Deborah Jane Castles Thompson, 57, of Helena, died Nov. 16, 2009, on the way to St. Peter’s Hospital. Deb had been ill since the end of June.
Deb was born in Missoula June 10, 1952, to Ruth and Wesley Castles. She had two older sisters, Judy and Susan. The Castles family moved to Helena in the spring of 1953 where Wes had taken a job on the staff of Gov. J. Hugo Aronson. Both Ruth and Wes were active in Republican politics for a number of years and also launched into mining for sapphires and gold.
Deb went to grade school at Jefferson School and went on to graduate from Helena High School. Deb always loved animals and would ride horseback through the “diggings” and into Hauser Lake on the property which later became the Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine that she and her husband, Russ, operated as a tourist attraction. Deb and Russ were married Nov. 20, 1978, and had two children, Crystel and Cass. Cryste,l who attended Montana State University, is now working in Ellensburg, Wash., while Cass continues to keep the “wheels turning” at the family business.
Deb completed her college degree at Carroll College. She worked at many different jobs in state government when she wasn’t too busy at the mine. She earned a real estate license and was a certified astrologer. Deb also worked for FEMA as a contractor assessing damages in hurricane devastated areas of the southern part of the country.
Deb had a sunny personality and entrepreneurial spirit. A miracle was always around the corner — when the stars would be properly aligned.
Deb is survived by her husband, Russ Thompson of Helena; daughter, Crystel Thompson of Ellensburg, Wash.; Cass Thompson of Helena; sisters Judy Golberg of Richland, Wash., and Sue Jackson of Helena; her sister-in-law Ronda Potter and husband Doug Potter of Helena; sister-in-law Laurene Thompson of Butte; and brother-in-law Randy Thompson of Helena.
Deb had numerous other relatives and friends everywhere across the world.
Memorial services will be held on April 25, at noon at the Sapphire Mine to celebrate her life. Cremation has taken place under the care of Retz Funeral Home. To offer condolences to Deb’s family or to share a memory of Deb, please visit www.retzfuneralhome.com.
“I am looking to find a warm beach on an island. Meanwhile, mining for sapphires and gold has got me cornered. Winter gets in the way.”