Edmund Francis Sheehy
MISSOULA - Edmund Francis Sheehy, 80, died May 12, 2001, after a short illness. Ed, or "Eggs" as he was known as a child, was born in Butte on May 25, 1920, to Irish immigrants. He was raised in the family home on North Montana Street and graduated from Butte High School.
He worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps and then went to work for the U.S. Postal Service in Butte. When World War II broke out, his vision was such that he would have been classified as 4F except that the U.S. Army needed people with postal experience. Ed went directly to Fort George Wright in Spokane without going through basic training.
After the war, Ed returned to Butte where he met and married Catherine Nielsen and continued to work for the post office. His interest in politics caused him to leave the job and run for the office of state treasurer in 1952. When he lost that election, he moved to Lewistown to manage the Montana Old Folks Home. He returned to the Postal Service and moved back to Butte, and then lived along the West Coast as he worked up the ranks into management.
Ed retired in 1973 and returned to Montana, living in Helena for the next 22 years, keeping his finger on state politics. He ran for the Public Service Commission in 1974 and in 1992 for the office of state auditor. Ed was a lifelong Democrat and very proud of it. One did not want to get into a political discussion with him, as he would always win. His passionate involvement in politics resulted in him being on a first-name basis with almost every elected official in Montana during the past 30 years.
Ed was regional vice president for the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. He lobbied for them in front of the Montana Legislature. As a result of Ed's efforts, thousands of retired federal employees recovered a refund in excess of $10 million of their Montana income taxes in 1994. He was well-known in the hallways of the Capitol building from 1981 through 1995, until a stroke forced him to move to Missoula to be near his youngest son.
Ed was extremely proud of his Irish heritage. One of the highlights of his life was kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland. He was the first of the second-generation Sheehys to be the main speaker at Butte's annual Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Dinner in 1983. He was an active member in the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Anaconda and traveled with them on many trips to see the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame football games. He also was a 50-year member of the Butte Elks.
His ability to recite poetry from memory was unparalleled. His humor and wit were captivating for young and old.
He was a caring and dedicated husband to Catherine, taking care of her the last several years as her health deteriorated from Alzheimer's. Even after his stroke, he was concerned more about her than himself. He was extremely close to his two sons and proud that they graduated from college with professional degrees even though he had only a high school education. He adored his grandchildren and they him. He treated his nephews and nieces as his own sons and daughters.
No matter how difficult life became physically during the last five-and-a-half years, when asked how he was, he would always reply that he never saw a bad day.
God needed laughter in the world, so he made Ed, who could always meet life with a smile and turn a happy face.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Anna Hanley and Con Sheehy; brother and wife, Joe and Fran; and his sister, Sister Mary Serena.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Catherine; sons and their families, Earl and Renee and children Erin, Kevin and Kari of Chamberlain, S.D., and Edmund Jr. and Donna and children Min and C.J. of Missoula; brothers and families, John and Rita, Tom and Mickey, and Jim and Toni; his sister, Sister Eileen; 26 nieces and nephews; and several grandnieces and grandnephews.
A vigil will be held for Ed at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Duggan Dolan Mortuary in Butte. A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Patrick's Church. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in the indoor mausoleum. A luncheon will follow for family and friends at the Holiday Inn Express.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in honor of the love of Ed's life, Catherine, to the Alzheimer's Disease Research, 15825 Shady Grove Road, Suite 140, Rockville, MD 20850-4022.
Andrew Jackson Wright
LIBBY - Andrew Jackson Wright, 78, of Libby, died of asbestosis on Sunday, May 13, 2001, at his home.
He was preceded in death by his son Robert Everett, one brother and two sisters.
Survivors include his wife Jane Wright of Libby; daughter Beth Burrell and husband, Louie, of Libby; sons Paul Wright of Spokane and Jerry Wright and wife, Cheryl, of Rathdrum, Idaho; brothers Phillip Armstrong and Carl Armstrong, both of California; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be 1-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Nelson and Vial Funeral Home.
Services will be 2 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Libby.
Mary Myrtle 'Tutu' Koehler
POLSON - Mary Myrtle "Tutu" Koehler, 97, passed away of natural causes on May 13, 2001, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Polson.
Myrtle was born May 26, 1903, to Augustus and Eleanore Bellach near Radersburg, where her father was employed hauling smelting ore with four-horse teams. On Myrtle's fourth birthday, the family moved by wagon to Three Forks where they homesteaded a 160-acre tract. Myrtle attended Lane School, which was a two-mile hike away. When Myrtle was 12 years old, her mother passed away during childbirth, leaving the maternal responsibilities of four children to Myrtle.
Myrtle married Sid Tippett in 1925. To this marriage was born a son, William G. Tippett. In 1930 she married Dr. Hiram Koehler in Three Forks. They moved to Polson in 1937, building a wonderful home on Third Avenue East. Dr. Koehler served the Polson community at St. Joseph's Hospital. Their children, Karol Katherine and David, were raised in Polson. Dr. Koehler passed away in 1946 and Myrtle spent the remainder of her life active in the community of Polson.
Myrtle always worked throughout her life, first at the J.C. Penney store and later at the doctors' office of Deal, Tanglin and Teel. She was manager of Rolfson's Queen's Court Motel for 20 years. She was last employed at Granny's Gift Gallery.
Myrtle loved her church and was a lifelong practicing Methodist. She was a 50-year member of the Eastern Star and a was member of the Polson Community Church. She took care of the pastry table at the pancake dinners up until last Friday.
Myrtle never acted her age. She had been a grandmother for more than 45 years, but she disdained being old, so she used the Hawaiian term "Tutu" instead. She maintained her own home and beautiful gardens on Third Avenue East until the day of her passing.
She loved to play bridge, especially with the Delta Deck Bridge Club, but most of all she loved to dance. Whether with her husband, a gentleman partner, her great-grandchildren or alone, she would dance when she heard an inviting tune or she would sing one of her own. One thing that Myrtle learned at the family home was how to make the best pies and to the day of her death, no one topped her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Augustus and Eleanor Bellach; two sisters, Louise and Deane Bellach; brother Edwin Bellach; and grandson Mark Newgard.
She is survived by her sons, William Tippett of Polson, and Dr. David and Mary Lou Koehler of Portland, Ore.; daughter Karol and Jerry Newgard of Polson; grandchildren Jimmy and Shane Tippett, LouAnna and LouCeila Koehler, Paul and Amy Newgard and Gwen Beyer; plus seven great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Grogan Funeral Home in Polson.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at the funeral home. The Rev. Richard Widerholdt will officiate. Burial will follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Polson.
Memorials may be made to the Polson Community Church or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Irene R. Schroeder
HEPPNER, Ore. - Irene R. Schroeder, 82, of Heppner, died Thursday, May 10, 2001, at Pioneer Memorial Nursing Home.
She was born Dec. 30, 1918, in Miles City to Harvey and Hazel Campbell Roberts. She was raised and attended schools in Miles City, Missoula and then the Bitterroot Valley, graduating from Stevensville High School.
On Oct. 4, 1938, she married Edgar L. Schroeder in Stevensville. The couple resided there for 10 years before moving to western Oregon.
In 1966, following Mr. Schroeder's employment with the Oregon State Parks Department, they moved to the Oregon coast. They moved to the St. Patrick Senior Center in August 1989. Mr. Schroeder died in September 1989.
Irene enjoyed traveling, watching her great-grandchildren participate in their activities, reading and bird watching.
Survivors include daughters BonnaRae Miller and JoyceKay Hollomon, both of Heppner; sister Ruby Lee Petersen of Boise, Idaho; five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her father Harvey Roberts, stepfather and mother Lee and Hazel Hargis, brother Rogert Hargis and sister Marjorie Thompson.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Pioneer Memorial Nursing Home, P.O. Box 9, Heppner, OR 97836.
Memorial services were held Sunday, May 13, in Heppner. A committal service will be held later at Sunnyside Cemetery in Stevensville.
Sweeney Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
Ruth Myrrel Dailey
PHOENIX - Ruth Myrrel Dailey went home to the Lord our God on March 15, 2001, in Phoenix.
She was born in Joplin on Nov. 20, 1920, the daughter of Waldo and Venora Sauer Funk. After graduating from Joplin High School, Ruth moved to Shelby and worked at her grandfather's Ben Franklin Store. She later moved to Seattle and worked for Boeing.
She met Vince Dailey, who was stationed there in the Army, and married him on Jan. 6, 1945. Their three children, Dick, Pat and Bob, were born in Seattle. The family moved to Montana and lived in Eureka, Sidney, Kalispell, Polson and settled in Ronan, where they owned and operated Dailey's Radiator Repair Shop.
Ruth devoted her life to her husband and family. She was a gentle, sweet, kind and patient person who always had time for loved ones and friends. She shared her loving smile with everyone. The family loved camping, especially on their land at Saltese. After retiring they looked forward to being snowbirds in Arizona during the winter. She will always be remembered, especially for her cooking and baking of bread, cinnamon rolls, angel food cakes and cucumber salad.
Her parents, three brothers and two sisters preceded Ruth in death.
She is survived by Vince, her husband of 56 years; three children, son Richard and Val Adamson of Dupuyer, daughter Pat and husband Tim Skinner of Ronan and son Robert and wife Francie of Polson; 10 grandchildren, Ron and wife Michelle Skinner of Seattle, Shane and wife Crystal Skinner of Bozeman, Tricia Skinner of Ronan, Alicia and Charlie Dailey of Conrad, and Shawn, Bo and Lena Dailey of Polson; three great-grandchildren, Cooper and Christian Dailey of Conrad and Timmy Skinner of Seattle; three sisters, Elsie Brown of Dayton, Irene Wathen of Kalispell and Dorothy Rollis of Hagerman, Idaho; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and extended family, including Jack Graves, Bill Johnson, Larry, Ky, Missy and Justin Bartels and all those she took under her wings.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on June 2 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ronan with graveside services to follow. Lunch will follow in the Parish Hall.
Tempe Mortuary in Arizona and Shrider's Mortuary in Ronan assisted the family with arrangements.
The family suggests memorials be sent in memory of Ruth Dailey to the Courage House, c/o Foundation for Burns and Trauma, 2627 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, AZ 85006-1002; or to a charity of the donor's choice.
William Gerald Gullard
MISSOULA - William "Bill" Gullard, 87, passed away Saturday, May 12, 2001, at Village Health Care Center. He was the son of Anna Melby and Henry C. Gullard, born on a homestead near Acton on Aug. 19, 1913.
He attended grade school in and around Acton and Billings, then Lincoln High School in Billings. In 1931 he graduated from Carbon County High School in Red Lodge. He managed the Gullard Dairy in Red Lodge for a few years. On June 1, 1938 he married Beatrice Marino.
Bill worked for Strain Brothers until moving to Laurel, where he worked at the Pink Johnson Lumber Yard. In 1941 he started to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern as a brakeman and then a railroad conductor for 37 years. He retired in 1978.
Bill and his wife Beatrice have two children: Gary Allen, who was born in Livingston, and Janis Elayne, born in Billings. They were very special to him. Gary and his wife Carol live in Missoula and Janis and husband James Cash live in Mainz, Germany.
Other survivors are four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, Michelle Monroe of Arlee; Tonja and husband Denny Wells with great-granddaughter Kylee of Page, Ariz.; Cherie Cash of Denver; and Sean and Amanda Cash of Port Angeles, Wash.; sister Arlene and husband Robert Wicks of Billings; sisters-in-law Helen Gullard of Leavenworth, Wash., and Emma Gullard of Kirkland, Wash.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Preceding him in death were his parents, sister June Gullard and brothers Truman, Mandel, James and Sherman.
He was a member of the American Lutheran Church, Masonic Lodge Pryor Mountain No. 151, Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Sons of Norway and Golden Kiwanis.
Bill and Bea enjoyed traveling, making many trips to see relatives. He was an avid woodworker and all-around good carpenter. Reading was a favorite pastime, especially poetry, history and geography.
Funeral services will be 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at the American Lutheran Church at Fifth and Grand in Billings. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Billings.
Donations may be made to the American Lutheran Church or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Geraldine W. Jones
VICTOR - Geraldine W. Jones, 61, of Victor, passed away on May 13, 2001, in an accident on the Bitterroot River.
Geraldine was born Dec. 23, 1939, in Chicago to Harold Albert Schuth and Corrine Fike. She was raised in the Denver area, where she attended high school. In July 1958 she married Hoyt Jones in Corona, Calif. She had and raised two sons, Michael and Darrel. She spent most of her time tending to her home and garden.
Geraldine was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in the fall of 1996 and waged a courageous battle against the disease up until her death on Sunday.
Survivors include her husband Hoyt "Mike" of Victor; sons Darrel Jones of Corvallis and Michael, his wife Tiffany Jones and their daughter Silken of Capistrano Beach, Calif.; and sister Judy Stokes of Houston.
A private service will be held at the family home Thursday evening, May 17. Family urn placement will take place at a later date. Cremation arrangements are under the care of Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton.
James T. Nelson
FLORENCE - James T. Nelson passed away May 10, 2001, at the Fort Harrison Veterans Medical Center in Helena.
Jim was born Aug. 17, 1924, in Reed City, Mich., to the Rev. Alfred T. and Anna West Nelson. He attended Lowell Elementary and Missoula County High School.
Jim was a veteran of World War II, entering the Army on March 31, 1943. He attained the rank of staff sergeant and was a chief radio operator and forward observer. He fought in the campaigns of Saipan and Okinawa and earned the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He was recalled to active duty in June 1951 to assist in troop training for the Korean War.
Jim's love was being a jockey and he rode racehorses on tracks across the United States, including Seattle, Chicago, Arkansas, Nebraska and Montana. He was a longtime member of the Missoula County Sheriff's Posse and was drillmaster in 1963. He was a member of the Goodfellows, Masons and VFW. He was the owner/operator of Nelson Painting for many years until his retirement. Jim was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved all children, especially his grandchildren.
His beloved family, including his wife Dottie Nelson, survive him, along with three brothers, John and Amy Nelson of Missoula, Bob and Ruth Nelson of Bozeman and Charles and Adele Nelson of Albuquerque, N.M.; and his sister Ruth and Lee Fuller of Midvale, Utah. He was "dad" to Kelly Brown and Jim Brown, Chip Helmer and Dr. Jim Helmer, and Cindy Carpenter. His grandchildren include Pam, Lisa, Joanna, Davia, Jess, Kit, Jamie, Rebecca, Dusty, Rhianna, Vanessa, Sarah, Kelly, Sam and Daniel. He has eight great-grandchildren.
Jim was preceded in death by brothers David and Paul, grandson Blaze Helmer and great-granddaughters Anne Marie Corning and Angel Rose Dean.
Graveside services will be 2 p.m. Monday, May 21, at the State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison.
Nov. 30, 1943 - May, 13, 2001
STEVENSVILLE - Linda Merkel, 57, of Stevensville, died at her home on Sunday, May 13, 2001.
She was born on Nov. 30, 1943, in Hamilton and was the daughter of Lester and Mattie (Filcher) James, later adopted by Lester James.
Linda received her education in Stevensville. In 1962, at the age of 19, she married Delbert Olson. She later married Ray Merkel in June 1987 in Hamilton. Linda dedicated her life to her children and husband, teaching her children the game of baseball, the art of fishing and respect for the great outdoors.
Linda was blessed with the gift of a green thumb with her love for flowers and gardening. She and Ray enjoyed riding horses as well as working their team of Belgiums in the field. She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church.
Survivors include her children: Daren and Michelle Olson and children Daren Dale, Deven Danielle and Victoria Ann of Lolo; Denise Curtis and Gary Hurless and her daughter Nikki of Stevensville; Deven and Sherri Olson and children Kelsey and Triston of San Antonio, Texas; Jeff and Jill Merkel and children Joshua and Jordan of Lewistown; John and Cindy Merkel and children Scott, Carson and Jake of Whitehall; Janet and Mike Hunter and children Michele, Lacey and Isaac of Stevensville; Jason and Julie Merkel and children Levi, Tucker and Chanda of Helena; and Justin and Rehnna Merkel and children Wyatt and Andrew of Bozeman.
Also surviving are her mother Mattie James; sister Gail and her husband, Russ Herrell, and children Heather and Amber; brother Jack James; and great-grandchild Cassidy Olson.
Visitation will be 2-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at Whitesitt Funeral Home in Stevensville.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thursday, May 17, at Faith Lutheran Church, 171 Lewis Lane, Hamilton. Pastors Stephen Van Gilder and Tim Meyer will officiate.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Guardian Angels, c/o Dr. Judy Schmidt, FACP, 2835 Fort Missoula Road, Suite 301, Missoula, MT 59804.
Anne Pearl Bonner
RICHARDSON, Texas - Anne Pearl Bonner has left this life with family and friends to be with her savior in God's kingdom on May 8, 2001, after an extended illness.
She was born on Jan. 14, 1930, in Missoula to Amos and Mary Pearl Presnell. Anne was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband of 53 years, Robert W. Bonner Sr.; infant daughter Roberta Lou; two brothers, Edward Presnell and George Presnell; and two sisters, Mabel Sol and Dixie Haugen.
Our beloved mother will be deeply missed by her loving family: sons Robert W. Bonner Jr. and Janice Chien, retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald T. Bonner and retired Master Sgt. of the Air Force James P. Bonner; daughters Barbara Khan and son-in-law Najam, Kathleen Lane and son-in-law Bruce and Mary Shumway. Mrs. Bonner leaves behind five loving grandchildren, Joshua Bonner, Matthew Bonner, Jeanette Khan, Melvin Lai, Christina Shumway and Jennifer Lane. She also is survived by her brother Bill Presnell and wife, Helen, of Longview, Wash.; sisters Libby Morris of Napa, Calif.; Betty Oglesbee of Spokane; and Dorothy Dryden and husband of Missoula; and many nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Bonner will be greatly missed by family and friends. May God bless her soul for she is finally home.
Funeral services were held Saturday, May 12, at Sparkman Funeral Home Chapel in Richardson, Texas, with interment at Restland Cemetery in Richardson.
MISSOULA - Frances Wittman, 95, of Missoula, passed away Saturday, May 12, at Hunters Glen Assisted Living Facility.
Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Dan and Mary Beckers of Roberts; grandchildren Linda (John) Lahey of Worden; Evelyn (John) Pemberton of Texas; Kathy (Erv) Kane of Missoula; Robert (Rose) Van Spyk of Great Falls; Rita (Axel) Alstrom of Alakanuk, Alaska; Richard Van Spyk of Hayward, Calif.; Ken (Julie) Beckers of Billings; Sandy (Dean) Krimmer of Boise, Idaho; Doug Beckers of Port Arthur, Texas; and Cindy (Fred) Keller of Missoula; 17 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
A parish vigil service will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Garden City Funeral Home.
Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 17, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Burial will follow at 3 p.m. at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman.