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Butte deaths as of April 15, 2014

Wednesday, April 2—Earl F. Dagen, 79
Thursday, April 10—Marion Frances (Miles) Farmer, 90
Friday, April 11—Jane Branstetter, 73
Saturday, April 12—Barbara Robertson, 70
Sunday, April 13—Joan Ellen (Callahan) Maunder, 81
Michael Butorovich, 82
Tuesday, April 15—Betty “Grammy” Mankins, 83

Deaths noted in the Butte Weekly April 2, 2014


Saturday, Mar. 15—Eileen Rau, 71

Wednesday, Mar. 19--Jerry Dlitz

Friday, Mar. 21—Kenneth “Ken” Miller, 71

Sharon Batten, 68

Saturday, Mar. 22—Anthony Patrick “Tony” Gordon, 45

Sunday, Mar. 23—Roland Monroe Wyatt, 79

Monday, Mar. 24—Fred A. Bronner, 84

Louis Robert “Louie” Fontana, 91

Marco Mickey “Mick” Bajovich, 71

Wednesday, Mar. 26—John Edwin Roberts, 81

John Edwin Roberts

Arlene T. Meagor, 71

Thursday, Mar. 27—Grace Marie Taylor, 50

Janis Lynn Wigert

Janis Lynn Wigert passed away Saturday, March 29, 2014 in St. James Healthcare.  She was born in Anaconda on December 6, 1945 to Fred and Hanna (Anderson) Greenup and attended local schools.  She and Gary Wigert were married on July 7, 1963 in Whitehall and Janis worked as a 911 dispatcher for Anaconda-Deer Lodge County.    She belonged to the American Legion in Anaconda and is survived by her husband Gary Wigert of Anaconda, sons and daughters-in-law: Howard and Roxanne Wigert of Anaconda, Dan Wigert of Anaconda, Shawn and Michelle Wigert of Helena and Ben Wigert of Anaconda.  Grandchildren include, Brittney, Brock, Mike, Bryce and Shelby.  Also surviving are her great-grandson, Derrick, brothers and sister-in-law, Don and Linda Anderson of Colstrip, Ed Anderson of Deer Lodge, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Bob and Peg McQewen of Indiana and numerous nieces and nephews including Terry Murphy of Butte. 

Cremation has taken place.  Memorial services will be conducted April 12 at the American Legion Hall in Anaconda.  Memorials may be made to the American Legion or to the Crest Nursing Home where Janis received exceptional care. 

Philip George Redfern

Philip George Redfern passed away Thursday morning at his home at the 9 mile.  Phil was born in Butte at home on B Street, on April 25th, 1920, to George and Leoma Redfern.  The second of seven boys Phil wasn’t due to be born until that June.  His mom described her preemie baby as being so small she felt compelled to carry him using a pillow as she was afraid she would drop him.  It is for certain that the tenacity that helped this premature baby survive at a time when it was unlikely, would serve Phil well all throughout his life.  The theme of being “little but mighty” described him well.


When Phil was 9 years old, the family moved south of Butte to the 9 Mile ranch of his maternal grandparents, Arthur & Emidille Guay.  It was in this area that, except for his military service, Phil would spend the rest of his days.  His youth was filled with the hard work of ranch life and raucous fun of growing up with seven brothers and multiple cousins (Guay’s, Stetzner’s, Walkers and Michaud’s). Phil often fondly told stories of riding and chasing wild horses in Hell’s Canyon with a spirit that complemented and challenged the name of that canyon.  He earned the nickname “Dubber” from his older brother Jim, who couldn’t pronounce his new brothers name.   


Phil went to St. Ann’s school and completed the eighth grade.  At that time, his schooling was considered finished and he joined his dad George in running the ranch.  At age 20, while chasing a stray his horse, Red, tripped and fell landing on Phil's ankle.  The ankle was shattered and, although casted and healed, it left him with a permanent limp.  The injury and limp were not enough to keep him out of the military and during the height of World War II he was drafted into the United States Army Air Force.  He served four years as an airplane mechanic, logger, and cook on several islands in the Philippine’s and South Pacific (which he documented on a baseball he carried with him) until the end of the war.  On his way home he had to fly in a bomber plane, straddling the door of the bomb hatch which was jammed open.  When the plane landed he swore he would never get on another plane, and he never did. 


At age 29, he met Bernadine (Bunny) Marie Savidge at a rodeo in Butte.  They were married on October 17, 1950.  Phil set to building their home on the ranch at the 9 Mile. There, he and Bunny raised their five children: Margaret (Paul Koren) of Washington; Tim (Maria) of Florence; Mary Lou (Paul Henrikson) of Colorado; Sam (Linda) of Missoula and Evy (Richard Odan) of Missoula.  Phil and Bunny worked hard and sacrificed a great deal to ensure their children were able to attend St Ann's and Butte Central high schools. Something for which their kids will be forever grateful.


As well as running and growing the ranch, Phil and his Dad owned and operated the Lindale Dairy.  They delivered milk and other dairy products to the homes, schools and businesses throughout Butte and the surrounding area.  When the dairy sold Phil worked for the Railway Express Agency and for the phone company. He respected all his work opportunities and taught his kids that their jobs were like gold and to take care of them. But when it came to work, his true love was the ranch and the horses he raised. On his time off and vacations Phil could be found in the fields planting and bringing in the hay crop, training and fussing with his horses, tending the garden, bringing in firewood, and tinkering with old equipment or building something…like a house, barn or hay shed! His other love was hunting. Until well in to old age, Phil could be found heading for the woods with his friends, brothers, and sons to hunt. The Lacy Creek elk camp was one of his favorite places and it was rare he didn’t bring home a prize.  After Sunday dinners with family and friends, detailed hunting stories from present and years past were told over and over with an enthusiasm that matched the actual hunt.


Phil can be remembered as a man of strong principles with the simple values of integrity, honesty and hard work.  He truly was the kind of man that if you needed it he would give you the shirt off his back. His church and his God were an important part of his life.  He made sure that Grace was always recited by his family before every dinner.  Following that every day prayer, he would keep his head bowed and utter a simple, heart felt "Thank you Lord".  Even as he reached the age of 90 he could still be found on winter mornings next to the wood stove, riding his exercise bike and saying the rosary. 


When asked what he was most proud of from his long, well lived and contented life he emphatically replied "My kids!" He was so happy that he saw his children grow in to strong women and men with values that would guide them all to pursue higher education, find careers that mostly involved helping others, marrying the loves of their lives and raising their own children.  He loved animals from bird to broncs and they loved him too.


Phil is survived by his wife of 63+ years Bunny, his children and their spouses, his grandchildren Philip Henrikson, Cathy and Joe Redfern, Emily and Melanie Koren, Peter and Anna Redfern; his great grandchildren Tieg and Arlo Henrikson; and brothers James,  John(Clay) and Tom. He is also survived by his beloved friends and caregivers Loma, Brenda, and Jennie. They brought him home and we will be forever grateful. He was preceded in death by his mother and father and his brothers, Ralph, Ray and Fran.


Our Dad was a remarkable man, who left a great legacy.  We are proud of you Dad, and are so thankful and glad you are finally "home".  Happy Trails to You Dad - until we meet again. Thank You Lord!

Mr. Redfern’s remains are in Wayrynen-Richards Funeral Home where friends may call beginning Monday afternoon at 4 o’clock.  Liturgy of the Resurrection will be celebrated Tuesday morning at 11 o’clock in St. Ann’s Catholic Church and interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.  Memorials in memory of Mr. Redfern may be made to any charity for the benefit of horses.

Vernon Black

Vernon Black, 66, of Butte Montana, passed away on March 5th, 2014. His death was related to kidney failure. 

Vern was born in Butte to the late George and Gladys Black, and grew up on Paxson Avenue.  He attended Longfellow grade school and Butte High School, graduating in 1965.  Vern married the love of his life, Joanne Tomsich, in 1966.

Vern was drafted into the Army in 1966, and he attended basic training at Fort Lewis, WA.  He served in Vietnam from 1967-1968 in the field artillery corp.  He was honorably discharged in 1968.

Vern worked for the Anaconda Copper Company for many years, driving a truck at the Berkley Pit.  After its closure, Vern led the maintenance staff at the Copper King Inn and later worked as a Nurse’s Aide at the Crest Nursing Home. 

In his free time, Vern enjoyed League bowling, fishing, playing cards, riding his motorbike, working on projects, and spending time with his family.  He was proud to be a lifelong resident of Butte America, and he never missed a parade.  Vern will be remembered as a jack of all trades; willing to help anyone and everyone that needed it. 

Vern was survived by his wife Joanne. He is also survived by his children Lisa and Dale, both of Missoula.  He is also survived by brother Joe Black and spouse Vicki (of Colville WA), brothers and sisters-in law Larry and Pauline Tomsich and John and Marlene Hendrickson (all of Missoula). Additional family includes nephews and nieces Audrey Tomsich, Brett Hendrickson, Katie Hendrickson, Mary Jo Black, Annette Boucher, and Janette Black in addition to many cousins. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 15th at 11am in Wayrynen-Richards funeral home.  A reception will follow at the Eastside Athletic Club.

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