Joseph William McFarland, 83, passed away from heart failure Saturday, January 2, 2010, at St. Vincent's Hospital, Billings, MT.
Joe, the youngest of five children of Le Roy Pearly McFarland and Mildred Harriett Chase McFarland, was born January 24, 1926 in Terry, Montana. His siblings were Ruth, Brad, Harriett and Robert. He grew up and attended school in Terry, where he had many wonderful adventures along the Yellowstone River. When the war started, Brad enlisted in the Army and Bob enlisted in the Marines, so Joe enlisted in the Navy January, 1944. He served in the Pacific on the USS Admiralty Islands, as a Seamen First Class and was Honorably Discharged on May 1, 1946.
Following his honorable discharge he worked for a year on a dude ranch in up-state New York, drawing on his experience in Montana for working with horses. On his return to Montana, he and his big brother Bob joined the Eastern Montana wild horse roundup, gathering Prairie County's wild and unclaimed horses for shipment back east. Joe's brother Bob headed to Pinedale, Wyoming where he married his friends sister Agnes. Bob and Agnes went to Meeteetse, Wyoming to see another friend, Morris McCarty who had just married Pauline Larson. Joe was on this way to Arizona and another dude ranch when he stopped to see Bob in Meeteetse and was bewitched by Pauline's green eyed younger sister, Violet Larson. Violet was quite taken with him and "listened in" when he called her mom, Katie, to ask permission to take her out -Violet was the telephone operator in town.
Joe and Violet married in Cody, September 24, 1948 and moved to Dillon, Montana where Joe worked at his brother-in-law's Skeet's Cafe. Their first daughter, Brenda, was born in Dillon. Joe and Vi then worked for various cafe's in Butte and Livingston, and finally returned to Meeteetse, where they leased the Cowboy Cafe. Their son Mick was born while in Meeteetse. After leaving the food industry, Joe worked for BS&B tank builders and built tanks all over northern Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, while making his home in Powell, Wyoming, where their second daughter Cindy was born.
In 1957, Joe moved his family back to Meeteetse and the log home he had helped his brother Bob build. He worked in the oil field as a roustabout and more than 25 years for the Meeteetse School District as a custodian and bus driver. In his spare time he helped Violet and her family on the ranch and the outfitting business. He also ran an upholstery shop from the house. Vi passed away in May, 2006, after which Joe traveled extensively to visit friends and family. On one of these travels he met Pauline Grossman of Billings. They were married in March of 2006 and made their home in Billings. Joe enjoyed making many new friends within Pauline's church and enjoyed his new hobby rock cutting. Family and friends will treasure the gifts he made from Montana Agate.
Joe was much loved by his large number of friends and family, which he and Pauline enjoyed traveling to and visiting. He enjoyed rock hunting and lapidary work, hunting with his family on Elinor and Anderson creeks, and telling a good story of his travels. His big smile will be missed.
Joe is survived by his wife, Pauline of Billings; daughters Brenda (Keith) Eden of Powell, Cindy (Ray) Gullion of Worland, and son Michael (Chere') McFarland of Cody; niece Joyce (Tom) LeFever of Maybell, CO; step-daughter Kathleen (Richard) Fladeland of Vernal, UT; grandchildren Fred Eden, Joyce (Tim) Hildebrandt, James (Becky) Gullion, Heidi (Javier) Hernandez, Jerry Gullion, Darin (Stacy) McFarland, Mikki Jo (Jason) Munson and Gene (Marci) LeFevre and Connie (Brandon) Lytell; nine great-grand children; as well as many nieces and nephews who were dear to him, Charles (Hilda) Murray, Don (Char) Murray, Sharon (Ed) Stede, Sandra (Vance) Brewer, Mary McFarland, Middy (Bill) Dutton, Anita (Frank) Partridge, Roy (Dotty) Welborn, and Judy (John) Patterson.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife Violet; his parents; and siblings Ruth, Brad, Harriett and Bob.
Two funeral services are planned due to Joe's many and far flung friends and family. The first service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, January 8, 2010 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3288 Shiloh Road, Billings, MT with reception to follow. The second service will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, January 9, 2010 at the LDS Church in Meeteetse. Interment will follow at Meeteetse Cemetery with military honors and a lunch to follow at the Ferret Den.
Cards may be sent to Pauline McFarland, 25 Mountainside Drive, Billings, MT 59102 or Brenda Eden, 843 Road 5, Powell, WY 82435. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Yellowstone Council on Aging (Senior Center Lunch Program), 1505 Ave. D, Billings, MT 59102 or the Meeteetse Senior Center. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary in Billings and Ballard’s Funeral Home in Cody are in charge of arrangements.