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

Opal Buchanan


August 30, 2017

Opal Anna (Johnson) Buchanan of Helena, Mont., passed away Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at the age of 98.

She was born Sept. 3, 1918, to D. Pearl Pontius and Louis J. Johnson in Frazer, Mont. She graduated from Frazer High School in 1937, and Northern Montana College in Havre in 1939. She met Harry Buchanan while working for room and board for his aunt and uncle in Havre. She taught in several country schools in Lothair, Hingham and Fairfield prior to their marriage on Nov. 18, 1945, after Harry returned from his military duties in the Navy. They established a bakery in Chinook in 1950, and lived there until 1953 when they returned to the Frazer area. She taught in the Frazer Public Schools for 39 years, retiring in 1984.

She and Harry then moved to Bigfork, where she became very active at Bethany Lutheran Church, the local Food Bank, and Bigfork Senior Center, and established many wonderful friendships. In 2002, they relocated to Helena to be near daughter Donna and grandson Andrew. She had resided at Renaissance Senior Center since Harry's death in 2013. Sincere thanks to all of the wonderful dedicated caregivers there.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Harry; and sister, Ruth Fast.

She is survived by one daughter, Donna, of Kalispell; one grandson, Andrew, who is currently serving in the US Marine Corps; one sister, Ruby Eliason of Glasgow; as well as several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service celebrating Opal's life has taken place. She was laid to rest at the Montana State Veteran's Cemetery, Fort Harrison. In lieu of flowers, the family suggested memorials be sent to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation, PO Box 80807, Billings, MT 59108 or Enable Ministries, c/o Dana Croxton, 2369 Royal Avenue, Simi Valley, CA93065.

Please visit to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Opal.


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