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Joe W. VanBemmel


Joe W. VanBemmel, 75, passed away from heart complications on Dec. 29, 2012.

Joe was born May 23, 1937, to Johanas and Mary VanBemmel in Manhattan, Mont.  Joe grew up in Manhattan with his family until May 23, 1947, when they moved to Eureka.

He went to school through the seventh grade, where he then went to work at Columbus Clark in Eureka stacking ties.  He worked in the lumber industry his whole life, which included Osler Brothers Mill, Kennedy Stevens Mill, both in Eureka, then C and C Plywood of Kalispell and lastly Plum Creek plywood, which he retired from in 2004.

He married his first wife, Sharleen Nielson, on July 3, 1959, and they had four children together.  They lived in Eureka until she passed away in November 1967.

After mutual losses of their spouses, Joe and Sue Rankin Bjornrud merged their families on Oct. 16, 1969, joining seven children plus one child between the two of them in 1970.

After the “merger” of the families, they lived in a log house on Iowa Flats in Eureka.

Joe enjoyed camping, riding his 4-wheeler, his Model A, vacationing with his family in Las Vegas, spending time with his family and coffee with his many friends, and crafts with his granddaughter Alyssa.

He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Sharleen; two brothers, David and Danny; and son Albert Bjornrud.

Joe is survived by his wife Sue at their home in Kalispell; daughter Dorothy Bates of Anchorage, Alaska; son Roy Bjornrud of Kalispell; son Rick VanBemmel and wife Carol of Massena, Iowa; daughter Barb Penney and husband Kurt of Kalispell; daughter Deb Peterson and husband Ray of Eureka; daughter Kathy VanBemmel and husband Reid McFarland of Kalispell; daughter Bobbie Conrad and husband Todd of Kalispell; daughter-in-law Teri Bjornrud of Kalispell; brother Albert (Abe) and wife Geraldine VanBemmel of Eureka;  sister Hope Ivers of Great Falls; sister Sherry Sterner of Kalispell; brother Bob and wife Jennie VanBemmel of Exira, Iowa; sister Marie and husband Eldon Heidi of Hillsboro, Wis.; numerous nieces, nephews, grand and great grandchildren.

Visitation for Joe will be held Thursday Jan. 3, 2013, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Buffalo Hill Funeral Home.  Private burial will be held by family.  Celebration of Life services will be held Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at 3 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.

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