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314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
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Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Joseph S. Gates

Died: Thu., Mar. 17, 2011

- Service details not available -

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Stevensville- Joseph (Joe) S. Gates, 89, of Stevensville, surrounded by his loving family passed away March 17, 2011 of natural causes.

Joe was born Dec. 31, 1921 to Edward and Mary Gates of Opportunity the 6th of 7 children. He attended Beaver Dam and St. Peter's School in Opportunity and Anaconda, MT. He worked at Anaconda Mining Company in the Zinc Dept. until he enlisted in the Air Force Jan. 1942. He was assigned to Cherry Point, NC. and immediately transferred to Miami, Florida. His first assignment was as a radio operator. He then graduated with high honors in marksmanship at Gunnery School in Panama City, FL. and became Sergeant. He was stationed out of Miami where he was a Radio Operator Mechanic Gunner. He flew routes to Cuba, Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy. Under the direct orders from President Franklin Roosevelt and General "Hap" Arnold he flew secret missions to Brazil, Amazons, the Ascension Islands and W. Africa searching for enemy subs. He returned to the states and was assigned to Langley Field, VA where he became the first radio instructor. He was discharged Nov. 15, 1945.

Joe moved to the Bitterroot Valley in 1946 where he became a House Moving Contractor.

He married Lois Scalf Aug. 27, 1949. They made their home in their Three Mile Area farm in May of 1955 where they raised their four children and a variety of animals "pets".

Joe was involved with the Cub Scouts, St. Mary's Choir, Knight's of Columbus and American Legion Post 94. He was most proud of the restoration work he did on the Old St. Mary's Mission and Pharmacy. He was also one of the men to help build the first alter on St. Mary's Peak.

One of his favorite things to do was to take a Sunday drive, a lot of them through the valley and show off all the houses he had moved. He enjoyed the farm life. He loved all animals especially his pigs, horses and dogs.  Above all else, Joe loved his family and he always loved to visit.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ed and Mary; Brothers, George, Ted, John, and Donald sisters, May and Elaine; and great friend, Reggie Bush.

He is survived by His Wife of 61 years, Lois; sons, J. Samuel and wife Pattie and James and wife Janet; daughters Teresa and husband Bob and Christine and husband Rick; and four precious grandchildren, Katie, Amanda, Lizzie and Robbie.

Visitation will be held on Monday, March 21, 2011 from 4:30 - 7:00 pm at St. Mary's Catholic Church with Vigil Services following at 7:00 pm.  A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the church with burial to follow in St. Mary's Cemetery.  There will be a reception following the committal services at the church parish center. 

The family would like to thank all those whom cared for Joe; Three Mile Emergency Response Team, Dr Crews and crew, and Community Medical Center.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorials be made to the Fox Hollow Animal Project, 155 Fox Hollow, Hamilton, MT  59840 or to St. Mary's Mission in Stevensville, MT. 

Condolences may be left for the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.

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Christa Wortman
   Posted Sun March 20, 2011
Oh Lois, I am so sorry to hear of Joe's passing. I will miss him, and hearing his stories. Please know you are in my thoughts, and if I can help you in any way please let me know.

Clea Bowen Comte
   Posted Sun March 20, 2011
I have many fond memories of listening to my dad, Max Bowen, and Joe visiting and swapping stories. You were the best of neighbors! I know that Joe would have done anything for our family and visa versa. My thoughts and prayers are with you, dear Lois, and your wonderful family.

Nolan Bowen
   Posted Sun March 20, 2011
Mrs. Gates, Sam, Jim and girls,
Dean watches the Misoulian and saw Joe's obituary. I see Clea beat me to what I was going to say, that you were always good neighbors. I remember 2 stories: Joe told me he saw a P47 fly by and felt it was about the fastest fighter in wwII. I have since read about them to confirm that. He told me he had a Harley 80 that he could put 4 guys on, chain it to a tree and it could spin the tires. I have always liked stories and story tellers, dad and Joe were among the best. I will always be part Montanan as I loved the Bitterroot and neighbors like you. We miss our loved ones so much when they leave us but we are far better because of them. My prayers are with you all.

Dean Bowen
   Posted Sun March 20, 2011
Very sorry to hear about the passing of Joe. He and his family were great neighbors while we lived next to them in the Three mile area. It was a great place to grow up, Jim and Sam were the best of friends. I have fond memories of going with them to the Creek on there place and exploring, it was our jungle. Joe was a very good person. I only wish I could thank him for his great service to our country and the work he did in preserving St. Mary's. Two things which weren't so important to me back then, but are now. Thanks also Mrs. Gates for being a good teacher and for what you taught me.

jody vinson
   Posted Mon March 21, 2011
Terrie, Chris and family, I was so sorry to read of your loss. Please know I am thinking of you all and praying for you. Take care. Love, Jody

Megan Pfau
   Posted Mon March 21, 2011
Dear Mrs. Gates,

I know you have not seen me in a long time and probably remember me more as the little girl who would always call up and ask to go fishing on your property. I loved those days fishing on yours and Mr. Gates' portion of 3 mile. Thank you for all those adventurous summer days. I give you and your family my condolences for your loss. I was very sad to hear the news when talking with dad on Sunday. Praying for you and your family

Sincerely, Megan Pfau

Craig Siphers
   Posted Tue March 22, 2011
To the entire family I extend my greatest sympahties. I always enjoyed visiting with Joe. Sorry I cannot be there but know I am thinking of you all.

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