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

Raymond E. (Sonny) Clelan, Jr.

Born: Thu., Mar. 23, 1944
Died: Sun., Aug. 1, 2021


Family to do services at later date

Location: Whitesitt Funeral Home


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FLORENCE, MT - Raymond E. (Sonny) Clelan, Jr. made his final ride, crossing the Great Divide at home with his longtime sweetheart, Sandy, by his side on August 1, 2021. Sonny was born in Harrisburg, PA to Raymond and Nellie (Fry) Clelan on March 23, 1944 and raised in Carlisle, PA. He developed a strong work ethic working in his family's country store, garage and gas station. Fishing, hunting, horses and dogs were part of his entire life. He was a charter member of the Carlisle Corvette Club winning several racing trophies. He was known for his marksmanship with the bow and arrow as the famous Chief Merrill (Paviol's Trading Post Indian mascot) statue can attest to. He worked for the United Telephone Company of Carlisle after drafting training at Chicago Technical College but the lure of western adventure soon called. In his early 20's Sonny moved to Montana and was an ace mechanic at T & W Chevrolet and Executive Pontiac, Cadilac in Missoula. He worked as a packer in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness for outfitter Loyd Gilman and in the Great Bear Wilderness for Pat Timmons. He made several pack trips independently yearly taking pride not to sore his mules. In 1969 Sonny bought property out of Florence and built his own home, barns and shop where he was a mechanic and welder for all in need of his work. He enjoyed using his mules to plow, harrow, seed, hay, feed his cattle and compete at Mule Day events. He also enjoyed working for neighbor friends Billy Hobblit and Ruffattos. He was active with the Saint Mary's saddle club and the Bitterroot Draft Horse and Mule Club. He raced mules at the National Mule Marathon near Arlee several years, gave many wagon and bobsled rides, team roped and went honky-tonking when the work was done. He won many parade ribbons with his mule team and fancy wagon he made. He was in charge of taking care of the Sweeney Creek dam many years and enjoyed the work trips to Bass Lake dam. He built several local pole barns, put up hay and straightened irrigation pipes for himself and neighbors. In his last years heart disease, prostate cancer, COPD and the pain of many broken bones took their toll and diminished his quick wit. Sonny is survived by brother Vance (Mary) Clelan, Carlisle, PA; sisters Vonny Harrington, Boise ID; Doris Sollenberger, Craig CO ; Vera Shughart, Florence MT; several nieces and nephews and his long time girlfriend Sandy Skorupa. Preceding him in death were his parents, brother Bruce and sister Ruby. There will be a celebration of Sonny's life at the Whitesitt Funeral Home chapel in Stevensville MT at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to your favorite charity.

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Marty Snyder Line
   Posted Sat August 07, 2021
I remember Sonny from the 60's. It is a beautiful story and tribute to his life. It is always nice to read a life story. My condolences to the family.

Louie & Blue Vaughn
   Posted Sat August 14, 2021
Sincere heartfelt sympathy. Many wonderful memories…

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