Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Michael Scott Weaver, 65

| November 9, 2021 3:55 AM

Michael Scott Weaver (Uncle Twiggs to a friend’s kids, who aren’t kids anymore), 65, of Ravalli, went to his happy hunting ground early morning Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, after a battle with metastatic prostate cancer.

He was born to Edwin Gail Weaver (Ed) and Josephine Louise Olcott (Jo) in Inglewood, Calif.

He grew up in Chatsworth, Calif., and lived in Dana Point when we met. It was a long-distance relationship from Great Falls.

He opened the “Transmission Shop” in Big Bear, Calif. It was a non-stop busy, fun place. He asked me, Tammy Jean Cripps, of Lewistown, to move down in 1981, and after five years we were married in 1986. Mike was a brilliant transmission mechanic. He was very proud of the work he did. He was very knowledgeable and believed in doing it right the first time. We had a great crew.

Mike was in a motorcycle wreck when he was a teenager. The doctors wanted to amputate his right foot. His mother finally found a doctor who would put his foot back together, but would not guarantee that he would ever walk on it again. He walked on it until his final days.

A master mechanic, Mike managed a transmission shop when he was 18. He bought a brand new Dodge Charger, brought it home and proceeded to pull the motor out of it to put a beefier one in. He was very passionate about his work and compassionate. He once helped a woman with her car for a homemade chocolate lard cake. He loved making a difference, loved good food, the stars and archaeology. He always felt he was born 100 years too late or 100 years too early.

He was a ruggedly handsome man with the most beautiful blue eyes, sometimes green. He thought I was crazy for loving his skinny butt. He did not get upset about jokes. He had his favorite skinny joke. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a fantastic storyteller. Fish stories, too. He loved being outdoors, target shooting, fishing, hunting and hiking. He was a very good tracker. We once tracked a doe for approximately two hours in the fog. When we caught up to her, Mike asked, “Where’s your boyfriend?” He would not shoot a female.

Mike always had a special connection to critters. From playing with more than one deer in his life, to sharing a box of cereal with a bear sitting on a picnic table, to pulling a bear out of our trash by the trail and scolding him, to walking up to strange dogs that would normally attack someone, he had a special place in his heart and would not turn away a stray. We even had a barn spider for a pet over a winter. The cat finally got him. He even came home once in Big Bear with a couple of really nice bass. He had no stringer so he brought them home in a bucket. By the time I got home he had them named and swimming in the bathtub. We took them back to the lake the next day. We ate fish all the time. We had many wonderful friends and great times in Big Bear.

In his early 20s Mike also designed a shift kit for the 350 transmission and a replacement bushing for a 700 R-4. In 1989, we moved back to Montana.

He worked with Shorty Wolverton of Arlee until Mike broke his back in a car wreck. Shorty was quite a character, a true old-time cowboy. Mike loved him. Anyway, the doctor told Mike he didn’t weigh enough to kill himself but he did a bang up job. His whole thoracic section was fused. He always thought he cheated death then. We moved from my grandparents’ ranch in Dixon and rented a cabin on the river just outside of Dixon. It was heaven on Earth to us. Mike always loved things that went boom. When he broke his back, he worked on a patent for several years for a device he called “The Ball,” a rifle vise that would let him keep shooting big rifles. That was another partner story. We were at the cabin for eight wonderful years. We had many wonderful times with family and friends there.

We finally got our own mobile home and rented a lot in Ravalli, where we have resided for approximately 15 years. Mike was a good carpenter and made it home for us. He always wanted to learn more of the trade from his brother-in-law who built magnificent properties.

Mike always said he could mend anything but a broken heart. He had a way of explaining things so that a non-mechanically inclined person could understand. He was a good teacher. He was my navigator.

Until this past spring, Mike worked with the Dixon Melon crew and Two Rivers Auto Body. We were fortunate to have such good friends and family. He loved you all very much.

Mike was also very passionate and vocal about his politics. He had a voice that carried and was a very good speaker. He taught me to love politics (or love to hate them), football and golf. He believed in the American dream and did not like the way things unfolded this last year. He loved to vote in person and loved to debate. He wanted so badly to make it to the next election in 2024 and believed the best man for the job is not a politician. ‘Till we meet again, Sweetheart.

Mike was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ross and Vetta Weaver of Nebraska; grandparents Frank and Kary Olcott of Nebraska; his grandmother Alice Fix of California; his father and mother Ed Weaver and Jo Olcott of California; a nephew, Gabriel Forrest Swanson of Maryland; and many good friends.

Mike is survived by his wife, Tammy Cripps Weaver of Montana, and his stepfather, Denneth (Dan) Warren Fix of California. Dan was proud to have been Mike’s father, as was Mike to be Dan’s son. He is also survived by his uncle, Randy and wife Peggy Fix of Idaho, his sister, Karen Michelle, and her husband, Keven Ralph, of California. Mike was always closest to his sister and so proud of her.

Karen said, “Mike was my brother. I was just 5 when he was born. I often felt like I was his second mother during our childhood years, caring for him and protecting him. … He was so sweet and gentle with a kind, giving spirit. Later, he had a dream of moving to Montana and carving out a life there with Tammy by his side, becoming the ‘mountain man’ of his dreams and living life on his own terms. … Everyone who ever knew him or met him loved his endless stories that would always make us laugh and keep us entertained. … I will deeply miss his ‘I love you Kare, and always have’ at the end of every phone call. … I love you, my brother.”

From his brother, Todd Drew Weaver, and his wife, Mary, of California:

Todd said, “Mike was the best big brother a little boy could ever wish for. Mike was my hero. He also had an amazing depth to love and to forgive.”

From his stepbrother, Steve Erck, and wife Linda of California, and their ever-expanding family, and stepmother Kary Weaver of California:

Steve said, “Mike Weaver had a great aim more recently from the barrel of a rifle, but it started with a highly accurate ice hockey slap shot. He had a remarkable slap shot that came screaming off the blade of the stick with incredible accuracy and velocity. Mike could put a chunk of vulcanized rubber weighing 5.5 ounces just about anywhere on the net, and goalies almost never saw it go by. We spent many hours in his backyard perfecting our shots, shattering the wood fence and building a close relationship in our early teen years. … Our parents married, and hockey made way for Mike to become an expert car mechanic and I was off to the military. … I was not surprised when I heard Mike had become a gifted marksman. I knew when we were kids that great aim would carry Mike to whatever he was shooting for in life. Rest in peace, Mike.”

Mike is also survived in death by sisters- and brother-in-law Christine Cripps and Becky Shaver of Montana and Ranay and Ken Turner of Massachusetts.

His 13 nieces and nephews: Brooke Raph of Oregon; Cotton and Hillary Raph of California; Michelle Weaver of California; Rob Olson of California; Jeff Olson of California; Sarah Shaver of Montana; Brittany Shaver of Montana; Chauntay Cripps of Montana; Elizabeth Swanson of Massachusetts; Amanda and Sergea Park of Connecticut; Isaac and April Swanson of Massachusetts; Bekah Tee of Montana; Nathanial Luke Smith of Montana

His great-niece and six great-nephews: Aria Ernandez of Oregon; Oliver Ernandez of Oregon; Oakley Raph of California; Gabriel Blane Tee of Montana; Holden Howeth of Montana; Nathan Gabriel Pankov of Connecticut.

From his nieces: “I, Chauntay Cripps, am very grateful for the time I was able to receive with my uncle Mike. He was such a loving and caring man. Any time someone needed help, whether that was a mechanical problem or really anything else, he would do his best to fix it. Mike loved to make people laugh and enjoy the moment. In some of his final words to me, he said ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’ I think that is great advice for anyone. I will never forget all the things that he has done for me and my family. He will be greatly missed. With love, Chauntay.”

“Mike Weaver was the best uncle my sisters and I could have asked for. He was always there for us and spent time taking us fishing on more occasions than I can remember. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. Love, Brittany.”

I want to give a shout out to our self-adopted kids and to our Cripps relations past and present — Briar and Spencer Ahlborn, Josh Clarkin and Jake Hoskinson of Montana. Mike loved you all.

Mike died peacefully and comfortably at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. Even when he was hurting, he would try and make everyone else laugh.

There will be no services. Arrangements are under the care of Foster’s Funeral Home and Crematory of St. Ignatius. Celebrations of life for family and friends will be held at a later date.