LeRoy Richard Stein, Glentana farmer/rancher and World War II veteran, passed away on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at age 89 at the Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow, Mont.
Rosary will be recited Saturday, Jan. 18, at 3:30 p.m. and a memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. at the Bell Chapel in Glasgow.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Sunday, Jan. 19, at 12 noon at the Glentana Holy Family Catholic Church in Glentana, followed by interment in the Glentana Cemetery in Glentana.
He was born Feb. 22, 1924 in Glentana, Mont., to German parents, the eighth child in a family of 16 children. He married Patricia Hanvold in the Glentana Holy Family Church on June 30, 1951, and they spent 62 wonderful years together.
Family meant a lot to him. He was close to his brothers and sisters. His grandsons were the light of his life in his later years (he was 75 when the first was born). He always enjoyed getting together with neighbors and nephews and nieces for poker games and at his many many birthday parties, his nieces would vie for the title of "favorite niece." His mother-in-law, Doris Hanvold Neubauer, had a special place in his heart.
He was never at a loss of words – he loved telling a good story and sharing food and drink with friends and family. Strangers didn't stay strangers for long around him. Playing cards at Richland or Opheim and socializing were a staple throughout Roy's life.
Although it's been decades since he's had to utilize his handyman skills, he was always there when someone needed a helping hand, whether it be repairing a washer for an elderly widow or welding a plow for a neighbor. For several decades, he was handyman of the local Catholic Church and Community Hall.
He also didn't shun hard work. After losing his mother at age 14, he worked on the family farm. At the time he was drafted, he was a welder for Associated Shipyard in Seattle.
He served with the 158th Regiment Combat Team Infantry in the South Pacific for 2½ years in World War II, receiving many awards, including the Purple Heart.
For many years, he and his brother, Gene, worked the farm together. In the early '70s, back problems forced Roy to give up much of the farming life. After the Glasgow Air Force Base closed, he worked for several companies there. He then worked as a plumber at the Opheim Radar Site until the site closed and he retired.
He was an avid reader, particularly interested in history and tractors. Basketball was his sport of choice to watch and he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Opheim Vikings, both girls and boys.
He enjoyed his two antique cars - a '53 Olds and a '67 Olds. He was sometimes teased about the extravagance of the "Limousine," but many people enjoyed the occasional tour of the countryside. He was a member of several car clubs. He also served on the Opheim School Board and was very active in the Holy Family Catholic Church. He was also a life member of the VFW and the Montana American Legion, serving at times as chaplain and commander.
Just a couple of months before he passed, he had the opportunity to fly on the Big Sky Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII Memorial, the Arlington Cemetery, and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown (he was most impressed with this ceremony). His escort was his oldest daughter, Sherry.
He was preceded in death by seven brothers, six sisters, a special nephew, Kelly Laughlin (whom he helped raise), and numerous nieces and nephews.
Survivors include his wife, Patti; three daughters, Sherry Shadday and her husband, Steve, of Layton, Utah, Janu Orrick and her husband Winsor, and their son, Henry, of San Rafael, Calif., and Twyla Anderson and her husband, Russ, and their sons, Cade and Bo, of Opheim; two sisters, Gladys Nave and her husband, Pat, and Viola Sammons; three sisters-in-law, Betty Ramsbacher, Lorena Stein and Joyce Stein; and by many many nieces and nephews.
Memorials are suggested to the Big Sky Honor Flight, Box 80201, Billings, MT 59108 or to the Holy Family Roofing Fund.
Bell Mortuary of Glasgow is in charge of arrangements.