HARLEM - Lewis C. Gilbert, 90, well-known farmer and rancher, of Harlem died Sunday, June 12, 2005, at his home in the loving arms of his wife and children.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. in the Harlem High School gym Friday. Viewing will be Thursday afternoon and evening at Edwards Funeral Home in Chinook and
at 11 a.m. Friday.
Lewis was born Jan. 12, 1915, in Trenton, Neb., to Millard and Emma Gilbert. His family followed the harvest work from state to state, which eventually led them to the sugar beet fields of Chinook. Lewis learned at an early age that hard work is a virtue, which he exemplified evermore. He attended schools in Blaine County and graduated from Harlem High with honors.
In high school he met his beloved Irene Fitzsimmons of Savoy. They married in 1937 and celebrated their 68th anniversary in November of 2004.
Lewis and Irene built their ranch east of Harlem over a lifetime of dedication and foresight. During his lifetime, Lewis was a city councilman for many terms and was instrumental in getting pavement for the streets of Harlem. He was a longtime volunteer rescue worker and firefighter, and served on the Fort Belknap Housing Board to work for early housing tracts and traveled to Washington, D.C.
In his early years, Lewis worked at the quarry at Snake Butte before he went into farming. He later raised bucking horses for the old Chuck Wagon Days, owned a small grocery story at Fort Belknap, the Montana Caf in Harlem, and the Tubbs Oil gas station, along with various ventures in farming.
He avidly enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, irrigating and clearing his land.
The word retire was not in his vocabulary as Lewis worked until he was 85 years young. It was then that he would come to gallantly face ongoing health issues. Although the last five years were difficult ones, he never lost his appreciation of life or his kind and gentle nature.
Survivors include his wife, Irene; children, Kay (Jack) Howard of Great Falls, Lewis Jr. of Harlem, Sandra Gilbert of Great Falls, Susan (Ron) Grovom of Helena, Phyllis Gilbert of Harlem, Gwen (Jerry) Anderson of Power, Bonnie (Mark) Josephson of Big Timber; chosen daughter, Mary (Jay) Whitaker, of Great Falls; sisters, Elsie K. Nelson and Lily (Dwayne) Kretchmer of Havre, Iris Hay of Hood River, Ore., Quentin Gilbert of Acworth, Ga., Kenneth (Betty) Gilbert of Chester, Gaylord (Lola) Gilbert of Butte, sisters-in-law, Rose Gilbert of Harlem and Virginia Gilbert of Bremerton, Wash.
He was preceded in death were his parents; sisters, Flossie Bubnash, Lucy Bailey and Louisa Woeppel; and brothers, John, Calvin, Andrew and Charlie Gilbert.
Memorials may be made to the Northern Montana Hospice Center.