(Editor's Note: The obituaries below were taken from the archives of the 2020 issues of the newspaper. We apologize for anyone missed, but please note, if an obituary was not submitted to the paper, the name of your loved one will not appear below. Feel free to contact the Cut Bank Pioneer Press with additional names by Friday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m., and we will gladly include them in an article in next week's issue.)

In 2020, we said goodbye to our neighbors, our friends, our family members. Some served their country in the military, some worked family farms, others raised children or taught others’ children. They were public servants, volunteers, and church leaders. They were the quiet ones who took longer to get to know. They were people who lived all sorts of lives, in all sorts of ways. We are richer for having known them. 

 The following individuals died in December 2019 but their obituaries didn’t appear until January 2020.

Zenon Zazula died on Dec. 5, 2019 at the age of 71. He was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his parents. Zenon was an engineer and eventually enrolled in a graduate program in journalism at the University of Montana. He enjoyed travel, reading, Bob Dylan, and golf. 

Beverly Jean Donaldson died on Dec. 20, 2019. She was born in Cut Bank and earned a Home Economics degree before teaching in Helena. She and her husband ran a farm/ranch and Bev finished her husband’s term with the Montana House of Representatives in 1987. 

Audrey Rose Nelles died on Dec. 26, 2019. Born in Cut Bank, Audrey was an early member of the Montana Ninety Niners, a group of women pilots. She and her husband, Ralph, were supporters of the Pioneer League, and helped found the Nelles Nurses Scholarship Fund.


Debbie Lynn Cannata, 64, died on Jan. 2, 2020. She was born in Cut Bank and graduated from the University of Montana in 1977. She worked as a registered dietitian and moved with her husband to Arizona in 1987, where they raised their family.

Francis “Braz” Clarence Braz, 93, died on Jan. 14. Braz joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and served in the Pacific during World War II. He married his wife in 1947 and together they raised three children. 

Elmer Magnus Berkram, died on Jan. 16 at the age of 90. Elmer graduated from high school in Sweetgrass and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Afterward, he returned home and farmed north of Cut Bank.

James Gordon “Doc” Allison, M.D., 88, of Livingston, died on Jan. 16. 

William L. McCauley died on Jan. 31, 2020. Bill and his wife raised their three children in Choteau, where Bill was active in many community groups. They later moved to Cut Bank when Bill bought Cut Bank Building Service. Bill served as mayor of Cut Bank from 1992-1996 and afterward was part of numerous community groups. 


Barbara Jean Scott VanAlstine Schow died on Feb. 3. The mother of five, BJ was known as a master crafter, baker, and cook. She was very sociable and enjoyed outdoor activities, including boating and skiing. 

Wilma Bell Schreier, 76, died on Feb. 23. She graduated from high school in Kennewick, Wash., before getting married and moving to Montana. She was a kind person who enjoyed her family and friends, country music, playing cribbage, camping, and western movies.


Donald J. Topp, 87, died on March 1. Born in Michigan, Don served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and the National Guard afterward. A hunting trip to Montana in 1964 sealed his family’s fate: the family moved to Cut Bank the next year. Don was known as a generous friend and neighbor, volunteered his time throughout town, and filled an unexpired term as Glacier County Commissioner.

Howard James Wall, 61, died on March 1. He graduated from Valier before serving in the U.S. Army. He worked in the oilfield and had two daughters. Howard enjoyed the outdoors and volunteered his time around Cut Bank, including at the Moose Lodge.

Wanda Syth Ferguson, 62, died on March 6. Wanda grew up in Cut Bank and at age 16, went into Job Corps. She worked for many years at a hotel in Billings while raising her family.

Carol Joy Bedord Query died on March 7. Carol was born in Cut Bank. She and her husband raised two daughters. Carol was involved in her community in Santa Cruz, Calif., including as a Girl Scout leader, as a museum docent, and member of the California Native Plant Society.

Julius “Sam” Nanini, 88, died on March 8. Sam was raised in Cut Bank and worked in the oilfield after finishing school. Sam’s work took him to homes around the state and Idaho. He enjoyed gardening, fishing, and sharing his sense of humor with family.

Larry Alan Curtiss died on March 9. Larry graduated from Cut Bank High School and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving during the Vietnam War. Larry and his wife raised their children in Cut Bank, where Larry worked at Alme Construction and then opened a computer repair business, LCH Computers.


Arlene M. Eckstein, 100, died on April 4. Born in Nebraska, Arlene later moved to Montana. She and her husband lived in several towns before moving to Cut Bank in 1973. Arlene lived in Cut Bank until 2016, when she moved to Billings.

Harold Gene Mallo, 82, died on April 8. Harold worked many jobs, including as the co-owner, with his wife, of Harold’s Club in Jordan, a Garfield County sheriff’s deputy, and Meagher County appraiser. He enjoyed hunting, the LA Rams, and Labrador retrievers.

Earl Lawrence Ebert, 85, died on April 16. Earl loved cars, both working on them and driving them fast. He owned Earl’s Conoco in 1968 and ran the business for more than 40 years. He was a member of several car clubs.

Selma Louise Kohler, 92, died on April 18. She met her husband while both worked at a cafe in Minnesota. Together, they played bridge throughout Montana and other states. Selma volunteered in the community and enjoyed sewing and was an active member in her church.


Sharon Lee “Beezie” Johnson, 83, died on May 5. Sharon graduated from Cut Bank High School in 1955 and later worked at an operating room technician. She loved spending time her two children and grandchildren.

Lois Czech, 87, died on May 6. She and her husband had five children and lived in several places in Montana and Alberta. Lois enjoyed sewing, cats, gardening and her family.

Branden Lane Boggs, 43, died on May 14. 

Sophia Alice Sim Lowry, 93, died on May 14. Sophia grew up on the family homestead and rode her horse to school. She and her first husband founded Cut Bank Creamery in 1948. She eventually remarried and moved to Helena to be closer to her family.

Gary Allan Durocher, 75, of Choteau, died on May 14. The son of Tig and Lucy Durocher, Gary graduated from CBHS in 1963. He taught in the Cascade and Choteau school systems and coached football and track.

Tom Dale Davis, 77, died on May 22. Thomas was born in Conrad, the youngest of 13 children. He died with family at his side.

Glenn Arthur Roush, 86, of Cut Bank died on May 27. A former Montana senator and representative, Glenn served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and then worked for Montana Power for 44 years. 

Margaret Jean Luedtke, 87, of Cut Bank, died on May 29. The mother of four, Jean was active in home extension and was once named Extension Homemaker of the Year. She was active in her church and in several community groups. 


Stedman Beebe, 82, died on June 5. Stedman was born in Vermont and served in the U.S. Navy. He enjoyed music, woodworking, and painting. Following a career that allowed him to see much of the nation, Stedman retired to Montana.

Eva Roberta Haynes, 85, died on June 10. Known as a hard worker, Eva helped on the family farm, worked cows from the back of a horse with her husband, and raising a garden whose vegetables she processed in the fall. She enjoyed dancing, Christmas at the family cabin, and hunting.

Jamie Lee LaValley, 58, died June 19. Jamie worked as a long-haul truck driver in the coal industry and was an advocate for and lover of the arts. She enjoyed taking road trips with friends, British comedy and books by her favorite author, James Lee Burke.


Helen Anna Bye Ebert, died on July 27, at the age of 94. 

Meg Schaeffer Patterson, 56, died on July 31. Meg loved people and was generous and kind. She loved her family and her dogs.


Margy “Lorrane” (Lozing) Croymans died on Aug. 7 at the age of 93. Lorrane was known to be kind and generous to those around her and loving toward her family.

Chet O’Dell Sneed, 56, died on Aug. 11. He came from a musical family. Chet was helpful toward family and friends and could often be seen driving around or helping his brother. 

Karilynn Icenoggle Dell, 57, died on Aug. 14. Kari enjoyed competitive roping, working on the family farm, and being a mom. Kari was a bestselling novelist and a noted columnist. She worked as an athletic trainer and teacher before moving back to the farm with her husband. She was active in rodeo and loved horses.

Hazel LaVonne (Sisson) Ungar, 91, died on Aug. 18. LaVonne and her husband raised five daughters in Cut Bank. They enjoyed going dancing, and enjoying a good dinner with friends and family. In the late 1970s, she co-owned a gift shop located on Main Street.

Lorraine Ferguson Lee Runyan, 101, died on Aug. 18. She taught art privately for 40 years and volunteered throughout the community. After being widowed, she remarried in New Mexico and continued her activities – playing cards, dancing, and volunteering for her church.

Mary Ruth Christiaens, 62, died on Aug. 21. She was the mother of five children and enjoyed camping, road trips, cooking, reading and doing puzzles.

Audrey Jean (Hamlin) Smith, 85, died on Aug. 23. Audrey graduated from Chemawa Indian School in Oregon. She enjoyed reading, shopping, and sewing, and worked as a homemaker, nanny, and seamstress. 

Harley Luther Schnee, 91, died on Aug. 27. Harley served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and afterward returned home to help his father on the family farm. Harley would continue farming for 40 years, and he and his wife raised two children. 

Norma Husk, 79, died on Aug. 30. She and her husband lived in Washington with their son. She enjoyed time with family, making lefse, Seahawks and Mariners games, and acting as her pilot husband’s co-pilot. 


Dorothy Flint Whetstone, 92, died on Sept. 4. Proud of her Norwegian lineage, Dorothy attended college with a degree in elementary education. She and her first husband raised four children and eventually settled in Cut Bank. After being widowed, she remarried and moved to California and later Oregon. 

Delbert William Estey, 84, died on Sept. 5. Delbert served in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of corporal. He worked for the federal government as a personnel officer, a job that took him around the country. He and his wife traveled extensively after retiring.

Calvin Gerald Rowell, 77, died on Sept. 11. He served in the U.S. Navy, and he and his wife raised three children. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and horseback riding. 

Linda Lou (Wevley) Fitzgerald, 76, died on Sept. 13. 


Paula J. (Eney) Peterson, 71, died on Oct. 8. Paula worked in several offices in Cut Bank, but retired from the Glacier County Library. She loved reading and collecting books. She was devoted to her seven grandsons and enjoyed following their accomplishments. 

Betty Jean Hoff, 95, died on Oct. 10. Betty helped build warships in California during WWII, then returned to Montana to marry and raise a family. Betty enjoyed family gatherings and was an elder of the Blackfeet Tribe.

Michael Thomas Money, 69, died on Oct. 30. After graduating from Cut Bank High School, Mike attended college at MSU. He worked in several positions, from real estate to banking, and called his life “an odyssey.” The father of two, he and his wife had retired to Polson.

James Steven Molenda, 69, died on Oct. 31. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing and beekeeping and was known as an excellent cribbage player. He worked for the railroad for 41 years. He and his wife raised six children, of whom he was very proud.


Jacob J. Wipf, 69, died on Nov. 4. Jacob was known as a handyman and a caring person with a great sense of humor. He loved the Lord and enjoyed singing hymns. 

Judith Ann Winkowitsch, 80, died on Nov. 5. Judy worked as a ranch and farm wife and enjoyed gardening and scrapbooking. She valued her relationship with the Lord and was quick to offer help to friends and family, including her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Betty Jean (Heller) Pfeifer, 91, died on Nov. 6. A native of Kansas, Betty and her husband moved to Montana and raised eight children. Betty worked in childcare, at Safeway Foods and at offices in Cut Bank. She enjoyed sewing, quilting and gardening, and volunteered throughout Cut Bank.

Kathleen Eleanor Jensen, 70, died on Nov. 20. Kathy grew up on a farm north of Wolf Point. After obtaining a degree in elementary education, she taught second grade first in Browning and then Cut Bank. Kathy loved her family and loved to take her nieces shopping. She enjoyed spending time with family at her Disney World timeshare, volunteering with various community groups and her church, and taking care of friends in town.

Walter John Swarkowski died on Nov. 20. He was born in Brooklyn and taught school in New York and Vermont. He and his wife retired to Cut Bank, where he was a member of the Moose Lodge. He enjoyed cooking, model trains, and helping others.


Steven Robert Dezort, 77, died on Dec. 1. He was a resident of Cut Bank.

Barbara Lynn Brown, 71, died on Dec. 6. Barb was born in Lansing, Mich., where she met her husband. Together they raised their children and eventually moved to Cut Bank. Barb was honest and forthright. Friends knew her as a “gentle soul.”

Donovan “Sonny” Gene Boe, 88, died on Dec. 8. Service in the U.S. Air Force brought Don to Montana, where he met his wife. They settled in Cut Bank and raised a family, and Don had a reputation for greenest lawn around. In 1970, the family moved to Wyoming. Don had a deep sense of justice and did not hesitate to stand up for others who needed help.

Stanley M. DeZort, 87, died on Dec. 17. Stanley was born in Cut Bank but graduated from Fairfield High School. After a stint in the U.S. Army, he returned to Cut Bank and worked in the oilfield. He was also a part-time farmer, hunter and fisherman.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.