Monday, September 05, 2016


This is written on Labor Day to celebrate the completed lives of two Browning people, not particularly rich or famous, but diligent and skillful workers who daily and faithfully contributed to family and community. They weren’t what you’d call saintly, although they were devout church-goers. Jim was Methodist and sometimes his extended family was half the congregation on Sunday in the Methodist church. For a year I preached for them while they looked for a new pastor, and one of the rewards was looking out at their familiar faces.

Delbert Hoyt was in the first class I taught in Browning (1961). Rex Hoyt sold Bob Scriver the prettiest horse he had, “Playboy”, the model for “Lone Cowboy.” Gail Hoyt was the member of the family probably closest to me because she became an English teacher in Browning. Her daughter, Brandi, looks to be an exceptionally high achiever. Lily Hoyt, Jim’s mom who preceded him in death, was right out of “Upstairs, Downstairs” — either — very English.

Jim was the kind of guy who would take his whole family out for dinner after church. He was funny and warm, very protective. The news about the rez is always sensational so never registers this kind of person. If you were a tourist, you might do business with him, but more likely you’d have no reason to notice him because he was busy working where tourists never go, in his shop or on his ranch. Neither was he a stereotypical Marine. I doubt he had any tattoos at all.

Gilbert ‘Jim’ Hoyt

Gilbert Gale “Jim” Hoyt, 85, died Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, at his ranch from a farming accident.

He was born August 15, 1931 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada to Clarence “Bish” and Lily (Howes) Hoyt.

Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corp and served in Korea. He received an honorable discharge as a Lance Corporal. Jim was a member of the Browning United Methodist Church and the Browning American Legion. He was a successful rancher, farmer, businessman and a retired school bus driver. Jim had operated a Phillips 66 Service Station and later a Chevron station and bulk plant. He was an avid bowler, enjoyed basketball, rodeos, and fishing in Cut Bank Creek. Jim loved to tease his numerous grandkids and nephews. If asked he would tell you his success was due to hard work. His rest now is richly deserved.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Faye Larson Hoyt; daughter, Gail Hoyt of Browning and her daughter, Brandi Jo Cook of Tampa, Fla.; son, Jim J. Hoyt of Browning and his son with Brenda Hoyt, Tyler Hoyt of Fairbanks, Alaska and children with Masala J., Jeff Hoyt, Waylon Hoyt and Misty Hoyt all of Browning.

He was preceded in death by parents, Clarence “Bish” and Lily (Howes) Hoyt; brothers, Kay (Wilma) Hoyt and Rex Hoyt; sisters, Rita Flamond Hoyt and Rose Roy Hoyt.

Sally Evans was also at church every Sunday, but at the Catholic Church of the Little Flower a few blocks away from the Methodists. Her life was full of children and hard work, but always with grace and generosity. Joe, her husband, helped us create the Bighorn Foundry because of his knowledge of gas and electricity. Everyone in the family, girls included, could figure out how things worked and do what was necessary to fix or install them. There is a strong political element in the later generations.

Sally’s children were close to us. Joseph Junior, known as Corky, rode with Bob Scriver in his old age up through the foothills above the Flatiron Ranch. When Bob was often bedridden at the end, Boyd and his wife Lila stepped in to help with his care. They functioned like blood relations. 

Corky lives here in Valier and despite his own health problems, including a brain aneurysm that required surgery that meant the sacrifice of the sight of one eye and all his math skills, which he once hoped to develop into teaching. He’s been a crucial help to me with my old house and a joy to swap stories with. I taught many of these kids, including Sally’s twin sisters, Karen and Kathy.

Soon after I first came to Browning, one of Sally’s daughters, Lila, still a child, was thrown from her horse and killed. The Mass of the Angels was given for her and in those days the church had nuns, who sang in the balcony, hidden and ethereal as real angels. Recently there has been a custom of special Native American mass as a vespers during the week, and Sally was there when I attended once. I think she never missed.

Sally Evans

Sally Ann Evans passed peacefully on August 26, 2016 at the age of 82. She was born December 3, 1933 to Walter Willis and Teresa May Ward in Chester, Montana. Sally spent her childhood in Chester where she met and married Joseph Otto Evans on August 30, 1950. Sally graduated from Chester High School at the top of her class in 1951.

Sally and Joe raised nine children Joseph (Dalynn) Evans, Lila Evans, Gwyn (Andy) Andersen, Boyd (Lila) Evans, Tony Evans, Rose (Taylor) Berg, Mike (Doni) Evans, Mary (Zenon) Foroszowsky, and Wendy (Bob) Nielsen. Sally was grandmother to 17, Kenny and David Evans and Kirstie (Ernie) Libby; Patrick Cork, Shawn (Paula) and Jud (Christine) Andersen and Meghan (Tyson) Roe; Crystal (Leland Crawford), James (Lynn) and Jamie Evans; Curtis (Erin) Andersen; Shay and Joe Evans; Logan (Shianne) and Brooke Schmidt; and Autumn (Joe Gretsch) and Amber Nielsen. And great grandmother to 14, Lucy and Anna Libby; Shayla, Austin, Makenzie, Jaxon and Jaden Cork; Andrew and Avonlea Andersen; Alayna and Quinn Andersen; Quora and Teaghan Roe; Brett and Ryan Kipp; Kaytins Evans; Aleksia, August and Asher Andersen.

Sally was the eldest of 11 children, 7 silly sisters Lenora Smith; Dorothy Rennick; Margo (Ron) Hendrix; Caroline (Orville) Forseth; Rita Ward; Kathy (Bob) Hammer; Karen (Steve) Forseth; and 3 brothers John, Joe (Suzanne) and Lawrence “Pete” (Nancy) Ward. Sally was a member of a large wide spread family more than 150 strong and is survived by Aunt Maxine Ward, Uncle Hales Scales and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.

Suffice it to say that Sally had a hand in raising a great many children. Sally worked at the Browning Day Care, the Greco Bakery, Montana Power and later the City of Browning as well as the Glacier County Library in Browning. Sally and Joe owned Evans Enterprises, a heating and roofing business and a fence post mill in Browning, Montana, for over 30 years. Sally was an avid bowler and spent most Mother’s Days with her bowling family at the state bowling tournament wherever that would take them. She also had several opportunities to attend National Bowling tournaments.

Sally was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, daughter, Lila Evans; son, Tony Evans, son in law Andy Andersen; sister Lenora Smith and brother Joe Ward.
Sally was a devout Catholic, A rosary in her honor will be held on Tuesday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Little Flower Parish and her funeral mass will be said by Father Ed Kohler.
We are trying not to be sad, Sally put in her time on this earth and she is now in a better place. And she doesn’t have to vote for either of them.

I don’t know who in these two families are enrolled or whether any of them even had Piegan blood quantum. I don’t think most people worried about it much. They were the foundation of the town and county, not as big shots but as people whose work counted and whom you could count on. Their childhoods were during the Depression years and then WWII, so they never expected life to be easy. Sally’s genealogy stretches along the High Line and the Hoyts' family ties crossed over into Canada. Both family’s many ties, both family and friends, draw the whole area together.

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