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HELENA – Joseph A. Lucier, 100, passed away Sunday, March 21, 2010, in his room at the Rocky Mountain Care Center in Helena. Although his health had been in decline recently, his stepson, Mark Killam, had visited with Joe and shared lunch with him earlier in the day.

Joe was born Aug. 20, 1909, the youngest of five siblings growing up on the family farm situated near Frenchtown. He attended Frenchtown schools and played on the basketball team in high school. Joe was not terribly enamored of farm life and took the opportunity to attend Western Montana College in Dillon, studying to become a teacher. After some time spent in the classroom as a school teacher, Joe decided to go back to college, changing his career course to that of pharmacy. Joe graduated from Frenchtown High School in 1928, Western Montana College in 1933, and the University of Montana School of Pharmacy in 1937. In 1932, during the course of their mutual studies at Western, he married Fern Drost of Alberton, a young woman whom he had met during high school years.

Joe began his pharmacy career working in a Missoula drug store, but also spent some of those early years living and working in Havre and Great Falls. He was inducted into the U.S. Navy in 1942, training as a pharmacist mate. After his training, he was assigned to duty in Bremerton, Wash. In 1950, Joe went into business for himself, owning drug stores in both Choteau and Fairfield.

Joe lost his wife Fern in 1958, and in 1960 he married Cleo Killam of Havre. Joe and Fern had been childless, but in marrying Cleo, he took on a small family, becoming the stepfather of Carol, Bonnie David and Mark Killam. In 1967, Joe sold his drug stores, and he, Cleo and Mark moved from Choteau to Lewistown. He lived and worked there until 1977, when he semi-retired and he and Cleo moved to Helena. Joe worked part time in two different Helena drug stores before fully retiring circa 1980. Joe kept up with his continuing education requirements even after retirement, maintaining his pharmacist license until well into his retirement years.

As his stepdaughters married and started families, Joe came to enjoy his role of grandfather to five thriving grandchildren. Three of those grandchildren lived just across the street in Helena, and Joe was able to watch and participate in their growth and development into young men. Joe was pleased and proud when one of these grandsons decided to attend the University of Montana to become a pharmacist like his granddad.

After the loss of his wife Cleo to cancer in 1982, Joe continued on in his Helena home, living independently until the age of 94, at which time he moved to an assisted living facility. Last summer, Joe’s family and friends gathered in Helena to join him in celebrating his 100th birthday.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, his wives and all but one of his stepchildren.

He is survived by stepson, Mark Killam (Camille) of Helena; sons-in-law, Gerald Borm (Gloria) of Minneapolis and Roger Thorvilson of Helena; grandchildren, Lora Haas (Walt) of Chillicothe, Ill., Eric Borm of Minneapolis, Steve Thorvilson (Tonia) of Salem, Ore., David Thorvilson (Amber) of East Helena and Aaron Thorvilson of Minneapolis; and by six great-grandchildren.

A funeral service for Joe will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, March 29, at St. Mary Catholic Community Church. Burial will follow the service at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

The family suggests that memorials be directed to a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Retz Funeral Home.

To offer a condolence to Joe’s family or to share a memory of Joe, please visit

the life of: Joseph A. Lucier
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