Willie Panasuk, 91, died Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, MT.
Willie was born June 15, 1926, at the family homestead 12 miles northeast of Bainville, MT. Willie was the 12th child of 13 born to Nazary and Katherine (Teterenko) Panasuk who were Ukranian immigrants. The family started out in a 2 room sod house but eventually built a house with lumber salvaged from MonDak, ND. Willie was raised at the family homestead and attended Johnson school, a nearby rural school for his elementary education, and Bainville for high school. He took over operation of the family farm in partnership with one of his brothers when their father died in 1943. He married Donna Jean Leach of Bainville October 22, 1947 in Sidney, MT. They continued to live at and operate the family farm in Bainville until they had an opportunity to obtain a farm northwest of Sidney. Willie and Donna moved to that Sidney farm in 1954. Donna died November 19, 1999. Willie successfully built up his ranch where he lived and operated until his death.
Willie was a pinochle player extraordinaire, and most family gatherings had a game going. He was known for his scenic tours through the ranch to view the pastures, wildlife, cows and appaloosa horses.
Willie is survived by one brother Andrew, Georgetown, MT; one sister Esther Shippe, Studio City, CA; his six children who are all Montana residents: Terry, Sidney; Billie Jean (Leon), Kalispell; Toby, Sidney; Brien (Colleen), Sidney; Zane (Bonnie), Culbertson; Darian (Julian), Park City; 9 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding Willie in death are his parents, 3 sisters and 7 brothers.
The family plans a memorial celebration for Willie later this summer.
Memorials may be given to the Foundation for Community Care, P.O. Box 443, Sidney, MT 59270-0443.