IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Featuring extraordinary members of our senior community.

Everyone has a story!

Wooden Hut
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Photo Credit: Ron Palmares

Many people in Park County know Jim as “the Commissioner”. Indeed, Jim served as County Commissioner for 14 years. But what did he do before and after that?

Born in Superior,  Wisconsin, Jim lived there until the age of 10, which is when the family moved to Ephrata , Washington, close to Moses Lake.  In the summer, Jim worked in lumber yards in Ephrata, Colfax, and Pullman, until the age of about 18 or 20 when his dad asked him to come to Livingston to work  with him in a lumber yard named Valley Lumber, on North F Street.  Jim later became  manager and owner of the company and is proud to say that throughout the years his customers also became his friends. He retired from Valley Lumber in 1984.

Jim was married for 58 years to Florence Wallace (sadly Florence passed in 2019) and Jim still lives in the home that they built together on South 9th Street.  The couple had two daughters and two granddaughters.  Jim has spent most of his life serving the community: he served on the Business Job Service Employer  Committee, Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels board, was with the National Guard for 9 years,  a volunteer for 12 years with the Rural Fire District, and even drove a school bus for a few years.  Jim's memory is quite remarkable: he remembers all his customers as well as the east-side residents. Soon his granddaughter who lives in Havre will be coming to Livingston for a volleyball game – a very proud and exciting day for Grandpa!

Jim Hunt
Resident of Park County for a long time

Meet Jim Hunt!
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Mike Lukenbill
One of the angels of Angel Line

Meet Mike Lukenbill!

The oldest of five children, Mike was born in Northome, Minnesota. When he was just a child Mike’s family moved to White Sulphur Springs, Montana, in search of work. Young Mike always wanted to be a cowboy and at the age of 16, he went to work at the Dunkle Ranch until the age of 18 when he joined the Army. His specialty was helicopter mechanic with a promising job waiting for him in Texas after his service. However, instead of moving to the Lone Star state, Mike decided to pursue his dream of cowboying; he went to work breaking colts for the T-3 and other ranches down South, and finally returned to Montana to work at the Castle Mountain Ranch.

In between ranching, rodeoing, and logging, Mike realized that he needed to find a “real” job that would pay enough to raise a family. That’s when he started working for the Park County Refuse Department where he remained for 30 years. He was known as “Cowboy Mike -  always wearing a western hat, black in the winter, and straw in the summer. In 1995, Mike met Jan - who would later become his wife – at a concession stand during the Livingston Roundup Rodeo.

His passions are simple: God, horses, old country music, and guns. In fact, he started competing in Cowboy Mounted Shooting almost 20 years ago, and today he and “Fred” – his 23-year old Quarter Horse – are still competing in the sport.

Nive years ago, Mike found the best retirement job as a driver for Angel Line: he gets to drive his friends around (all of his passengers become his friends), drink coffee between rides, and tell stories about his travels on the road. The perfect gig!

Mike resides in Clyde Park with Jan, and the two have three grandchildren.

Cowboy Mike

Shadow on Concrete Wall
Meet Ramon Osuna!

Ramon was born in Phoenix, and raised in Glendale, AZ. After he graduated from high school, Ramon joined the U.S. Army where his specialty was Military Intelligence. During his service, he was stationed in Japan and South Korea for 14 months where he was on guard duty in the Korean DMZ, then in Germany for two years where he was on guard duty on the border between West Germany and Soviet Czechoslovakia. Through the G.I. Bill, Ramon was able to obtain a degree from Arizona State University and later became HR Director for school districts in Arizona and California. He was also HR Director for two cities and one county in Arizona. Ramon retired four times so obviously loved his job!

Ramon also loves to travel. In fact, so much that he hiked the Grand Canyon 54 times and once drove 600 miles just to get a good hot dog at Dodgers Stadium. He also hiked every European country except Lichtenstein, and never hiked in Canada or Mexico. Also an avid swimmer, Ramon swam in the Atlantic Ocean , Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez, North Sea, and Mediterranean Sea.

After reading Mountain Man by Vardis Fisher, combined with his love for snow and cold, Ramon decided that Montana was where he wanted to retire - in 2015, he left the Arizona desert and moved to Big Sky country.

Ramon has four children and four grandchildren and all of them were raised in a blend of Spanish and American heritage. Ramon’s life theme is the song It’s never too late to find a new home. Glad he found Livingston!

Photo Credit: Ron Palmares

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Ramon Osuna 
Resident of Park County since 2015

Pink Feathers
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Nancy Adkins - History Buff
and Story Teller extraordinaire. 

Meet Nancy Adkins!

Nancy is someone you cannot forget. A real history buff, she knows Livingston and Park County from head to toe and always has interesting stories to tell about our little town. She also has a passion for genealogy, in fact she’s more like a family tree investigator. You want to know more about your ancestors in Park County? Put Nancy on the case and if there’s something to find, she will find it!

Her other passion is teaching to ELLs (English-Language Learners): "Growing up in an Italian immigrant community in Montana helped me understand how difficult it was to speak and understand two languages."

If you see Nancy in town, ask her to tell you all about Park County and its history, from the old Red Light District in Livingston, to Wilcoxson’s on Main Street where the kids would hang out after school.

Misty Forest
Meet Evan Powell!

Born in Zafra, OK, Evan and his family moved to Cortez, CO, when Evan was 5 years old. After he graduated from high school, Evan joined the Army, and was stationed in Germany until the end of his tour.

Most of Evan’s career was dedicated to the welding supplies industry, and after working in 4 different states, he finally retired in Oregon in 2019, before he and his wife Myrt decided to move to Montana to be closer to their daughter and her family.

Sadly, Myrt passed away in 2021 so Evan is keeping himself busy with indoor gardening: his living room has been transformed into a nursery, with grow lights and colorful containers. Evan attributes his green thumb to his mother and the garden that he helped her tend in Cortez. Today his grandson Josh helps him grow bonsai trees.

Evan is the proud father of six children. He’s also grandfather three times, and great-grandfather three times!

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Photo Credit: Ron Palmares

Evan Powell - Resident of the Senior Center since 2020. 

Photo Credit: Ron Palmares

Bonnie Pinkerton - Resident of the Senior Center since 2016. 

Meet Bonnie Pinkerton!

Born 98 years ago in Long Beach, California, Bonnie moved to Montana when she was only 10 months old. She grew up on the family cattle ranch while attending school in Clyde Park and Wilsall. When she was 16, Bonnie met a 21-year old cowboy who rode up on his horse when she and her parents were checking on cattle. The rest is history: six years later Bonnie and Jim were married.

In 1952 they acquired a cattle ranch of their own just outside of Wilsall where they raised Black Angus. Bonnie had to help Jim with calving more than once! They had three children and today their son Lee runs the ranch. Bonnie lived in Chandler, Arizona, for 38 winters, before moving back to Montana to be close to her children.

Bonnie Pinkerton: a ranch girl through and through!

Meet Ann Howe!

You probably have seen Ann walking all over Livingston, literally for miles, usually wearing a pretty hat framing her beautiful face.

Born in 1923 in Columbus, Ohio, Ann missed being the New Year’s Baby by 30 minutes! Her mom was a teacher and her dad - Sanders Frye, an engineer -  was the inventor of the Automatic Pinspotter still used in bowling alleys.

Ann graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Home Economics. After graduation she worked as a dietician at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, until 1946 when she married Chuck Howe Jr., a West Point graduate. Chuck retired from the military around 1980 and sadly passed away in 1985.

Ann has 3 sons - Charles III, Wayne, and Dale - four grandchildren, and one great grandson. During Chuck’s Air Force career, the family was stationed in Germany and toured almost every European country, plus Turkey and Egypt.

Ann has always been active in helping others in her community, including Head Start, the National League of Women Voters, and the library. At 98, Ann is a gem.

Photo Credit: Ron Palmares

Ann Howe - Resident of the Senior Center since 2004. 

Piano Keyboard
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Julie Duffner, resident of the Senior Center
since 2019.

Meet Julie Duffner!

Superb piano virtuoso, Julie entertains us almost daily with her beautiful music! She also plays every Sunday at Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Born and raised in Columbus, Montana, Julie started piano lessons at the age of 5, and by the age of 6 she already had her very own instrument: a Baldwin Acrosonic.  After high school, Julie attended Eastern Montana College (MSU Billings) on a music scholarship.

At the age of 28, Julie was the victim of a car accident and had to relearn to play the piano. In fact, she always says that the piano was her therapy. Julie has one daughter – Jennifer - and two adorable grandsons.

Music Sheets
Meet Robert Dyer!

Besides being an accomplished musician and a powerful barytone, Robert is always willing to volunteer his time, from helping at the Foot Clinic, to organizing card games, to folding our newsletter (thank you!) - he does it all!

When he’s not volunteering, Robert is playing the piano or the accordion in our main hall. And there’s more: Robert served as Governor of  the Loyal Order Moose,  and Financial Secretary for the Knights of Columbus. If you see him in town carrying his accordion, ask him to play something for you!

Robert Dyer, resident of the Senior Center   since 2017.

Ken Spalding, resident of the Senior Center since 2017.

Meet Ken Spalding!

A veteran from World War II, Ken has been living at the Senior Center for a little over four years. In his junior year in 1942, when Ken played quarterback  for Park High, the team beat Bozeman 12-6 and 31-12. It was  a memorable season for PHS! The following year Ken joined the Marine Corps. After the war, he was recruited as basketball coach for St. Mary’s, and in 1947 he took the job of mail carrier until he retired 25 years later.  But Ken was far from being done: in 1974 he was elected county commissioner and served two terms, until 1986!

Ken always has the most colorful stories to tell. If you see him in town, make sure to thank him for his service! 

Meet Dean Nelson!

Meet Dean Nelson! Dean (Elvira) has been living at the Senior Center for almost five years, and she keeps herself very busy! Not only is she the organizer for pinochle three nights a week but she also volunteers at the Foot Clinic every other week. Recently she's been elected by the residents to form- with two other ladies - the Resident Committee of Park County Senior Center. When she’s not volunteering, Dean is always happy to help fellow residents when her smile and her cheerfulness are needed. If you see her in town, make sure to say Hello!

Dean Nelson, resident of the Senior Center  since 2017.