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Obituary: Willis A. (Bill) Hand

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Willis A. (Bill) Hand 1917 ~ 2006 Bill Hand, 89, passed away on Wednesday July 12, 2006, in Stephensville, MT of natural causes. Bill was born February 14, 1917 in Bowbells, North Dakota to Charles and Mayme (Nowman) Hand. Bill grew up in North Dakota and Northern Minnesota. At age 18 he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in Grand Rapids, MN. In 1935 he moved to Montana to work on the Fort Peck Dam Project and later as a ranch hand in the Big Hole area. In June of 1941, Bill joined the Army Air Corps where he became a Tech Sergeant and served in India with the 125th Army Airways Squadron. During his military service he received many commendations and was honorably discharged in November of 1945. On May 7, 1942 he married Eva Christensen in Pocatello, ID. They were the parents of four sons and three daughters. Following his military service Bill and Eva moved to the Flathead Valley in Montana where he began a career as a dairy farmer. In 1954 the family moved to Salt Lake City where Bill worked as a final assembly mechanic for Eimco Filter Division. In April 1963, Eva passed away leaving Bill with six children living at home. In 1964, Bill married Dorothy Miles and moved the family back to the Flathead Valley and back to dairy farming. Dorothy passed away in July 1972. In 1973, Bill retired from the dairy and married Louise Miles. They lived on Flathead Lake in Woods Bay where Bill took great pride in his garden and orchard. They enjoyed many trips together and many winters at their home in Yuma, AZ. Bill is survived by his wife Louise Hand and his children Chuck (Lynda) Salt Lake City; Nancy, Salt Lake City; Janet (Robert) Garecht, Anchorage, AK; Kathy (Mike) Mercer, Kennewick, WA; Bill (Linda) Pinehurst, ID; Robert (Cris) Bigfork, MT and David, Bigfork, MT. Two half sisters: Charlene Blumhagen, Fallon, NV and Juanita Martin, Charles City, Iowa. Stepchildren Jill (Tom) Davis, Victor, MT; Don Miles, Butte, MT; Shelia Murrell, Sower Lake TX; and Penny Chambers, Phoenix, AZ. 17 grandchildren and 19 great-grand-children. Private graveside services for the family will be held Sat., 11a.m. at Mountain View Memorial Estates.