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Joan Kohles Grondahl

Joan Kohles Grondahl passed away Saturday morning at Big Sky Senior Living.  She was born August 14, 1921 in Twin Falls, Idaho and entered the St. Alphonsus Hospital for Nurses Training in 1939.  She graduated as a registered nurse in 1942.  She joined the U. S. Army Nurses Corp in June of 1943 and her first assignment was at Fort William Henry Harrison.  She was sent overseas and served 30 months in Africa before returning to the United States in 1945. 

Joan entered the University of Oregon Nurses Program where she received a Bachelor’s of Science and Public Health Certificate.  She and Raymond D. Grondahl were married August 17, 1947 in Stevenson, Washington.  She worked as a Public Health Nurse in Columbia County, Oregon and the Grondahl’s moved to Butte in December of 1960. 

Joan volunteered at St. James Hospital and Home Health Agency.  She belonged to the A.A.U.W. and the Mineral and Gem Club.  She was a devoted wife and enjoyed hunting, fishing and gardening.  Over the years Joan and Ray owned several Springer Spaniels which they hunted with.  It was fun to see and help name the new pups.  Joan also enjoyed weekly swims and lunches at Fairmont Hot Springs with her dear friends Laura Newman and Evelyn Alexander. 

Joan will be greatly missed by her nieces and their families, a nephew and dear friends Carol Larsen, Lori Cerise, Regina Cromer and members of the Cashell family.

Cremation has taken place.  Memorial services will be conducted Friday morning, December 19th at 10 o’clock in Gloria Dei Lutheran Church with Pastor Martha McCreight officiating.  A reception will follow at Big Sky Senior Living with military honors accorded by the United Veteran’s Council of Butte.  Interment of ashes will take place at a later date.  Memorials may be made to the Butte Emergency Food Bank, 1019 E. Second St. in Butte, the VFW Post # 1448, 1810 Lafayette, Butte or to a charity of the donor’s choice.  

Charles J. Gilder

Charles J. Gilder died Monday, November 24, 2014 after a long and hard fought battle with Multiple Sclerosis. 

Charles was born December 16, 1934 in Missoula to Charles and Della (Kelley) Gilder.  While a student at Missoula County High School he played basketball and American Legion baseball.  After graduating he attended the University of Montana, graduating in 1957 with a degree in Business Administration.

Charles and the former Janice Alkire were married in 1956 and in January of 1958 they and baby son, Michael, traveled to Fort Lee, Virginia where they lived for the next two years while Charlie fulfilled his ROTC obligation.  He was discharged in early 1960 as a First Lieutenant and the family moved to Butte where Charlie began his career with the Montana Power, retiring 33 years later as Vice President of Administration.  Charlie started in the Auditing Department, became assistant secretary in 1966, corporate secretary in 1975 and Vice President of Administration in 1984.  During his tenure, he was instrumental in shaping MPC benefits such as payroll savings, the credit union, medical benefits pension plan, early retirement and long-term disability.  

Charlie was a past member of the Butte Elks Club, the Exchange Club, Toastmaster and the Butte Country Club.  He also served a number of years as a Captain in the Army Reserves and was on the board of St. James Hospital and Port of Montana.

Charlie was his grandchildren’s biggest fan and liked nothing better than attending their school and sports events, both in Butte and Bigfork.  He also looked forward to spending as much time as possible at their summer home on Flathead Lake.

Charlie was preceded in death by his son, Michael in 1985 and was very involved in the forming of Gilder House, named in honor of his son.  He is survived by wife, Janice, daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Bart Andrus of Bigfork and their children, Brooke and Travis, daughter and son-in-law, Kris and Mark Leipheimer and their children Tara and Tessa and daughter Laura Gilder-Dodge, Jack Dodge and their children, Tyler Gilder, Nick, Charlie and Abby Dodge all of Butte.  Also surviving are his brothers Sam Gilder of Missoula, Don (Mary) Gilder of Tacoma, Washington and Jim Gilder of Helena, his sisters Terry (Jerry) Wriedt of Wylie, Texas and Kelley (Randy) Schott of Florence, MT as well as several nieces and nephews, also lifelong, dedicated friends, Bob and Lois Bennie and his many other special friends. 

Cremation has taken place.  Charlie’s family will receive friend Friday morning at 11 o’clock in Wayrynen-Richards Funeral Home where memorial services will be conducted at 12 noon with Deacon John Uggetti officiating.  A reception will follow at the Butte Country Club. 

The family wishes to thank his many health aides over the years, provided by Beta Factor, Easter Seals and Montana Premier Care (Kim) and Frontier Hospice nurses Jacque and Sue.  Also a special thank you to special friend and helper, Shannon Fairchild, Dr. Patrick McGree and the 3rd floor nurses at St. James Healthcare.

Memorials in memory of Charlie may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the Shrine Hospital for Children or to a charity of the donor’s choice.        

Marian Becker

Marian J. Becker passed away Saturday evening in a local nursing home on the first anniversary of her son’s death.

She was born in Tyler, Montana April 8, 1929 to Joseph C. and Rose E. (Ouellette) Rotter.  She was raised in that area and graduated from Sims High School.  She married Felix Wicka in 1949 but later divorced. 

Marian worked as a secretary at the Payless Drug in Great Falls, the Fox Theater and Rialto Theater in Butte and the National Electrical Contractors Association before attending the Elderkin Beauty College in Butte in 1960.  She married the love of her life, Bob O. Becker in Sacred Heart Church in Butte on August 13, 1960 and he passed away in 2007.  She is also preceded in death by her son Darwin “Mike” Becker, and her sister, Francie York. 

Marian had a 50 year career as a beautician working at several shops in Butte.  She worked over 15 years at Angie’s before she and Joy Nebris opened the Ravin Red Salon in 1978. 

Equally as comfortable with a curling iron or a rifle in her hands, Marian was a multi-facetted woman.  She and Bob loved to travel and had traveled throughout the Orient, Central America, Europe and Australia, she enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing (although she hated baiting hooks) and loved to play golf.  They belonged to the Elks Lodge, the Porsche Club the Continental Club and dance clubs in Butte and Bozeman.  Marian and Bob taught ballroom dancing for many years starting in the rotunda of the courthouse and soon outgrew it moving the classes to the civic center.  She was an avid skier, loved to gamble and it was on a gambling trip to Nevada where she met Jim Strander.

Marian is survived by her daughter, Sharon Milner of Port Orchard, Washington, daughter-in-law, Jenefer Becker of Rocker, grandchildren: Erin Milner of Port Orchard, Courtney Finch of Puyallup, Robert Milner of Port Orchard, Jason and Jennifer of Port Orchard, Kariann Jorgenson of Renton, WA, Kristie and Ryan Ryf of Chehalis, WA, Brian Becker and Stacy Watkins-Becker of    Sammamish, WA, Carl and Sherry Fish of California, Keith and Sarah Fish of Sacramento, CA, 16 great-grandchildren, special friend, Jim Strander of Butte and her beloved Dachshund, Sheba.   

Cremation has taken place.  Memorial services will be conducted Thursday afternoon at 4 o’clock in Wayrynen-Richards Funeral Home. 

Michael L. Schneider

Mr. Michael L. Schneider passed away Saturday morning at a local nursing home.  He was born in Linton, North Dakota May 19, 1930 to Sebastian and Catherine (Wolf) Schneider.  He attended schools in North Dakota and then joined the United States Navy.  Following his discharge Michael came to Butte to work in the mines.  On Christmas Eve, 1954 Michael married Ethel Marie (Neugard) Hinch, and she preceded him in death on February 15, 1997.  Also preceding him are two sons, Tim Hinch and Kenny Schneider, his parents, brothers, Jerome, Louie and Joe, his sisters, Betty Fettig, Mary Shuck and Theresa Miller. 

Michael worked as a truck driver for Consolidated Freight for 35 years until his retirement.  He enjoyed his annual trips to Wendover, Nevada.  He loved to tell a good joke but was usually laughing too hard to finish the punch line and he liked to walk in the mall and visit with his “Liars Club”. 

He is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law: Dave and Sally Hinch, Mickey Hinch and Dan and Melissa Schneider all of Butte, grandchildren: Zack and McKenzie Schneider, Stacy Comba, Shauna Hinch, Erin Peacock and Josh Wattles.  Also surviving are 7 great-grandchildren, his brothers, Pete Schneider and Tony Schneider, his sisters: Maggie Kuntz, Christine (William) Heier and Katie Miller, sisters-in-law, Christine Schneider, brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Jerry and Sherry Berger and Marion Alexander as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place.  Memorial services will be conducted Thursday morning at 11 o’clock in Wayrynen-Richards Funeral Home with Father Thomas Haffey officiating.  Interment of ashes will take place in Mountain View Cemetery.  Memorials may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Rd., Bethesda, MD 20814.   



Jean Lois Griffin passed away Wednesday afternoon at her home in Butte surrounded by her loving family.  She was literally born in a barn in Malta, Montana on July 9, 1931 to Duane and Lydia (Coello) Richter.  She was raised in Butte and attended local schools.  She graduated from Butte High School where she performed as a majorette.  Later in her life she earned a degree in computer science from Montana Tech in 1997. 

She and Dan O’Brien were married in Butte and later divorced.  She later married Clarence Griffin and he preceded her in death in 1999.  Also preceding her in death are her parents and a brother, Don Richter. 

Jean worked as a secretary for New York Life Insurance Company for many years and later worked as a clerk at Woolworth’s and K-Mart.  She liked to have fun and had a great sense of humor.  She loved trivia and was always fast with a witty remark.  She was an avid fan of the Butte Copper Kings Baseball team and never missed a 4th of July Parade.

She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Teri and Joe Keller of Michigan and Lori O’Brien and Rick Wojtanowski of Butte, grandchildren: Danielle and Shawn Falkowski of Butte, Bobbie and Mike Goodenow of Butte, Kelli O’Brien of Great Falls, Chrissy and Mike Colangelo of Buffalo, NY and Jenni and Mike Cromer of Beaver Creek Ohio.  Surviving great-grandchildren include: Kaylee, McKenna, Kinzie, Mason, Emily, Gabriella, Aubrey and Aiden.  Other survivors include her brother and sister-in-law, Rick and Kathy Richter of Alaska, sister and brother-in-law, Jill and Bob Richardson of Seattle as well as her nieces and nephews, Bobby and Kirsten Richardson and Kim and Bob Case.

Cremation has taken place and memorial services will be conducted Saturday, October 18th at 10 AM in Wayrynen-Richards Funeral Home.  Memorial in memory of Jean may be made to Frontier Hospice.

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