Ilert Hellebust, 97, of Havre, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at Sweet Memorial Nursing Home in Chinook of natural causes.
His funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, at First Lutheran Church, with Pastor Michael O’Hearn officiating. Burial will take place at Highland Cemetery on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 9:30 a.m. Memorials can be made to First Lutheran Church of Havre or to a charity of one’s choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements.
Ilert was born on a homestead north of Havre on Dec. 11, 1915, to Norwegian immigrants Isak and Ingaborg (Listou) Hellebust. Ilert was the oldest of six children. He attended school through the ninth grade, then officially began his working life. He worked for NYA (National Youth Administration), FU Oil Company, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Hill County ASCS office manager for 22 years and was on the county committee. He was also a rural appraiser for farms and ranches in northern Montana for 40 years. He served eight years on the Montana State Highway Commission, seven years as chairman, and one year on the Governor’s Advisory Council.
He was active in the First Lutheran Church, Hill County and Montana Farmers Union, FU Credit Union, Bear Paw Kiwanis, Eagles, H. Earl Clack Foundation board, and Norden Lodge – Sons of Norway, and served on the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce Ag and Trans committees.
Ilert married Evelyn Ramberg, a teacher, in Dodson, Mont., on June 1, 1941. She passed away on Aug. 8, 1953. He married Katherine (Hobbs) Pfister, a teacher, on June 2, 1956, in Havre.
All who knew Dad knew what a kind, generous, honorable man he was. He was a man of the soil and as they say “You can take the man out of the farm, but not the farm out of the man.” He was a man of great faith and was very active in the First Lutheran Church for many years. He was honored to serve the farmers and ranchers of Hill County in the ASCS office. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and had great respect for the land and all its inhabitants. He was proud of his Norwegian heritage, and he and Kay visited Norway six times after they retired. He was a great story teller, an unofficial Montana historian, and wrote a series of “Flashbacks” articles for the Havre Daily News which he ultimately incorporated into a book that we all treasure called “I Remember.” We will all miss Dad and his stellar example for his family, which was unparalleled. Goodbye “Hawkeye.”
Ilert was preceded in death by his parents; wives, Evelyn Ramberg Hellebust and Katherine Hobbs Hellebust; sisters, Audrey Schend, Jane Hellebust, Ruthye Bishop and Edna Hess; and brother, Lloyd Hellebust.
He is survived by his sister, Doris Hellebust Bishop of Conrad, Mont.; his children, Conn (Debra) Hellebust of Havre, Lynn (Dave) Noyes of Bozeman, Mont., and Zora (Tom) McMaster of Bellingham, Wash.; stepchildren, Barbara (Ron) Clark of Lakeside, Mont. and Gary (Shelley) Pfister of Havre, Mont.; grandchildren, Sean Reithmeier, Kane Hellebust, Kory Hellebust, Krista (Brandon) Komrosky, Brenda (Mike) Baker, Danny (Amy) Clark, Michael Pfister, Gary R. (Conni) Pfister, Brett (Jennifer) McMaster and Jace (Shannon) McMaster; and 14 great-grandchildren.
Condolences and memories may be shared online at www.hollandbonine.com