Joseph William McFarland


(Jan. 2, 2010)

Joseph William McFarland, 83, died of heart failure Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings.

Joe, the youngest of five children of Le Roy Pearly McFarland and Mildred Harriett Chase McFarland, was born Jan. 24, 1926, in Terry, Mont. His siblings were Ruth, Brad, Harriett and Robert. He grew up and attended school in Terry, where he had many wonderful adventures along the Yellowstone River.

When World War II started, his brother, Brad, enlisted in the Army and another brother, Bob, enlisted in the Marines, so Joe joined the Navy in January 1944. He served in the Pacific on the USS Admiralty Islands, as a Seamen First Class and was honorably discharged on May 1, 1946.

Following his discharge, he worked for a year on a dude ranch in upstate New York, drawing on his experience in Montana working with horses. On his return to Montana, he and his big brother Bob joined the eastern Montana wild horse roundup, gathering Prairie County's wild and unclaimed horses for shipment back east.

A short time later, Joe was on this way to Arizona and another dude ranch when he stopped to see Bob, who was in Meeteetse, and was bewitched by the green-eyed Violet Larson.

Joe and Violet married in Cody, Sept. 24, 1948, and moved to Dillon, Mont. where Joe worked at Skeet's Café, which was owned by his brother-in-law. Their first daughter, Brenda, was born in Dillon. Joe and Vi then worked for various cafés in Butte and Livingston, and finally returned to Meeteetse, where they leased the Cowboy Café. Their son, Mick, was born in Meeteetse.

After leaving the food industry, Joe worked for BS&B tank builders and the family made its home in Powell where a second daughter, Cindy, was born.

In 1957, Joe moved his family back to Meeteetse and the log home he had helped his brother Bob build. He worked in the oil field as a roustabout and for more than 25 years as a custodian and bus driver for the Meeteetse School District. In his spare time he helped Violet and her family with their ranch and outfitting business. He also ran an upholstery shop from the house.

Vi died in May 2002, after which Joe traveled extensively to visit friends and family. On one of these adventures he met Pauline Grossman of Billings. They were married in March 2006 and made their home in Billings. Joe enjoyed making many new friends within Pauline's church and enjoyed his new hobby, rock cutting.

Joe is survived by his wife, Pauline, of Billings; daughters Brenda Eden (Keith) of Powell and Cindy Gullion (Ray) of Worland; and son Michael McFarland (Cheré) of Cody; niece Joyce LeFever (Tom) of Maybell, Colo.; step-daughter Kathleen Fladeland (Richard) of Vernal, Utah; grandchildren Fred Eden, Joyce Hildebrandt (Tim), James Gullion (Becky), Heidi Hernandez (Javier), Jerry Gullion, Darin McFarland (Stacy), Mikki Jo Munson (Jason), Gene LeFevre (Marci)and Connie Lytell (Brandon); nine great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Violet; his parents; and siblings Ruth, Brad, Harriett and Bob.

Two funeral services are planned, with the first at 2 p.m., Friday, Jan. 8 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3288 Shiloh Road in Billings. The second service will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 9 at the LDS Church in Meeteetse. Interment will follow at Meeteetse Cemetery with military honors and a lunch to follow at the Ferret Den.

Cards may be sent to Pauline McFarland, 25 Mountainside Drive, Billings, MT 59102 or Brenda Eden, 843 Road 5, Powell, WY 82435. Donations in Joe’s name may be made to the Yellowstone Council on Aging (Senior Center Lunch Program), 1505 Ave. D, Billings, MT 59102 or to the Meeteetse Senior Center.

Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary in Billings and Ballard’s Funeral Home in Cody are in charge of arrangements.