Helena IR

Deaths in the area


William E. “Billy” Petek, age 30, of Helena, died on Sunday, May 13, 2001, due to an automobile accident.

Billy was born on Sept. 22, 1970, in Helena. He graduated from Helena High in 1989 and Carroll College in 1994. He served nine years in the Montana National Guard.

Billy was one who loved life, no matter whether it was hunting, fishing, camping, baseball, football, rodeo, or coaching others to improve their skills. Billy thrived on anything that involved competition.

Throughout life, Billy’s plate was always full. He played for the Helena Reps and Senators, and was an exceptional football player both for Helena High School and Carroll College. He owns the record for the longest touchdown run in Carroll College history — 99 yards from scrimmage, a record that cannot be broken. He was also a member of the Helena Bulldoggers, rodeoing for both Carroll College and Western Montana College. Billy enjoyed working with wood, and has made several pieces including his own furniture for his children and home. His love for construction took him to the far reaches of the world, working with Greenway in Turkey and China.

Bill’s love for children kept him active, especially with his own. He was a proud and loving person to all those that had the chance of sharing in a part of his life. Billy’s brother and cousins all looked up to him for leadership and guidance, and he was always there for them. He could get them to do anything for him, much to the dismay of their parents. His infectious laughter and wonderful smile will be tremendously missed by all those that knew and loved him.

He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Bessie Petek; grandfather, Kenneth E. McLaughlin; and aunt, Sherri Petek.

Billy is survived by his daughter, Tylee; stepson, Jake; wife, Stacy; parents, Dennis and Connie Petek; brother, Andy; grandparents, Margaret McLaughlin of Helena, and Jim Petek of East Helena; aunts and uncles, Kathy, Patty and Mike McLaughlin, Kenny and Terry McLaughlin of Helena, Larry and Sandee McLaughlin of Missoula, Mark and Lynda Ryckman of East Helena; and numerous cousins.

A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 17 at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church in East Helena. A memorial fund has been set up at Valley Bank for the children of Bill Petek.


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, Wash., 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 up and down 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 Saint 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 was also 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 over 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, Chamberlain, S.D., and Edmund Jr., and Donna and children Min and C.J., Missoula; brothers and families, John and Rita, Tom and Mickey, and Jim and Toni; his sister, Sister Eileen; 26 nieces and nephews; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

A vigil will be held for Ed at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Duggan Dolan Mortuary. A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in 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.

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