On April 24, 2019, Berton Waine Finch, 84, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish due to complications of pneumonia.
Bert was born 15 minutes before his twin brother, Bill, at Broken Bow, Nebr., to Katherine Florence Francois and Charles Sigsbee Wainewright Finch on Aug. 12, 1934.
Their father passed away in 1938, and their grandfather, William Finch, the next year at Victor, Mont. Their mother, grandmother Mary Finch and the two little boys moved to the Hot Springs area, where they attended school until their senior year in high school. They were then transferred to Polson High. Bert graduated in 1953 from Polson High School, along with his future wife, JoAnne Bailey. Bert lived with Al and Betty Seifert in Valley View while attending school in Polson.
In December of 1953, Bert enlisted in the Marines. He received his basic training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he was named outstanding Marine in his platoon. After basic, he was stationed at Lake Mead Atomic Energy Base near Las Vegas.
It was in Las Vegas that Bert and Jo met up again and ‘Love was in the air!” They were married Oct. 27, 1956, in Polson. Bert completed his active duty at Lake Mead, in December 1956.
The couple then moved to Medford, Ore., where Bert first pruned pear trees and then worked for the power company as a surveyor. He was later transferred to Klamath Falls, Ore., where their son, Wayne, was born.
Bert had always been a cowboy, and in 1958 they moved to Nebraska where he managed a ranch in the “Sand Hills” in northern Nebraska. Their daughter, Cathy, was born in Valentine.
Not only was Bert a cowboy at heart, he was a true Montanan and in 1960 the family “came home.”
He managed several different ranches over the years and even spent 18 months on one on the Big Island in Hawaii.
He had also at one time drove semi and was a sawyer in the woods. But couldn’t stay away from the horses and cows!
On Sept. 1, 1996, Bert and Jo retired and became full-time RVers, spending winters near Yuma, Ariz., and summers back home.
Bert is survived by his wife of 62 1/2 years; son, Wayne and Brenda of Eureka; daughter, Cathy of Pablo; granddaughters, Tami-Jo and children Jakob, Paiton, Dylan, Mary and Anna-Elise of Columbia Falls; Erica, Jeremiah and children, Hailey, Makayla, twins Ari and Taylor, and Zoey of Ronan; Angela and Cameron and children, Ireland and Colten of Semmes, Ala.; Stephanie of Bend, Ore.; and Melanie of Salmon, Idaho; nephews, Brad and Sharon; Shawn, Savannah and children, Jayla and Wyatt; niece, Marti Jo Clouse and sons Brandon and Ty and their families; cousin, Irvel Oshel of Iowa; many more extended family members and sister-in-law, Sally Cook of Ronan; and friends galore – here and down south.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Bill; niece, Dacia Finch; grandparents ,William and Mary Finch, and Bert and Mathilda Francios; in-laws, Art and Blanche Bailey; brother-in-law, Arthur (Sonny) Bailey; sister-in-law, Lois Knutson; Doris Jennison and Barb Finch.
Bert was a great guy, a cowboy through and through, a willing helping hand to anyone in need. He loved riding motorcycle with is family and friends, snowmobiling, playing on the water, and fishing. He used to catch enough fish for a fish fry for 50 friends! Most recent years, every Wednesday he went on ATV rides, always being “tail feathers” in case anyone got in trouble.
During their retirement years, Bert and Jo volunteered at Montana State Parks, Forest Service Campgrounds and BLM Long Term Visitor Area down south.
He will be very deeply missed by the family he so dearly loved and by his multitude of friends.
So long our beloved cowboy ... until we meet again.
Services will be held Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. at Polson Community Church with pastor Russ Barber officiating.