William “Bill” Lehfeldt, 1922-2016William H. “Bill” Lehfeldt, surrounded by his family, died Oct. 1, 2016, at the age of 94.
He was born on Feb. 18, 1922, in Ryegate, Mont., to Sid and Anna Lehfeldt. He grew up in Lavina, Mont., and graduated from Lavina High School. After graduation, he attended Montana School of Mines in Butte, Mont., where he met his future wife of 66 years, Barbara Jean Forsell. Lehfeldt served in the Army Air Corp and was the pilot of a “Widowmaker” B26 Bomber. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after being shot down over Germany.
At the end of World War II, Lehfeldt returned to Lavina and his lifelong passion for ranching. He was always proud to be a sheep producer and carry on the tradition established two generations prior. While ranching in Lavina, he also served on the Board for the Production Credit Association, the Montana Woolgrowers Association and the Lavina School Board.
Friends and family will always remember his ability to recall the history of the area and tell great stories, give advice about the “best investments” and talk politics. He was a friend to so many, always the last to leave a good party and enjoyed a good dance.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara and his parents Sid and Anna. He is survived by a sister, Mary Ann Schraudner; two sons, Bob (Marie) and John (Ellen) both of Lavina; two daughters, Susan (Donnell) Burnett of Billings, Mont., and Wendy (Roger) Doely of Lavina; 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.