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Bernard W. Thomas

MISSOULA - The Honorable Bernard W. Thomas, retired Montana District Court judge, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula of natural causes. His final days were spent in the presence of his children.

Bernard was born Jan. 26, 1915, in Terry to Prairie County homesteaders Ivan Edward and Marie (Bannon) Thomas. His father was a longtime Prairie County official.

Bernard attended local schools and graduated from Terry High School in 1933.

Bernard attended Montana Normal College in Dillon and received a teacher's certificate. For two years he taught in rural Prairie County schools.

In 1936, Bernard came to Missoula to attend the university. Like many college students of the Depression era, he worked at odd jobs to make ends meet. One of those jobs was a summer working in the Archie Bray brickyards in Helena. Bernard received his law degree in 1940 and was admitted to the Montana Bar Association.

In September 1940, Bernard arrived in Chinook to practice law with Harry Burns. With the onset of American involvement in World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January 1942 and was commissioned as ensign and later promoted to lieutenant. He served in the Navy Armed Guard as commanding officer on the S.S. Brander Matthews and later on the S.S. WLR Emmet. Much of his duty time was spent in the South Pacific, but he also served as a judge advocate in Seattle.

In January 1946, Bernard was discharged from the Navy and returned to Chinook to resume his law practice. It was at this time that he met Elise Wipf, a home demonstration agent with the Blaine County Extension Service. After a brief courtship, Elise and Bernard were married June 1, 1946, at Holy Rosary Church in Bozeman. Six children were born to this union.

Bernard's law career developed in Chinook and Blaine County. In 1951, he began a six-year tenure as county attorney. In 1956, he was elected for one term to the Montana House of Representatives for Blaine County. He returned to private practice in 1957 and was later appointed to the Montana State Board of Pardons in 1961. In Oct. 1967, Bernard was appointed judge for the Montana 12th Judicial District, which at that time included Hill, Blaine and Liberty counties. He was retained as judge in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 elections. During his time on the bench, Judge Thomas was known for his fairness and studied decisions. He was an active member of the Montana judiciary and was involved in the Five States Judges Conference. He retired in 1983, but remained active as a senior-status judge for several years. He also served the Montana Water Court as judge for the Lower Missouri River Basin. Bernard was a member of the Montana Bar Association for more than 60 years and a member of the American Bar Association since 1955.

Bernard generously gave of his time and talent to the Chinook and Blaine County communities. He was a member of the Chinook Lions Club, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Eagles and Knights of Columbus. He was instrumental in helping establish the Sweet Memorial Nursing Home and served as board secretary for many years. Bernard was an active member of St. Gabriel's Catholic Parish, serving in many lay capacities. Keenly interested in local history, he was a member of the Montana Historical Society and a supporter of the Blaine County Museum. Many other community organizations benefited from his volunteer contributions.

In 1992, Bernard and Elise moved to the Village Senior Residence in Missoula to be closer to family. Much of Bernard's later life was spent caring for Elise during her final illness. In Missoula, he was an active member of Pope John XXIII Catholic Community. Bernard was an avid supporter of the University of Montana and a regular participant in law school functions.

Bernard was preceded in death by his wife, Elise, on March 25, 1999, as well as his sisters, Hazel D. McCarthy and Sr. Peter Claver, SP (Lucille), and his brother, Lawrence B. Thomas.

He is survived by his children, David E. Thomas of Missoula, Anne E. (Lee) Kilcup of Sammamish, Wash., William A. Thomas of Missoula, John B. Thomas of Helena, James L. Thomas of Issaquah, Wash., and Christopher L. (Vicki) Thomas of Bellevue, Wash.

His grandchildren, Alison L. Thomas, Kerri R. Thomas and Kyle J. Thomas, all of Bellevue; and his brother, Ed (Lois) Thomas of Spokane, also survive him.

A parish vigil service with Father Matthew Huber officiating, will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at Pope John XXIII Catholic Community. Funeral Mass for Bernard Thomas will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, at the church with Father Frank McCormick celebrant. Burial will follow at Old St. Mary's Cemetery in Missoula.

The family suggests that memorials be made to the Poverello Center of Missoula or a local Chinook charity.

Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula.

Lloyd Jean 'Frenchy' Deranleau

POLSON - Lloyd Jean "Frenchy" Deranleau, 76, of Polson, passed away at home Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004.

Frenchy was the son of Lottie and Archie Deranleau. He was born on April 5, 1927, in Polson and attended Polson public schools where he was considered to be one of the top athletes. Frenchy was captain of the football and basketball teams and won awards in the javelin throw. It was in school that he won the heart of his future wife, Fern Miles.

Frenchy quit school his junior year and enlisted in the Navy. He served his country in Hawaii, after which he returned to Polson to finish his education.

Before, during and after school he held various jobs including "pin-setter" at the bowling alley, "projectionist" at the old showhouse, and golf caddy. On June 1, 1947, he found employment with Flathead Electric as an apprentice electrician, and for the next 47 years was Polson's No. 1 electrician. In his 47 years of service, Frenchy was proud of the fact he missed only 4 1/2 working days.

Frenchy and Fern were married on Aug. 8, 1947, and to that union five children were born: Vicky, their only daughter, and two sets of twin boys, Dana, Daryl, Rocky and Royal.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lottie and Archie; brother, Leo; and grandson, Ryan.

Survivors include his wife, Fern of 57 years; his daughter, Vicky (Don) Osbourne; his sons, Dana, Rocky (Carrie), Royal (Becky), all of Polson and Daryl of Ohio; and his brother, Barney Barnekoff of Idaho. Grandchildren include Kelly, Krayger, Brandon, Brittany, Jesse, Jean, Brooke, Kacie, Sean, Lacey and three great-grandchildren.

Frenchy never felt the desire to leave Polson, and found the beauty of the valley and his wide range of friends were all he needed.

Frenchy will always be remembered for his ever-present cigar that was his trademark. He spent his final day surrounded by the company of his entire family. He died suddenly at home.

One of Frenchy's favorite pastimes was his daily "get together" with all his poker buddies at the Lake City Bakery. This, he did every morning for almost 30 years. A time he enjoyed immensely.

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Grogan Funeral Home. Cremation will follow. Private inurnment will be held at a later date.

Lorin D. Herreid

LAS VEGAS - Lorin D. Herreid, 69, formerly of Polson, died in his sleep Dec. 19, 2003, at a Las Vegas hospice of cancer.

Following cremation, a private ceremony was held.

Yvonne M. Miller

CORVALLIS - Yvonne M. Miller, 69, of Corvallis, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2003, 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 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 at Lake Mary Ronan salmon fishing.

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 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.

Loren E. Kraft

HAMILTON - A memorial service for Loren E. Kraft will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Daly-Leach Chapel with Pastor Muriel Gooder officiating. Private family urn placement will take place at a later date.

Loren passed away on Dec. 21, 2003.

William J. 'Bill' Wheeler

ST. IGNATIUS - William J. "Bill" Wheeler, our beloved husband, father, uncle and friend, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2004, from injuries sustained in an auto accident on Dec. 31, 2003. He was 80 years old.

Bill was born in Willmar, Minn., on April 7, 1923, to his loving parents, Thomas and Emily (Rosenquist) Wheeler. The youngest of 10 children, his family came to Montana when Bill was 2.

In 1941, at the age of 18, Bill went to Vallejo, Calif., to Mare Island Navy Yard to work on submarines. He was promoted early and had men serving under him, of which he was very proud. He was there when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Around 1943, he came back to Montana and ranched. He mined with his brothers in Salmon, Idaho. During his life, he ranched, mined, owned and operated Wheeler Village Mobile Home Park and owned and operated Wheeler Village Store.

In the late '70s and early '80s he manufactured his own mining equipment and packaged and sold barite. He mined gold at Douglas Creek near Drummond. At the time of his death, he had a large cattle ranching operation, which he enjoyed immensely, at Post Creek.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Thomas, Joseph, Michael and John; sisters, S. Marie (Osborne), Frances (Van Dusen) and Mary Wheeler; an infant daughter, Bridget; grandson, Brian Van Gieson; and a special nephew to his heart, little Jimmy Wheeler.

He is survived by his sisters, Dorothy Ryan and Katherine Phillips.

Children born to himself and Blanche Lanoue Wheeler are Mary (Bob) Van Gieson of Washington, William (Yvonne) Wheeler of Superior, Emily (Lee) Van Gieson of Wyoming, Frances (Bob) King of Missoula, Katherine (Tim) Hammond of Missoula, Michelle (Peter) Wilkins of Washington, Judith (Wayne) Maxwell of Missoula, Thomas Wheeler of Superior, Michael Wheeler of Arizona, Joseph (Linda) Wheeler of Missoula, Dorothy Wheeler of Missoula, John (Mary) Wheeler of Missoula and Peter Wheeler of Missoula.

His loving wife, Judy, and the children born to them are Billie (Brian) Anthony of St. Ignatius, Paul (Dana) Wheeler of St. Ignatius and Shane (Donna) Wheeler of St. Ignatius, who was raised by Bill and was always there to help him; stepson Randy (JoAnn) Rupert of Polson; a special grandchild, Julieann Wheeler; and numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

We know he would like to give a final tip of his cowboy hat in thanks to nephew Kenny Pierce, who was always happy to give a helping hand and was out during Bill's crisis feeding and caring for his cattle and still continues to be in the cold and helping his uncle Bill.

Rosary will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission. Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday at the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission with Father Andrew Maddock S.J. as celebrant. Interment will follow at the St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery.

Foster & Durgeloh Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Kenneth August Neumann

POLSON - Kenneth August Neumann, 76, of Polson, went to the care of God quietly at his home on Jan. 6, 2004, from cancer.

Kenneth was born Nov. 9, 1927, in Polson to William August and Herta Marie (Butt) Neumann. He attended schools in Polson and graduated from Polson High School in 1945.

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 16, 1945, and served in the 13th Air Force at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. He was a navigator of a B-25 Mitchell and was honorably discharged as staff sergeant with a World War II Victory Medal in 1948.

Kenneth married Rosemary Courville Dupuis in 1950 in Polson.

Ken and Rosemary lived in Polson, Spokane and Beaverton, Ore., until announcing in 1977 that he and Rosemary were going to fulfill a lifelong dream and move to Anchorage, Alaska. Ken remained there until Rosemary's death in 1993, at which time he moved back to Polson to be near his family and friends.

Ken could be found at exactly 4:45 at 4-B's in Polson for dinner. Ken always enjoyed meeting with his friends at the Lake City Bakery. Don't believe anyone ever saw Ken's car dirty.

Ken was a Deputy Clerk and Recorder in Polson from 1951-53. He was the city clerk in Polson for a short time. Ken worked at Beardmore Heavy Hauling, a division of Consolidated Freightways, from 1956-64. In 1964, Ken began working as the office manager at Spokane Terminal Consolidated Freightways and eventually transferred to Portland CF in November 1965. He was the staff accountant for 11 Western states.

In 1977, Ken became vice president of finance with Weaver Bros. Trucking. From 1977-1978, he worked with Sealand, Pan Alaska Trucking, Canvasback Leasing until 1984. He worked at MTI Inspections in Alaska until 1993, at which time he relocated back to Polson. He ran MTI Inspection, was a census enumerator and supervisor until his death.

Ken enjoyed crossword puzzles, word search puzzles and taking drives with his family and friends.

Ken was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary, on Nov. 30, 1993; and a son, Wesley Alan, on May 20, 1981.

He is survived by his children, Randall E. Neumann of Polson, Gary B. Neumann of St. Ignatius, William K. Neumann of Polson, Dean A. Neumann of Anchorage and Polson and Elaine M. Harrison of Polson; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Polson with the Rev. Eric Nelson officiating.

Inurnment of cremains will be held at the graveside with military honors at 11 a.m. Aug. 14, 2004, at the Lakeview Cemetery in Polson.

Memorials are suggested to the Lake County Hospice or to Mount Calvary Lutheran Church.

Dorothy Marie Rice

FRENCHTOWN - Dorothy Marie Rice, 77, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2003, at her home near Frenchtown, following a four-year battle with cancer.

Dorothy was born Oct. 1, 1926, in Central Point, Ore., to LeRoy A. and Rhoda J. (Palmer) Wright.

She married Calvin R. Winstead on July 10, 1943, in Grants Pass, Ore. They later divorced. She married John Rice in September 1980 in Monroe, Wash. Mr. Rice passed away in 1994.

Dorothy enjoyed painting watercolors, gardening, flowers, collecting angels, dolls and hummingbirds. She also loved the outdoors.

Dorothy is survived by her son, Calvin E. Winstead of Grand Coulee, Wash.; her daughters, Patricia D. Butler of Frenchtown, Terri L. Ruppert of Everett, Wash., and Carol A. Rice of Bothell, Wash.; her brother, Donald Wright of Grants Pass; her grandchildren, Nicole M. Collie and Michelle R. Collie of Nassau, Bahamas, and Nicolas R. Butler and Carina R. Butler of Redding, Calif.; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Frenchtown Community Church. Memorials are preferred to the Missoula Food Bank.

Arrangements are under the care of the Garden City Funeral Home.

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, Bailer's Ice Cream Parlor and owner of 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.

Elaine Margaret Norberg

MISSOULA - Elaine Margaret Norberg, 93, a Montana resident all her life, passed away Thursday, Jan. 1, 2004, at Hillside Manor in Missoula.

She was born Dec. 12, 1910, in Harlem to Ernest Peter and Hannah Ekegren.

She lived in Harlem all her life except for the last eight months, when she moved to Missoula to be closer to her daughter.

She married Alvin Norberg in 1933, and they farmed and were grocery merchants until they retired.

After their retirement, they traveled in the United States to visit their daughter and grandchildren and to Asia to visit another daughter and family. They visited Sweden and Norway, where they both had relatives. They continued to enjoy their retirement until 1989, when Al passed away.

Elaine continued to live in her home enjoying family and friends. A beloved and dear one, she took great and caring pleasure in her family and friends.

Survivors include daughters, Helen (Russell) Klingler and Lois Pefaur; two grandsons, Dean (Sandy) Klingler and Brett (Angeline) Klingler; two granddaughters, Tracy Pefaur and Stephanie (David) Staton; and three great-grandsons, Andrew and Matthew Staton and Christian Klingler. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will take place in her church, the Presbyterian Church in Harlem at a later date.

Matthew Leslie

TROY, Mich. - Matthew "Big Matt" Leslie of Troy, Mich., died Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004, in Athens, Ga., at age 24.

Born Nov. 21, 1979, in Pontiac, Mich., he was the loving son of Lisa Leslie (Larry Pollaccia); dear grandson of Eleanor McCuen Turunen (the late William) and Wilma Rose Leslie (the late Clinton N.); nephew of Julie Turunen (Walter Grant) and Cindy Goodman (Chris); boyfriend of Lena Chambless; cousin of Allison, Morgan and Riley; and will be greatly missed by "Hubby" and "Cash." He is also survived by father Mark A. Leslie and Leslie family members.

Matt leaves his big, generous heart and gregarious nature with his many, many friends whose lives he touched. Matt graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1998, and briefly attended the University of Montana.

Music and sports were his life. In his 24 years, Matt had many great experiences and lived life to its fullest. The world has lost someone very special.

Funeral service will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 2600 Crooks Road, in Troy, Mich.

Paul Gregory Kostenick


FLORENCE - Paul Gregory Kostenick Sr., 93, of Florence, died at his home Monday, Jan. 5, 2004.

He was born on Feb. 26, 1910, in Kramer, N.D., and was the son of Jacob and Anna (Wiener) Kostenick.

After attending school in Scobey in the 1920s, he attended the Coyne Electrical and Radio School of Chicago, becoming a certified journeyman electrician. He farmed for many years in the Scobey area until he retired in 1984.

Paul also held U.S. patents on engine governor systems. He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Port Angeles, Wash., in 1936, and was also trained as a pilot in the 1930s.

During World War II, Paul's brothers joined the military, however Paul was exempt since he was the eldest son of a "farmer" and was needed at home.

Paul married Edna Wiley Storms, a young widow with two daughters, on July 18, 1956, in Scobey. Their son, Paul Jr., was born in 1958. Carolyn and Joan were very much "his" daughters.

After retirement, Paul took up woodworking and became well known for his "grandfather clocks" and other beautiful woodworking projects.

Paul had been involved with the local senior groups in his church and community.

His kids and grandkids all knew that he would have the answers when they needed help with school work or just everyday life.

Paul was recently caught sneaking food from the table for a family pet during a family get-together. When chastised, he responded, "I could never stand to see people beg for food!"

He is survived by his wife, Edna of Florence; son, Paul Jr. (Cindy) Kostenick of Everett, Wash.; and two daughters, Carolyn (Connie) Eckert of Stevensville and Joan (Richard) Thompson of Scobey; grandchildren, Jacob and Kristan Kostenick of Everett, Joanie (Steven) Pederson of Dillon, Barbara Eckert of Stevensville, Jacqui (Russell) Skadberg of Hamilton, Conrad "Chris" Eckert of Stevensville, Ricki (Shella) Thompson of Scobey and Sheri (Shawn) Catterlin of Belgrade; great-grandchildren, Racheal and Grant Pederson, Jothanael and Tanessa Skadberg, Jamie Eckert, Shawna and Steven Catterlin and Scott and Narissa Thompson.

Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Whitesitt Funeral Home in Stevensville.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday by Pastors Art Huwe and Al Grissom at the Light of the Valley Assembly of God Church on U.S. Highway 93 North, Stevensville. Burial will follow at the Florence-Carlton Cemetery in Florence.

Memorials will be forwarded to Paul's favorite charities, of which he had many.

the life of: Thursday, January 8, 2004; Bernard W. Thomas, Lloyd Jean 'Frenchy' Deranleau, Lorin D. Herreid, Yvonne M. Miller, Loren E. Kraft, William J. 'Bill' Wheeler, Kenneth August Neumann, Dorothy Marie Rice, Lila Mae Stortz, Elaine Margaret Norberg, Matthew Leslie, Paul Gregory Kostenick
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