Central Montana Obituaries
In memory of those we've lived with,
and learned with.
Our finest regards.
Henry James “Jim” Pitt, 97
The son of Katherine (“Kate” Hotson) and Henry “Harry” Irving Pitt; he grew up on the family homestead 7 miles south of Lewistown on Casino Creek. Jim, starting in 1922 at the age of 5, attended Lewistown schools through high school.
During the summer of 1926, while with his brother and another boy, Jim’s left eye was severely injured by a homemade fish spear. May 30, 1930, two months after Jim’s 13th birthday, his mother died of a cerebral brain hemorrhage. In 1939 there was a World’s Fair in New York City, so…as he described it, “He saddled his Harley and headed for New York.” He was 22 years old.
Jim was twice drafted and each time failed the eye exam due to the injury he had sustained as a child. He started volunteering for Army service in 1939 and although he volunteered 11 different times, he was turned down each time. Then in February 1943, Jim was drafted as 1B – Partial Disability Service and was sent to Canada for basic training. In Canada he shoveled snow, raked cinders and trained to fire a 30-06. He qualified as the best marksman in the battalion of 1800 men. After basic training, he was assigned to Barrage Balloon Service outside of Detroit. Nine months later in November, he was discharged because his classification was dropped.
Jim returned to Denton, Montana where he worked as a carpenter, remodeling the home of his Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Will Herbert. Jim’s brother Robert died unexpectedly of a heart attack on January 1, 1944 so Jim moved back to Tanglewood farm on Casino Creek to help his widowed sister-in-law Mildred run the dairy. He remodeled the dairy barn to comply with State requirements for a Class A Dairy.
During the summer of 1945, Jim went to work for the Montana State Water Board. Then on May 14, 1946 his father Harry Pitt was killed by a bull. Jim immediately took over operation of the ranch owned by his grandmother, Martha Pitt (his grandfather William Pitt had passed December 17, 1942 while Jim was living in New York). Jim also started going by his first name Henry.
Henry purchased the ranch from his grandmother Martha Pitt before she passed away on December 10, 1947. He began raising Columbia Sheep in 1948. Four years later he changed his operation to raising registered Targhee Sheep. That same year, on June 16, 1952, he married Florence Hall Marten (Florence owned and operated Mecca Beauty/Barber Shop on Main Street in Lewistown). During the years that followed, Henry gave breeding stock to five universities and sold breeding stock that was shipped to the Philippines, Africa, Canada, and Alaska.
Henry sold his registered Targhee Sheep. In 1967, Henry leased the ranch to a neighbor (Donald Gervais) and he and Florence moved to Alaska. In 1974, he sold the Casino Creek Ranch to Gene Chapel.
While in Alaska, Henry worked as a carpenter building a house for Barney Hollenbeck in Palmer. Three years later, Florence needing special medical attention not available in Alaska, they moved to Melbourne, Florida. Florence passed away in 1992.
As a boy, Henry drew pictures as a hobby. While in Florida, he took art lessons to improve his artistic talent. He suffered a stroke which partially paralyzed his left arm and hand. Henry discovered the drawing and painting helped him in recovering the use of his arm and hand. He has been awarded First Place Ribbons for his artwork in several juried art shows. He also taught other budding artist techniques on using brushes and tools to create masterful works of art.
On January 17, 2013 at the 75th anniversary of the Sebastian River Art Club, Henry was given a special tribute for his 37 years of active participation in the club. The Sebastian River News also wrote a long article giving a description of his life and experiences. On April 2nd, 2014 at the Art Club’s annual picnic, he was given a cake in recognition of his art and service to the club. Henry died Saturday morning, April 5, 2014 at the age of 97.
Henry is preceded in death by his wife, Florence; step-daughters, Monette (Squires) Gilpatrick and Mary Jean (Squires) Swindell; and Pete Swindell. He is survived by John Gilpatrick; grandson, Steve Gilpatrick; great grandsons, Grady and Colin Gilpatrick; nephews, Robert J. Pitt of Renton, WA, R. Douglas Pitt of Great Falls, MT, and Steven D. Pitt of Colorado Springs, CO; and Ruth Mitchel (his partner for many years). Claire Tebow has taken care of Henry and Ruth for the last 3 years and will continue to take care of Ruth.
In honor of Henry, memorial donations can be made to the Central Montana Medical Center ER Fund.
Graveside Services will be held in the Lewistown City Cemetery with Military Honors on Tuesday, April 29,, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
Henry’s family and friends can express their condolences online at www.creelfuneralhome.com Service arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home.
Warren J. Unger 86 of Lewistown died Thursday evening, February 27th, 2014 in the Central Montana Skilled Nursing Center of natural causes. He was born February 19, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York the son of Samuel and Viola (Ronstrom) Unger. He received his education in Brooklyn and graduated Automotive High School. He then entered the United States Navy returning to New York following his honorable discharge. He was the hospital oxygen technician when he met a nurse Evelyn W. Schmidt and they were united in marriage on October 13, 1961 in Elkton, MD. They made their home in New York where he was a police officer for the New York City Police Department working in the New York Housing Authority. In 1981 they moved to Montana to be near their daughter and grandchildren. He worked for the State of Montana at Lolo and Frenchtown with the GVW. They moved to Lewistown and he worked as a corrections officer for Fergus County retiring in the late 1990’s. Evelyn preceded him in death in 2011.
He enjoyed watching football and boxing also spending many hours on his computer.
He was a member of the Police Benevolent Association in New York and the Catholic Church.
Warren is survived by his daughter Julia Shilling and one sister Shirley Unger both of Lewistown; two grandchildren, two great grandchildren and several cousins.
He was also preceded in death by his parents and three grandchildren.
Memorial Graveside Services for Warren J. Unger will be Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. in Mount Calvary Cemetery. Cremation has taken place at his request. The Cloyd Funeral Home & Cremation Service is assisting the family.
Friends are asked to make memorials to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the Veterans Memorial Park in Lewistown or the charity of their choice and they may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com
Joyce Wildung Roberts, 81
Joyce Wildung Roberts of Billings, MT (formerly from Lewistown, MT) passed away Friday April 11th, 2014.
She was born to Ed and Emma Wildung of Winifred, MT on July 30th 1932 in Lewistown, MT.
She graduated from Winifred High School and went on to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. She received her nursing degree from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lewistown, MT. She started working at the Lewistown hospital, but spent the majority of her career at Valle Vista Manor in Lewistown until her retirement.
From 1952 to 1967 Joyce was married to Duane Hoffmann and from this union they had four sons.
In 1984, Joyce found and married her musical soul mate Jake Roberts. They dedicated their talents by traveling extensively around the state, tuning and repairing pianos. After a job completed, their greatest joy was “testing” their work by performing a duet concert much to the delight of their clients. This soon spilled into numerous requests to perform around Lewistown and the state at various fairs, events, and gatherings. Performing music was truly the joy of her life, and she blessed so many people over her many years playing.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Emma; three sisters, Agnes, Jeanette and Louise; two brothers, Stanley and Lea; one son, Timothy; and her husband, Jake.
Joyce is survived by her brother Glenn (Donelda “Doni”) of Winifred, MT; three sons, Neil of Lewistown, MT, Warren of Helena, MT, and Jay (Mary) of Billings, MT; four grandchildren, Ben, Jesse, Alissa and Paul; two great grandchildren, Addyson and Finley; plus many nieces and nephews.
Joyce was truly a burst of sunshine and joy to those around her. The second family she embraced and loved was the amazing staff at St. John’s Lutheran Home in Billings, MT. She felt very much at home there. It brought great comfort to our family knowing she was so lovingly cared for, especially in the final moments of her life.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations are made in her name to St. John’s Foundation, 2429 Mission Way, Billings, MT, 59102.
Funeral services will be held at the American Lutheran Church in Winifred, MT, Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour before. Graveside services will follow at the Winifred Cemetery before returning to the church for a luncheon. Please come and celebrate the life of this wonderful woman.
Joyce’s family and friends are invited to express condolences and memories at www.creelfuneralhome.com Service arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home.