Delores J. Rife

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dolores J. Rife, fondly called “Dodie”, passed away peacefully in her home in Roy, Montana on September 28, 2018 at the age of 84.

She was preceded in death by her husband, the love of her life, John Robert Rife. She is also preceded in death by her parents, Victor and Ellen Sandstrom; brother, Fred Sandstrom; sister, Lois Bricker; daughter-in-law, Peggy Rife; and grandsons, Earl Rife, Jr. and Jason Wichman.

Dolores survived by her children: Earl Rife of Kalispell; Jacquie Wilson of Roseburg, Oregon; Vicki Rife of Virginia City; Carson Rife of Spokane, Washington; and William “Bill” Rife of Winnett, and their spouses and families including seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one brother, Dale Sandstrom of Edwards, Missouri.

Her grandfather Olaf Sandstrom and family came to America from Sweden and homesteaded near Valentine. She was raised in Alberton, where her father and Uncle Leonard Sandstrom operated a sawmill.

Dolores moved to Roy during high school. She was very active in drama, music, cheerleading, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, and track. She even modeled for a professional photographer in Lewistown.

In Roy, Dodie met and married the love of her life, John Rife. They began their married life in the Missouri River Breaks where John worked as a ranch hand for Sheriff Guy Tulluch. They bought a home and raised their family in Roy. Then they moved to and lived on their small farm near Roundup from 1964-68. These years at Roundup were some of their happiest times. They purchased a mercantile store and moved back to Roy.

She and John were members of the Presbyterian Church and helped establish the Roy Rodeo Club and Archery Club. She was active in Eastern Star, was a Boy Scout Den Mother, 4-H Leader, and volunteered her time to many school activities and projects.

She was a business woman and operated the Rife Mercantile in Roy and managed the family mining operations. They sold their store and moved to Lewistown in the early 1970s where she and John had a lovely home. Often they were with family and friends in the mountains camping, hunting, fishing, or prospecting. They enjoyed playing musical instruments and singing, dancing, archery, bowling on leagues and they never missed a Montana Highway Department Bowling Tournament.

Dodie was an accomplished seamstress and created many costumes for school plays. She designed and sewed beautiful gowns for the Victorian Ball in Virginia City.

Dolores worked in George Ruckman’s jewelry store. She was secretary for the Lewistown Chapter of the MMA for many years. She was the first woman to serve on the board of the Montana Mining Association. Dolores received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the MMA.

Tragically, John was killed in an accident while working as a project manager for the Montana Highway Department on a construction project near Roundup in 1988. She never remarried.

Dolores lived in Lewistown for several years, but eventually moved back to their original home in Roy. She enjoyed traveling and visited Canada, Hawaii, England, Ireland, Australia, and many western states.

Dolores loved her family and friends and will always be remembered for the twinkle in her blue eyes, her great sense of humor, quick smile, and contagious laughter.

Private services will be held with interment to follow at the Lewistown City Cemetery where Dodie will rest with her husband John.

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Dodie’s family and friends can share memories and condolences at



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