Havre Daily News - News you can use

Obituary - Leo L. Van Gorden


December 14, 2018

Leo Gorden

Leo L. Van Gorden, 74, passed away due to natural causes at Northern Montana Hospital on Monday, December 10, 2018.

Cremation has taken place, and in accordance with Leo's wishes, no services will be held.

Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.

Please visit Leo's online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for his family at http://www.hollandbonine.com/.

Leo was born on January 6, 1944, in Havre to Leo and Viola (LaSalle) Van Gorden. He was raised mostly in Havre, living with his grandparents William and Mabel LaSalle for a portion of that time. He also lived with his mom and stepdad Viola and Gene McNutt. While in high school, Leo worked with his Grandpa Bill for the city of Havre. He graduated from Havre High School in 1962, and soon joined the U.S. Army National Guard, attending Northern Montana College while in the Guard. On July 22, 1967, Leo married Cheri Bingeman at First Lutheran Church in Havre, and the couple had one son. Leo worked for the Phillips 66 just south of the railroad yard for some time. He began working for the Great Northern Railroad in 1969 as a switchman, remaining with them through their transitions to BN and BNSF, and retired from BNSF in 2003.

Leo was a true pyromaniac, loving the Fourth of July. He passed his love of fireworks to Jami and they enjoyed starting the planning of their annual fireworks show starting with the new year. Leo enjoyed building his own fireworks, including aerial shots, but was best known for his "bombs." He liked the reaction people gave him when the bombs would go off.

Leo enjoyed restoring old cars, of which his '57 Chevrolet Bel Air was a treasure. In his younger days, he enjoyed fishing and hunting, and some camping, but always complained that there was not enough to do. He was quite the Jack of all Trades, finding ways to fix things that were not working correctly. If he didn't know how to do it, he would research until he knew how to do it. He was also quite the carpenter, having remodeled the interior of the home a few times. His granddaughter Alexandrea "Ali" Bryn Morsette was the apple of his eye, and he loved to cook for her.

Leo was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Viola; grandparents William and Mabel; infant brother Kenneth Jay; and his parents-in-law, Hylas and Verna Johnson.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Cheri (Bingeman) Van Gorden of Havre; son, Jami L. Van Gorden; granddaughter, Ali Morsette; three sisters, Deljean (Randy) Wadsworth of Great Falls, Dallas Pascarella of California, and Ardythe (Shane) Bessette of Great Falls; siblings-in-law Varyl Bingeman of Lewiston, ID, Douglas Bingeman of Moore, MT, Kevin (Lorraine) Johnson of Havre, and Rita (Loren) Turner of Coon Rapids, MN; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorials can be sent to First Lutheran Church of Havre, Havre Baseball Association or the charity of one's own choice.


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