Owen passed away unexpectedly walking on the place he loved, his ranch, near Ekalaka, Mont., where he lived most of his life.
Owen Murray Stieg was born Sept. 6, 1933, during the Great Depression, to Robert H. and Isabel (Murray) Stieg at the Elizabeth Hospital in Baker, Mont. He was the eighth of ten children and the first to be born in Montana. The first three years of his education were spent at the Pineview School, a short three-mile walk to and from home. The remainder of his school years were in Ekalaka, graduating from Carter County High School in 1952.
Following graduation, Owen joined the United States Navy and served four years during the Korean Conflict as a radar technician, as well as having top-secret clearance to carry correspondence. He was stationed up and down both coasts, from New York to San Diego, as well as on the USS Boston, a guided missile cruiser, and on the mine sweeper, the USS Seagull. He was honorably discharged in 1957 and returned to Montana. He went to work for Vaughn Ragsdale (a clothing store), working in stores in Billings, Miles City, Lewistown, Greybull and Worland, Wyoming, selling men’s clothing and shoes. He was also a surveyor in the summer months for Associated Engineers of Billings during the summer months prior to his military service. He returned to surveying in Elko, Nev., before moving to his childhood home in 1960 to lease, and later purchase, the ranch from his parents.
On Oct. 1, 1961, Owen married his “Rose”, Darlene Ferrel, at the American Lutheran Church in Baker. Their nearly 56-year marriage was a testament of enduring love and devotion. Owen never retired, ranching with his wife and youngest son up until his death.
Owen was also a strong supporter of his church and community. He was currently serving on the church council of American Lutheran Church and had served in prior years. He served 17 years as both a member and board chairman of the Carter County High School Board and was instrumental in the planning and building of the new high school in 1980. He was also a charter member and president of the Carter County Jaycees which, along with its counterpart the Jayceens (in which Darlene was a charter member and president), raised money for many community projects. He respected and cared about his neighbors (even those who left a goat tied to his gate), could eloquently defend what was right and just, and was deeply loyal to those who had his friendship and respect.
Owen was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Heidi Maria Stieg; his siblings, Erwin, Eddie, Dorothy Powell, Roberta George, and Wilfred; brothers-in-law, Roy Ferrel, and Charles Guyer, and his cousin and “brother”, David Ness. He is survived by his wife, Darlene; his son, Mark George Stieg (Francesca DeBelle), his daughter Kim Dione (Blake) Anderson; son-in-law, Thomas Speelmon; son, Josh Owen (Nikki) Stieg, and grandchildren, Heather, Spencer, Ian, Ethan, Cheŕe, Mitchell, Adele Rose, Konrich, Owen and Jasia, and two great-grandchildren, twins Tillie and Metzie. He is also survived by his siblings, Jean Erickson, Wally (Marie) Stieg, Donna Guyer, and Patricia (Chuck) Mecham, his brother-in-law, Jim (Norma) Ferrel and sisters-in-law, Sharon Ferrel and Dorothy Stieg, as well as numerous and dearly loved nieces and nephews, and his special godson, Jason (Dawn) Ness.
Owen lived life genuinely, compassionately, and with love and humor. He was and always will be the Love of our lives. Any memorials may be made to the American Lutheran Church, Baker, Mont., or a charity or organization of your choice.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com.