|From the "Western News" newspaper in Libby, MT
Joan L. Torgison, 68, of Libby, died Wednesday, Oct. 27, 1999, at Kalispell
Regional Medical Center.
She was born in Libby on July 15, 1931, to Walter and Geneva Kemp.
Raised and educated in Libby, Joan graduated from Libby High School
with the Class of 1949.
She married Donald Torgison in 1951.
Joan worked at Bolyard’s Superette in Libby, and she and her husband
Don operated the Torgison Oil Company for more than 30 years. In recent
years she and her husband owned and operated Torgy’s Casino.
The Torgisons raised their family in Libby where Joan worked in the
various organizations and activities in which her children were involved.
She was also a longtime active member of the Libby Volunteer Fire Department
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Survivors include her husband Don, at the family home in Libby; son
Walt Torgison and special friend Joni, and son Dan Torgison and his wife
Diana, all of Libby; brother Bill Kemp, also of Libby, one grandchild,
two step-grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Nelson &
Vial Funeral Home with Pastor Cal Noble officiating.
Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the Libby Volunteer Fire Department.
Robert J. Flowers, 47, of Libby, died Wednesday, Oct. 20, 1999, at
his home in the Green Meadow Manor apartments.
He was born on Feb. 21, 1952, in Stockton, Calif., to Earl and Ruth
He grew up in Stockton, where he attended schools, graduating from
A.A. Stagg High School in Stockton in 1970.
Bob moved to Libby after his mother died 5 1/2 years ago.
Bob was a gentle person with a heart of gold. He loved doing ceramics
and was employed parttime at Clay Mart in Libby, but worked fulltime volunteering
wherever and whenever he was able.
He will be missed by many friends in this community, but is now back
home with his mom.
Survivors include sister and brother-in-law, Marcia and Steve Mahoney,
nephew and great-nephew Kyle and Devin Mahoney, all of Libby, several relatives
in California and his wonderful adopted family at Achievements Inc. in
Services were conducted at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Christ Lutheran Church.
Donations in his name may be made to Achievements Inc., 101 Mineral
Ave., Libby, or to the Northwest Chapter, American Red Cross, 17A First
Ave. E, Kalispell, MT 59901.
Local arrangements are under direction of the Nelson & Vial Funeral
Kurt A. Poush, 37, of Libby, died Wednesday, Oct. 20, 1999, from injuries
suffered in a structure fire.
He was born on Aug. 22, 1962, in Downey, Calif., to John and Carolyn
Kurt attended school at South Lake Tahoe, Calif., until he was 14 years
old, when he moved to Ukiah, Calif., where he lived for six years.
He lived at Lincoln in 1986, moved to Arkansas in 1991, and returned
to Montana in 1997.
Survivors include his parents in Helena; brother Gregory Copley and
his wife Debra, Libby; sister Janiece Poush, San Diego, and friends John
and Rebecca Miskey, Libby, and Butch David in Arkansas.
Graveside services were conducted at 2 p.m. Monday at the City of Libby
Visitation was from 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
Arrangements were under direction of the Nelson & Vial Funeral
Kitrena (Kit) Lyn Kincella, 16, died on Wednesday evening, Oct. 20,
1999, at her home in McGinnis Meadows, a place she had lived in and loved
for 11 years.
She was born on Aug. 30, 1983, at Whitefish, to Michael and Laura Kincella.
Kitrena had been a member of the Eagles 4H Club for 11 years, earning
many ribbons and awards for various livestock projects. She loved competing
with her horses, Bullet and Fox, and enjoyed spending time with her animals,
hunting, fishing, riding horses, cross country, track and hiking.
After undergoing cancer treatment for 11 months, Kitrena had retuned
to the Meadows to see her friends and loved ones.
In addition to her parents, Kitrena is survived by three sisters, Jessica,
Shawnna and Kelly Rose Kincella; her maternal grandmother Clara Johnson,
Libby, paternal grandparents Jack and Marcia Kincella, Camillus, N.Y.,
and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Libby Christian
Church with Mark Halland officiating.
Kitrena will be missed by all with whom she had contact during her
16 years of life.
Local arrangements are by Nelson & Vial Funeral Home.
Former Libby mining company executive John B. Myers, who lived here
for about 20 years, died Sept. 4, 1999, in California.
A mining engineer, Myers came to Libby from Chicago to manage the vermiculite
mining operation that resulted from the merger of the Zonolite Company
and the Universal Insulation Company in 1939.
At Libby John and his wife Rosemary were active in the community’s
civic, service and social organizations.
After retiring from an leadership role in the operation of the Zonolite
mine, John and Rosemary lived for several years at their Savage Lake home,
eventually moving to the San Diego area.
When he was in his seventies, John embarked on a second career as an
author, wrote a number of short stories and published several books.
Myers suffered a broken arm and a back injury as a result of a fall
in late August. While in the hospital he developed pneumonia and died two
A celebration of his life was held on Oct. 10, 1999, at the Rancho
Bernardo Joslyn Center, where his friends shared memories of John. The
beautiful cactus garden that he designed and planted at the center was
rededicated to his memory.
Preceded in death by his wife, John is survived by a close friend,
Elaine Usell, who advised Libby friends of his death.
Former Libby resident Adrienne Gussie Denny, 85, died Oct. 3, 1999,
in Klamath Falls, Ore.
She was born Jan. 28, 1914, in Fort Klamath to William and Edna Page
Adrienne was raised and educated at Fort Klamath and in Medford, Ore.,
where she became a nanny. She attended Azalea Catholic Academy.
She married John Palmer and moved to Chicago. When their 25-year marriage
ended in divorce, Adrienne moved to Klamath Falls.
A correspondence with Edmond Denny, who worked for the U.S. Forest
Service in Libby, led to their marriage on April 1, 1967, in Klamath Falls.
They lived in Libby until retiring, moved back to Klamath Falls for
a few years, later returning to Libby.
After Denny’s death, Adrienne moved back to Klamath Falls.
Survivors include daughters Alma and her husband Dick Wimmer, and Lana
and her husband Brant Weaver, Klamath Falls; sons Jack Palmer and his wife
Bonnie, Los Angeles, Calif., and John Palmer and his wife Marietta, Phoenix;
brother and sister-in-law Elmer and Lenore Zumbrun, Klamath Falls; eight
grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her first and second husbands, son Tom
Palmer and sister Clarise Orth.
Memorials may be made to Linkville House, 2437 Kane St., Klamath Falls,
Longtime Troy area resident Mary Evelyn McCormick DePuy, 96, died on
Oct. 11, 1999, in the Boundary Community Nursing Home in Bonners Ferry,
She was born on March 28, 1903, near Leonia, to pioneer parents Katherine
and George McCormick. She was one of the first students at the McCormick
School built by her father and uncle.
Mary graduated from Holy Names Academy in Spokane and worked in Spokane
until her marriage to Al DePuy in Bonners Ferry in September 1928.
Mary and Al lived throughout Idaho following his work as a state highway
engineer. Mary worked as a nurse’s aide in Boise and lived in Coeur d’Alene
for a time before returning to the family homestead in the mid-1950’s.
A homemaker, Mary was always ready to fix a meal for whoever showed
up. She also joined her brother in playing for local dances.
She was a member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Troy.
Survivors include nieces Katherine Olsen, Bonners Ferry, Margaret McCormick,
Troy, and Patricia Ekwortzell, Sandpoint, Idaho; nephew George McCormick,
Coeur d’Alene; grand-nieces Maureen Mai, Tricia Ekwortzell and Elizabeth
McCormick; cousin June Gelchrist, Killenchey, Northern Ireland, and special
friend Geri Todd, Troy.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, in the Immaculate
Conception Catholic Church at Troy followed by burial in the Grandview
Cemetery in Bonners Ferry.
Arrangements were under direction of the Bonners Ferry Funeral Home.
Maurice D. Jacobson, 73, of Libby, died on Sunday, Oct. 17, 1999, at
St. John’s Lutheran Hospital.
He was born May 5, 1926, at Sandpoint, Idaho, to John D. and Ragna
After attending school in Sandpoint, Maurice enlisted in the U.S. Navy
at the age of 17. He was trained at Farragut Naval Center and stationed
aboard the USS Black Hawk.
Following his honorable discharge he worked as a carpenter in Sandpoint
Maurice was business agent for Libby Local 2225.
He married Dorothy Catherine Smith on June 25, 1957, at Sandpoint.
Survivors include his wife Dorothy, Libby; son Jim Thompson, grandson
James and granddaughter Miranda, all of Columbia Falls; daughter Dianne
Walker and granddaughters Catherine Jenx, Adale Chew and Christy Chew;
great-grandchildren Maurica, Mason, Julia and Tierra, all of Libby; sister
Alica Nadeau, Spokane, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Nelson & Vial
Arrangements are under the direction of the Nelson & Vial Funeral
Longtime Libby resident William E. (Bill) Nelson, 73, retired Pacific
Power Company employee, died Sunday, Oct. 17, 1999, at St. John’s Lutheran
He was born on May 19, 1926, at Seattle, to Carl and Evelyn Knudsen
Bill attended school through seventh grade on Bainbridge Island until
moving in 1939 to Sandpoint, Idaho. He graduated from Sandpoint High School
with the Class of 1944.
Shortly after graduation Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent
After receiving an honorable discharge he attended the University of
Idaho where he earned a degree in forestry.
Bill worked for the U.S. Forest Service and taught school for a time
before he was employed by Mountain States Power Company and subsequently
by Pacific Power. He transferred to the Pacific Power office in Libby in
1964, working here until retiring in 1991.
Bill enjoyed fishing and bowling and was a loving and caring husband.
Survivors include his wife Elinor Nelson, Libby; son Mark Nelson, Missoula,
and brother Robert Nelson and his wife Olive, Sandpoint.
Private family services will be conducted.
Arrangements are under direction of Nelson & Vial Funeral Home.
Dr. Woodrow Nelson
Dr. Woodrow Nelson, 86, retired medical surgeon and talented musician,
died on Friday, Oct. 15, 1999, in St. George, Utah, of complications that
developed after he was hospitalized with pneumonia.
He was born on March 5, 1913, in Minneapolis, to C.T. and Marie Shaffer
After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Nelson completed
post graduate work at Tulane University in New Orleans.
He married Jane Oberg on May 25, 1935.
Nelson was recruited to join Libby’s medical community as a surgeon
in the early 1950s. He practiced here for about 10 years before moving
to Great Falls, where he continued to practice medicine and played cello
with the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra.
Several years ago Jane and Woody moved to St. George but continued
to spend summers in Montana, and were in the state for six weeks this summer.
At Libby, the Nelsons were members of the congregation of St. Luke’s
Nelson is survived by his wife Jane, 435 N. Stone Mountain Drive, Stonepoint
No. 9, St. George, Utah 84770; sons Bob, Jim and Tom, daughter Janie; 11
grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by a son, Bill, a few years ago, and by an
Services were conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Grace Episcopal Church
in St. George, with longtime friends from Montana, the Revs. Vic and Brenda
Richer, co-officiating in a celebration of Nelson’s life.
Burial followed in the Rose Garden at Grace Episcopal Church.
Memorials may be made to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 109 W. Poplar,
David O. Kuhns, 29, died Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1999, at his home in Libby,
after a three-month battle with cancer.
He was born on Sept. 11, 1970, in Marshall County, Bremen, Indiana,
to Omar and Lydia Raber Kuhns.
He married Marueen Mast of Libby on Oct. 7, 1994.
He was preceded in death by son Duane Devon.
Survivors include his wife Maureen, Libby; daughter Marilyn and sons
Darrel and Delmar Ray, all of Libby; parents Omar and Lydia Kuhns, Nappanee,
Ind.; brothers Richard, LeRoy, Joseph, Samuel and Glenn, all of Nappanee;
sisters Edith, Bertha, Norma, all of Nappanee, and Irene Miller, Bremen;
maternal grandmother Mattie Raber, Topeka, Ind., and paternal grandmother
Edna Kuhns, Bremen.
Viewing will be from 3-5 p.m. and from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday
at the Amish Community Center on Farm to Market Road.
Services will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Amish
Ivan S. O’Bleness, 95, died Monday, Oct. 11, 1999, at his home in Libby.
He was born in Edwards County, Kan., on Nov. 22, 1903, to Andrew and
Maude O’Bleness. He was raised and educated in Edwards County.
Ivan later lived at Hamilton, Kan., where he met and married Hazel
Cochren on April 12, 1925.
They farmed at Two Buttes, Colo., and in Walsenberg County, Kan., returning
briefly to Edwards County.
They came to the Panhandle region of north Idaho in 1937, where Ivan
worked for the railroad and later operated a sawmill.
He retired after working for many years as a carpenter for the Bunker
Hill Mining Company.
In 1942 Ivan and Hazel became Jehovah’s Witnesses, working and serving
in the faith in leadership positions in north Idaho for many years.
They came to Libby in 1991.
Ivan was preceded in death by his wife Hazel in 1997.
Survivors include six sons, Gordon O’Bleness and his wife Lorraine,
Spokane; Lawrence O’Bleness and his wife Virginia, Libby; Andrew O’Bleness
and his wife Rose, Billings; Arthur O’Bleness and his wife Violet, Libby;
Bruce O’Bleness and his wife Barbara, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Martin
O’Bleness, Sequim, Wash.; two daughters, Eunice Murphy and her husband
Francis, Warden, Wash., and Dorothy Carroll and her husband Jim, Missoula;
39 grandchildren, 69 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great-grandchildren.
Services will be concucted at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Kingdom
Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 67 Conifer Road in Libby.
Arrangements are under direction of Nelson & Vial Funeral Home.
Ada M. Richards, 91, of Libby, died on Monday, Oct. 11, 1999, at the
Libby Care Center.
She was born on Dec. 24, 1907, at Lake Delton, Wis., to Henry and Norma
She was raised and educated at Lake Delton and later lived at Baraboo,
Wis., where she was employed as a seamstress for the Snow White Garment
Ada retired and moved to Libby in 1968.
She enjoyed the Montana outdoors, fishing, sewing and reading.
She was a member of the Rebekah Lodge.
Ada was preceded in death by son Ronald Richards in 1994; brothers
Stuart and Harold Risley and sisters Harriet Squires and Millie Risley,
and a grandson.
Survivors include daughters Shari Richards, Libby, and Ivol Cahoon,
Baraboo; son Clifford Richards, Lander, Wyo.; 20 grandchildren and numerous
great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday at the Nelson & Vial
Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Cal Noble officiating.
Interment services with Rebekah Lodge rites will follow at the City
of Libby Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Robert O. (Bob) Smith, 78, of Troy, died Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1999, at
He was born at Glenwood Springs, Colo., on Feb. 13, 1921, to Donald
and Helen Ward Smith.
The family moved to Southern California in 1927 to settle in the San
Bob attended school at Van Nuys, where he graduated from high school.
He served with the United States Navy in the South Pacific during World
War II, returning to Southern California following his honorable discharge
He married Paula Brown on Dec. 23, 1949 and they lived in California
for many years, where they owned and operated an appliance sales and repair
business at Van Nuys.
They came to Montana in 1982, living at Troy where Bob operated an
appliance sales and repair service for several years.
He enjoyed horseback riding, skiing and bowling. A past president of
the California Professional Appliance Association, Bob was a member of
the Kootenai Senior Citizens at Troy and served on the Montana State Senior
Citizens Advisory Board.
He was a member of the Libby Seventh-day Adventist Churh where he served
as elder and treasurer.
Survivors include his wife Paula, Troy; daughters Linda Nicholas and
her husband J.W., Grapevine, Texas; Sue Smith and her husband William,
Bozeman; and Terry Loyd and her husband Jack, Northridge, Calif.; brothers
Paul Smith, Placerville, Calif.; Norman Smith, Phoenix, Ariz.; Keith
Smith, Torrence, Calif., and Roger Smith, Atlanta, Ga.; sisters Marguerite
Anesi and Pearl Walker, Reseda, Calif.; nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday at the Libby Seventh-day
Adventist Church followed by interment with military honors at the City
of Libby Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. Thursday at the Nelson &
Vial Funeral Home.
June L. Walsh, 82, of Libby, died on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1999, at St.
John’s Lutheran Hospital.
She was born on Sept. 29, 1917, at London, Alberta, Canada, to Loren
Ezra Whipple and Metta May Knapp Whipple.
The family came to the United States in 1922, settling at Havre, where
June was raised and educated.
She married Harry Bunton in 1942 and they had three sons.
June worked as a waitress in Havre until coming to Libby in 1960.
She enjoyed the beauty of the mountains and the abundant wildlife in
the Libby area.
June married James R. Walsh in 1960.
Walsh died in 1976, and June was also preceded in death by her father
in 1942, a brother Buck in 1984 and a sister Alice in 1999.
Survivors include sons Jack Bunton, Spokane; Jerry Bunton, Deming,
N.M., and Jim Bunton, Missoula; 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Private arrrangements are by Nelson & Vial Funeral Home and a public
gathering will be announced.
Memorials may be made to Kootenai Volunteer Hospice, Libby.
Helen Peck Andersen
Helen Peck Andersen, 85, of Libby, died Thursday, Oct. 7, 1999, at
St. John’s Lutheran Hospital.
She was born on July 26, 1914, at Stone Hill, to Joseph and Anna Peck.
Helen attended Libby schools and graduated from Libby High School with
the Class of 1933.
She moved to Connecticut in 1934, returning to Libby in 1954.
She was preceded in death by sister Elsie Boothman.
Survivors include her husband David (Andy) Andersen, Libby; sons Donald
M. Wilson and his wife Dorothy, Silver Springs, Md., and Norman A. Wilson
and his wife Jeanette, Willington, Conn.; sisters June Kirkhoven and Irene
Ownes, both of Libby; half-sister Dalpha Kruger in Ohio, three grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Nelson and Vial Funeral
Home and services will be conducted at the funeral home at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Interment will follow at the City of Libby Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Faith Bible Church.
Edmund G. (Ed) Reilly, 86, died Friday, Oct. 8, 1999, at his home in
He was born on May 7, 1913, in Richardson, N.D., to John F. and Katherine
Ed grew up on a ranch south of Medora, N.D., and graduated from high
school in Medora.
He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and went to Arkansas. He
also worked on ranches in Montana and North Dakota and was involved in
gold mining operations.
He married Phyllis Blanch Ackley in February 1940 and they had two
sons, Michael and Jim.
After working in Montana mines, 1941-1950, Ed returned to ranching.
He and Phyllis moved to Troy in 1972.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Pat and Frank and
sister Mazie Lavelle.
Survivors include Phyllis, his wife of 59 years, Troy; sons Jim and
his wife Norma and Mike and his wife Sharon; brother John Reilly and sister
Grace Stoebe; grandson Shannon; granddaughters Shawn, Bernadette, Rhonda,
Sonya, Darcy and Dana; 11 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. on Friday at the Nelson & Vial
Funeral Home and services will be conducted at the funeral home at 2 p.m.
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 25 in Terry.
Irene M. Thomas, 89, died Saturday, Oct. 9, 1999, at the Libby Care
She was born on Jan. 25, 1910, at McAlister, to Cypres and Mary E.
Irene attended school at School House Lake and graduated from Troy
High School with the Class of 1928.
She attended Kinman Business School in Spokane.
Irene married Clifford E. Thomas on June 24, 1933, at Libby.
She enjoyed swimming and walking, gardening and outdoor activities.
Clifford Thomas died on Feb. 12, 1984.
Survivors include son Melvin Thomas and his wife Marta Joan, Troy;
daughter Fern Siegle and her husband Harold, Cody, Wyo.; sister ElFreda
Day, Redmond, Wash.; six grandchildren, Paula Voerding, Cody; Becky French,
Powell, Wyo.; Tom Siegle, Englewood, Colo.; Jeff Siegle, Longmont, Colo.;
and Randy and Mark Thomas, Rathdrum, Idaho and six great-grandchildren.
Viewing will be from 1-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Nelson & Vial Funeral
Services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Church of God
in Troy with Pastor Gene Bushnell officiating. Burial will follow at Milnor
Memorials may be made to the special care unit at the Libby Care Center.
Former Troy resident Clifford L. Stoen, 92, died on Oct. 1, 1999, in
Apache Junction, Ariz.
Clifford and his wife Alice lived in Troy from 1977-1996.
Alice died in May 1997.
Clifford was a master machinist, offering good and inexpensive service
to many through his business Clef Machine Products.
He demonstrated expertise with machinery in the invention of several
patented products and as a tool and die designer. He was also a time-study
engineer, an innovator and manufacturer of two 3-wheel licensed automobiles
and an artist with wrought-iron furniture, candelabra, ceiling lighting
fixtures and decorative figures. Clifford also made built-in furniture
and was a general all-around handyman.
Clifford was worshipful master of Troy Masonic Lodge No. 126 and a
member of Kootenai Chapter No. 88, Order of the Eastern Star.
Alice was a one-time correspondent with The Western News, having her
own column, ‘‘Troy’s Talking to Alice Stoen.’’ She was also a professional
musician, proficient in both piano and organ and had been a teacher.
Clifford is survived by daughter Joy Macpherson and her husband, John,
former Troy residents who now live in Apache Junction; son Robert and grandchildren
John James Macpherson, Bonnie Macpherson Jensen, Matthew Stoen and Jens
Stoen, and great-grandsons Austin Jensen, Elijah Jensen-Hayes and Damien
Ruth Van Faasen
Libby native Ruth Shanahan Van Faasen, beloved wife, mother, grandmother
and friend, died Sept. 11, 1999, in Seattle.
She was born on Aug. 10, 1913, at Libby, and graduated from Libby High
School with the Class of 1930.
Ruth worked as a bookkeeper for contractors on the Fort Peck Dam Project
on the Missouri River in northeastern Montana in the 1930’s, where she
met and married Jerold Van Faasen in 1938.
During their 61 years of marriage Ruth and Jerry moved home and family
many times, following engineering activity around the Northwest, settling
in Seattle 25 years ago.
Ruth personified and demonstrated active love for all around her and
took part in the education of several generations of children, in church
work, as a volunteer tutor in Seattle Public Schools and as the mother
of daughters who continue to create and educate professionally.
She is survived and remembered with love by her husband Jerold, Seattle;
daughters Ruth Jean Shaw, Anchorage, Alaska; Mary Inkpen, Renton, Wash.,
and Beth Betker, Seattle; sons-in-law Robert Shaw, Robert Inkpen and Dan
Betker, and grandsons Douglas Shaw, Washington, D.C., and Shannon Inkpen,
McLean, Va. In addition she is mourned by friends and family throughout
Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association or Northminster
Presbyterian Church in Seattle.
Arrangements were under direction of Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle.
L. Joe Baenen, 78, of Libby, died of heart failure Monday morning,
Sept. 27, 1999, while undergoing his regular dialysis treatment at St.
John’s Lutheran Hospital. He had been in precarious health for many years
but never let it interfere with his love for Montana and outdoor sports.
Joe was born on March 18, 1921, in the old Baxter Hospital in Libby.
A few days earlier his father Lew Baenen brought his mother Hattie by rowboat
across the Kootenai River from Jennings for the trip to the hospital. When
Joe was 10 days old he made the trip back to the family home at Jennings.
He received his education at Jennings and in Libby. When he was 16
years old he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, but when he attempted
to sign up for another six months his true age was discovered and he was
A short time later Joe again falsified his age and joined the U.S.
Army to serve as a medic at Fort Lewis. Once again his age was discovered
and he received an honorable discharge.
Joe married Kitty Ruth Baeth Matteson on Jan. 1, 1942, and they had
two children, Joe and Loretta.
In 1944 Joe joined the U.S. Navy, serving until 1946, when he returned
to Libby to work for J. Neils Lumber Company and later for W.R. Grace,
until retiring in 1980.
For several years after retiring, Joe and Ruth lived at their home
on McGregor Lake.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Bill, Ray and Ben,
and sisters Edna Baenen and Dolly Holmgren.
Survivors include Ruth, his wife for 57 years; daughter Loretta Cook
and her husband Chuck, Salt Lake City, Utah; son Joe and his fiancee Lillian
Martin, Libby; six grandchildren, Alan Keefe and his wife Robyn; Dawn Burdette
and her husband Jeffrey, and Chris Keefe and his wife DeAnn, all of Salt
Lake City; Brett Keefe and his wife Laura, St. George, Utah; John Baenen,
Cordova, Alaska; Amy Baenen, Libby; 13 great-grandchildren and nieces Dorothy
Post, Shirley Nicholls and Mary Baenen.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at Christ Lutheran
Church followed by military services at the City of Libby Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be his six grandchildren.
Should friends desire to do so, memorials may be made to Kootenai Winter
Sports or St. John’s Lutheran Hospital.
Arrangements are under direction of Nelson & Vial Funeral Home.