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Family Owned & Operated Since 1902
314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Cleo (Varner) Guenther

Born: Mon., Mar. 14, 1938
Died: Mon., Feb. 11, 2019


6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Fri., Feb. 22, 2019
Location: Whitesitt Funeral Home & Cremation Service

Funeral Service

1:00 PM Sat., Feb. 23, 2019
Location: Stevensville United Methodist Church

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Stevensville - Our Mom passed away peacefully at home on February 11, 2019. She was born March 14, 1938 with twin brother Clair Leo "Buck" Varner in Chinook, MT. They were delivered by a mid-wife to Elsie Maeirt Varner and Halbert Lee Varner. They joined their 11/2 year old sister Ruth Ann Varner and lived in a place south of Chinook that had no plumbing or electricity and had coal heat. Life was fun on the dairy and wheat farm and childhood was an adventure with all the animals they so loved. In 1947, the family was struck by tragedy when Ruth was hit by a school bus and killed. The family then moved to the Bitterroot Valley where Cleo spent the rest of her life. The Varners bought a farm in Stevensville and later moved to Victor. She graduated from Victor in 1956. She joined any and all clubs she could in school with music being her true passion. She continued to play music throughout her lifetime. After graduation, she went to business college in Missoula and was then employed by Western Montana National Bank and then the 37th Legislative Session as secretary to the Majority Floor Leader. She was married in 1958 to Loyd Moran and was blessed to have three sons; Doug, Rod and Scott in that marriage. She loved being a 4-H leader for 10 years while she was raising her sons. She also was involved with the Stevensville Grange for many years. After the divorce, she went to college and worked for Dr. RA Sterling for the next 20 years. In 1985 she married her soul mate and best friend, Donald Guenther. They farmed and ranched in the Three Mile area and she was able to continue her love for agriculture that had been such a big part of her life along with her love of yard, flowers, her garden, working cattle and most of all both of their love for music. Don played the guitar, banjo and fiddle and Cleo played the piano, accordion, and bass. Music was part of their daily life. She and Don enjoyed traveling in their RV and spent time in all the Western States. When she married Don, she acquired a second family, Chuck, Diane and Donna and they became a true blessing in her life. After she retired, she managed the Pantry Partners Food Bank in Stevensville for 14 years. She played her accordion with the Five Valley Accordion Association and was part of an accordion group, the Squeeze Box Sisters. She played the standup bass with the Bitter Grass String Band and the Sunrise Group with Bill Lyon, Carole Koval and Connie Vikeski. They were well known and played often. She has been a member of the United Methodist Church for many years. She is survived by sons: Douglas Moran (Lori} of Minneapolis, MN, Rodney Moran (Debbie) of Belgrade, MT, and Scott Moran (Wendy) of Renton, WA, Grandson Nick Moran (Raina) of Ferndale, WA; Chuck (Mary Lynn) Guenther, Yakima, WA; Diane Bingeman (Mike) of Beach, ND, Donna Guenther of Dillon, MT. She was Grandma to Don's many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother Clair "Buck" Varner (Myrna} of Victor, MT; niece, Wendie (Ed) Peterson, of Salmon, ID; nephew, Jack Varner, of Victor, and his family. Visitation will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at the Whitesitt Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at the United Methodist Church at 216 College Street on February 23, 2019 at 1:00 P.M. Pallbearers: sons, Doug, Rod and Scott Moran; nephew, Jack Varner, and grandsons, Nick Moran and Brian Wheeler. Honorary Pallbearers: Buck Varner, Chuck Guenther, Ed Peterson, Will Guenther, Carson Varner, and Pete Faulkner. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pantry Partners or United Methodist Church.

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Condolence Booklet

   Posted Sat February 16, 2019
To Cleo's family,

Cleo was always kind, cheerful and helpful.(I was a patient of Dr. Sterling's for years)
When you called the office you always asked for Cleo because she always knew how to help or get an answer. She is in my thoughts, what a nice lady. May your memories and faith help you through the days ahead.

With Sympathy

Nancy Brown Johnson
   Posted Sun February 17, 2019
Love and Prayers to all of Cleo's family. May Peace be with all of you through this difficult time. I remember Cleo well from school at Victor.

April Winter
   Posted Sun February 17, 2019
Aunt Cleo was an amazing woman. Always doing something and a great cook. It was always an adventure to visit her in Montana. I will miss her smile, her laugh and her hugs. So glad you are whole and at peace Aunt Cleo, give mom a hug.

Jill Knoll
   Posted Mon February 18, 2019
Cleo was a dear soul! She made a huge impression on me and my siblings as Leader of the Sunrisers 4H club. Her smile endures in my memory. May God's peace and comfort surround each of you as you remember her and celebrate her life.

Claire L Kelly
   Posted Tue February 19, 2019
Cleo was a dear sweet friend and will be missed by all of us in the United Methodist Church.

Jean Lewis
   Posted Wed February 20, 2019
So sorry to hear of your loss. Cleo was a very kind person and will be missed. She was always quick to say hello and how are you whenever you saw her. Such a great person.

Jean Roberts
   Posted Wed February 20, 2019
Dear Cleo's family...
I am sending my love and sympathy to all of you ... Cleo was so close to all her musician friends...but to me she was truly a "sister" ..I am sorry not to be able to be with you at her memorial..but God willing I would like to do a tribute to her sometime this summer at one of her Band's events..My heart will be with you all..May God be with you ...Jean Roberts...Squeeze Box Sisters...5-Valley Accordions..Fun and Support Accordions

tracy bugli
   Posted Fri February 22, 2019

A GARDEN PATH was sent by Jay and Tracy Bugli.

Jerry Hinman
   Posted Fri February 22, 2019
To Cleo's family, Buck & Myrna,
I offer my condolences from a clasmate of Cleo's. I was fond of Cleo, she was always fun to be around. I would love to be at her services but I fear that my wife's current health condition may prevent it. Jerry Hinman

Burt and Lyn Whit
   Posted Sat March 02, 2019
We were saddened to read about Cleo’s passing. May the many fond memories of her sustain you during this most difficult time. We pray that you find comfort in our Creator’s words, in which he promises to reunite us with our beloved ones in a perfect world, where the causes of pain and sorrow will be a thing of the past. How exciting it will be to see her again doing all things she loved. (find comfort reading Isaiah 25:8 and Revelation 21:4) Our sincerest condolences.

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