Francis L. Engellant

On Thursday, July 21, Francis L. Engellant, 90, passed away peacefully at Highgate Senior Living surrounded by his loving wife and family due to complications from Alzheimer’s. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 , at the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church, with visitation held one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow in the Geraldine Cemetery.

Francis was born on April 10, 1926, on the family farm outside of Geraldine to Hans and Emma (Jochims) Engellant.  He was raised with his brother and sister on the family farm, attending Sunnyside Country School until he transferred to Geraldine. Francis graduated from Geraldine High School in 1944, and worked on the family farm until he enlisted in the Army Air Corp in August, 1944.  During a furlough in March of 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Blanche Blyth, in the home of her parents Fred and Iza Blyth, and the couple made their temporary home in Denver, Colo., where he was stationed until his discharge in October of 1945. Following Francis’ honorable discharge, the couple returned to the Geraldine area where they began farming and ranching in the Graceville country, north east of Geraldine.

Throughout Francis’ life, he demonstrated a great deal of common sense.  The couple only used their 1948 Chevy truck about once a week to go to town, and in the winter months, Francis would store the oil and battery for the truck behind their wood stove in the house to keep them warm. When they were ready to leave, he would hook up the battery and pour the oil into the truck, and it would start right up.

In 1951, the couple purchased Francis’ uncle Herman’s farm four miles north of Geraldine to expand their farm and ranch. They were closer to town so the children could attend school easier and so they had access to electricity and  telephone. However, they kept the original farm to work, raising cattle in addition to farming.  Over the years, Francis and Blanche worked hard, and later purchased a summer place at Swan Lake, which has provided many hours of fun for the family throughout the years.

The couple retired in 1988, relocating to Fort Benton, continuing to help on the family farm, and spending their time traveling, throwing darts, bowling, boating, fishing, and watching grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  The couple traveled, as well, visiting Hawaii, taking cruises, and traveling all over the United States as well as Europe, where they particularly enjoyed a trip to Germany. In January of 2013, the couple relocated one more time, this time to Highgate Senior Living in Great Falls due to Francis’ failing health.

Francis was an active member of the American Legion, and supported the VFW, a member of the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church, and numerous other community groups. He served on the Geraldine School Board and the Chouteau County Livestock Protective Association. Francis also was a founding member of the Lippard-Clawiter Foundation, serving as a board member from 1980-2012, and president of the board from 1989-2011, after which he was named an honorary member for life. Recently, he was nominated and selected for the Yoneo Ono Award for volunteerism by the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

Francis was preceded in death by his parents Hans and Emma Engellant, his brother Arnold Engellant, his sister Edna Bernasek, his son Edward, his premature twin grandsons Lucas and Joseph Dahinden, and his parents-in-law Fred and Iza Blyth.

He is survived by Blanche Engellant, his loving wife of 71 years, of Great Falls; his children, Laura (Merlin) Voegele of Helena, Don (Karol) Engellant and Rick (Becky) Engellant, all of Geraldine, and Jill (Steve) Dahinden of Joplin; his daughter-in-law Lois Zillges of Olympia, Wash.; his eleven grandchildren; his fourteen great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Francis’ family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the staff at Highgate Senior Living for their loving atmosphere and caring staff who cared so well for Francis during his last days.

Francis’ family has requested that memorial donations be made in his name to the Geraldine Community United Methodist Church, 333 Collins Avenue West, Geraldine, P.O. Box 167 MT 59446; the Geraldine Vets Hall, P.O Box 354, Geraldine, MT 59446; or to the charity of the donor’s choice.  Benton Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements.

Please visit Francis’ online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for his family at www.hollandbonine.com.

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