Where do you begin describing the life and times of a man who lived almost 93 years?
It is difficult to put into a few words and lines all of the obstacles overcome, the accomplishments gained, the places seen, the friends lost and the lives touched.
Born in Canada. A naturalized American citizen. An American soldier. A father. A grandfather. A great grandfather. A mentor. A friend in the good times. A fierce friend in the tough times.
For those who knew him, worked with him, loved him; and there are MANY, we all marveled at how a man who loved a good nap could still be so tireless, even at 92, in his efforts to support the people and organizations he loved. It is the common thread of the heartfelt comments our family has received about Sarge – he just never slowed down.
Sarge. Known as that by his friends for more than twice as long as he actually carried the rank in the United States Army. He retired a First Sargent after a 24 year career that included a tour in the Korean War and 3 tours of the Viet Nam War. A proud member of the “Infantry-Queen of Battle” he wore the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with 1 battle star above all. His Army Commendation Medals (4) and his Good Conduct Medals (7) reflect every bit of his character and courage that his Soldiers Medal, Bronze Stars (4) and Air Medal did. He was a complete soldier – there for his men, there for his country.
He was born in the small town of Stirling, Alberta, Canada on August 27th 1929, the son of Frank Christian Selk and Josephine (Ostlund) Selk. His parents separated early in his life and he lived for awhile with his Grandma Selk and Uncle Charlie as well as several cousins. It was not an easy time. But he could tell countless stories of the fun he had and the trouble he and his friends would get into. He’d tell us, most times it’s just as easy to tell a good story as a bad one. Why not just tell the good ones. He loved to laugh. While he was a naturalized American, he was still Canadian as well. His closeness with his family and friends in Canada never waned and any change of station abroad or prior to a tour was preceded by the family heading to Canada in the then current sedan with the 4-60 air and 3 kids packed in the back seat with their comic books.
After retiring from the Army, he settled in Missoula. Having moved the family 7 times in the preceding 13 years it was quite a change for everyone. He began his second career with Louisiana Pacific. Sarge tackled this career like he tackled his life, all-in and trying to make himself and everyone around him better. No longer the “Top Kick” and responsible for hundreds, he really settled in to the civilian life. He ran the LP “Cash and Carry “ outlet like he ran his outfits in the field. He used the art of trading, scrounging and deal making to their fullest and every small furniture and cabinet maker in the greater 5 Valley area and beyond soon knew to check with Sarge when they needed particle board. He was willing to help out anyone in need (including using his own truck to haul material when needed). With the blessing of Garland Hill, the plant manager, any school or organization that needed material for projects knew they could come to Sarge and LP.
Our world expanded to include camping, fishing, snowmobiling and softball. Sarge joined the local organizations – Elks, Eagles, Odd Fellows and eventually the Masons and the Shrine.
You knew when the Shrine came to town you’d find Sarge and Sylvia decked out in their best Keystone Cop and Clown outfits entertaining the small and big kids alike.
It is fair to say that Sarge’s involvement with the Masons and the Shrine, and relatedly the Legion of Honor, over the course of the last 20 plus years of his life were some of the most meaningful for him. Helping kids, standing honor guard for the soldiers preceding him and carrying on the traditions so important to his make-up were what drove him to “never slow down”. He was honored and humbled to be part of these organizations and strove to always keep the energy and pace moving forward. That was his way.
Although the pandemic stunted 2021, the pride we all felt – family, friends, colleagues, when Sarge became the Algeria Temple Potentate (to our knowledge and all those we asked, the oldest known) was a fitting cap on a life spent in service of others.
You have been loved and you will be dearly missed every day by your family and your friends.
I believe I know what Dwaine “Sarge” Selk, the man and the soldier would say: God keep those who have fallen defending this country’s freedoms. God bless this great country and those who serve.
Sarge, through all of the difficult, trying, frustrating, terrifying and heartbreaking times you never lost your faith, desire, drive or, perhaps most importantly, your sense of humor.
Be at peace and rest now, old soldier.
Survivors include his 2 sons and daughter, 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren:
Robert Selk, Cassandra Knox and Mike Selk
Their families- Dee Selk, Grandson-Justin, Granddaughter -Kerri
Curt Knox, Granddaughters - Ashley, Delaney, Amanda, Deanna
Great Grandchildren – Holden, Harper, Eureka
Vikki Lybbert, Sister.
The Family has requested not to send flowers, please.
Friday, July 8th, 2022
12:15 pm - 1:00
All are welcome!
Garden City Funeral Home & Crematory
1705 West Broadway
Graveside Full Military Honors Service
Friday, July 8th, 2022 @ 2:30pm
All are welcome!
Western Montana State Veteran's Cemetery
1911 Tower St
Immediately following Honors service,
Celebration of Sarge’s INCREDIBLE life!
@ Eagle's Lodge
2420 South Ave. West
All are welcome. Come share Sargeisms, stories, memories, giggles and tears with all of us who loved and admired this wonderful human- our Dad!
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Sarge’s honor to the Shriners International Hospital for Children at:
Please, per Sarge's wishes, do not send flowers!