Michael DockstaderMarch 3, 1940 ~ May 24, 2017 (age 77)
J. Michael “Doc” Dockstader, 77, died Wednesday, May 24. He was born March 3, 1940, in Kalispell, to James and Effie Dockstader.
Doc graduated from Bigfork High School and attended Carroll College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating from Carroll in 1962, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters for Allied Powers in Europe) in France. While in France, he met Andrea Daval, and they were married in Bigfork in 1965.
Doc influenced many young people over the years. First, he served as principal and coach in Geraldine, Montana. Later he worked with young men at the Swan River Youth Camp, and he ended his career teaching history and coaching both boys and girls basketball at Bigfork High School. He played or coached basketball for well over half his life. Once when being interviewed, Doc was asked about his success as a teacher and a coach and what he liked about it. He responded, “Kids, strictly the kids. I could give you a litany of what I didn’t like about teaching…but I always liked the kids. I liked helping kids that needed help, seeing them gain self confidence and dignity and grace within themselves.”
After retiring, Doc married Wanda Boon, “the love of his life,” and they have been together for 26 years. He was often seen cruising around his lake property and the town of Bigfork on his four-wheeler. Doc also loved scenic drives around the valley…with Wanda driving, of course.
A true Montanan, the only time Doc spent away from his beloved state was when he was in the army. His grandmother was the first white child born in what is now Flathead County, and her father, Doc’s great grandfather, was the first sheriff of Flathead County. Proud of his heritage and a history buff, Doc enjoyed reading John Fraley’s book, Wild River Pioneers, which included a reference to a shootout where the sheriff, Doc’s great grandfather, was victorious. Fraley discovered that the first sheriff of Flathead County was buried in a Missoula cemetery, and the only marking on his grave was an old piece of concrete with his name misspelled on it. Doc immediately ordered an appropriate headstone. He and his wife, Wanda, along with Fraley and others were present at a ceremony when the tombstone was dedicated.
Passionate about sports and politics, Doc was well informed and could discuss both topics in depth until a few days before his death.
His wife, Wanda, survives him at their home in Bigfork on Flathead Lake. Other survivors include four children: Jim Dockstader and his wife Noelle and their children, Eli, and Andi of Redmond, Washington; Nicki Dockstader of Mesa, Arizona; Michael Dockstader of Bigfork; Levi Dockstader and his wife Kayla and their son, Lincoln, of Kalispell. He is also survived by two sisters, Mary Dockstader Sullivan and her husband Paul of Bigfork, and Maureen Hein and her husband Ray of Bigfork, one nephew, two nieces, and a host of friends.
Services will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. at St. John Paul II Catholic Church in Bigfork with Deacon James Butts officiating.
Johnson Gloschat Mortuary & Crematory is caring for the family. You are invited to go to www.jgfuneralhome.com to offer condolences and sign Doc’s guest book.