Charles R. Heal

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Charles Russell Heal of Billings, Feb. 23, 2014 at Riverstone Hospice Home after a courageous six month battle with cancer.


Charels Heal2 Charles HealCharels Heal2

Posted February 28, 2014

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Charles Russell Heal of Billings, Feb. 23, 2014 at Riverstone Hospice Home after a courageous six month battle with cancer.

Charles was born Aug. 10, 1934, to George Frederick Heal, Sr. and Bernice Thelma (Hill) Heal. He was the fifth child of eight siblings. Charles lived in Great Falls until he was three years old when the family moved to Centerville.

Charles graduated from Centerville High School in 1952 and began working for the Great Northern Railway. In 1954, he enlisted in the Army. He was proud to have served in the American zone in Berlin, Germany. He was honorably discharged in July of 1956 and returned to Centerville where he continued working for the railroad as a carman-welder. In the early 60s, Charles also worked for Lewis Construction building power lines throughout the state. During a short period of time, he worked building missile sites in the Great Falls area prior to 1965.

September 15, 1956, Charles married Elizabeth Barbara Wokich in Great Falls at the First United Methodist Church. They had three children, Pamela Lynne, Scott Charles, and Douglas Wayne. Charles and Elizabeth made their home in Stockett, Mont., until 1968 when they moved their family to Great Falls. In 1974, Charles’ career moved him and his family to Billings where he worked for Burlington Northern in Laurel until his retirement in 1984.

Charles spent his time traveling to see grandchildren and their various sports and activities, reading, working around the home and yard, completing crossword puzzles, and watching Jeopardy, of which he was an armchair champion until the end. He had a way of making up new words or phrases that sounded convincing but were totally fictitious. Charles and Elizabeth were always around for their children and grandchildren, whether it was helping with farm work, remodeling projects, or caring for grandchildren. Charles had a passion for Montana history and frequently imparted this knowledge to his family when he traveled across the state. Charles was known for his dry, mischievous sense of humor. He could always come up with a “one liner” that could make everyone laugh. We always knew when Charles was in a good mood because he would go about his task while whistling and he did this frequently. He was truly a talented handyman around his home and for his family. There was never a task he would not take on himself, especially with the help of his wife as partner.

Charles loved to be at home and have family and friends come to share and visit. He enjoyed landscaping and working in his yard and with that in mind, his family has chosen to celebrate Charles’ life with a memorial service to be held this summer.

He will be missed by many, but we rejoice in the life and time he had with us. Charles is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth; daughter Pamela (John) Beach of Baker; son Scott Heal and Cynthia Yoshida of Boiling Springs, S.C., and son Douglas (Deanna) Heal of Augusta, Ga. Charles loved and enjoyed his time with his eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Carson Beach and Ruth Kimani, Connor (Lynn) Beach, Laura Beach, Hillary Beach, Brandon (Erica) Heal and daughter Grace, Eleanor Heal, Sarah Heal, Grant Yoshida, Annaliese Yoshida, Michael Heal, and Lauren Heal. His surviving siblings include Violet (Ron) Levandowski of Great Falls and William (Dolores) Heal of Helena; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Charles was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Thelma Francetich, Isabel Ragland, and Noramay Dussault; and brothers George Heal, Jr. and Thomas Heal.