RONAN — Everitt Dale Foust, 91, passed away peacefully on Aug. 27, 2018.
Born May 25, 1927, at J.C. Williams Oil Camp in Midwest Wyoming, Everitt was adopted as an infant by William Henry Foust and Blanche Virginia Conner Foust (his maternal aunt), joining two older adopted sons, Ted and Bill Jr. The Foust family lived near the camp where their father worked as a tool dresser before relocating to Bridger, Montana. In 1934 they moved to Moiese and took up farming.
Everitt’s hardscrabble, depression-era upbringing forged a consummate optimism. To him everything was possible - as long as he worked hard enough. His enduring childhood memories were of thinning sugar beets, milking cows, putting up hay, and fishing with his dad and brothers.
Everitt graduated from Charlo High School in 1945 and immediately enlisted in the Navy, serving in the South Pacific until after the end of World War II.
On Feb 21, 1949, Everitt married Melva Bauer, his high school sweetheart. After having two children, they moved to the L.O. Smith Ranch where Everitt worked. Eventually they purchased the ranch, built a new home, and raised a work crew of nine kids. He actively ranched with his sons until his death.
Everitt converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1950 and remained an enthusiastic advocate his entire life. At the age of 30 he became the first Bishop of the Charlo Ward. He since carried out numerous callings and assignments, including four fulltime missions to the islands of Micronesia.
Although Everitt liked to fish, he loved to hunt. He always thought he would bring home an elk and he usually did. He wasn’t about to be out-worked or out-hunted.
Everitt was a born storyteller, consummate host, and generous benefactor. No matter how busy, he dropped everything whenever anyone showed up. He had a soft spot for a hard luck story and was quick to share his means, including the ranch and Melva’s cooking.
He was a natural leader in the community with a personal appeal and inclusive approach who launched ideas with enthusiasm, persuasion, and rolled up sleeves. Over nearly five decades Everitt served on boards or as a director for: Charlo School District; Moiese Volunteer Fire Department; Northwest Cattleman’s Association; Mission Valley Hospital; State-Tribal Hunting and Fishing Commission; Flathead Irrigation; National Potato Council; Montana Potato Growers; US Potato Growers; Montana Stock Growers; Production Credit Association; Federal Landbank; Intermediate Credit Bank of Spokane; and The ARC of the United States. In the early 1970s he and Melva successfully lobbied the state legislature to bring special education to western Montana.
Later in life, he and Melva were gratified to re-connect with his biological mother, Marie Conner Schreiner, and her family.
While serving their last mission to Micronesia in 1994, Melva fell ill with cancer. They came home to Moiese where she could be with family and friends before passing away on Oct. 8. Everitt would marry several times before finding Edra Leavitt Pilling. Everitt and Edra were happily married on Jan. 27, 2018.
Everitt lived a long, full, fast-paced life. He never fully retired from the ranch. Last Saturday, he was in his Buick headed toward Moiese with at least one hand on the wheel and a foot on the accelerator when a State Trooper pulled him over and convinced him to go to the hospital as he had suffered a stroke. He was there long enough for family and friends to come and say good bye.
We all miss him.
Everitt was preceded in death by his adopted family, William, Blanche, Ted, and Bill Jr; his biological mother and father, Marie Conner Schreiner and Erwin Hawley; his biological half siblings, Helen Schreiner, Lois Hawley Patton and Vernon Hawley; his first wife Melva; and a granddaughter, Angela Price.
He is survived by his wife, Edra; his nine children and spouses; his eight step-children and spouses; his 37 grandchildren; his 25 step-grandchildren; his 52 great-grandchildren; his 66 great-step-grandchildren; his nieces and nephews; and scores of wonderful friends and neighbors.
A funeral has been held.
Donations can be made in Everitt’s name to Charlo Vikings Special Olympics at the Charlo school office. The family would like to thank all who have come by and/or offered food, their homes, love, and condolences.
Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at: www.shriderthompson.com. Shrider-Thompson Funeral Home, Ronan, is assisting the Foust family with arrangements.