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Gene Frank "Joe" Youderian, 81, of Lincoln passed away on November 9, 2023.
He was born September 2, 1942, to Gene and Martha Youderian in Great Falls MT prior to his family moving to Oklahoma where his father was stationed. In 1948, the Youderians moved to Lincoln, Montana, where Joe lived for all but a handful of years. Joe grew up in an outfitting family, finding joy in the outdoors and alongside animals. In his younger years, Joe was active in Lincoln’s 4-H club showing horses and sheep. He loved baseball, basketball, and trapping with friends to earn extra money.
Joe attended high school in Augusta (because Lincoln did not have a high school at that time) going on to Northern MT University before being drafted into the Air Force on November 24, 1965. He served for 2 years and 7 months and was proud to be a Vietnam Veteran. He demonstrated his appreciation for his fellow Vietnam Veterans, often using social media to highlight the challenges Vietnam Veterans face and to recognize their sacrifices. He thought often of those in his squadron lost in a plane crash from which he was spared after deciding to catch the next transport so he could try the slot machine in the Officer’s Club. He was honorably discharged in 1968.
Joe put his experience to work in the Nez Perce National Forest as a packer for the Forest Service, where he met and married his first wife and his eldest daughter was born. They later moved to Big Timber Montana where they cared for a fish hatchery before moving back to Lincoln in 1973, where his youngest daughter was later born.
In the following years, Joe helped his parents with their outfitting business, worked at Bouma Post Yard, cut firewood, and worked at Silver City Sawmill until it closed down. He later tried his hand at mining, barkeeping, and cooking before moving to Louisiana to do road construction where he met his second wife-to-be and 3 stepsons. The crew returned to Montana a short time later where he became employed at Hi Country Snack Foods, retiring from the maintenance department to enjoy his true love in life--escaping to the mountains to pan for gold and enjoy nature.
Joe was well-known for being kind-hearted and never met a stranger. Over the years he opened his home to many people down on their luck. Joe’s kindness trumped any concerns of being taken advantage of, and he helped many people in so many ways over the years. His kindness extended to animals. He was a firm believer of adopting pets from the local shelters.
Joe was ever-present in the Lincoln community. He spent many years with Lincoln’s volunteer ambulance and fire departments. Joe attended little league and basketball games, not just for his daughters and step-sons, and grand-daughters, but to support youth sports in the community in general. He was also active in bingo and trivia nights and would even challenge the trivia master on occasion. Many friendly arguments were started about who was going to be on “Grampa Joe’s” trivia team which usually equated to winning. He played with many friends but when his family was present, that was who he teamed up with.
Joe is survived by two daughters: Julie (Scott) Zarske and Melissa (Bill) Yaeger-Youderian; three step-sons: Brian (Allie), John (Melissa), and Robert (Macy), and three grandchildren; Jessica and Jordyn Zarske and Colton Yaeger; companion Barbara, Lynda and BJ (his kids from other parents who did so much for him), Summer (unofficially adopted Granddaughter).
Joe is pre-deceased by his parents, sisters Martha (Marty) Tyson and Becky Thurman, and nephew Michael Bogaert. In lieu of flowers, Joe asked that friends and family donate to charities he long supported—Lincoln Volunteer Ambulance, Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department, Lincoln VFW, St. Jude’s Children Hospital.
A celebration of life will be held in the Spring (date TBD) in Lincoln.
Simple Cremation Montana has assisted the family.
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