Sharon Howell
Lakeside, Ariz.
(Libby), 78

On September 13, 2021, Sharon Howell of Lakeside, Ariz., age 78, passed away in her home surrounded by loved ones. She was a dearly loved wife, sister, mother, aunt, and friend.

Sharon was born June 30, 1943.

She retired from
Continental Airlines
(now United) after 38 years of service.

Having traveled all over the world, she
always enjoyed coming back home.

Home included many places, including Westminster, Colo.; Libby, Mont.; Mesa, Ariz.; Show Low, Ariz.; and Lakeside, Ariz.

Sharon is survived by her husband of 40 years, Verle, and three children, Terri, Kristin (David) and Jason (Traci).

A celebration of her life will be held in the Spring of 2022.


Mary Josephine Varnes
Troy, 71

Mary Josephine
Varnes Payton (Mary Jo), 71, passed away on
September 11, 2021 at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center in Libby, Mont.

She was born on April 18, 1950 to Leon and Enid Varnes in Terry, Mont. and moved to Libby where she attended school.

She married Thirl
Payton on November 29, 1969 and they eventually settled in Noxon, Mont. where they resided for 20 years before moving to Troy in 1995.

Mary Jo loved the Lord and was very active in the Troy Community Baptist Church.

She is preceded in death by her one true love of 38 years, Thirl Payton (2008); mother Enid (Killem) Attchison; father Leon Varnes; sisters Irean Beach, and Lois Auge.

Survivors include her brothers Larry (Donna) Steinmentz of Portland Ore.;  Edward Varnes (Donna) of Gillette, Wyo.;  daughter Sandi Sullivan (Scott) of Troy, Mont.; grandchildren Sarah
Sullivan (Joe Naughton)
of Troy, Mont., and Sean Sullivan of Pullman, Wash.; great grandchildren Ryker, Devynn, and Dawson Naughton all of Troy, Mont.; and her
beloved dog Matti.

A celebration of life will be held in April of 2022.

Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby.

Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting:



Kenneth Keith Kvittum
Libby, 73

It is with great sadness in our hearts, to announce the passing of Kenneth Keith Kvittum.

Ken passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at a Cabinet Peaks Medical Center. Ken had been fighting cancer for 41 months.

Ken was born in Great Lake, Ill., on April 23, 1948. He lived most of
his life in Newburgh, New York, attended Newburgh Free academy and graduated from there.

He met and fell in love with Patricia Wood who would become his lifelong partner. He came out to Libby, Mont. 30 + years ago from Newburg, falling in love with the beauty of the area and the wildlife.

It did take him time to adjust to the slower pace of Montana after living in New York. He always told new people that he met along the way from other places, “Don’t get into a rush, just take it slow. You’ll adjust. Also, make sure you’re in by dark otherwise you become part of the food chain.”

Ken loved to joke with people and always tried to keep it light and enjoyable. He enjoyed meeting new people and sharing his stories and his life

He had many hats through the years – mostly in New York. He worked for West Point as a steam fitter, owned a construction company, a body shop, a grocery store, a couple of bars, and some rental cabins at different times in his life. Then he moved to Libby where he owned and operated Vicks Mobile Home Park for more than 30 years.

He liked seeing people happy and if there was something he could do to help out someone in need he would do his best. He made many friends and business friends through the years both here in Montana and in New York.

Ken is preceded in death by his mother
Elizabeth Earhart, and multiple brothers and sisters.

Ken is survived by his lifelong partner, Patricia Wood; son David DePuy; niece and nephew Aleyah and David DePuy, Jr; his sidekick and small companion (dog) Abbey Lee;  his many friends here and in New York.

Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby.

Online condolences
and memories may be shared by visiting:


Jenny R. Nelson

Libby, 97

Service Notice

A celebration of
Jenny’s life will be held at St. John Lutheran Church, Saturday October 2, at 1:00 p.m. in Libby, Mont. with reception to follow.

Charitable donations may be made in Jenny’s name to Cabinet Peaks
Medical Center Foundation (209 Health Park Dr.), Libby Memorial Events Center (Kootenai Heritage Council, PO Box 360), and The Heritage Museum (P.O. Box 628), Libby, MT 59923.

Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby.

Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting:

Falls Prevention Awareness

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials report that nearly one in three Montanans aged 65 and older have reported falling at least once in the last 12 months.

Further, about 1,900 Montanans were hospitalized due to unintentional falls in 2020. And, one in five falls result in a serious injury.

DPHHS Falls Prevention Program Manager Melissa Dale said the issue really begins to impact Montanans after age 55. She added that while falling is not a
normal part of aging, as a person ages they are at an increased risk for falling,
as well as sustaining an injury due to a fall.

“The reality is that a majority of falls are preventable by making practical lifestyle changes,” Dale said. “Knowing your risk factors of falling and how to make adjustments to reduce the risks can be the difference of living independently or sustaining a serious injury.”

Dale said that falls are costly, both in dollars and quality of life. The most
common injuries sustained from a fall are hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries.

There are several easy tips to prevent falls, including these six simple steps:


– Start or maintain an exercise program

– Talk with your health care provider

– Review your medication with your doctor and/or pharmacist

– Have your vision and hearing checked every year

– Keep your home safe (and how to be safe when outdoors)

– Talk with your family


DPHHS and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) have partnered to bring awareness for older Montanans to determine their risk factors. NCOA has a free assessment tool—Falls Free Check-Up at The Falls Free Check-Up has 12 yes and no questions to determine one’s risk factors for falling.

Those with multiple risk factors, who have fallen, or have a fear of falling can attend a falls prevention workshop. The MT Falls Prevention Program is working closely with local communities across the state to offer classes such as Stepping On and Stay Active & Independent for Life (SAIL). Programs teach participants how to reduce the risk of falling through lifestyle modification and physical activity.

To locate the Stepping On and SAIL workshops, visit the Montana Falls Prevention website at or call