Claude (Blackie) H. Lackner, 87, died of natural causes Friday, May 29, 2009, at Northern Montana Hospital in Havre, Mont.
Viewing will be 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday June 2, 2009, at the Holland & Bonine Funeral Home. Graveside service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, June 4, 2009, at the Missoula Cemetery with veteran honors. Memorials in Claude’s honor may be made to the Disabled American Veterans. Services have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home. Claude was born May 31, 1921, in Ismay, Mont., to John and Gladys (Salakled) Lackner. He was raised and educated in Miles City, Mont., where he attended high school. He entered into the United States Army in 1942 and served in World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1945. Claude Lackner was married to Dorean E. Denius for 65 years, and they had four children. He is survived by the oldest son, Dale Lackner of Haines, Alaska; middle son, Roy Lackner of Big Sandy, Mont.; and the youngest son, Stephen Lackner of Sacramento, Calif. A fourth son, Claude H. Lackner Jr., passed away when he was 18 months old. He is survived by his three sons, two half-brothers, Donald and Kay and his wife, Dorean Lackner, 15 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Blackie was a decorated World War II veteran, having served in the United Kingdom n 1st of July, 1942, North African Invasion Oct. 25, 1942, and the United States Oct. 9, 1944. During his service time, he was presented with the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He ended his service time at Fort Missoula as a prison guard. Blackie worked for 20 years for the Northern Pacific Railroad, starting as a pipe fitter on the steam engines in the old roundhouse in Missoula, Mont. As the diesel locomotive replaced the steam engines, he worked freight docks and was a clerk in the railroad yard. He left the railroad to accept employment with Frenchtown School District as maintenance director and was there for 20 years. He also served on the school board and was chairman for several years. He also served on the Montana State School Board and ran for the state Legislature. In his tenure with the railroad and the school district he held licenses in plumbing, electrical, pipe fitter and sheet metal building. Blackie had many hobbies and interests. His first love was golfing, but also, at various times in his life, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, bowling and reading history, especially Montana history. To say the least, he was an accomplished Montana historian. He and our grandfather, Roney Denius, and the family would leave early in the morning and drive to Flathead Lake to snag Kokane salmon. He also enjoyed hiking into mountain lakes and camping. He also spent many years working with stones and gems and making jewelry. He loved to have lengthy discussions on almost any topic with anyone that was a good listener. He also coached Babe Ruth League at Frenchtown for many summers and was involved in 4-H and the Missoula County Fair. He spent many years as a Cub Scout leader in Missoula, Mont., where his specialty was his ability to build kites. He enjoyed a competitive game of chess. He loved the farm life and spent most of his life on the farm raising most of the meat we ate. We raised chickens, pigs, cattle and operated a dairy herd for many years. The family was raised on these products along with real whole milk, real cream and homemade butter. For as long as we can remember, we had horses which were used for enjoyment and hunting and fishing trips. Blackie was a husband, father, patriot and provider and was always concerned with the welfare of others. His vast knowledge and know-how of almost everything can never be replaced. His passing will leave a vacancy in many lives, but may we all be so fortunate to be able to live so long, be as successful as he was and leave in a peaceful and non-suffering manner. Blackie Lackner was an extremely fortunate and talented individual who will be missed by all, but never forgotten.