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Area Deaths

Area Deaths

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Helena IR

Deaths in the Area

Robert Joe Downing

Robert Joe Downing, age 82, died June 26, 2001, at Broadwater Health Center in Townsend. He had battled asthma and had lung problems for a number of years.

Joe was born and raised in Arnold, Neb., where his parents farmed and ranched. He attended and graduated from high school in Arnold.

In 1944, he married N. Jane Wehrley, a local girl, and they farmed in the area for several years. They bought a ranch near Loveland, Colo. and continued to ranch for six years. They moved to Pinedale, Wyo., and worked on a cattle ranch. In 1962, they moved to Montana, becoming guest ranchers for almost 20 years. Together they enjoyed life in the beautiful country near the Big Hole River in Wisdom.

Joe loved ranch work, working with machinery and tools and working with horses and cattle. He and his wife were employed at the Oxbow Ranch and at the Dearborn Ranch near Wolf Creek for six years. After they retired from the ranching business, Joe and Jane moved to Helena and in October 2000, they moved to Townsend.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Jane Downing; son, Steve Downing; grandson, Shawn Downing, all of Townsend; granddaughter, Desiree Downing; grandson, Kenny Downing, and his wife, Jennifer; great-granddaughter, Rianne all of Helena; grandson, Luke Downing and his wife, Janice; two great-grandchildren, Ashley and Josh of Denver; and several nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place and his ashes will be buried at Arnold. A memorial service may be held at a later date.

Alma May Fraley

Alma May Fraley, age 71, passed away at her home June 30, 2001, surrounded by her family. She was born to Glenn and Rosa Robinette (Marking) June 6, 1930, in Scobey.

Her main occupation was being a mother throughout her life.

Survivors include six daughters and five sons, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her son, Jake preceded her in death.

Cremation has taken place. Services will not be held at this time.

Linden Herrmann & Company is in care of the arrangements.

Lucille W. Foster

Lucille Foster, 88, of Big Sky Care Center, Helena, passed away Saturday, June 30, 2001, surrounded by her loving family. She was born May 29, 1913, to Wilbur and Mary Riggs McCullum. Lucille attended East Helena Elementary School and Helena High School. She spent her entire life in the Helena-East Helena area. She was married in 1931 to Eugene Foster who died in 1974.

Lucille spent many years managing the Foster Motel in East Helena and raising her four sons. She later worked at Carroll College in the housekeeping department where she developed close friendships with both students and staff. Lucille was a devoted mother and grandmother. She loved her family and could always be counted on to help with the care of her grandchildren. Her sons loved to tease her and lovingly called her "Loots" or "Celie". When grandchildren started to arrive everyone then knew her as "Nana". She enjoyed traveling with her sons and their families. Her most memorable time traveling was to Las Vegas and Disneyland. She also joined her family on camping trips. Greeting cards from friends and family were more important to her than all the gifts in the world and she saved every one of them.

She is survived by her two sons and their spouses; Jerry and Floss Foster and Keith and Sharon Foster of East Helena, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents Wilbur and Wilda Riggs McCullum; sons, David and Wayne Foster; brothers Elmer Butler and Claude "Sonny" Butler, and a sister Pearl LaPorte.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Retz Funeral Home with the Rev. Tom James of the First Baptist Church officiating. Honorary pallbearers will be Lucille's four grandsons, Rick Foster, Ken Foster, Shawn Foster and Terry Foster. Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens. The family suggests memorials to The American Diabetes Association or to the donor's choice.

Milton R. Dykstra

Milton R. "Milt" Dykstra, age 62, passed away on Saturday, June 30, 2001, at his home, 3469 Birkland Drive in Helena of pancreatic cancer.

Milton was born to Margaret R. and Milton J. Dykstra on April 7, 1939, in Thompson Falls. Milt spent his childhood in Montana and Nevada and graduated from Thompson Falls High School in 1957.

Milt married Laura Luann Stipe on Nov. 20, 1959, at Moiese. The couple started out in Snider where Milt was employed as a logger. They then lived in Eureka, Calif., and Gold Beach, Ore., where Milt worked for the California and Oregon Highway Departments. In 1962, Milton and Laura settled in Helena. Milt worked at Morrison-Maierle Inc. from 1963 to 1966 as an inspector/instrument man. From 1966 to 1970, he was employed by the Montana Highway Commission as a highway and bridge inspector. In 1970, Milt began a 10-year career with the City of Helena, holding the positions of assistant engineer and project engineer. In 1979, Milt and his family relocated to Missoula, when he took the position of street maintenance director. Then in 1981, Milt became the city superintendent of Livingston. In 1983, he returned to Helena where he began his fulfilling career at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, first as an engineer and later as construction project manager in the Field Services Division. Milt accomplished many hundreds of projects statewide and always had many, many going at one time, from Westby in the east to Libby in the west.

Milt's passions were his faith, family (especially his grandchildren), trucks, building, woodworking, reading, traveling, spending time outdoors, napping and people. No one was a stranger to Milt.

Milt was preceded in death by his father, Milton J. Dykstra and granddaughter, Laura Alice Dykstra. He is survived by his wife, Laura; children, Cynthia (Damon) Liles of Lake Oswego, Ore., Dennis (Misty) Dykstra of Medford, Ore., Carla Harding of Helena, Todd Harding of Helena; seven grandchildren, Justin Stein, Jessica, Melissa and D.J. Dykstra, Brielle Harding, Amanda and Jack Liles; mother Margaret R. Dykstra of Plains; sister, Alice (Dave) Douma of Bozeman; brother, Howard (Marla) Dykstra of Plains; and a host of extended family and friends.

Viewing will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 5, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 6, at Retz Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 6, at the Assembly of God Church, 2210 Dodge Ave., with Minister Dave Nealon officiating. Interment will follow at Forestvale Cemetery.

Crystal Marie Ledeau

Crystal Marie Ledeau, 27, of Seattle died July 3, 2001, of injuries resulting from an auto accident. She was born Jan. 16, 1974.

Survivors include her father, James LeDeau Sr. of Helena; mother, Deborah LeDeau of Seattle; brothers and sisters, James LeDeau, Amanda Bruno, Landon LeDeau, and Ranessa LeDeau.

Services are pending at this time.

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