Ronald Albiston, 82
Ronald William Albiston, "Elk" or "Griz" as he was commonly known by his friends, began life on a cold January day in 1941 in Idaho, and left it on Nov. 11, 2023, in Kalispell. He was the son of George and Fern (Johnson) Albiston. He was joined shortly afterwards by a little sister named Glenna Jo.
Ron's early days were in Idaho, later in Montana and Oregon. His father George joined the Army so his son wouldn't have to become a miner and owe his soul to the Anaconda company store. After George's stint in the military, he trained to be what was known as a "saw doctor" or saw filer. He taught Ron this trade, and he in turn passed his knowledge onto his two sons. Ron followed this line of work most of his life. It took him from Conda to Browning, Lincoln, Hamiton, and Helena, Montana; and to North Powder, Oregon.
He did some ranching, had a small farm of his own, tended bar for a bit, owned a snowmobile and chainsaw shop, all on the side. Eventually he went on the road selling equipment and servicing accounts for a saw shop in Missoula. He was inducted into the Sawfiler's Hall of Fame on June 11, 2011.
He had an active "other" life throughout the years as well. He served as a volunteer fireman, drove an ambulance for the town of Lincoln, played football in high school, and basketball in high school and beyond, and on town leagues up into his 30's. He belonged to the Jaycee's, and Elks Clubs. He was the 4 H president of Lewis & Clark Assn for several years while his boys were growing up.
He raced snowmobiles, fished in bass tournaments, bowled league, square danced, and played a bad game of golf, according to those who played with him. He was credited with having saved at least three lives in his lifetime. The first time was when he saved a child from drowning in Gibbs, Idaho, when he was just a youngster, twice more after he was grown.
Ron was in the National Guards for eight years, joining while still in high school. He acquired, while in boot-camp his one and only tattoo paid for by a guy he had loaned money to. This was the only way he had a getting his money repaid. The tattoo eventually faded into an illegible blob.
He married a former high school classmate, Bonnie Tiffany. They had two sons, Wade and Rand. They enjoyed raising their boys, camping, hunting and fishing, and being involved in their 4 H projects. They eventually parted ways, and he spent a number of years as a bachelor. When he was 60 years old he managed to run into another former FCHS classmate, Sharon Connelly, and they teamed up for the remainder of the ride. They retired from their respective careers together, did a little snow-birding, and then settled down back in Kalispell.
He was lucky enough to be able to reconnect with some old and long time friends there and they were there for him throughout the times his health failed and to the end of his time here on earth. Ron was a born again Christian and just five days before his death God told him he could come home. He accepted the invitation and fell asleep in his Savior's arms.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his sister; his grandson, Ryan Albiston; his great grandson, Gunner Boisse; and his step-grandson, Travis Herring.
He is survived by his former wife Bonnie; his son, Wade (Brenda) and their daughter Andrea (Adam) Rainer and their two children; his son, Rand (Gina), their two sons Sam and Isaac; daughter, Randilynn (Shawn) Boisse and their six sons; daughter, Cori (Jared) Doty and their son and three daughters; and daughter, Kristi (Don) Hague and their daughter Lexie. Also surviving him are his wife, Sharon; step-daughter, Ginger (Steve) Kauffman; step-daughter, Holly (James) Martin; step-daughter, Penny (Scott) King and her daughter and twin step-daughters; and step-daughter, Shawnee Adams (Jason Crider) and her son and daughter, with her five children including twins.
So the count is six kids; 11 grandchildren, two deceased; and 19 great-grands, with 1 deceased. He has numerous nieces and nephews, and dozens of cousins who will miss him as well.
Ron was a super sized guy with a super sized heart for those he knew and loved. He enjoyed being in the middle of whatever was happening, yet didn't feel at ease being the center of attention.
We will have a gathering to remember him next spring when our friends and family can all gather after the winter snow has gone.