With the calendar turning to 2018, its time to look back and pay homage to some of the local area athletes, coaches and sportsmen who died over the past 12 months.
Jack Hartnett, 98, played football for Helena High and Carroll College. A lifetime golfer, at 96 Jack was still able to play 18 holes twice a week while consistently shooting under his age.
Bill DeWolf, 93, was a three-sport athlete for Helena High in the early 1940s, excelling in football and basketball.
Ken Bergum, 92, played football and basketball at Winifred High in the 1940s.
Marty Crennen, 86, a Korean War Navy veteran, was a lifelong golfer, carrying an 8-handicap when his game was at its best.
Arthur Jay Hall, 82, played football at Boulder High and was a weight man on the Panthers’ track and field team. He later coached youth baseball and directed youth wrestling tournaments.
Bob Andersen, 81, had personal interests in raising and showing quarterhorses, while participating at team roping in rodeos and jackpots, as well as competitive trap shooting.
Dan Hames, 81, lettered in football and track and field at Helena High (Class of 1954), before attending Montana State College on a grid scholarship for the Bobcats. He later coached prep football and hoops at Hughson High (California).
Bob Ream, 80, was a passionate, lifelong outdoorsman. He enjoyed snow skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing, crewing for skull races, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and ice sailing.
Vern Evans, 80, a longtime member of the Helena Street Rodders and the Last Chance Cruising Association, could be found with wife Vonnie cruising the local area byways for over 25 years.
Don Byers, 80, was a co-founder of the Montana Special Olympics, while serving as that organization’s executive director. He also officiated high school football and basketball for 37 years.
Rich Coe, 77, an all-state lineman for the 1956 Helena Bengals grid team, helped the club to its best record in 17 years.
Linda McKeown, 76, was an avid fisherman with her husband Pat, returning from South Dakota with great catches of walleye, northern pike and catfish.
Rick (Has The) Pipe, 74, won the 1962 State 880-yard run championship for Harlem High in a state record time of 1:57.2. Pipe went on to play hoops and run distance for Oklahoma City University, before a long career in the Helena city softball leagues.
Garry Knapstad, 69, was a member of the College of Great Falls’ 1973 NAIA National Bowling Tournament team.
Wayne Hintz, 69, a card sharp always up for a game, was a competitive, duplicate bridge player. He joined the American Contract Bridge League, earning his live master rank in just a few years and relished playing in regional and national tournaments.
Janet Dunn, 68, partook in skiing at the western Colorado ski resorts as a young woman, and later enjoyed boating on Swan Lake.
Thad Thomas, 67, was a member of Helena High’s alpine ski team and a tough rassler for the Bengals in the mid-1960s.
Steve Ryan, 67, a natural athlete, garnered a City wrestling championship and was a standout football player at Helena Junior High, before losing interest in competitive sports.
Kim DeLong, 67, was a four-year baseball letterman for Eastern Washington University, where he loved snagging virtually impossible fly balls in centerfield, and was known for his speed in stealing second base.
Debbie Walter, 67, was an avid bowler and coached youth softball and soccer.
Tripp Hammer, 67, played football for the 1968 Western B Conference champion Hamilton Broncs.
Pam Brown, 64, was a devout Helena Reps and Senators Legion baseball fan who became known for cheering on her son John’s exploits while blasting away on a loud whistle.
Dyan (Winterburn) Foster, 64, a standout high school intramural volleyball player in California, she later excelled at pick-up volleyball and softball games.
Greg Ames, 61, was a natural all-around athlete at Glasgow High, but the game of hoops is where he really shined. Ames coached his children’s youth football, baseball, basketball and softball teams, and later followed and supported their prep and college careers.
Ward Forbes, 59, loved playing pool and darts, bowling, and target shooting.
Darlene Sandoval, 58, had been an outstanding prep athlete in volleyball, basketball and track at Cuba (New Mexico) High. She later played shortstop for the Crow All-American softball team in Lodge Grass, Crow Agency.
Val (Patzer) Tresner, 58, was a skilled horsewoman, and a contestant for Miss Last Chance Stampede. She later enjoyed the sport of 4-wheeling, and went on to a lifelong commitment of working out in the gym.
Steve Frankino, 58, was a talented all-around athlete, excelling in football, basketball and golf for Capital High in the mid-1970s. He went on to play football for Carroll College, and enjoyed his lifelong passions of golfing, rafting, skiing and mountain biking.
Ron Mott, 58, a 300-plus pound Capital Bruin football player and wrestler, captured the school’s first State mat title, winning the 1978 Class AA heavyweight crown.
Jeff McMaster, 57, was a great youth baseball player.
Shaun O’Connor, 56, a gymnast for Helena High, captured the 1980 State pommel horse championship.
Todd Teegarden, 53, had been a versatile standout athlete at Billings West, prior to starting all four years at middle infield for the University of Wyoming baseball team. Later on, Teegarden seldom missed his children’s Helena High sports events.
Brian Wacker, 48, enjoyed horseback riding, hunting, and rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Russ Dilly, 47, was a promising youth football player until a diving accident at Canyon Ferry Lake left him a quadriplegic at age 14, but it never stopped him from going on hunting and camping trips.
Oden Synness, 44, was a gritty, cerebral youth grappler for the Helena Wrestling Club and HHS Bengals. He captured several USA State Freestyle championships, and placed runner-up at the AA State Tourney in 1991.
Dani Nisbet, 26, ran sprints for the Capital High Lady Bruins track team.
Julie Shepherd, 17, was a standout softball player and state champion weightlifter for Helena High.