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Thursday, November 23, 2000; Clifford Thex, Gerald 'Jerry' Winsor, Mervil LeRoy Mickelson, Kamen W. Morton, Calvin 'Cal' Kallem, John Roy Singer

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Holiday institution
Holiday institution

Clifford Thex

HAMILTON - Clifford Thex, 83, was born Sept. 10, 1917, in Otter to Bertha (Hagen) Thex and Charles Houston Thex and passed away in Hamilton on Nov. 22, 2000, at his residence following an extended illness.

For most of his life, Clifford lived on a part of the family ranch in southeastern Montana, where he was born the youngest of nine children. Family lore traces a relationship on his father's side both to Sam Houston and the Daniel Boone family. Being a musician was also a family tradition. His father was an old-time fiddler, and his grandfather and father's older brother played on Mississippi riverboats to supplement the family's cotton farm income. Clifford's father grew up in Mississippi and Texas and traveled to Montana three times with Texas trail herds in his early youth between stints as a scout for the Texas Rangers, working on the famous Matador and Bridle Bit outfits, hunting buffalo, wolfing and fiddling for dances in Texas, Arizona and Montana. He finally settled down in Montana. The Thexes were one of Powder River County's pioneer families who can claim five generations have been represented in the Otter Creek cattle ranching area.

Clifford was a member of the family ranch company on Otter Creek for a number of years before he decided he didn't really like working with horses and cattle. He sold out his ranching interest and went into the business of growing and selling hay. He ran a garage specializing in the repair of automobiles and farm machinery, and also did electrical wiring, plumbing, welding, carpentry, county road maintenance, mail carrying and working for the U.S. Forest Service. Music and playing for dances were his real choice, however.

Clifford was a self-taught musician, unable to read notes. "It rhymes," was all he could say about his approach to music. He played piano, organ, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo and saxophone. He didn't care for rock music, preferring the golden oldies, hoedowns and "real old-time stuff." He was Montana Champion Fiddler several times in the intermediate division of the yearly State Old-Time Fiddling Contest and served as a judge for the contest in later years.

Clifford remembered neighborhood dances at the Thex home when he was a "pistol." His father played the fiddle, his mother chorded on the piano and several Norwegian uncles helped out on the fiddling. Clifford's mother emigrated from Norway to the home of friends at the age of 16, and worked as a maid and housekeeper before she met and married Clifford's father.

Clifford was married to the former Josephine Eilts, a Kansas and Oklahoma native who came out to work on a Montana dude ranch between college terms in the summer of 1939 and, she said, "met this real good dancer at a local dance." Jo retired after 31 years of teaching, 13 of them in the Labre Indian School adjoining Montana's Cheyenne Indian reservation. The Thexes were active travelers until 1996, when declining health began to limit travel and confined them to destinations closer to home. Their nearest shopping point was Sheridan, Wyo., 65 miles away, 45 of those miles over dusty country roads.

In November 1998, critical health events forced the Thexes to sell their ranch home in Ashland and relocate to Hamilton, where they eventually purchased a new home.

Clifford was preceded in death by his wife Josephine in December 1999. The care and concern of numerous Hamilton-area friends, Bitterroot Hospice, home health caregivers and the Hamilton medical community were with both Thexes in their final months.

Clifford is survived by his daughter Kea and son-in-law Joseph Yanzick of Hamilton; son Neil and daughter-in-law Sandy of Mesa, Ariz.; son Tim and daughter-in-law Alberta of Salem, Ore.; grandchildren Cliff Yanzick of Kent, Wash., Dani Smith of Alexandria, Va., Autumn Yanzick of Novato, Calif., David Thex of Salem, Kelly Thex of Eugene, Ore., and Kevin Thex of Houston; and several nieces and nephews.

A service to celebrate his life will be held Monday, Nov. 27, at 11 a.m. at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton with the Rev. Timothy Meyer officiating. Masonic rites will be presented by the Hamilton Ionic Lodge 38 A.F. & A.M. Interment will follow at the Riverview Cemetery in Hamilton.

Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 26, from 3-6 p.m. at the funeral home.

The family suggests memorials may be made to the MDM-Hospice of the Bitterroot, 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton, MT 59840-1697.

Gerald 'Jerry' Winsor

VICTOR - Gerald "Jerry" Winsor, 56, of Victor, passed away of an apparent heart attack at his residence on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2000.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, at the Hamilton Eagles Lodge. A reception will be held following the service. Private family urn placement will take place at a later date. Arrangements are under the care of the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton.

Mervil LeRoy Mickelson

LIBBY - Mervil LeRoy Mickelson, 57, of Libby, died of natural causes Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2000, at St. John's Lutheran Hospital.

He was preceded in death by his parents, stepdad Emile Wheatenon, brothers Johnny and LeLand and sister Mary.

Survivors include the love of his life, Judy Wagner, of Kalispell; daughter Michele "Shelley" Mickelson and husband Don Lyle of Troy; son Lance Mickelson of Kalispell; stepson James "Jim" Beam of Deer Lodge; brothers Tom Mickelson and wife Carol of Clinton and Merle (Rodo) Mickelson and wife Traudy of Fountain, Colo.; sister Irene Hellman and husband Pat of Idaho; 10 grandchildren, including Nicole and Natausha; special niece Shelly Jo Peterson of Clinton; and numerous other nieces and nephews.

Private family services will be held. Local arrangements are by the Nelson & Vial Funeral Home in Libby.

Kamen V. Morton

DAYTON - Kamen V. Morton, 24, died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident near Rollins on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2000.

He was born on April 3, 1976, in Hamilton to Denise and Sonya Morton. Kamen grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho. He moved to Hot Springs in 1993 and started working at the Irrigation Supply. He worked at Irrigation Supply for two years and then worked on farms and ranches near Hot Springs.

He married Joanne (Jacobsen) Hanley on Oct. 16, 1999, in Dayton. Kamen worked at Polson Ready Mix as a heavy equipment operator. Kamen loved restoring old, classic trucks, attending car races and boating. He enjoyed family gatherings and spending time on Flathead Lake. He was everyone's friend and was a good husband and father. Kamen's family meant everything to him.

He is survived by his wife Joanne of Dayton; two daughters, Haley Marie Morton of Dayton and Shyanne Nicole Morton of Shelby; parents Dennis and Sonya Morton of McCall, Idaho; sister Nova and her husband Kevin Brown of Hot Springs; three brothers, Dennis A. Morton of Sandpoint, Idaho, Eric L. Morton of Paris and Tyson A. Morton of McCall, Idaho; grandmothers Louwanna Harvey of Hot Springs and Suzy Hazuka of Missoula; grandfather Claude A. Morton of Boise, Idaho; great-grandmother Verna Trowbridge of Hamilton; and numerous other relatives.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, at the Grogan Funeral Home, 101 Sixth Ave. E., Polson, with the Rev. Gerry Ouellette officiating. Burial will be held at Lakeview Cemetery in Polson.

Calvin 'Cal' Kallem

KALISPELL - Calvin "Cal" Kallem, 46, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2000, at his home in Kalispell after fighting a courageous battle with cancer.

Cal was employed as a mechanic for the Flathead County Road Department for the last several years.

He was preceded in death by his father Clifford and nephew Jeremy Turner.

He is survived by his wife Debbie Kallem; son Nicholas Kallem; daughters Amee Kallem, Ashley Kallem and Cara Kallem, all of Kalispell; mother Jean Kallem of Glasgow; brothers Chester Kallem and wife Terrie of Rapid City, S.D., and Les Kallem and wife Teri of Bozeman; sisters Marilyn Maurer and husband Fred of Box Elder, S.D., Marketta Turner and husband Paul of Glasgow and Kristi Helmick and husband Richard of Bakersfield, Calif.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 27, at Buffalo Hill Funeral Home.

John Roy Singer

MISSOULA - John Roy Singer, 74, was born on Jan. 28, 1926, in Glendive. He passed away of pneumonia at Community Medical Center on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2000.

He was the son of Matt and Helen Singer and was raised in Glendive.

He joined the Navy as an aircraft mechanic during World War II. After the war, he married Ida Nickels and moved to Missoula. He operated Singers Standard gas station at Higgins Avenue and Brooks Street until approximately 1968 and then moved a block north to Singers Texaco until about 1972. He then worked on road construction until his retirement.

He liked fishing and bowling. He was a life member of the Elks and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and served as commander for a year.

He is survived by his wife Ida of Missoula, son Charles and grandson John M., both of Des Moines, Iowa.

Memorial contributions can be made to the VFW or Disabled American Veterans.

John wished to be cremated with no funeral. Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home.

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