Rex Sprouse


(May 13, 2006)

Rex Sprouse of Lovell died early Saturday, May 13, at Deaconess Billings Clinic after a long battle with cancer.

He was 78.

He was born Jan. 25, 1928, in Callaway, Neb., to George and Adelheit (Vollenweider) Sprouse. He was the youngest of eight children. He grew up in Callaway and apprenticed as a mechanic for two years with his brother, Roger “Peg." He served in Korea in 1946-47, then returned to Callaway to work as a mechanic and a volunteer fireman.

On March 9, 1949, he married Marjorie Timmons of Oconto, Neb. They had three daughters, who were all born in Callaway.

In 1955, he was hired by Sid Ryan to be a mechanic at his car dealership in Lovell. He, Marge and the three girls made the move to Wyoming where he resided until his death. During those years he worked for Sid Ryan for two years, the Warren lime quarry for several months and Ward Chevrolet for 12 years before starting his own business, Sprouse Motors. He retired from mechanic work in 1992. In 1994 he went to work for Georgia Pacific as a night watchman for seven years. He was also a charter member of North Big Horn Search and Rescue, which he helped establish in 1972.

The last five years of his life were spent enjoying his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, being part of the 8 a.m. coffee shift at Minchow’s, taking care of his yard and trying to win the lottery. Even on his last trip to Billings to be admitted to the hospital, he made sure he stopped at Bridger to buy his lottery ticket (no, it wasn’t a winner).

He battled cancer with strength and courage for more than 10 years. He was eventually diagnosed with three different cancers simultaneously. His case was so rare that Dr. Thomas Purcell lectured his case at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Nigel, Albert and Waldo; and two sisters, Dolly and Wanda.

He is survived by his wife; three daughters, Judy Tippetts and Becky (Ron) Korell, both of Lovell, and Connie (Peter) Salm of West Valley City, Utah; seven grandchildren, Brook (Brandy) Tippetts and Sam Korell, both of Lovell, Karee Korell of Seattle, Matthew (Chasity) Korell of Miles City, Mont., Kensey, Jaclyn and Gentry Salm of West Valley City, Utah; and four great-granddaughters, Masey and Larissa Tippetts of Lovell and SheaLee and Kaitlyn Korell of Miles City. He is also survived by one sister and one brother, Arlene Province and Roger Sprouse, both of Madras, Ore.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were Tuesday, May 16, at the United Methodist Church of Lovell with Pastor Catherine Moorehead officiating. Arrangements were handled by Haskell Funeral Home of Lovell and Stevenson’s and Sons Funeral Home of Miles City.

Memorial donations may be made to “Cancer Center, The Billings Clinic Foundation, P.O. Box 3566, Billings, MT 59103” or to the charity of one’s choice.