Loren Earl Heavirland, 81, fondly known as “Grandpa,” loving husband, father, grandfather and neighborly to all, passed away peacefully at his home on Nov. 14, 2020. A private family memorial will be held at a time of the family’s choosing.
Loren was born on July 4, 1939, to Elmer and Audrey (Benner) Heavirland of Shelby, Mont., and raised in the oilfield communities of northern Montana.
Audrey married Byron Wigen when Loren was in high school, which had a positive impact on Loren’s life. He called Byron “Dad” and their relationship was that of father and son. Loren graduated from Shelby High School in 1958 and married his high school sweetheart, Sue Wiegand, on Aug. 9, 1958, in Shelby. The couple shared 62 years together.
Having grown up as a farm hand and gas station attendant, Loren pursued his education in electrical engineering technology at the Central Technical Institute in Kansas City, Mo. He went on to work for Sandia Corp. as an engineer of atomic weapons from 1963-1970. He left Sandia Corp in 1970, to return to farming in Sunburst, Mont., from 1970-1990 and in Choteau, Mont., from 1991 until he retired 2018.
Loren had a real passion for mentoring young boys, who often spent two weeks to entire summers at the farm; some coming back year after year. He spent his winter months reading the classics and favorite books aloud to his children and grandchildren.
He was well respected in his community; Loren received the Toole County Outstanding Conservationist of the year in both 1973 and 1986. He did not measure his accomplishments by public recognition but by a job well done, a promise kept or a benefit to others. He volunteered for his church’s building projects, acted as church treasurer and spent many years on the Toole County Council on Aging. He found joy in his family, with a quick “I love you,” “I’m glad your mine” and “How’s your love life?” he could bring a smile to any face. He also found joy in restoring old cars, building “stuff,” camping, “bossing” on all projects, being breakfast chef and chief cake cutter at all special occasions.
Loren Heavirland was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Sue Heavirland; daughters, Jill (John) Brubaker and Cristi (Brett) Friede; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Luke), Nicole, Johnny (Becky), Aaron, Patrick, Rachel and Staci; sisters, Loralee Heavirland, Kari Fallang, Kathy Whalen; brothers, LaVerne Heavirland, LeRoy Heavirland and Brad Wigen; along with honorary family members, John Hollar and Vlad Hovind.
Grandpa will be missed but we will see him again one day in heaven.
Condolences to the family can be made at the Croxford Funeral Home website, www.croxfordfuneralhome.com.
The family would like any donations in Loren’s name sent to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Great Falls Inc.