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Thomas J. Collins

MISSOULA - Thomas J. Collins passed away Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2004, at his home in Missoula.

He was born in Piqua, Ohio, on April 14, 1921, the second son of Charles E. and Hazel P. Collins, both deceased.

He was preceded in death by an older brother, John R. Collins; a younger brother, Charles E.; and sister, Nancy Jane.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Bettie B. Collins; and two sons and their wives, Michael T. and wife Carol and Patrick C. and wife Claudia. There are four grandchildren, Cari, Matthew, Chad and Scott, and five great-grandchildren, Elle, Addilyn, Bailey, Maeve and Gracyn.

After graduating from high school in Piqua, Ohio, he attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated cum laude from Ohio State University in 1947. He served four years in the U.S. Navy and finished his military career as an executive officer on the LST-141 in the Mediterranean Theater with the rank of lieutenant.

In 1949, he moved to Missoula with his family and was first employed by the Missoula Mercantile Co. He served on the board of both the Missoula and the Montana chambers of commerce. After his appointment to the first Missoula City-County Planning Board, he later became director of the State Department of Planning and Economic Development.

From 1965 until 1979, he was on the staff of the University of Montana administration in various capacities. At the time of retirement, he was executive director of the University of Montana Foundation. He served on a number of boards and commissions including the Montana Bank system, the Alexander Dawson Foundation of Las Vegas, The Trout & Salmon Foundation, the Montana Historical Society Foundation, the Craighead Wildlife/Wildlands Institute, The Alexander Dawson Schools in both Denver and Las Vegas, and the Water Heritage Trust.

During his lifetime he had a profound interest in all outdoor activities and was active in various environmental organizations. He was a member of Rotary, Elks, Masons, Shrine, the Royal Order of Jesters and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

In 1975, he was awarded the prestigious Gilmour Memorial Trophy, which is given annually in New Zealand to an American who has enhanced international relations through high standards of sportsmanship. He was recently awarded the Neil Bucklew Presidential Award by the University of Montana.

Formerly a professional accordionist, he had devoted much of his senior years to furthering the acceptance of the instrument through compositions, seminars and performances throughout the world. Almost annually he performed as a guest artist with the New Zealand Accordion Orchestra, as well as numerous performances in England and throughout the United States. He will be remembered by many as the Grand Gentleman of the accordion world.

It is requested that memorial donations be made to either the Water Quality Fund in the Department of Environment Studies, The Thomas J. Collins Scholarship Fund, the Grizzly Riders Memorial, all in the University of Montana Foundation, the Shriners Hospital, P.O. Box 2472, Spokane, WA 99210, or any charity of the donor's choice.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 21 at First Presbyterian Church, 201 South Fifth, St., Missoula, MT 59801.

Marjorie P. 'Pat' Vasser

MISSOULA - Marjorie P. "Pat" Vasser, 82, of Missoula, passed away Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004, at St. Patrick Hospital.

Pat was born March 22, 1921, in Billings, the daughter of Lee and Carrie Kennedy.

In 1941, she married Paul Vasser. Pat and Paul lived most of their lives in Billings, where they raised their four children. They were longtime members of St. Pius X Catholic Parish.

Pat was a devoted wife and mother. She enjoyed playing bridge and bingo and was an avid reader. She volunteered at St. Vincent's Hospital for many years.

Pat is survived by her children, Mike Vasser and his wife Kris of Aptos, Calif., Mark Vasser and his wife Karen of Los Altos, Calif., Claudia LaRance of Missoula, Jeanne White and her husband Steve of Missoula; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; her siblings and their spouses, Virginia Mueller, Victor and Katie Kennedy, Dean and Leola Kennedy and Beverly Cogburn; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held in Billings at a later date.

The family suggests memorials be made to Hospice of Missoula.

The Cremation and Burial Society of the Rockies assisted the family with arrangements.

Sally Lee Boe

LAS VEGAS - Sally Lee Boe, 51, formerly of Sioux Falls, S.D., passed away Dec. 25, 2003, at her home in Las Vegas.

Sally, daughter of Leon "Bob" Boe and Mary Ann (Short) Boe, was born Sept. 16, 1952, in Rapid City, S.D., and spent most of her school years in the Newell, S.D., area, where she graduated from high school.

She graduated from Augustana College and spent 10 years teaching special education in the West Central and Sioux Falls school districts. Sally taught special education for one year at Sentinel High School. She later taught special education in Sidney and earned another degree in psychology at the University of Montana in Missoula prior to teaching in Las Vegas.

Sally had many artistic talents, be it painting or pottery, and brought a special glowing smile to all she met along with a passion for assisting her students to use their special talents.

She was loved a great deal by family and friends but possessed a special pride and love for her children, Boe Wallin of San Diego, Nikki Wallin of Provo, Utah, and Randy Nankivel of Sidney. Their accomplishments were a never-ending source of joy in her life.

Grateful for having shared her life are her mother, Maryann Boe of Sundance, Wyo.; Dean Boe of Pine Haven, Wyo., and fiancee Tina Hayton of Paducah, Ky.; Susan and Doug Obermoller of Worthington, Minn.; Mike and Roberta Boe of Torrington, Conn.; Sharon Boe McQuillen of Custer, S.D., and her husband John McQuillen of Deadwood, S.D.; and Patrick Boe of Worthington.

She was preceded in death by her father.

Lila Mae Stortz

GREAT FALLS - Lila Mae Stortz of Great Falls was with her family at a local hospital where she passed peacefully of natural causes on Dec. 31, 2003.

She was born June 9, 1927, in Williston, N.D. As the daughter of a railroader, she attended schools in Williston, Buford and Trenton, N.D.

When her family was relocated to Buffalo in 1942 as part of the war effort, she received an award for good citizenship and graduated from Buffalo High School during a very trying time in our nation's history. She was also awarded an academic scholarship and attended school for business management.

In September 1949, she married Clifford J. Stortz in Fort Benton. She kept the home fires burning in Great Falls while he traveled for the Army Air Corps and later the U.S. Air Force.

Over the years, she was employed at the Great Falls Water Department and Bailer's Ice Cream Parlor and owned the Copper Court Motel. She was an active member of the Great Falls Hotel, Motel Association and Lady Doe Elks Club.

Lila is survived by her husband of 54 years, Cliff. Son Andy Stortz and his wife Jody of Great Falls; her daughter, Kathy Kyle and her husband Vince of Great Falls; and son, Charlie Stortz and his wife Jackie of Missoula also survive her.

An infant daughter, Patricia Marie Stortz, preceded her in death.

She was blessed with two grandsons, John Jewell and his wife Lisa of Great Falls and Darin Stortz of Des Moines, Iowa; and two great-grandchildren Patrick and Gina Jewell. Her brother, Dan Itami and his wife Jean of Scottsdale, Ariz., Jack Itami and his wife Karen of Springfield, Ore., and June Spurrier of Great Falls also survive her. She also has numerous nieces and nephews that will also miss her.

She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who truly enjoyed her family and was loved by all.

Services have been held in Great Falls.

Lawrence J. 'Larry' Stremcha

KALISPELL - Lawrence J. "Larry" Stremcha, 71, died Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004, at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

He was born July 29, 1932, in Glasgow to Joe and Elmo Stremcha.

In 1965, he married Dolores B. Bruch in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

In 1966, they moved to Missoula, where he worked for the U.S. Forest Service. In 1970, he transferred to Kalispell.

His wife preceded him in death.

Survivors include his daughter, Cheryl Nolf; stepson, Don Bruch; step-granddaughter, Brandy Finch; brother, Swede Stremcha; and one sister, Erline Curtis.

No services are planned.

Arrangements are by Johnson Mortuary and Crematory.

Yvonne M. Miller

CORVALLIS - Yvonne M. Miller, 69, of Corvallis, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2004, in Hamilton at the MDM Hospice Center with all her family present, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Yvonne was born March 26, 1934, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, the daughter of the late John and Marie DeShazer Kaphammer.

The family moved to the Bitterroot Valley in 1949 and settled on a ranch near Woodside.

Yvonne graduated from Corvallis High School in 1952. While in high school, she helped to form the high school band. She also played in a dance band in the community.

On Sept. 7, 1952, she married R.D. 'Pete' Miller in Hamilton. The couple lived in Washington while Pete served in the Navy. After his discharge the couple returned to the valley and settled in Corvallis.

After high school, Yvonne began her career in banking in Hamilton and continued for 37 years before retiring.

Yvonne was a member of St. Francis Catholic Church and a charter member of the Hamilton Soroptimists.

In her younger years, she was a member of the Hamilton Jaycees, a past president of the local Jaycees and was a past vice president for the state organization. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, and enjoyed spending the summer months salmon fishing at Lake Mary Ronan.

Survivors include her husband, Pete of Corvallis; their daughters, Karyn and husband Doug Johnston, LaVonne Miller and JoAnne and husband Jay Johnson, all of Corvallis; grandchildren, Kevin and wife Melissa Hayworth of Corvallis, Karinne Pearcy of Burkesville, Ky., and John Nilles of Corvallis; great-granddaughter, Madison Hayworth; brothers, Kenneth and wife Jean Kaphammer of New Jersey and Larry Kaphammer of Missoula; sister, Emily and husband Gene Makela of Tulsa, Okla.; and her beloved little dog, Holly.

Besides her parents, she was preceded by her brother, John.

Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Hamilton with the Rev. John Darragh presiding. Family interment will take place later at the Corvallis Cemetery.

Visitation for friends will be from 2-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton.

The family suggests memorials to MDM Hospice of the Bitterroot, SAFE or to the Bitter Root Humane Association.

the life of: Friday, January 9, 2004; Thomas J. Collins, Marjorie P. 'Pat' Vasser, Sally Lee Boe, Lila Mae Stortz, Lawrence J. 'Larry' Stremcha, Yvonne M. Miller
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