S. Dean Robertson

S. Dean Robertson

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
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Stanley Dean Robertson, 95, passed away at home in Missoula MT on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Dean grew up on the family farm and ranch five miles west of Judith Gap, MT. As a boy he attended rural one-room schools before entering school in Judith Gap, going to and from school on horseback. The family moved to Harlowton while Dean was in high school. During high school, he excelled in academics and basketball, and helped the Engineers win 2nd place in the State. He graduated from Harlowton High School in 1942. After working two summers on the Milwaukee Railroad he saved enough to pay for his first year of college at Montana State in Bozeman. He also became a member of the Bobcat basketball team. In the spring of his freshman year, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, after being called to active duty in July 1943, and was sent to the Southeastern Training command. He received his Officers commission and pilot wings in June of 1945. Lieutenant Robertson was training in B-25 bombers for overseas duty when the war ended in August of 1945.

In 1945, Dean married his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Ferrington, and returned to Montana State in January of 1946. He and Evelyn were among the first group of married students to return to college and live in one of the 8’x 20’ trailer houses provided as veterans’ housing. Dean rejoined the Bobcat basketball team, played three more years, and felt honored to have played for both legendary coaches Brick Breeden and Sam Worthington. He graduated in 1948 with a degree in Agriculture Education, and qualified to be a county extension agent. Dean accepted a teaching position at Malta High School where he taught vocational agriculture for 18 years and trained several student teachers. He developed Malta’s FFA chapter into one of the top programs in the state, which received many District, State, and National Honors. He was most proud of his 1965 FFA judging team who won State, placing in the top ten at Nationals.

Dean attained a Masters degree in School Administration and accepted the position of high school principal and athletic director at Malta High School in 1966. During his 14 years in that position the school had a very good record in both athletics and school activities. He was proud of the Malta, 3M Co., basketball teams’ State Championships in 1971 & 72. While living in Malta Dean was also very active in community affairs. He was a 30-year member of Kiwanis, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Master of the Masonic Lodge, Commander of the American Legion, Chairman of his Church Council, and served on several other boards. He and Evelyn also enjoyed calling and teaching square dancing in Malta and surrounding rural communities.

In 1980 Dean retired from Malta High School and accepted a position in the Secretary of State’s office in Helena. He and Evelyn moved to Missoula in 1995. After Evelyn passed away in 1999 Dean became active at the Missoula Senior Center. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed playing golf at the University course. He golfed several courses in Scotland during a trip with his son, including one course adjacent to his great-great grandparents’ burial site. In his last Montana State Seniors competition, he won his flight by 12 strokes.

Dean met Norma Buzan playing bridge at the Senior Center. They married in 2001 and enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Sun Lakes, AZ, until Norma passed away in 2003. Playing in a golf tournament in Missoula, Dean met a nice lady, Laura (Sis) Gooley. They decided to share their remaining years together and married in 2005. Enjoying an active life together they spent winters in Yuma, AZ, and travelled extensively on cruise ships and land tours. Dean and Sis often said they felt blessed to spend these years together, and to have their loving families close by so they could enjoy their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Above all, Dean was a teacher who shared the gift of knowledge and received the gift of love. His final, earthly round of golf was played in January 2020.

Dean was preceded in death by his parents Howard and Helen; wife Evelyn, second wife Norma; brothers pilot Captain James Donald (Don) (WWII MIA) and Naval Aviator John Howard (Jack); son Alan, and granddaughter Tara Jo Robertson.

Dean is survived by his wife Laura (Sis) of Missoula, sister Ann Lynch of Pullman WA, children Linda (John) Firebaugh and Brian (Kim) Robertson of Missoula, grandchildren Michael Firebaugh of Spokane WA, Matthew Dean (Rachel) Firebaugh of Bend OR, Jenna (Tim) Criswell of Freeland WA, and Crista (David) Wilcox of Missoula. Also surviving are eight great-grandchildren, Eliza (Matthew), Kaia, Nation, Zekariah (Jenna), Ashten, Bridger, Everly, and Warren Dean (Crista). Other survivors include several nieces, nephews and their families, as well as his extended Gooley family.

In lieu of cards or flowers, Dean suggested memorials be made to your local FFA chapter, Masonic Lodge, American Legion, school booster club or church of your faith.

Services will be announced and held at a later date.
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