Dwayne L. “Kretch” Kretchmer, 81, of Havre died peacefully Friday, March 3, 2006, at his residence of natural causes.
A prayer vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Jude Catholic Church. After the prayer vigil, a social gathering will be held at the Elks Club. Dwayne's funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Jude Catholic Church with the Rev. Robert D. Grosch officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow at Highland Cemetery. A fellowship luncheon will be held at St. Jude Parish Center immediately after the services at the graveside.
Dwayne was born Oct. 17, 1924, in Oriska, N.D., to Math Kretchmer and Lillian Cota at his Aunt and Uncle Crosby's home. His Uncle Crosby was his doctor. He attended school in Oriska and graduated from Oriska “Ramblers” High School in 1942. Dwayne was involved in all school sports, where he excelled in track and basketball. Upon graduation from high school, Dwayne entered the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. He served in the Navy Sea Bees in Iwo Jima. He was honorably discharged in 1946. After the service, he moved to Great Falls and later to Cascade, where he was employed at the Chevrolet garage.
He met and married Joy Corbitt. They had two daughters, Linda and JoAnn, and were later divorced. Dwayne moved to Havre in the early 1950s and was employed by F.A. Buttrey as a carpet layer. After four years of working for Buttrey's, in 1954 Danny O'Neil, Les Freeman, Gordon Suk and Dwayne purchased Bellands Furniture in downtown Havre. In 1959, Dwayne and Dan were the two partners in a new store, Valley Furniture. Dwayne met Lilly Gilbert and the couple were married Aug. 25, 1956, in Kalispell. Lilly had three daughters, Deanna, Sandra and Jody. Their son Matt was born in 1958 on his father's birthday.
Dwayne was a community minded individual, who devoted many hours to his community and his civic organizations. He was a member of the Havre Elks, fulfilling all the chairs and serving as exalted ruler from 1964-1965, the Eagles, VFW, Optimist, Lions, Rotary, Ducks Unlimited, Walleyes Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the American Legion and served as past president of the Montana Retail Association.
Dwayne, an avid sports fan, always attended the Blue Pony and MSU-Northern basketball and football games. He sponsored many sporting events. One of his favorite summer sports was softball, especially fast pitch. He enjoyed playing cards, especially pinochle and poker. In his spare time, Dwayne had many hobbies to keep him busy, such as hunting, fishing, boating, working in his yard, bowling, traveling, photography and collecting model cars and trucks. He also loved to go dancing.
Dwayne was a family orientated man who had a great devotion to his family and friends. Whether it was spending time at any of the lakes or the mountains, Dwayne could always be found outdoors. Dwayne always talked about his fond memories of his hunting trips with the Evans brothers and of the Wood Tick Inn.
Dwayne was preceded in death by his parents, Math and Lillian Kretchmer; sister, Lorraine Laney; niece, Kathleen Swenson; daughter, Sandra Burrington; and son-in-law, James Pinski.
Dwayne is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lilly Kretchmer of Havre; daughters, Linda (Pat) Parker of Burnsville, Minn., JoAnn Pinski of Great Falls, Deanna Hale of Havre and Jody (Duane) Skoyen of Chinook; son, Matt (Rose) Kretchmer of Havre; brother, LeRoy (Bonnie) Kretchmer of Shasta Lake, Calif.; 12 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorials in Dwayne's honor may be made to the Havre Elks Scholarship, P.O. Box 910, Havre, MT 59501 or to VFW Post No. 497, P.O. Box 497 Havre, MT. 59501.
Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.