William ( Bill) A. Beeler
William (Bill) A. Beeler, Jr. was born in Missoula Community Hospital on October 11, 1940 to Bill and Emma Beeler.
Bill, his sister Pat and younger brother Ben were raised in a hard working, fun loving family. They raised a few farm animals, irrigated the fields, and got into lots of mischief. Of course, Bill was usually the ringleader. Bill, his brother and sister, their mom, and whoever happened to be at the house, would play cards to see who needed to go change sprinkler pipe. There was lots of cheating going on, making sure whoever got picked that day, was the one changing all the pipe. They had green apple fights, in which their mom was usually the target. Bill could talk his way out of most things and people never knew when he was teasing. Once when playing on a snow pile with his siblings, he said he broke his leg. They didn’t believe him and finally got tired of the game and went inside. A couple of hours later, when he didn’t come in, they realized this time, he wasn’t kidding.
When Bill was 17, he met his other half, his best friend, his wife of 61 years, Mary Popham. She was only 16, an underclassman, but that didn’t stop him from flirting with her. She would be walking down the high school halls, with her boyfriend, and he would walk by and wink at her. When Bill proposed, he and Mary were swimming at Lolo Hot Springs. She said no, when he proposed, so he dunked her. When she came up, he asked again, and again she said no. This happened several more times. Finally giving up, she came up screaming, “Yes, yes, yes”. He still dunked her one more time for good measure.
After Mary and Bill got married, Bill worked at several different jobs, looking for what he was good at, would really enjoy and what would best take care of his family. He worked on the forest fire crew, the railroad, and a fishing boat on the coast, even though he got severely sea sick. In 1964, Bill started working at the Frenchtown Pulp Mill. He worked hard, as he did with everything, and became a journeyman electrician. He loved the challenge, training the new guys, and the variety that came with the job. He retired in 2000 and moved with Mary to Tobacco Valley, up by Eureka Montana, on Lake Koocanusa. They hunted, fished, and made many, many close friends in the more laid back community.
Bill spent his free time from work with his family and friends backpacking, fishing, hunting, motorcycle riding, and river racing. He was a family man who was loved and respected by everyone who met him. He never passed up anyone in need and made friends wherever he went.
He is survived by his wife Mary, 3 girls, Laurie (Dallas) Dupree, Linda, (Jim) Foster, and Lisa (Tony) Johnson, 7 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, brother Ben (Barb) Beeler, favorite aunt Linda Carol Kamaloni McIntyre, and close friend, Jack Grover.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Emma Beeler, his sister and brother-in-law, Pat and Art O’Pat, and his children, Jeannie Marie and Danny.