Bert L. Schell passed away April 18 at Aspen Meadows Assisted Living center in Billings. He was 94.
A Montana native, Bert was born to Gottlieb and Christina Schell on July 16, 1925, and grew up in the Plevna area, where he worked on his family’s farm. He attended Plevna schools and served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1945. He was the oldest of five siblings.
After his discharge from the Army, Bert farmed south of Baker and then worked for Farmers Union Oil Company (Cenex) for more than 20 years. He later worked for Prairie Fuels, delivering propane to farms and ranches in the Fallon County area.
At a dance in Baker, Bert met a beautiful young nanny named Loretta Kitten. They were married on Oct. 3, 1949. The couple raised their nine children in Baker. Every year Bert and Loretta loaded up all the kids in a bright yellow 1956 Mercury station wagon and took a road trip to visit relatives in Nebraska. Only once did somebody get left behind at a gas station.
An avid coin collector, for many years Bert was a member of Baker’s coin club. He also enjoyed creating display boards of the arrowheads and bullets he would come across in his rambles.
A true man of the West who was happiest telling stories to his children and grandchildren, Bert was known for his trademark jumpsuits, mighty handshake and love of John Wayne movies. On Sunday mornings, Bert could be found down at the Cenex station, tinkering on the family’s vehicles. He had a remarkable memory for names, places and dates, and could recall in detail his German-Russian immigrant heritage.
Bert was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Elmer and Ervin, and a sister, Bernice.
Bert is survived by his wife, Loretta of Billings, his brother, Herb (Sonja) Schell, daughters, Diane (Ron) Thompson, Coleen (Bruce) Hocking, Janice (Craig) Townsend, Ginny (Terry) Stewart, Marilyn (Glen) Cameron, Peggy (John) Lindstrom and Sue (Dale) Hogenson, and sons, Larry (Allison) Schell and Kurt (Mary Evans) Schell. He also leaves behind seventeen grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren.
A funeral is planned for July 16, 2020, at Smith Downtown Funeral Chapel in Billings, with burial at Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel. Condolences can be sent to www.smithfuneralchapels.com.