Nov. 3, 1937 – July 21, 2012
Funeral services are scheduled Thursday, July 26, 2012, at 10 a.m. at the LDS Church in Laurel, Mont., for Cowley native Gene Peterson Godfrey, who died Saturday, July 21, of natural causes. He was 74.
Interment in the Cowley Cemetery will follow at 3 p.m.
He died with his son present and died peacefully. He developed COPD several years ago and worked closely with many professional doctors. Special thanks go out to each one for their unselfish time and patience throughout his illness. He remained committed to his family, friends and church. His family was his life and he was very dedicated to them and loved them very much.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ila, parents and two brothers, William K. Godfrey and Dick. He is survived by three sons and one daughter, Alan (Tammy), Trent, Brian and Karie of Billings; a special second mother, Mamie Sigmon of Joliet, Mont.; sisters Sharon (Ken) Blackburn and Greta (Pres) Workman; brothers Dennis (Rose) Godfrey and Lyle (Carol) Sigmon; much-loved grandkids, Christina (Rodney), Nicholas (Ashley), Daniel, Cale and Hailey and one great-grandchild.
Gene Peterson Godfrey was born Nov. 3, 1937, the son of Erastus Dudley (Dick) and Alda Dale Peterson Godfrey. He was a twin to Dean Peterson Godfrey. The twins were born seven weeks premature. As there were no incubators at the time his twin died Nov. 5, 1937. As is common with premature babies having problems with hearing and eyesight, both affected Gene in later life.
Throughout his childhood and teen years he was always with his dad. They trailed a lot of cattle over the years together.
He graduated from Cowley High School in 1956. The last three years of high school he lettered in both basketball and football. During those three years Cowley High School placed first in state football two years and was state runner-up the other year. In basketball the team placed first at State one year and was state runner-up for the other two years.
In 1955 he joined the Wyoming National Guard. He served in the National Guard until 1957, when he moved to Billings. In Montana he transferred to the Army Reserves. He served as a clerk to the adjutant general and spent a number of vacations at government expense at Yakama Firing Centre. It was while he was in the Army Reserves that it was discovered he had a blue green color blindness. He was discharged in 1963 with the rank of sergeant.
Upon graduation from high school he attended Eastern Montana College for the first year, then transferred to Northwest Community College at Powell the second year.
In 1957, he met Ila Marie Sigmon. They were married Aug. 22, 1958, at the Cowley LDS Church. To this union were born four children: Alan, Trent, Brian and Karie. Gene’s wife and children always were foremost to him. He endeavoured to do many things as a family. The children all grew up enjoying the outdoors.
From the time he was 9 he drove tractors and worked on farms and ranches whenever he was not in school. At the time of his marriage he was working at the Big Horn Canning Co. After he married he transferred with the company to Billings. The job didn’t provide the young couple with an adequate income so he quit his job in September. At this time he went to work for Uglum’s 66 service station as an attendant. In six months he was promoted to manager, then transferred to Great Falls for two years.
He desired to continue his education so the end of 1961 he quit his job and moved the family back to Billings where he enrolled at Eastern Montana College.
Needing income to support the young family, the young couple purchased a dairy on Hallowell Lane. By the end of 1962 they had built the herd to 25 cows, at which time they sold the dairy.
He went to work for Tractor and Equipment Company in 1962 and worked there for the next 25 years as V.P. Finance and Treasurer. Then in 1987 he went to work for Henry’s Safety Supply as Chief Financial Officer. He worked for five years until the company was sold. He then went to work for Northwest Peterbuilt as a Finance Manager for the next five years.
In 1987 he retired, working on the side as a financial consultant. The consulting work kept him busier than he would have liked but he enjoyed the challenges of each business.
He had many hobbies including ranching, genealogy, coin and stamp collecting, rock hunting, and working with family histories. He loved outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, skiing, golf, rock hunting and exploring the outdoors. He taught all his children to ski. His approach to any hobby was to thoroughly learn about it.
In 1991 he and his wife purchased their dream place in the country. At first his dream was the peace and quiet of the country. Then he discovered his love for animals. They acquired all kinds of animals, including llamas. They raised more than 55 llamas at the peak and he kept one llama named Flare.
He was dearly loved by his family and will be missed.