The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

Stephen Joseph Birkoski

 

Stephen Joseph Birkoski, 73, passed away Tuesday, March 1, 2016, of mesothelioma with his family by his side.

He was born the seventh of 12 kids in Glasgow, Mont., on Nov. 19, 1942, to Joseph and Jenny Birkoski. He went to school in Opheim and Glasgow, where he graduated in 1961, the same year he was drafted into the Army, where he honorably served for 2 years.

During his Opheim years, he met the love of his life, Phyllis Jean Clampitt. They were married in 1965 and were blessed with two daughters, Darcy and Stacy. He worked for the Smelter before joining the Buick garage as parts manager for 25 years. During this time, he also worked a second job as a Howard's Pizza driver. After leaving Dick Grieb Buick, he began working for Sam's Club where he retired in 2008, pending the much anticipated birth of his first granddaughter, Bella Jo. A grandson, Luca James, soon followed.

He was a devoted, honest family man. Husband, Dad and Papa were his favorite roles. His eyes would light up at the mention of Bella or Luca, and he took every opportunity to spend time with them, sharing his love of fishing and camping. Living just down the street, Luca and Papa spent many hours watching football and basketball games together (Ooh, Papa, that was a good run!), while Bella kept Papa busy making crafts.

Steve was a jack of all trades. Whether, building his garage, shingling his daughter's roof, putting in a chain link fence, or mending his grandchildren's toys, he did it all to perfection. "Let's take it to Papa, he can fix anything!" The most memorable fix-it had to be to Luca's most prized possession, his stuffed "Baby Scooby." After his real puppy chewed off Baby Scooby's ear, Luca gingerly took the "part" to Papa who performed "surgery" that same day, making for a very happy little boy.

He enjoyed traveling many places, including Nashville, Alaska, Mexico, and most recently Hawaii, where he took his wife, daughters, and grandchildren to celebrate his and Phyllis' 50th wedding anniversary. But his favorite place was still the lake with a fishing pole in one hand, a cold beer in the other, and family all around.

Up until the end, he lived his life dignified and to the fullest. There was no blame and no pity. He kept his sense of humor throughout, often getting a laugh from his nurses. He will be sorely missed, but we will continue to honor him by the way we live our lives, with dignity, honesty, hard work and a sense of humor.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Edmund, Dennis, Chuck and Johnny; and five sisters, Martha, Patsy, Regina, Stella and Margaret.

Survivors include his wife, Phyllis; two daughters, Darcy and Stacy; two granddaughters, Isabella and Luca; three sisters, Rosalie Winter and her husband, Al, and Denise Fuhrman and her husband, Terry; and numerous nieces, nephews and in-laws.

A funeral liturgy was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 4, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Great Falls.

Condolences for the family may be posted on SchniderFuneralHome.com in Great Falls.

 

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