and Anya Pearl; and son, Dave Copeland. Pearl is also survived by sisters-in-law, Grace Schara, Frances Olson, Nancy Olson; her special friend, Cindy Taylor; her Super One coffee group; many nieces and nephews; good friends; and her cat, Lucky.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Daly-Leach Chapel. Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 11, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Muriel Gooder officiating. Burial will take place at the Victor Cemetery with a reception following in the funeral home's community room.

The family suggests that memorials be made in Pearl's name to Marcus Daly Memorial Hospice Center, 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton, MT 59840, or to the Grantsdale Community Church, Grantsdale, MT 59835.

Jody Carpenter Toms

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Jody Carpenter Toms, born Sept. 6, 1969, our beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, left us Jan. 24, 2005, to be with the angels.

Graduate of Rosemount High School in 1988, further educated in Missoula at the vo-tech college, where she obtained her associate of science degree, she went to work at St. Patrick Hospital. From there she moved back to Minnesota and worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Our Jody loved family events, the great outdoors and, most of all, her husband and boys.

She married the love of her life, Jerry Toms, on April 12, 2003, with a ceremony in Babbitt, Minn.

Her most valued treasures in all her life were her three wonderful boys.

She is survived by her husband, Jerry Toms; three sons, Brandon, Matthew and James; father and stepmother, Mervin and Carol Carpenter; stepsisters, Teresa Wenzel and Tracy Words; and stepbrother, Chad Rolfing, all of Minnesota; mother and stepfather, Patsy and Mike Rolfing; sister, Bonnie West; and brother, Jason Carpenter, all of Montana; as well as many other family members and longtime friends.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at St. Patrick Hospital, Broadway Building, Conference Center, in Missoula with refreshments provided following services.

Gladys Evelyn Stokes Pilgrim Willetts

MISSOULA - Gladys surrendered to the Lord's calling Sunday, Feb. 6, 2005, at the Village Health Care Center in Missoula. Because she loved life and was devoted to her family, she put up a good fight against her ailing health for the past few years. We all will sorrowfully miss her smiling face. She was 87.

She was born Dec. 17, 1917, in Casper, Wyo., to Hattie and S.I. Stokes. Her family moved to Whitefish, where she was raised.

On Dec. 24, 1934, Gladys married William R. Pilgrim. As work was scarce in Montana, the couple moved to Seattle during the Great Depression for a few years. They later moved to Dillon, where they owned the Parisian Dry Cleaning business in partnership with Bill's brother, Ned, for years. They were blessed with two children, Billy and Wanda, and raised them in Dillon.

In 1979, Bill passed away. Gladys met Jack Willetts in 1981 and they married. They lived in Boulder City, Nev., until his death.

Gladys loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and a crack shot. "Grama's tree" was her favorite hunting spot. She also loved to fish. "Anywhere" was her favorite place to fish, as long as there were fish. Birch Creek was a place she loved.

Gladys is survived by her son, William Pilgrim and wife Rita of Polaris; daughter, Wanda Selway and her husband Jack of Polson; grandchildren, Bill Pilgrim of Missoula, Linda Huffaker of Fairbanks, Alaska, Alan, Jeannette and Michelle Selway, all of Missoula; 15 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren. Also surviving Gladys is her dear friend and companion, George Eldridge of Missoula.

Proceeding her in death were her parents; husband, William Pilgrim; husband, Jack Willetts; her brothers, Clifford Stokes and Clinton Stokes; and sister, Mildred Stokes Cornwell.

Graveside memorial services for family and friends will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m. at the Dillon Cemetery.

Donations may be made to charity of your choice.

Edward 'Eddy' Shea

KALISPELL - Edward "Eddy" Shea, 90, passed away Monday, Feb. 7, 2005, at Heritage Place in Kalispell.

Eddy was born Aug. 30, 1914, in Lima, Ohio.

He married Gracie Larsen in 1957. She passed away in 2001.

He is survived by his children, Nancy Heiner, Susan Nickell, Tom Nickell, Cathi Corgiat, Terri Davis and Muirya Galduroz; 16 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, at Buffalo Hill Funeral Home. Veterans honors will be conducted by the United Veterans of the Flathead Valley following the services in the funeral home parking lot.

Gary Price

KALISPELL - Gary Price, a retired long-haul truck driver, died after a long illness on his 64th birthday, Feb. 2, 2005, at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Gary is survived by his wife of 21 years, LeFaivre Williamson; his sons, Gary David Price and Lonnie Darin Price; step-children, Daron and Jason Williamson, Rebecca, Medora and Susan Worsham; sisters, Judy and Doris Price; brothers, Ray, Dave and Leon Price; and their families.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in the name of Gary Price to the Wings Charity for Regional Cancer Support, P.O. Box 7852, Kalispell, MT 59904 or a charity of your choice.

Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.

Rose M. Simmert

MISSOULA - Rose M. Simmert, 61, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, at her home in Missoula of cancer.

Services will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Lighthouse Baptist Church, 5425 Gharrett St. Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home.

A full obituary will follow.

Bernice B. Backlin

MISSOULA - Bernice B. Backlin, 80, of Missoula, passed away Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, at St. Patrick Hospital of natural causes.

Bernice was born April 5, 1924, in Becker, Minn., to Max and Helen Jaschke Hoenhause. She married John Orville Backlin on Aug. 14, 1948, and had four children, Myrna Fay Backlin Heiser, Rita Joy Backlin Kvernes, Pamela Beth Backlin Brown and Rodney Jay Backlin.

Bernice's hobbies were bowling, crafting and gardening.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Max and Helen Jaschke Hoenhause; her husband, John Backlin; a set of twin sons; and a daughter, Myrna Fay Heiser.

Bernice is survived by her three sisters and three children, Rita Kvernes of Missoula, Pamela Brown and her husband Steve of Portland, Ore., and Rodney Backlin and his wife Sharon of Missoula. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Thursday, Feb. 10, at 1:30 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home. There will be a reception following the service in the funeral home's community room.

Donations can be made to the Shriner Children's Hospital, North 820 Summit Blvd., Spokane, WA 99201, or to a local Shriner's organization.

Margery Inez Winter

KALISPELL - Margery Inez Winter, 66, of Kalispell, passed away Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, from complications following cancer surgery in Seattle.

She was born July 23, 1938, at home on the family farm in Sheyenne, N.D., to Knute and Gunhild Strand.

She is survived by her husband, William "Bumps" Winter; daughters, Deborah Robinson and husband Herb of Columbia Falls, Cindy Pilcher and husband Lloyd of Seattle, Lori Nelson and husband Jim of Spokane and Tammy Bohland and husband Darin of Kalispell; son, Terry Peterson of Kalispell; grandchildren, Timothy, Jenny, Matthew, Nicole, Trist'n, Danny, Heather, Eric and Austin; her husband's children, Della Kienas of Kalispell, Sandie Winter of Phoenix and Robert Winter and wife Debbie of Colorado; and six grandchildren, William, Robbie, Travis, Jackie Jo, Jerry Lee and Tyler; brothers, Milton Strand and wife Solveig of Sheyenne and Rodney Strand and wife Sheila of North Platte, Neb.; and sister, Gwen Sheldon of Coon Rapids, Minn.

Memorial services will be held Friday, Feb. 11, at 10:30 a.m. at Johnson Mortuary Chapel. A gathering after the service will be held at William Winter's home in Kalispell.

Ethel 'Marie' Shelley Bustillos

LIBBY - Ethel "Marie" Shelley Bustillos, 82, died Monday, Feb. 7, 2005, at the Libby Care Center from natural causes.

She was born June 20, 1923, in Libby to Ray and Ethel Williams Shelley.

Marie's life was long and eventful. Her godchild was Dick Saddlar's daughter. Dick was George Foreman's trainer. Marie was with the entourage at all the big George Foreman fights. She went to Africa, South America and all the big fights.

Survivors include a sister, Ada Graham of Libby; brothers, Richard Shelley of Libby and Trevert Shelley of Spokane; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services will be Saturday, Feb. 12, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Libby. Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday. Local arrangements are by Nelson & Vial Funeral Home of Libby.

Camille D.D. Bisson

POLSON - Camille D.D. Bisson, 64, of Polson, passed away Sunday, Feb. 6, 2005, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula of natural causes.

Friends may pay their respects at Shrider's Mortuary in Ronan on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Services will be held at 2 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ronan with burial to follow at Mountain View Cemetery.

Shrider's Mortuary is assisting the family with arrangements.

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