Michael Paul Liebelt, 48, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at his home in Fort Peck, Mont.
Cremation has taken place. The rosary vigil service is Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Glasgow. The funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at St Raphael's Catholic Church. Burial of ashes will follow at Fort Peck Cemetery and then this summer at Smith River.
He was born in Bozeman on Jan. 24, 1966, to Dr. James and Jeanne Liebelt. The family moved to Fort Peck in 1970. He was a 1984 graduate of Glasgow High School and helped lead the Scottie football team to the 1983 State Class "A" championship. He was also a state sprint champion in the 200m dash and played in the East-West Shrine game.
He went on to play college football at Bismarck Junior College before transferring to play football and run track for the Montana State Bobcats.
Following football, he transferred to Eastern Washington University (EWU) for a nutrition degree and began playing his next sport, rugby. The following year, EWU dropped the nutrition program and he transferred colleges to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. He continued playing rugby, and played for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Southeastern Conference.
He was invited to a tryout for the USA rugby team in New Orleans and eventually finished his B.S. in nutrition/dietetics at the University of Houston.
He played rugby for a couple more years with Houston's prestigious Woodlands Rugby Club, which was a previous national champion.
He stayed in Houston for 17 years, during which he married his love, Julia Siroky, in November 1999. He worked as a lineman for AT&T-Southwestern Bell for 11 years, then went on to work as an insurance adjustor for several years. Although his marriage was dissolved in November 2013, he and his wife maintained a deep love for each other.
He returned back to the state he loved the most, Montana, to be near family, friends and enjoy fishing and hunting.
Those that knew Michael remember him as a very kind, gentle, compassionate and a fun-loving person. He loved animals and especially his dogs. He had a very deep faith and love of the Lord. His favorite Psalm was 27, which he routinely read for comfort. However, through the past few years filled with unfortunate circumstances, personal pain and constant struggles, the weight of it all became unbearable to him.
He was preceded in death by his younger sister, Kirstin, whom he dearly missed; two uncles, Paul Liebelt of Tacoma, Wash ., and Gerald Van Tighem of Great Falls; and three faithful dogs, Lady, Ben and Cowboy.
Survivors include his parents, James and Jeanne Liebelt; dearly beloved brother, Gregory and his wife, Shannon, niece Karissa and nephew Kendal, all of Fort Peck; with a special recognition to a very close friend, Rochelle LaGree.
Aunts and uncles include Marcia Gassner and her husband, Harold, of Long Island, N.Y .; David Van Tighem and his wife, Patricia, Thomas Van Tighem and his wife, Janelle, and Linda Van Tighem, all of Great Falls; Norita Stewart of Tacoma, Wash .; and special uncle John Borgreen of Great Falls.
Cousins include Steve Liebelt, Cindy Naka, Theresa Gassner, David Gassner, Michael Gassner, Laura Bason, Mary Gambino, John Gassner, Elizabeth Gassner, Christine Lencioni, Kathy Van Tighem, Nick Van Tighem, Jennifer Van Tighem and Jessica Van Tighem.
The family appreciates those that gave support, prayers and counseling to Michael. May God bless you.
Bell Mortuary of Glasgow is in charge of arrangements.