Written by Herald-News
Melvine “Mena” Jewel Birthmark Merculieff, Wambdencia Owayanka Winyan, Girl that Looks for Orphans, 49, died Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, at Billings Clinic in Billings.
She was born to Melvin D. Birthmark and Gloria F. Fast Horse at Poplar Hospital Aug. 26, 1966. She was named after her dad Melvin and he gave her the middle name Jewel because she was her daddy’s jewel. Her grandfather George Fast Horse could not say her name, Melvine, because he was a fluent in Sioux and spoke very little English, so he called her “Mena.” The nickname followed her throughout her life.
She was raised in Brockton and Poplar, where she attended grade school. She attended boarding school and graduated eighth-grade from Circle of Nations Indian School in Wahpeton, N.D. She attended high school at Flandreau Indian School in Flandreau, S.D. She later came home to Poplar and received her G.E.D. at Fort Peck Community College in 1985. She went to college and graduated with an associate of applied science degree in building trades. While in college, she specialized in roofing, siding, masonry, concrete and framing. She also took part in building FPCC’s Toka Tibi Bookstore where she put her handprints in the concrete under the structure.
She held many jobs which included housekeeping in Billings, telemarketing in Williston, N.D., home healthcare worker/CNA in Poplar, Walmart associate in Williston, N.D., Kum & Go clerk in Watford City, N.D., main cage cashier at Four Bears Casino and Lodge in New Town, N.D., laundry worker at American Linen Laundry for different hospitals in Billings, laborer for Fort Peck Tribes, certified flagger for TERO, landscaper and a bartender in Williston, N.D. She was a jack of all trades. She could do any job and fix any sort of problem with little supplies. She could also make a huge meal out of very little ingredients and always fed whoever walked through her door and clothed those who were in need.
Nothing about her was selfish. She was also an organ donor. After she left this world, her eyes were donated. Four people have the gift of sight, because of her generosity.
She loved to read romance novels and do crossword puzzles. She always supported the pow-wow committees by playing Bingo at the activity center.
She used to care for her grandson Victor when he was a baby and nicknamed him “Bubba.” After he learned to talk, he called her “Grandma Bubba.”
She took pride in her children and grandchildren. She is survived by six daughters, Amanda Fast Horse-Boyd of Poplar, Jessica Winge-Peterson of Flaxville, Katherine Leibrand of Scobey, Diana Imlay of Malta, Kayla Little Head of Wolf Point, Tyrae Birthmark of Las Vegas, Nev.; four sons, Richard Baros Schwan of Aberdeen, S.D., Kevin Standing of Wolf Point, Carlos Pedraza III and Malcolm GoodBird Jr. of Poplar; 24 grandchildren and two on the way; parents, Gloria and Arlie Diserly; and her husband, Virgil Vernon Merculieff, whom she married on Sept. 20, 2013, in Fort Peck Tribal Court.
They began their relationship 11 years ago and made a home together in Poplar. No children came from this union; however, she took his children as her own. In all of her sickness towards the end, Virgil was right by her side and never left her.
She is also survived by her brothers, Marvin FastHorse of Sandstone, Minn., Randy Birthmark of Oklahoma City, Okla., Frank Diserly of Poplar; and sisters, Diana Tuttle and Dinah Diserly of Poplar.
She was preceded in death by brother, Kevin Alfred Birthmark; unborn grandson, Cody Rae Birthmark.
A funeral service was held Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Poplar Cultural Center. Interment was at the Poplar City Cemetery in Poplar.
Written by Herald-News
Julianne Swain Dille, 72, died Nov. 6, 2015, at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula.
She was born April 11, 1943, in Seattle, Wash., to Josephine Julia Haggard Dille and Dr. Rodger Swain Dille.
Much of her earliest years were spent with her brother, Bryce and grandparents in the mountains north of Seattle at Maple Falls, but not before a memorable adventure across the upper half of the United States on bad roads and in a 1940s vintage Ford Coupe that barely held four. However, between constant car sickness and big brother teasing, she made the trip to Rochester, Minn. She persevered through the first of many life complications to follow.
As a young girl, she attended St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Tacoma, Wash. One memorable school day in second grade during a rare blizzard, brother Bryce picked her up and together they forged their way from school to home. She cried and complained of the cold, but soothed by her brother’s encouraging “home is just around the corner” words, they trudged on through the snow and cold and 30 mile an hour winds to home and hot cocoa, after kisses for Bryce and thanking him for taking her home protected and unharmed through the storm. Thus began her total trust in a higher, or at least older, power to bring her home safe through all of life’s tempests.
After grade school, she attended Aquinas Academy and Stadium High schools. She then pursued further studies at the University of Washington and University of Puget Sound.
She was outgoing, friendly to all, with a good and pure heart that would not hurt a fly. She wrote poetry, handwritten in a spiral-bound notebook she carried with her always, and she loved working as a clerk in various thrift shops around Tacoma, where she spent most of her life. But most of all, she loved her family … especially her many nieces and nephews. Nothing in this life made her smile more than a visit from family.
She lived most of her life in Tacoma, Wash., and her last four years in Missoula.
She is survived by her brother, Bryce Haggard Dille; two sisters, Esther Jane Dille-McCoy and Evelyn Dille Carlisle; and a step sister, Vernetta Boyle.
Services will be held at St. Francis Catholic Church in Missoula and burial in Bellingham, Wash., at Bay View Cemetery.
Written by Herald-News
Billy Dale Eschenbacher, 78, of Savage died at his daughter’s home in Idaho on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.
He was born Jan. 30, 1937, in Williston, N.D., to William and Violet (Replogle) Eschenbacher. He spent his early days living with Henry and Minnie (Eschenbacher) Peterson and attended grade school at Midway. He later moved to Froid where he lived with August and Katie Eschenbacher. He attended Froid High School and graduated in 1955.
He married his high school sweetheart, Delores Luft, April 8, 1956, at the Froid Lutheran Church. They established their home near Savage where he started Dale’s Trucking and they raised their five children. They later moved into the town of Savage.
He was a member of the National Guard and served as a tank commander. He was very active in the Savage community. He was one of the founding members of the Savage Booster Club. He was quite active in high school activities and could always be seen at sporting events. He participated in bowling leagues as well as sponsoring them. He was a member of Savage Senior Citizens Center, Savage Fire Department, Richland Credit Union board member, and was a member of the First Lutheran Church Lutheran Brotherhood. He loved traveling, camping, yearly trips to Medora, attending auctions and collecting antiques. He was a fun loving guy and really loved the Savage community and his many friends.
He is survived by two sons, Wayne and Dar-in, both of Savage; two daughters, Dorie of Santa Fe, N.M., and DeeLaura of Nampa, Idaho; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren:.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Kenneth; sisters, Betty and Colleen; a son, David Dale; and his wife, Delores.
Funeral services were Oct. 29 at the First Lutheran Church in Savage, with Pastor Nell Lindorf officiating. Interment was in the Riverview Cemetery in Savage.
Written by Herald-News
Victor Weinmeister, age 92, was born on leap year, Feb. 29, 1924, at the family home in the farming community of Durham, Kansas. He was the seventh child born to German immigrants Mary (Batt) Weinmeister and David Weinmeister.
His childhood and early life was full of the difficult responsibilities of farming in the 1930s, including working the fields with his father’s dapple gray draft horses by the age of 8. Victor attended the “Red Top” Country School in Durham where he and his siblings walked to school, in Victor’s case, barefoot. His family survived on very little, but Victor’s days in Durham were always a positive memory in his mind and he spoke of them frequently recalling exactly how many miles it was to each neighbor, to church and to town.
In the early 1940s, his family moved to Montana. Victor was age 14 at the time and began working for various farmers in the Nashua community. One such employer offered room and board in an 8x10 cook shack with a cot and a pot-bellied stove. In exchange for these posh accommodations, Victor’s duties included haying, tending cattle and helping the farmer’s nine-year-old daughter catch her horse to get to school.
Victor shared the exact same name as his first cousin who also lived in Nashua. For several years, the two of them and a local friend Fod Hill began traveling the countryside in an old 1940s Plymouth to various parts of the United States, including Las Vegas, Nev., Pendleton, Ore., Chicago, Ill., and Cleveland, Ohio, roofing U.S. government ammunition igloos. It was during this time that he was put in the driver’s seat to get his crew to the next work site in sort of a “bootlegger” fashion, driving the winding roads of America full throttle to get the next job done for 50 cents an hour.
At the age of 17, Victor enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He proudly served his country from 1941 through 1945. He was part of the Fourth Infantry of the Fourth Division. He received an honorable discharge and returned to Nashua to raise sugar beets with his brothers Paul, Harvey and Harry on the Milk River bottom. His eldest brother Edward was killed in WWII.
The brothers farmed together for several years and branched into raising cattle, pigs and wheat. During this time, Victor joined the Nashua men’s baseball team and became adept at zinging in pitches so hard it made his catcher’s hand sore. He was even asked to play in a professional league but amazingly declined the offer to pursue farming with his brothers.
Years had now passed and since the school girl could catch her own horse, Victor roped in the love of his life, Amarlys Joann Moecker, a local rodeo queen and acclaimed farm girl who had just attained a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture from Montana State College. Together, Vic and Amarlys
bought a farm south of Nashua and pursued their love of farming and ranch life. While raising five children, they endeavored to step into unchartered waters and become one of the first ranchers in the area to raise Charolais, Santa Gertrudis, Beefmaster and Maine-Anjou cattle, among other crosses. It was evident they truly loved their cattle as they had a much better running water system than the family home. Vic and Amarlys were also very innovative at the time when they built a Harvester
silo to develop a complete feed for a high rate of gain in their cattle.
Having been raised with the value of hard work, Victor started his children working on various pieces of a farm equipment at an early age. It wasn’t uncommon to see his youngest son Gene operating the blower and auger to the Silo alone at the age of six. If Dad expected you to seed, sommerfallow or cut hay for the day, your rows were to be straight! Victor took great pride in his farming and ranching and worked hard to produce the best beef cattle he could along with the most productive crops.
Even though he expected you to work hard, he would also make your days great fun. Often times, he would be up at different intervals at night irrigating and at the end of the day still find energy to hit fly balls to his kids, making us run all over the yard to catch them. Another fun time with him would be when he would sit in the evening to watch TV on his ‘60s model black and white and if the screen started to roll, he would stomp the floor to make it stop so he wouldn’t miss a minute of Johnny Carson and All Star Wrestling.
Taking drives in the country with Dad growing up was sometimes the most fun of all, getting treated to A&W root beer, an evening with the kids piled in the back seat of the fin-backed Buick stopping at Dairy Queen or riding to Nashua in the grain truck and getting treated to a Fresca out of the Peavy Elevator pop machine. But probably some of the most notable memories were the indescribable cattle roundups in his Chevy pickups which shall forever be etched in our minds.
He was a very engaged father who always knew the right thing to say and was most kind and generous to his children, grandchildren and those he knew. He followed his children religiously in their school activities and many times braved dangerous storms and road conditions to be in the stands. Listening to his jokes and stories seemed to make time stand still. He was loved unconditionally by all of his children and simply adored by his grandchildren. Despite any of his misgivings, he was a great role model to his family. He was absolutely priceless to us and his words of wisdom, funny sayings and ALL of the fond memories will live in our hearts forever.
In 2005, Victor moved into Nemont Manor in Glasgow. He was very grateful for the care and comfort he received there. He developed Geriatric Parkinson’s in his last years of life, moving with his eldest son Duane to receive the best care and attention for his condition. On Oct. 30, 2015, Victor entered into the gates of heaven with his devoted son Duane by his side.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Amarlys; parents, Mary and David; and siblings Mary, Pauline, Edward, Paul, Harry, Harvey and Martha and an infant brother.
He is survived by his five children and their families including: son, Duane (Bonnie) Weinmeister of Boulder and their children, Jeremy (Jennifer) Weinmeister and Wendilee (Kevin) Boden, David, Dillon and Chenik-lynn (Nika); son, Randy (Terri) Weinmeister of Great Falls and their children, Mariah (Joe) Stills, Kristina (Joe) Brock, Jennifer (Joe) Dickerson; daughter, Cynthia (Jay) Cole of Willmar, Minn., and her children, Baylie Young, Kayte Cole and Jayne Cole; daughter, Mary Lou Remington of Wolf Point and her children, Steven and Isaac Remington and Mary and Imani Bighorn; and son Gene (Rhonda) Weinmeister of Laguna Hills,
Calif., and their daughters Hannah and Hailee. He is also survived by 12 great- grandchildren.
Viewing for Victor Weinmeister will be held Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. with family receiving friends until service time at Bell Mortuary in Glasgow, Montana. Funeral services will begin at 1 p.m. Burial in the Nashua Cemetery will follow services.
Written by Herald-News
Arlys Koester, 76, of Miles City died Oct. 30, 2015, at TLC Personal Care Home in Miles City.
She was born Feb. 2, 1939, in Poplar. She was the oldest daughter of Alice (Burshia) and Maurice Archdale. She grew up in the Poplar and Wolf Point area. After graduating high school in 1957, she joined the U.S. Army. She was honorably discharged in 1960.
She married Clyde Koester in April 1973 in Wolf Point. They moved to Great Falls, where they resided until after the death of her husband. She moved to Miles City in July 2012.
Over the years, she worked for the Fort Peck Tribal Police, Travelers Insurance, the National Weather Service in Great Falls and for the Catholic Diocese (Blessed Sacrament) in Great Falls.
She is survived by five sisters, Ann Feuerherm, Alicia Soucy and Nora Slunaker, all of Miles City, Julie Maddux of Billings and Lois Brunson of Woodland, Calif.
Funeral service was held Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Military graveside services followed in the Eastern Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Miles City with full military honors.