Gary Ernest Morken

June 2, 1941 ~ April 30, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old


It is with great sadness that we announce Gary Ernest Morken, age 81, passed away from dementia at the Montana Veteran’s Home in Columbia Falls on April 30th, 2023.
Born in Conrad, MT to Archie & Mollie (Island) Morken on 6/2/41 Gary grew up in Cut Bank & Polson. He spent summers farming with cousins Vernon & Gerald Burger in Cut Bank and went to school & helped at the family owned Grandview Grocery Store in Polson.
Gary enlisted in the US Army in 1961 and was honorably discharged due to family hardships. His father had MS and died at a young age. Gary returned home to help take care of his family. While serving, he received the Marksman (rifle M-1) & Expert (pistol .45) Badges. Gary was PVE-1. Gary’s mother married his stepfather, William Winter, in 1965. Gary married Janice Anderson in 1965 and they had 2 sons… Garrett & Gavin. He later married Karen Harshman/Oehmcke on Sept. 26, 1998.
Gary was kind, caring & generous, all the while being a humble man. You could feel Gary’s good nature & positive energy wherever he went. He had many talents & interests: fishing, boating, skiing, bowling, hunting, scuba diving, golf, & avid bike riding (early morning rides with buddies). He loved the outdoors! There was never a job too big for him to tackle: electrical, construction, etc. all the way to a professional jeweler.
He was partner/owner of John Stockhill Jewelers in Sidney & Miles City for 54 years. He was dedicated, loyal and thankful to all of his costumers; absolutely loved his profession! His whistling talents were beyond belief; you could hear his happiness. He had an awesome singing voice as well.
Gary earned profound respect from his community & family which was recognized by his many achievements & awards: *Gemologist Institute of America Education (interestingly enough, Gary’s initials are “GEM,” a reflection of his life long profession).
*Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate of Proficiency Award
*Kiwanis Club of Sidney *30 year Distinguished Service Award, *Outstanding Service to our Club Award, *Top Apple Sales Award… “Selling 150+ cases of apples is pretty well Gary’s standard.” You could say Gary was the apple of our eye. *Member of Board of Directors, & *Kiwanis International Award. Of all the relationships he formed in Kiwanis, one stands out among them all. In 1968, Gary and fellow Kiwanian, Jacque Best, teamed up to form a lifelong friendship. Gary and Jacque served on numberous committees and projects through the years. They remained close personal friends; their families shared many activities together.”
*Grand Master Masons Masonic Lodge of Montana Award
*Jaycees Boss of the Year Award and Distinguished Service Award
*Member of National Rifle Association
*Chamber of Commerce – Board of Directors & Outstanding/Dedicated Service Award & Chairman of Publicity & Public Relations
*Outstanding Young Men of America Award (a President Nixon recognition of service to community)
*Member of the Elks & Moose Clubs
*Advisor to the Rainbow Girls
*Hole in one at the Miles City 2006 golf tournament
Gary worked hard every day of his life, was honest & fair. He had a deep respect for his fellow man, and profound gratitude to GOD!
The family deeply appreciates the excellent service, support and loving care given to Gary these past few months. A sincere thank you to the nurses and all the staff of our Montana Veteran’s Home. You are all Heaven sent. Thank you!

Preceded in death by…
Parents: Mollie & Archie Morken & Bill Winter (stepfather)
Sister: Marilyn Morken (interestingly, also died on Apr 30th 5 years ago - to the day)
Nephew: Kevin Baker
several uncles & cousins

Survived by…
Wife: Karen Morken of Kalispell
Brother: Earvin (Beverly) Morken of Kalispell
Sons: Garrett Morken (Angie Frost) of Glasgow {grandson: Grant},
Gavin (Jennifer) Morken of Sidney {grandchildren: Ryan & Addison}
Stepchildren: Shane Oehmcke (April West) of Great Falls {granddaughter: Hope}
Michelle (Jeff) Carda of Lambert/Richey {grandchildren: Colter & Paige}
Paul Oehmcke (Abby) of Lolo {grandson: Riplee}

Gary always carried this poem in his shirt pocket...

“The clock of life is wound but once
and no man has the power
to tell just when the hands will stop,
at late or early hour.
Now is the time you own; live, love
toil with a will.
Place no faith in tomorrow, for the
hands may then be still.”
-author unknown

Cremation has taken place under the care of Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home.
A Celebration of Life to be held at a later date.

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