Keith Joseph ‘Tuffy’ Kolczak

Keith Joseph Kolczak, age 92, passed away on Tuesday July 5, 2016 in Kalispell.

Keith Joseph and Kenneth Norman were born to Joseph John Kolczak (who was also a twin) and Eila “Scoopie” (Cox) Kolczak on April 26, 1924 in Landusky, Montana, where their parents ran the Sundown Cash Store on their ranch. They joined an older sister Reba, and were later big brothers to Irene. Growing up, to be able to attend school in the winter, Tuffy, as he has always been affectionately referred to, and Kenneth would stay with their mother in town while their father worked the ranch, and later with their father, when he worked in the mines. 

After high school, Tuffy worked on his family ranch and other neighboring ranches before being drafted into the Army in April of 1944. He served in Germany, Italy, Rhine River as well as France, where he was wounded in action. For his service to our country, Tuffy received the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, several marksmanship, good conduct and other medals. He returned to the United State in 1946. 

After being discharged, Tuffy came home to Montana and went to work in the mines at Zortman; then in Harlem; later in Chicago where he worked for National Cash Register Company. Then duty called again, and he returned to Montana to help with the family ranch. After his father passed away, Tuffy came to Kalispell, where he met Francis Palmer McWorter, a recent widow who had nine children. They were married on Sept. 12, 1970. 

Tuffy was very hard working, no matter if he was being a carpenter, a mechanic, a rancher; he was a gentle man who enjoyed hunting, fishing and gardening. Tuffy and Francis spent their 42 years of marriage living in Landusky, Kalispell, Lewistown, Hilger, and Billings, as well as Spokane, Washington with occasional snow bird trips to the south. Sadly, Francis passed away on Sept. 8, 2012. After that, Tuffy lived in Lewistown, Hilger, Potomac and most recently in Kalispell.

Tuffy, always up to a game or three of cribbage, certainly lived up to his name -- as a child, in the service and in adult life--having received 11  bypass surgeries and when a vehicle fell on him, just to mention a few.  Keith (Tuffy) was the last of his family, his mother, step-father, father, twin Kenneth, sister Irene and half sister Reba, and wife Frances all going before him.  There are cousins, stepchildren, nieces and nephews who will be affected by his passing. 

There will be graveside services with full Honor Guard rites at Glacier Memorial Gardens in Whitefish on Friday, July 15, 2016 at 1 p.m., with a reception to be held at the VFW meeting room at 330 1st Avenue West, Kalispell.

To send a note of condolence to the family, please visit www.buffalohillfh.com. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home in Kalispell is caring for the family.

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