FORT BENTON - Carol Jean “CJ” Kleinjan, 68, of Fort Benton, died Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005, at home surrounded by her loving family after a short battle with cancer.
A celebration of her life will take place at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Community Bible Church, 1600 Main St. in Fort Benton, with a reception to follow at the Golden Age Center. Cremation has taken place.
Carol was born Dec. 19, 1937, at Rugby, N.D., to Charles and Clara (Nelson) Vaughn. She was raised in and around Minot, N.D. Her first job was working at Gimballs in Minot as a waitress.
She married Don McGiboney in Bozeman in the late 1950s.
She married Marvin Kleinjan in 1965. They made their home in Chinook, where their first endeavor was owning and operating the Tastee Bite Caf. Carol lived in Chinook for 15 years, where she's best known for the Tastee Bite, Harry's Caf and Pastime Steakhouse.
They later divorced.
In 1979, Carol moved to Great Falls where she worked at the Barrel Caf and managed Scheffis on 10th Avenue South. In 1981, she moved to Fort Benton to manage the Landmark Caf. Carol was best known in Fort Benton as “CJ,” as she owned and operated CJ's Diner for 15 years. Carol later operated CJ's Thrift Store/Fort Benton Community Food Pantry.
Carol helped formulate the present Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce, was active in preserving the Shep monument, and sponsored and labored over the Thanksgiving community dinner for 18 years.
Carol came to know the truth of Jesus Christ and His love for her. She was a shining example of Christ through the Thrift Store/Food Pantry. Her passions in life where her grandchildren, Eric and Stephanie, and in everything they did she was proud of their accomplishments.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Clara Vaughn; sisters, Leona Vaughn, Leulla Schmidt and Ann Barham.
Survivors include her daughter, Bobbie (Bob) Tadej; grandson, Eric Tadej; granddaughter, Stephanie Tadej; sisters, Louise (Wilbur) Harsh of Pick City, N.D., Alice Tibbals of Beulah, N.D., Charlotte Schaub of Rochester, Minn.; many nephews and nieces and special daughters and families she adopted into her life.
Memorials can be made to Chouteau County Peace Hospice or Fort Benton Community Thrift Store/Food Pantry.
Benton Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.