By HDN Staff
CHINOOK Nick Lafrantz, 99, died Monday, June 24, 2002, at a Chinook nursing home.
Masonic memorial services will be 11 a.m. Friday in the Chinook Masonic Temple.
Nick was born April 11, 1903, at the family cattle and sheep ranch on upper Peoples Creek southeast of Lloyd in the foothills of the Bear Paw Mountains. His father went by buggy to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation to obtain midwife to assist in his delivery.
Nick rode horseback or walked the two miles to Peoples Creek school through the eighth grade. He attended high school at the Billings Poly-Technic, now known as Rocky Mountain College.
Nick worked at the smelter in Great Falls during the 1920s when time would permit working away from the ranch.
He married Ann Boehmer at the First Lutheran Church in Havre on Nov. 29, 1933. They sold their ranch in 1937 and moved nine miles east to Cleveland. They bought 32 of the 40 lots in the townsite and together they had the general store, gas pump, post office and dance hall. Nick was also in the trucking business, hauling groceries out of Chinook, fence posts, stock feed, coal and various other products.
Nick served on the district school board in the 1940s. The board oversaw seven schools: Ramberg, Peoples Creek, Lone Tree Bench, Raglan Bench, Cleveland, Williamson and Hays.
He had 28 years and seven months in federal service, including the Cleveland Post Office. He joined the Bureau of Biological Survey on May 15, 1946 as mammal control supervisor. He was promoted to district supervisor for the division of wildlife services and held that position until his retirement on Dec. 30, 1966. He received an honor award for commendable service from the Department of the Interior for his efficient and conscientious skill in his profession and his rapport with the public he served.
After retirement, Nick kept busy as an outfitter on the Missouri River for 12 years. He enjoyed working on the river from Virgelle to the Fred Robinson Bridge despite never learning to swim. He was organizer, guide and cook, and was responsible for getting food ready for the start and resupplying the large groups at the midway point.
Nick was proud of his 69 years as a Mason. He belonged to the Eagles in Chinook and Havre for a total of 39 years. He joined the Elks Club of Havre in 1945 and was named Elk of the Year in 1983. He served six years as a trustee and cooked many dinners for the Elks through the years.
He filled his last elk tag when he was 93 and fished almost to the end and hunted as long as he could. He was devoted to his family, never complained, was always game for a long trip or a party, and had a zest for life.
Nick was preceded in death by his older sister, Thresa Ramberg at 99, and younger sister, Irene Herron at 94.
Survivors include his daughter, Barbara Lafrantz and her friend, Richard Wagner, of Bigfork; granddaughter, Sharon (Jack) Kostelecky of Billings; grandson, Nick (Sharon) Siebrasse of Havre; seven great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Memorials may be sent to one's choice.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.