Yahvah, 97, Of Libby
Eugene (Gene) Lawrence Yahvah, a longtime Libby resident, passed away peacefully on his 97th birthday at his home on the Kootenai River with his family by his side.
He was born May 23rd, 1926, to Lawrence Turner Yahvah and Hazel Ocea Scott Yahvah, the second of their three children. He grew up in Denver and attended East Denver High School, where he played basketball and football but especially excelled in track.
At age 17, Gene persuaded his mother to sign the papers to allow him to join the Navy, and he left high school to fight in World War II. He completed basic training at Farragut, Idaho, on Lake Pend Oreille and was assigned to the U.S.S. Clarendon, a Pacific Fleet tactical transport ship which could carry up to 1,000 soldiers to the battlefield. Gene manned a port machine gun on one of the ship’s landing barges.
Key missions of his ship included delivering a contingent of 859 soldiers with the 10th Army to the Battle of Okinawa on April 26th, 1945. Arriving in the harbor at sunset, the Clarendon’s crew used their landing barges to transport all the men to shore by midnight. While there, they defended against four Japanese air raids, taking down two enemy planes. The Clarendon also supported operations at Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered in September 1945.
Gene’s faith in God began in his youth, guiding him throughout his life, and he did his best to live in the image of Jesus. He was kind, compassionate, and giving to all. His fellowship with other Christians supported him during his time on the ship.
When WWII was over, Gene returned to Colorado, where he attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, majoring in Forest Management and returning to track, concentrating on sprinting events. Gene considered himself very lucky to meet his wife, Bernice, who was also attending CSU. They married September 12th, 1948, finished college together, and were married for 65 years until she passed from Parkinson’s in 2014.
The couple moved to Rexford, Montana, in 1950, where Gene began his career with J. Neils Lumber Company (later sold to St. Regis Paper Company and then Champion International). Gene was the supervisor of logging, road construction, and forestry, and the couple lived in the company’s logging camp. Their three children, Margaret, Stan, and Bonnie were born while they lived in Rexford.
Gene transferred to Libby in 1961, where he served as an area forester managing forests, reaching a total area of about 100,000 acres. He was a forester all the way through his bones and straight to his heart. He carefully managed his assigned forests, and loggers he worked with claimed he considered the trees his babies and had many of them named. His trademark look was the roll of flagging often unfurrowing out of his shirt pocket. Gene always said he was fortunate to have stayed in Lincoln County his entire career to be part of the cycle of the forest.
Contributions during his forestry career include managing the Douglas Fir Tree Improvement plantation and serving terms as chair of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) the Montana Tree Farm Program, fifth grade woods tours, and joint forestry tours with Canada.
He retired in 1988 after 38 years with the company but continued as a forestry consultant and remained active in forestry organizations, including the SAF, which he had joined in 1951. He also continued to manage his 80-acre Tree Farm in Heron, Montana, which he owned since 1977 and discovered while passing out Gideon Bibles at the school there.
Tributes include being named a SAF Fellow in 1989, Outstanding Tree Farmer in 1996, and Kootenai Knute for Nordicfest in 1997. He was honored as a Montana Forestry Pioneer in 2016.
Gene got the travel bug when he was four. The family took a trip in 1930 driving from Denver to Winnipeg, Canada, in an open-sided 1923 Model T Ford, about 2,300 miles round trip on rough roads with a top speed of about 35 mph.
Ever since, he has liked to “go places” both near and far, from a hike in the Cabinet Mountains to a trek on the Great Wall in China, always taking his family along on his adventures whenever possible. He remained healthy and vital throughout his life, even skiing at Turner Mountain through age 87.
Having a knack for striking up conversations with nearly anyone he encountered, his kids and grandkids became used to meeting strangers who already knew everything about them. He once rode a city bus in Santa Monica with his daughter Margaret and talked with the local passengers as if they were all on tour together.
An incurable shutterbug, he was rarely without his camera taking pictures to detail all aspects of his life and travels. During his later years he found joy in taking pictures of the beautiful views from his living room window.
Gene was truly a member of the Greatest Generation and is dearly missed. Thankfully, his example will continue to inspire.
Gene is preceded in death by his wife, Bernice; brother, Ken; and sister, Ruth. He is survived by his children, Margaret Harmon, Stan Yahvah (Linda), and Bonnie Simpson (Eric) all of Libby; his grandchildren Richard Harmon (Anabel) of Sacramento, CA; Jon Harmon (Mabel) of Los Angeles, CA; Adrian Yahvah of Hong Kong; April Hutson (Shawn) of Jacksonville, FL; and Rachel Theler (Ryan) of Buena Vista, CO; as well as seven great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held Thursday, June 8th at 10:30 am at the Libby Christian Church. Graveside services will follow at the Libby Cemetery followed by a reception at the church.
Memorials may be made to the Montana Tree Farm Program, or the Libby Food Pantry.
Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Online memorials and condolences may be shared by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.
Andreessen, 99, Of Libby
Emma L. Andreessen was born December 7, 1924, in Waterloo, Iowa; the daughter of Louis and Edith (Harris) Burk. On July 3, 1944, Emma Lou was united in marriage to Roy A. Andreessen, at First Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Iowa. They moved to Washburn, Iowa, in 1956, where they raised their 3 children. Together, they managed the Washburn Water Company from 1961 until 1984. Emma Lou enjoyed crafting and gardening. She loved playing games and putting jigsaw puzzles together and crossword puzzles. She was a charter member at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Washburn, Iowa, and was very involved with the Naomi Circle. Emma Lou enjoyed working on the election board. She also enjoyed traveling with her husband Roy out west to see their kids and grandchildren and watch them play in many sporting events. Emma Lou moved to Libby, Montana, in 2015, after the death of her beloved husband in 2011, to be closer to her children and grandchildren.
Emma Lou passed away on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Libby, Montana, and joined the love of her life, Roy. She will be brought home to Waterloo, Iowa, to be buried beside her husband, Roy. Graveside services will be planned for Emma Lou at a later date.
Emma Lou is preceded in death by her husband, Roy; parents, Louis and Edith Burk; son in law, Greg Kambel; grandson, Michael Funk; brother, Aurthur Burk; and 4 sisters, Mary Risse, Mathilda Bresson, Betty Miller, and Ramona Brimmer.
Emma Lou is survived by her son, Terry (Carole) Andreessen, Libby, MT; 2 daughters Janelle Quinn and Debra Kambel of Libby, MT; 8 grandchildren, Angela (Jerry) Kelly, Michelle Vincent, Terry Ryan Andreessen, Christie Funk, Emily Leisinger, Danielle (Trent) Henderson, Melissa (Pat) Culver, and Brooke (Keevin) Bertelsen; and 18 great-grandchildren. Emma Lou will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Online memorials and condolences may be shared by visitingwww.schnackenbergfh.com.
Ned Eugene Decker, 77, Of Libby
Ned Eugene Decker (Gene), 77, lost his battle with cancer and passed away May 22, 2023, surrounded by his beloved family and friends at Logan Healthcare in Kalispell, MT.
Gene was born January 24, 1946, to parents Ned L. Decker and Maybelle I. Hall in Libby, MT, where the family lived until moving to Rexford. He graduated from Lincoln County High School in 1964. Gene married the love of his life, Lorraine A. Bernhard, on September 20, 1969, and they built a home in Rexford, where they raised their three children until moving to Libby in 1979.
Gene began working in 1964, as a logger for St. Regis, and throughout his logging career he worked for various employers in Rexford, Libby, and Bonners Ferry areas until retiring in 2014. He worked jointly with his wife with tree-removal services in Libby for years, and always helped others in his church and community using his various skills.
Together with his wife, he led youth ministry for 32 years in the Church of God. He also supported youth as a softball coach in Little League. Gene was an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. He loved reading books and could often be found at his grandchildren’s sporting events peeking over a book. Gene never met a person he didn’t love, and found joy in discussing various subjects, always working in his faith, and loving his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Gene is preceded in death by his parents, Ned L. and Maybelle Decker, along with his twin brothers.
Gene is survived by his wife, Lorraine Decker, of Libby; daughters, Molly and husband Jim Mallet of Athol, ID; Jennifer and husband Cory Andersen of Libby, MT; son, Clinton Decker of Portland, OR; sisters, Caroline and husband Ron St. Onge of Kalispell, MT; Kathryn and husband Wes Mapston of Arlee, MT; and Jeannette and husband Arnold Hansen, Jr., of Salcha, AK. He has eleven beloved grandchildren.
There will be a viewing from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 2023, at the Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby, MT; the family will receive friends during this time. Services will be at Assembly of God Church, 101 Collins Avenue, Libby, MT, at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 17, 2023. In lieu of flowers, a donation in his name to the Libby Church of God would be appreciated. Donations can be sent to 1007 Utah Avenue, Libby, MT, 59923. Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Memorials and condolences may be shared online by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.
Ellison, 30, Of Libby
Shane M. Ellison, 30, passed away on Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Libby, MT from a sudden accident. He was born on June 25, 1992, in Boise, ID. He was surrounded by his friends and family that love him deeply. He is survived by his parents, Dennis and Kristal Herriot, his wife, son, and daughter. Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby.
Sidney “Bruce” Switzer, 88, passed away January 19, 2023, at the Libby Care Center, in Libby, MT. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Christ Lutheran Church, with a military burial to follow at the City of Libby Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Online memorials and condolences may be shared by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.
Gladys A. Sather, 98, passed away on January 26, 2023, at the Cabinet Peaks Medical Center in Libby, MT. Services will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at the Libby Methodist Church. Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Memorials and condolences may be shared online by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.
Gary “Slim” Leggett passed away peacefully in Kalispell, MT, on May 1, 2023. He is survived by his son and daughter, along with 5 beloved grandchildren. A celebration of life to honor his memory will be held at Troy Community Baptist Church on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. Arrangements were under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby.
Celebration of Life for
Thursday June 15, 2023
Libby United Methodist Church
Come and celebrate Bob’s life.
A luncheon will follow at the Ponderosa Room made by Patty, Paula, and friends after the service.