Michael Lee Allen, 79

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Michael Lee Allen, 79, of Columbia Falls, passed away on November 6, 2018, while doing what he loved most — fishing!

Mike was born in Conrad, Montana, and grew up in Cut Bank. He was an outstanding high school basketball and baseball player. He attended the University of Montana on a basketball scholarship. He left the UM after his junior year to complete his pre-med studies at the University of North Dakota. He was accepted into Marquette Dental School in 1961.

During this time, he met and married Ann Marie Betzman of Whitefish. Mike and Ann lived in Milwaukee while Mike finished dental school, after which they moved to Groton, Connecticut, where Mike fulfilled his military obligation, serving as a dentist in the United States Coast Guard.

While in Connecticut, Mike and Ann welcomed Robin Anne, who was born in November of 1965.

In 1968, Mike and Ann returned to Montana, choosing Columbia Falls as the place they wanted to start a dental practice and raise a family. Brooke Michelle joined the family in July of the same year.

The ensuing years were spent at many sporting events in Columbia Falls, watching their daughters compete. One of Mike’s proudest moments was watching the Wildkats win the State AA Basketball Championship, competing as the smallest AA school in the state!

During their 55-year marriage, Mike and Ann had the opportunity to travel to many interesting places with friends and family, even though Mike would have rather stayed home to fish! Mike truly loved his work as a dentist and each of his patients was special to him. Health concerns forced him into an early retirement, with lots of time for his grandchildren and fishing. As the years went by, Mike’s daily trek up to the Nite Owl for coffee and conversation was an important part of his life. His passion for fishing resulted in valued friendships, tall tales and cherished memories.

Mike was preceded in death by his dad and mom, Pat and Donna Allen of Cut Bank, and many beloved pets!

Mike will be dearly missed by his wife, Ann Marie, daughter Robin Barnhart (Duane), and grandchildren Michael and Molly Ann of Spokane; daughter Brooke Cates (Scott) and grandchildren Coby, Jace and Cianne of Canby, Oregon; sister Pat Ann Hill (Roni — not only his brother-in-law, but a life-long friend), and nieces Roni Lee Rankin (Jim) and Kim Santana (John), both of Boise, Idaho.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. today, Nov. 9, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Columbia Falls. A reception will follow at the church.

If desired, donations may be made in Mike’s name to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 2770, Columbia Falls, MT 59912; or the Wildc/kat Athletic Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 2732, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

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