GREAT FALLS – William Harold Bristol, 78, died of natural causes Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, at Peace Hospice House in Great Falls.
Bill was born Oct. 5, 1936, in Ronan, the son of William W. Bristol and Elsie (Anderson) Bristol. They preceded him in death, along with two brothers, Clarence Bristol and Allen Bristol, a brother-in-law, Ron Krantz, and a great-granddaughter, Tabana Rapp.
He was raised on a farm in the foothills of the Mission Range and attended St. Ignatius High School, graduating in 1954. He enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after and spent most of his two-year enlistment in Germany. He received an honorable discharge and returned to help his dad on the farm that he loved.
Bill started working at Bakke Ford in Missoula as a car “detailer” and was later trained as a partsman, which led to his 44-year career at Bakke, Bell-McCall in Hamilton, Bison Ford in Great Falls, retiring in 2000 from DePratu Ford in Whitefish. He loved working in parts and became a walking encyclopedia of Ford parts numbers. He also learned to repair Ford products and became a self-taught mechanic for his own vehicles and those of family and friends. He had a hobby of repairing hydraulic jacks and lifts. He was a devoted family man and enjoyed fishing and tinkering in his garage.
After his return from active duty, he met and married Patricia Mayer and they had two children, Barbara Jo and David Allen, who were raised in Great Falls.
Following his divorce, he married Rose Peden in 1976, and they celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary in May of this year. The marriage brought him three stepchildren: Carole, Patrick and Terra.
He is survived by his wife, Rose; two sisters, Donna (Tom) Delaney and Karen Krantz; two brothers, Maurice (Eva) Bristol and Bob (Pat) Bristol; his children, David Bristol and Barbara Bristol; his stepchildren, Carole (Mike) Schock, Patrick Peden, and Terra (Steve) Bucy; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; his first wife, Patricia; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
In the past year, he has had many physical crises, but managed to bounce back quite magically, until the very last. He had a very strong will to live, assisted by his daughter, Barbara, who stayed with him day and night through many of his hospital confinements.
Funeral services are under the direction of Schneider Funeral Home in Great Falls and will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Peace Lutheran Church, 3340 11th Ave. S., Great Falls. A luncheon follows the services at the church.
A military service will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial, 1410 13th St. S., Great Falls.