(July 8, 2009)
Allen “Al” Stewart Bjelkevig of Powell died Wednesday, July 8 at St. Vincent's Healthcare in Billings, of complications from pulmonary fibrosis.
Al, the youngest of five children, was born Sept. 16, 1931 in Ross, N.D. to James and Annie (Bjorgen) Bjelkevig. He attended school in Manatou, N.D.
He proudly served his country during the Korean Conflict as a Sergeant in the U.S. Regular Army from July 1951 through December 1952. He was honorably discharged from duty in February 1954.
He married Jeanette “Jackie” (Harman) Wheeler on Nov. 10, 1960. They spent their entire married life in Powell.
During his working years, his primary career focus was in the oil and gas industry. Following an industrial accident in 1982, he was left permanently disabled. He enjoyed tinkering with automobile repair, rock-hunting and jewelry-making, sewing machine repair and woodworking. His other hobbies included fishing and boating, camping in the mountains and playing cards.
He enjoyed spending time with and was very proud of his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and his extended family. He also had a special group of friends that he “coffeed with” each morning at Pepe's.
He is survived by his wife, Jackie, of Powell; sons Stewart Bjelkevig (Jana) of Wheatland, Ronnie Wheeler of Powell, Forrest Bjelkevig (Susan) of Vancouver, Ore., and Warren Bjelkevig (Christine) of Austin, Texas; daughters Deb Ewalt (Arb) of Casper, Debby Dixon (Doug) of Bismarck, N.D. and Jane Holien (Conrad) of Fargo, N.D.; a sister, Cora Anderson of Gresham, Ore.; 14 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Gerald Bjelkevig, sisters Lillian Hagen and Judy Challis, and grandson Casey Wheeler.
Cremation has taken place and no services are planned. The family suggests people donate blood to their local blood bank in memory of Al.
Cremation and Funeral Gallery of Billings is handling arrangements, and condolences may be sent online to www.cfgbillngs.com.