Friday, February 03, 2023

Charles Franklin Sanders Jr.

| October 20, 2022 12:00 AM

Charles Franklin Sanders Jr., 86 of Arlee, was found deceased on Friday, Sept. 21, in the

mountains above his Valley Creek Ranch following a three-day search involving many friends and family. He was out searching for cows and firewood when he had a life-ending fall. The family wants to share that he went quickly, without suffering. He also had his favorite dog by his side who was recovered and is now on the ranch resting in Chuck’s easy chair.

Chuck was born near Arlee to Chuck Sanders Sr. and Jessie Dunn Sanders on July 12, 1936. His sister, Joyce Sanders, was born two years later, although tragedy soon followed when a house fire claimed the lives of his sister and mother on Dec. 21, 1945. Chuck then spent many summers with his mother’s family around the Sandpoint, Idaho, area.

Chuck loved playing sports when he attended Arlee High School, but working a job was more exciting than school to him. He started logging with family in his teens and soon married Dolly Brown, also of Arlee, in 1957. They had a son, Martin Sanders, in 1958 and lived in the Missoula area, where he was a meat cutter at Daily’s following a few years of hunting cats and raising hounds. Later he opened a Texaco service station and tire shop.

He and Dolly divorced and he married his neighbor, Sally Letcher from Billings. With this union he gained two daughters in 1974 – Michelle and Tonja.

The family soon moved to Arlee, living on a ranch on the Jocko river. They later moved to a larger ranch further up the creek where he lived until his passing.

Chuck always had too many irons in the fire as he juggled ranching, logging, excavation, bus driving, and later a tire and auto shop in Arlee.

Chuck was a member of the Salish tribe. He was not very traditional, but the only time he was willing to leave the hayfields was to take his family to the Arlee Celebration to watch the dancing.

Chuck was known for his teasing and flirting, and always loved being around people. He gave many young people the opportunity to learn mechanics, logging and equipment operation. He loved feeding his cows, running a chainsaw, and driving large equipment.

Chuck was preceded in death by his sister, Joyce, his mother, Jessie, and later his father, Chuck Sr., in 1989. His son Marty passed away in 2014.

Chuck is survived by former wife Dolly Griffith, of Hamilton; wife Sally Sanders, Arlee; daughter Michelle Monroe, Des Moines, Iowa; daughter Tonja Wells, Arlee; and his “little helper,” granddaughter Kylee Wells of Bozeman.

Chuck’s memorial will be held on Friday, Oct. 21, at the Arlee Community Center at 3 p.m. There will be storytelling and a feast following. The family encourages friends to bring live plants rather than flowers. Meat will be provided; bring a side dish if you can and a good “Chuck story.”

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