Donald Edmond Cheek

Donald Edmond Cheek    Donald Edmond Cheek of Conrad passed from this life on May 8, to join his beloved Ella, his wife of sixty seven years who passed on just one month previous.  Donald was born October 18, 1916, the first of four children, at home on the family farm at Fowler.
    Survivors include a son Armond (Joan) Cheek, of Ledger; a daughter Nadean (Ron) Proul of Swan Lake; sisters Exene Russell, of Conrad and Violet White, of Sun City, Ariz.; grand children Wanda (Keith) Wagner, of Red Deer, Alta., Gary Cheek, of Cut Bank, Daryl (Lynn) Cheek, of Helena, Ron Jr. (Leticia) Proul, of Palos Verdes, Calif., Dawn (Curtis) Lembke, of Kalispell, Cathlyn (Peter) Ostrem, of Glen Ridge, N.J.; 12 great grand children, one great-great grandchild and numerous loving nieces and nephews.
    He was preceded in death by his wife Ella, his parents E.G. Cheek and Bertha Duncan Cheek, brother Marvin Cheek and grandson Steven Proul.
    Don grew up on the family homestead in Liberty County, attended schools in Conrad and Ashmoor and because of the distance he boarded out with families. Finally a school was built at North Pondera, closer to home (3 miles), that was the year of the big blizzard in December of 1928.  Don, his brother and two neighbor boys set out from school in that storm, they were having a hard time deciding which direction to go in the storm, the others wanted to go one direction Don insisted they head the other, guiding them safely home. In that same storm, near Choteau, two children got lost in the blizzard and froze to death. When it was time for high school there was work to do on the farm and with the cattle, and a depression to get through so he was unable to finish high school.
    Horses were a big part of his life both in farming, running teams of horses and in tending the cattle. Everyday work was like a rodeo, breaking horses, herding cows, branding and occasionally riding to neighborhood card parties and dances. When he was eighteen he and another neighbor herded a couple hundred head of cattle to Galata to the train to ship to Minneapolis to sell. They rode with the cattle to tend them and complete the sale; you can imagine the wide-eyed farm boys in a big city were they spent a couple of days.
    Donald farmed the family farm and raised cattle until retirement when they moved to Conrad and bought a home. They also enjoyed winters in Arizona, busy with square dancing, church and camp socials. He and his wife Ella were the ever-present volunteers, at Golden West Lutheran Church, the community and the Conrad Senior Center doing whatever needed doing, they’d pitch in and get it done. They took on a three-year project of fund raising to help buy a new Senior Surry. One of Don’s highlights was on the volunteer guards for President Harry Truman when he came for the dedication of Tiber Dam. Don also enjoyed his many years as brand inspector, he said it never paid much, if any, but was served many fine meals at the ranches where he was inspecting the cattle. He also taught “55 Alive” safe driver courses. In 1996 Don was, along with Ella, voted “Senior Citizen Volunteers of the Year” for Pondera County. His kind smile and quiet ways will be missed by everyone.
    Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. on May 19, at Pondera Valley Lutheran Church. Pondera Funeral home is handling arrangements, and cremation has taken place. Memorials are suggested to the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch at Billings, The Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp or the givers favorite charity.