Lifetime Flathead Valley resident, Joe Arlee DeLong, passed away on Saturday, April 20, 2019. He was 89 years old.
He was born on July 13, 1929, to Milton A. and Ruth A. DeLong in Somers. He attended elementary school in Somers and graduated from Flathead County High School.
He engaged in many occupations here in the valley — farming, worker at the Anaconda Aluminum plant in Columbia Falls, landlord, worker at a fish hatchery for the Montana Department of Fish and Game, county commissioner of Flathead County in the 1970s —through which he got to know many, many people. He loved to visit and, after he retired, he always became part of the nearest coffee group; his morning routine always included going to have coffee with the guys.
He married Florence Hanson on June 2, 1958. They celebrated 57 years together before she passed away in 2015. They had two daughters, Catherine and Joanne. He and Florence retired in the 1980s and became snowbirds, first going to Desert Hot Springs, California, to spend the winter and later to Apache Junction, Arizona. He spent his final winter here at home in the Flathead Valley.
Joe is survived by his two daughters, Catherine Mathis and Joanne DeLong-Rodriguez, and one granddaughter, Jessica Mathis. He is also survived by one brother, Don, and four sisters-in-law, as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and five of his six siblings, Russell, Theoria, Roy “Pat,” Dennis and Darcy.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. on June 2 at the Somers Volunteer Fire Hall in Somers. Food and refreshments will be provided; bring nothing but your memories. Interment of both Joe and Florence will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, at Glacier Memorial Gardens.