Recent Obituaries

Harold Phillip Matovich, 74, of Grass Range, died Thursday, October 11, 2018, of natural causes. He was born on June 12, 1944, in Jordan, MT, the son of Philip and Bette (Sult) Matovich. He grew up on a cattle ranch on Calf Creek in Garfield County, halfway between Mosby and Sand Springs. In addition to learning the survival skills needed for ranching, Harold developed an early love for music. He got his first guitar from a catalog store, and his mother taught him the basic chords. Largely self- taught, he became an accomplished guitar player and vocalist.

Flying became his second love, starting with a Taylorcraft. Altogether, he had 14 different planes, almost as many as he had guitars. He took flying lessons from Roland Albright in Roundup, and only had one unplanned landing in all of his flying years. He owned Mission Flying Service in Livingston a few years, but he also flew for Corporate Air, Weeden Construction and others, counting more than 30,000 hours in the cockpit. Sister Linda believes she was his first passenger once he was legally allowed to take passengers. But sister Carey knows she was his first passenger before it was really legal (his log book confirms this). He was a member of the Montana Pilots Association and the AOPA, and was a Montana Pilot of the Year after he spotted an SOS while on a winter night flight to Denver, and helped direct rescuers to a family stranded in the mountains.

He attended schools in Garfield County, graduating from Garfield County High School in 1962. He studied automotive mechanics at Northern Montana College in Havre for two years. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix or weld. In the late 1960’s, he married Sharon LaFountain and they had two daughters. They divorced, and on November 23, 1991, he married Margie Edwards in Las Vegas, NV. In 2001 Harold and Margie moved to Grass Range, operating the Wrangler Bar & Café until they retired in 2015. During that time, they hosted over 100 monthly musical jams, delighting the local dancing community.

He is survived by his wife Margie of Grass Range, MT; daughters Charlotte (Howard) Eike of Malta, MT, and Joey (Chris) Joseph of Pompey’s Pillar, MT; step-sons Ron Brewington of Judith Gap, MT, Brad (Kelly) Brewington of Billings, MT, and Lance (Diane) Loberg of Great Falls, MT; sisters Linda (Gary) Gershmel of Winnett, MT, and Carey Matovich (Robert Delk) of Columbus, MT; 12 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Funeral Services for Harold P. Matovich will be held at 11:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2018, in the Grass Range School, with committal to follow in the Grass Range Cemetery.

Friends are asked to make memorials to the Grass Range High School Music Scholarship Fund or the charity of their choice and may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences may be posted online at

Lloyd K. Prather 71 of Lewistown died early Friday morning, October 5th, 2018 in the Central Montana Medical Center of natural causes. Services and Committal will be in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family. A complete obituary will be released when completed.

Esther Jenni passed away at age 92 on October 1st, 2018 at Central Montana Medical Center after a brief illness, surrounded by her close family. She was born July 17, 1926 in Lewistown, MT to Nels and Ragnahild (Stautland) Rolfsness emigrants from Bømlo, Norway. She attended local schools and graduated in 1944 from Fergus County High School. During WW II she worked in the Navy Yards in Bremerton, WA and for a short time at Boeing in Seattle. When she returned to Lewistown she worked at Power Mercantile until her marriage. On Sept. 7, 1947 she was united in marriage to Lawrence Jenni in Lewistown. They shared almost 57 wonderful years together until his death in 2004. They made their home on lower Spring Creek, raising their family and working together to build up their ranch.

She loved her family and always looked forward to their times together. The families’ “HUGS” were very special to her. She especially enjoyed her grand and great grandchildren. She always tried to attend their school & sports activities.

Lawrence and Esther enjoyed traveling. Masonic activities took them to almost all 50 states as well as Australia & New Zealand. They visited Germany and then on to Norway to the homes of Esther’s relatives and the places her parents lived. Later they enjoyed an Elderhostel in Switzerland near where the Jenni family came from.

Esther loved the water! She loved visiting Carol & Pete at their home on Flathead Lake. Her trips to Patti Jo & John’s always included time on the Oregon coast, another special treat for her.

The ranch was her favorite place of all. She enjoyed seeing the many improvements Don & Nancy and their family have made on it. She was able to stay in her home on the ranch longer thanks to their care.

Esther enjoyed bird watching, knitting, reading, and genealogy. She was known as a good cook and no ranch hand ever left the table hungry.  

She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and served as a Sunday school teacher and an elder. She was a charter member of the South Moccasin Community Club and of the Sons of Norway, a member of Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, Farm Bureau, a Pinochle club and the “Out to Lunch Bunch” (Fergus classmates who started meeting in 1944.)

She is survived by three children, Carol (Peter) Nelson of Kalispell, MT, Don (Nancy) Jenni of Lewistown and Patti Jo (John) Meshnik of Eugene, OR; nine grandchildren, Jenn (Christopher) Rowlison, David Nelson, Thad (Angie) Jenni, Scott (Kate) Jenni, Michael Jenni and Kendra, Paul, Haley, Greg (Anna) Meshnik; six great grandchildren Lachlan & Marielle Rowlison, Parker Miner & Bellamy Jenni, Liam Jenni, & Jane Meshnik.

In addition to her husband Lawrence, she was preceded in death by her sisters; Margaret (Jerry) Larson, Ruth (Gifford) Maryott, Edna (Bert) Bjornson, Mildred (Harold) Bjornson and brothers Oscar (Nonnie) Rolfsness, Nels (Wampie) Rolfsness, and Robert (Margaret) Rolfsness.

A Celebration of Life for Esther Jenni will Saturday October 6th, 2018 at 2:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, private committal will be in the Lewistown City Cemetery. Cloyd Funeral Home is caring for the family.

Friends are asked to make memorials to the First Presbyterian Church, Lewistown Shrine Travel Fund, Sons of Norway or the charity of your choice and they may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

Albert Allan Ward 53 former Lewistown resident, died Monday, September 24th, 2018 of pancreatic cancer in Salem, SC. He was born September 16, 1965 in Lewistown the son of Kenneth and Barbara (Vanek) Ward. He received his schooling in Lewistown graduating from Fergus High School in 1983. He then entered the United States Navy working as a sonar tech, serving 6 years. After his honorable discharge he returned to Lewistown. He attended college in Missoula and then moved to Stevensville where he worked in various fields. He was united in marriage to Tonia Field in June of 1994 and they later divorced. He wrote books for photoshop, did some teaching and taking photographs, while living in Stevensville. He moved to Great Falls and worked at the 4 B’s Restaurant until moving to South Carolina in 2015. On August 26, of 2018 he was united in marriage to Stephanie Couch in Salem, SC. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 45 days before his death.

He is survived by his wife Stephanie of Salem, SC; one son Noah of Stevensville, MT; one daughter Ali Ward of Salem, OR; his mother Barbara Ward of Great Falls, MT; siblings Jeanne Ward of Great Falls, MT, Larry (Valerie) Ward of Layton, Utah, Janet (Jim) Kitchens of Missoula, MT, David (Marilyn) Ward of Lewistown, MT and Jim (Barb) Ward of Moore, MT; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, shipmates and very close friends.

He was preceded in death by his father Kenneth Ward, a nephew Jim Kitchens and a cousin Pat Vanek.

A Celebration of Life for Albert A. Ward will be Saturday, October 6th 2018 at 11:00 a.m. in Brooks Market in Lewistown. Cremation has taken place and committal will be in Central Montana Memorial Gardens. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Jerome B. (Pete) Peterschick 86 of Lewistown passed away while at home surrounded by Hazel his wife of 65 years and his loving family. We lost the rock of our family. Loving husband, father and friend. Family was everything to Pete and everything he did was to nurture and support his family.

Pete was born August 18, 1932 in Hankinson, ND the son of Joseph and Magdalen (Schlener) Peterschick. He was the 9th of 10 children, his father died when he was 2 years old and the hardworking family struggled to stay together. Following his graduation from Saint Francis Academy he worked several jobs before coming to Montana to work on a family farm. In 1952 he met and married the love of his life Hazel Slanger. In December of 1952 he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. After his discharge he worked briefly at the Coast-to-Coast store in Choteau before joining his brother in farming in Oilmont, MT. In 1961 he purchased his own Coast-to-Coast store in Chinook, MT. After 12 years in Chinook he purchased the Coast-to-Coast store in Lewistown, which is now True Value. This store still remains in the family.

After his "retirement" Pete was involved in Real Estate and an Auto Dealership.

He was a member of St Leo’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus where he rose to become the Grand Knight.

He is survived by his wife Hazel of Lewistown; sons Tony (Terri) of Billings and Doug (Laurie) of Lewistown; daughters Kathy (Greg) Perrine of Bozeman, Beth (Todor Todorov) Walter of Great Falls, MT, Chris (Alan) Schaff of Easley, SC and Gayle (Vince) Heard of Helena, MT; sisters Willetta Bommersbach of Hankinson, ND and Magdalen Tomlinson of Minneapolis, MN; 10 grandchildren, several great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by one son Mark, his parents, 2 brothers, 5 sisters, his father and mother in law.

Pete was a kind and generous man who was loved and respected by many.

Memorial Mass for Jerome B. (Pete) Peterschick will be Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Leo’s Catholic Church, rosary will be Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cloyd Chapel. Private Family Committal will take place in Mount Calvary Cemetery. Cremation has taken place. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

The family would like to thank Ted Reppe for his kind and compassionate care of our Dad, which allowed him to remain in his home, as was his wish.

Friends are asked to make memorials to the Central Montana Foundation or the charity of their choice and they may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

     Henry Joseph (Joe) Hukill 70 passed away Sunday, September 16th, 2018 in Lewistown, Montana of natural causes. He was born in Deer Lodge, Montana on October 14, 1947 to Henry John and Kathryn (Dye) Hukill. Joe grew up in Deer Lodge and graduated from Powell County High School in 1968. He enlisted with the United States Air Force, serving his country as the officer in charge of helicopter maintenance and turn-around and jet loading and turn-around in Viet Nam and Thailand. Upon returning from Viet Nam, the Air Force deployed him to Alaska for his final tour. Joe earned an honorable discharge and worked for Bell Helicopter when he returned from the service. Throughout Joe focused his interests and skill sets in mechanical engineering, obtaining certifications in both Automotive and Diesel Tractor operation & maintenance in Colorado.

     Joe’s heart was forever at home in Montana and he was happy to return to Missoula. He is remembered by his friends and family for the loving care he provided for his parents, for his generous spirit and for his compassion and eagerness to help others. Joe stayed in constant contact with friends and family, primarily to ensure that everyone was in good health. To some extent, Joe was the conduit between our geographically disparate family and our Montana friends. Joe was a gentle man and he was a man who would give the shirt off his back without hesitation. He brought his gifts of love and laughter to all who knew him. His sense of humor always earned him points. He liked to joke with friends, and he delighted in devising tricks that brought smiles all around, as well as entertainment for his young nephews.

   Joe is survived by his brother, John Dye Hukill of Lothian, MD; his sister, Carol Rives of Salem, OR; several nieces and nephews who are scattered across the country.  

     Joe will be buried on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 11:00 in Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, Montana with Mount Powell and all its splendor in the foreground. A memorial service for friends and family will be scheduled in June 2019.   The Cloyd Funeral Home of Lewistown is assisting the family.

   Friends who wish to honor Joe’s memory, the family would suggest a donation to your Humane Society, being ever mindful of Joe’s well-loved and pampered kitties and they may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home PO Box 595 Lewistown, MT 59457. Condolences for the family may be posted online at



    Charlene “Shonnie” Phillips 90 of Lewistown died early Thursday morning, September 6th, 2018 in the Central Montana Medical Center of natural causes. She was born June 29, 1928 in Butte, America. The daughter of Harry and Laura (Rivenes) Richter. During Shonnie’s early years the family moved to several cities in Montana including Miles City, Livingston, East Helena and eventually Bozeman which she always thought of as home. During one summer season she worked at Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park where she had many wonderful memories. She attended public schools in Bozeman graduating from Bozeman High and from Montana State College in Bozeman with a degree in business administration. It was while she was attending college Shonnie met the love of her life, Sam Phillips, who had returned from service in the Navy during World War II. Sam and Shonnie were married July 21, 1950 in Bozeman. Their marriage lasted 64 years. Following the wedding the couple moved to Lewistown where they lived at their cattle ranch north of Lewistown in the South Moccasin Mountains. Mom always prepared wonderful meals for the family and hired workers who ate around the same small table in the kitchen.

     Shonnie was a past officer of the PEO organization for women and a member of Zion Lutheran Church. She was also active in a local bridge club in Lewistown and met many life-long loyal friends who made her life all the more special. A fun group called the ‘dizzy dozen’ that gathered annually at Bozeman which was made up of friends during her time at high school and college in Bozeman. Mom was a ready listener and frequently offered wise advice when needed most as a loving mother and devoted wife. She was not one to tolerate prejudice or bigotry of any kind.

     Shonnie is survived by sons Sam (Christine) and Todd (Nancy) all of Lewistown and Mike (Debbie) of Billings; one brother Mick (Anne) Richter of Oakland, CA; 3 granddaughters Kacey (Shelby) of Sioux Falls, SD, Koley (Jamie) of Hamilton, MT, Dani of Hardin, MT and 2 grandsons Landon (Megan) and Keelan both of Billings, MT; seven great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews and many dear friends.

   A memorial service was held at the family ranch on Monday, September 10th, 2018 with Pastor Lynne Ogren leading the ceremony. At her request cremation has taken place with the Cloyd Funeral Home assisting the family.

     The family takes comfort in the belief that mom was a woman of faith in the love of God in Christ and that she passed from this world to the eternal into his loving care and that she is again reunited with her beloved husband Sam.

     Memorials are suggested to the Hospice Care at the Central Montana Medical Center, Zion Lutheran Church, or to the charity of your choice and they may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

She will be missed.

Elsie Marie (Petersen) Hunter 86 of Winnett passed away at the Central Montana Health & Rehab Center in Lewistown on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 after a short illness.   She was born September 13th, 1931 in Mosby, MT the daughter of David and Nora Nell (Hetrick) Petersen. She was the youngest of 7 siblings, receiving her education in Petroleum and Garfield Counties. She lived in the Winnett area most of her life and enjoyed living in a community where she could walk anyplace she needed to go and looked forward to the familiar faces, friends, fellow card players and lunch companions she would seek out. She would often share stories of who she saw at the Kozy Corner and got to catch up with, relatives coming by to check on her or random acts of kindness that she received. We found comfort in the camaraderie and support network that her friends provided her. If we kids, expressed concern for her living alone or worried about her will being, she would always assure us not to worry, “we all check on each other, its fine”.   She sure loved a competitive (and vocal) card game, puzzles, books and in her younger years, music and dancing. We have many great memories of she and Carl showing up for a surprise visit when the whim for a road trip came up and will always appreciate the adventures of those years they spent being companions. Her wit, humor and the sparkle in those blue eyes will be missed.

She is survived by her children Mike A. Bentley of Lewistown, Henry J. Bentley of Great Falls, MT, Tena (Hunter) Ross of Big Timber, MT; sisters Florence Eike of Bozeman, MT and Fern Kestersen of Billings, MT; step-daughters Toni (Bentley) Hughes in Michigan and Deb (Bentley) Rauh of Big Sky, MT; 9 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by daughter Judy A. (Bentley) Collier, daughter-in-law Jackie (Barisich) Bentley, brothers Carl, Daniel, William and Elmer and her parents.

Memorial Services for Elsie M. Hunter will be Saturday, September 15th, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in Celebration Community Fellowship Church. Cremation has taken place and Committal has taken place in Central Montana Memorial Gardens. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Friends are asked to make memorials to the Petroleum County Senior Citizens or to the charity of their choice and they may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at