Roger Lowell Blades, 83, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.
He was born on Nov. 21, 1934, at home in Columbia Falls to William and Maude (Robinson) Blades. Roger was the youngest and last survivor of 13 children. He lost his parents at a young age, and his brothers and sisters took a part in raising him. His older sister, Bea, cared for him as her own. Roger attended school in Columbia Falls and enlisted in the Navy in December of 1952. He served in the Korean War and was honorably discharged in November 1955.
Roger greatly loved being a part of a large family and spent much of his life enjoying and laughing with his many brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.
Roger married in 1958 and had three children, Belinda, Mitch and Lee.
He found his career working highway construction and maintenance with the Operating Engineers. During this time, he was the first to be hired to construct the Libby Tunnel. Subsequently, when Libby Dam was being built, he was voted to be the local business manager for Local 371 in Kalispell and participated in the dam’s ribbon cutting ceremony. His successes lead him to a position as an International Representative for the Operating Engineers helping to organize workers all over the Western United States. Roger proudly retired from the Operating Engineers in 1992.
Roger enjoyed his family during this time and lived in Columbia Falls, Boise, Idaho, San Bruno and San Mateo, California, and West Glacier. He later divorced and spent time in Twin Falls, Idaho, with his second wife building a successful home care business.
Roger loved visiting and spending time with his children, watching his grandchildren grow and sharing in their accomplishments. He loved to camp, hunt and fish and anything that presented an adventure.
After becoming a widower, Roger wanted to return to his much-loved home in Montana. He enjoyed these last few years with his many relatives and friends. He spent quality time with his son Mitch, who took Roger in when he became ill.
In recent years, Roger spent time with the Blackfeet Indians with his great friends Don Gimbel and Larry Hoerner. In 1964, while working road construction, Roger’s supervisor told him to remove a large boulder from the middle of U.S. Highway 2 and bury it. Roger thought the rock was quite beautiful and opted to move it to the side of the road overlooking the river for all to enjoy, where it still stands as a landmark today. Members of the Blackfeet Indians performed a tribal ceremony last year honoring him for his spirit with his Indian name, “Fallen Rock.”
In the final days of his life, Roger moved into Heritage Place in Kalispell. Roger’s family is grateful to the Heritage Place nurses, aides and staff who cared for Roger. He truly felt at home.
Roger is survived by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
A celebration of life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at the Grange Hall Community Center, 594 Birch Grove in Kalispell. A light dinner will be served.
“Rest in peace, Fallen Rock, you will always be loved and remembered.”
Friends are encouraged to visit the website, at www.buffalohillfh.com, to leave notes of condolence for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.