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Dolores “Dode” Virginia Wheeler Axtman, age 89 of Helena, passed away on January 11, 2019 of natural causes. She was born in Great Falls, MT August 16, 1929 to Willard “Bill’ and Marcella “Sally” Wheeler.

Dode attended grade school and high school in Great Falls; she graduated from Great Falls High in May of 1947. During high school she met the sailor of her dreams and in August after her graduation married the love of her life Ed Axtman, whom she affectionately called “Eddie.” They were married for 71 years. Dode and Ed raised four boys; Ron (Sue) of Boise, ID, Ricky (Emily) of Concord, NH, Greg (Maryann) of Canyon Ferry Lake and Dave (Kathy) of Belgrade, MT.

Dode loved God, John Wayne, fishing, camping and loved to have fun. As a teenager, she ushered and cashiered at three movie theaters in Great Falls, later she was a secretary for the Teamsters and Mechanics Union. She managed the ABC Kiddie Shop in the Holiday Village Mall and was Clerk of the Court for the Great Falls Police department in the 60’s until her and Ed retired in 1972 and moved to their cabin on Canyon Ferry Lake. After moving to Canyon Ferry she came out of retirement to work at Kim’s Marina, a position she held for 13 years. No one could sell tackle quite like Dode, she definitely had a gift of convincing many a fisherman into buying a lure that they probably didn’t need! “Grandma Dode” will be remembered by her grandchildren for her cooking, baking, baby blankets, clothes, quilts and she could make the best dinner and cinnamon rolls on this planet. She will also be remembered for her beautiful singing voice that was with her to the end. Her kindness and generosity will be remembered by anyone that met her and her outgoing personality and friendship will be missed.

Dolores is survived by: her husband Ed; her (4) boys; (14) grandchildren, Claire Sitts, Marchelle Springer, Seth Axtman, Jon Axtman, Kristyn Schelhaas, Sara Hickok, Dustin Axtman, Darek Axtman, Shaw Axtman, Kristin Norman, Ashley Axtman Frank, Ty Axtman, Sophia Axtman, Phoebe Axtman; (22) great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sally, Bill and brother Jerry Wheeler.

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The Axtman family would like to give a special thank you to their dear friend Dianne Jewett who helped Dode through the last nine years of her life. They would also like to thank the Cooney Home, St. Peters Hospital and Tri Lakes First Responders.

The Rosary will be prayed at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15th at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16th at SS Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, 120 W. Riggs Street in East Helena. A reception will follow the Mass in the fellowship hall of the church. Burial will follow the reception at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Dode’s name are suggested to Tri Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, 3200 Spokane Creek Road, East Helena, MT 59635. Please visit to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Dode.

the life of: Dolores “Dode” Virginia Wheeler Axtman
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