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Mechanic 03

       


Lloyd Eugene Allee

June 7, 1927 ~ June 2, 2019 (age 91)
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 Lloyd Eugene Allee, 91, of Cascade, MT joined his Lord and Savior suddenly at home on June 2, 2019 doing what he loved, mechanicing and mowing his beautiful lawn. A graveside service with military honors will be held at the Lewistown City Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. on June 12, 2019 (Wed), with a reception to follow at the American Legion Club in Lewistown, MT.

Lloyd was born June 7, 1927 in Spencer, IN, the fifth of nine children of Bert and Gertrude (Williams) Allee. He grew up on the family farm in hard times, attending a one-room school and cutting short his education to go to work in a sawmill. At age 16, he began working for Stokely VanCamp in Indianapolis and later for Allis-Chalmers and Caterpillar. At age 18, he joined the US Navy and proudly served aboard an LST carrier during the war, including time at Pearl Harbor. After his honorable discharge in 1946, he returned home briefly and then departed for Montana for a two-week trip but did not return home for seven years.

It was in Lewistown, MT that he met the love of his life, Dorothy Kelly, and they were married on November 26, 1949. They were blessed with three children; Phillip, Thomas and Lisa.

Lloyd’s expertise operating a grader working road construction or maintaining city or county roads in Fergus and Cascade counties was unmatched. He was a hard worker and could fix any and everything. Upon retirement, he enjoyed mechanic­ing, bowling, helping friends and especially time with his family.

 

 

Following are stories/recollections of Lloyd’s life that he shared at his 90th birthday party in 2017.

Lloyd was honored with almost 100 family members and friends in attendance.  He was so thrilled that six Allee family members came from Indiana, including his 86-year old sister who flew in a plane for the first time, as well as members of the Kelly (wife’s side) family who came from great distances.  Lloyd did not wish to have a big-splash funeral after he died but did agree to having the 90th birthday party as his early farewell celebration of life so he could enjoy his wonderful family and friends while still alive.  Although not wanting a big memorial service, he did agree to a small graveside service with military honors in Lewistown where he will stay beside his beloved wife, Dorothy.

Lloyd grew up on the family farm and recalled hard times with his Dad working long hours.  When two or three years old and Dad was seeding a field, Lloyd recalled he was supposed to wait at the edge of the field but decided to try to get on the seeder extended marker rod when Dad came around.  He grabbed on to it and it flipped him up and gave his Dad quite a scare; however, he fortunately did not get hurt too bad.

He attended a one-room school in Cuba, Indiana where his older sisters looked out for him.  He also had some warm memories of living with an Uncle and Aunt in his younger years because they were happy to help raise him.  He left behind school early and went to work for his brother-in-law at a portable sawmill. 

When around 14, he was helping Dad with running a crosscut saw and Dad had told him to be careful due to an axe being in the leaves; however, he got messing around and stepped on it.  It was double bladed and he cut his leg on the shinbone and a little while later wondered how the water got inside his boot.  Upon taking the boot off, he discovered it was blood, so Dad sent him to the house for his Mom to take him to the hospital.  Instead she pulled the skin together and bandaged it up.  Later when Dad came up to the house, he thought it was funny that they were back from the hospital already.  So when told she’d taken care of it, Dad just had to look at his leg..…but of course he could not see the wound since it was all bandaged up.  His mother did a good job and it healed up pretty good.  There were some really hard times in those early days and he recalled that they lost the farm and had to move.

He told of perhaps being a bit of a rascal on occasion when young.  Sometimes he and his friends or family members pulled a few shenanagins…..like stealing some watermelons off the back of a truck as it was going up a hill.  It was funny to hear him tell the story about them hiding along the hill and of course the truck slowed down with the heavy load going up the hill, so they’d jump out of the bushes and grab a few watermelons from under the covering.  One time when they raised the tarp to grab some melons, he said they were surprised to see a guy with a gun pointed at them.  That must have made the heart beat a little faster; there was no more stealing watermelons after that episode!

At age 16, he began working for Stokely-Van Camp food processors in Indianapolis.  He told of getting up early while it was still dark and running to a bus stop.  He laughed as he told of one dark morning running into a girl who was also rushing in the dark to catch the bus.  He didn’t laugh so much as he told about someone coming up to him one morning while he was waiting for the bus and pointing a gun at him while telling him to give him his wallet.  Lloyd said he didn’t argue a bit but gave it to him and the guy ran off.

One of Lloyd’s jobs early on was driving truck and hauling granulated fertilizer to a bulk plant.  Later he worked about three months for Allis-Chalmers on heavy equipment engines where he initially was finishing precision engines and then advanced to quality testing in the clean room.  At age 17, he and two friends went to Peoria, Illinois and began working for Caterpillar Equipment Company on the assembly line for about one year. 

At age 18, Lloyd began serving his country with the U.S. Navy where he spent time in 1945 on an

LST  (Landing Ship, Tank) carrier.  His ship was bound for Japan and was beyond the Hawaiian

Islands when it was placed in a hold pattern for a brief period.  Finally, the crew was informed that the war was over as a result of atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their ship turned around and docked at Pearl Harbor amidst all the destruction from the attack of December 7, 1941.  Some of his work there included operating underwater to clean barnacles off ships and other things, as well as underwater welding.  Regarding Pearl Harbor, Lloyd flatly said, “That was a mess.” 

After his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946, Lloyd came to Montana with a friend, much like Charlie Russell did, for only two weeks; however, he did not return home for seven years.  Initially he went to work at the U.S. Gypsum plant at Heath (southeast of Lewistown) and later he worked for the Nash auto dealership in Lewistown.  Then he was glad to go to work for Fergus County where he was stationed out of Winifred operating a grader/patrol maintaining roads.  It was in Lewistown that he was introduced to the love of his life, Dorothy Kelly, by his good buddy who enticed him to make the “short visit” to Montana.  He married Dorothy on November 26, 1949 in Lewistown at St. Leo’s Catholic Church.

Lloyd told of he and his good buddy, Skelton, getting caught doing 65 mph by a good-natured policeman in their 1931 Model A sedans.  They were speeding down a double-lane highway, down the hill, across the bridge and up the other side but neither had enough additional horsepower to get around the other, so they were zooming along side by side.  Instead of scolding or citing them, the trooper only asked them to make room for someone to get around them.  Lucky guys!

Around 1952, Lloyd came to Great Falls and began working for Nilson-Smith Construction as a heavy equipment operator.  He and his bride lived in a small trailer near Noble’s Grocery on the Westside and were not too enthused about Great Falls, so they returned to Lewistown.  However, the stay was very brief because the Operating Engineers union kept calling him due to a need for his skills back in Great Falls.  Thus, they turned around and moved back to their trailer in Great Falls, which they then relocated to the Texaco Trailer Court (near or where the current Holiday Village Shopping Center is located) and he went back to work for Nilson-Smith.  

After a while, he began operating various types of heavy equipment for Kraus Construction Company where he, Jim and Pat Kraus had some challenging, as well as good, times with jobs on the ground and in the Kraus airplanes flying to different jobs.  Lloyd told about one time working on their equipment at night in their big building on the south end of Great Falls and he felt like someone was watching him.  It bothered him sufficiently that he even went and looked outside once.  It was close to midnight when he got done and went home.  The next morning he received a call from Jim that someone had gone in with gasoline and burned the building down with several trucks, tractors, other equipment and an airplane destroyed in it.  The culprit was never caught.

Lloyd also told about one slack day Kraus had a friend that needed help so he suggested Lloyd go help him finish off the “Ace in the Hole” Alpha 1 missile site east of Great Falls with grading and seeding.  The fellow’s old-timer truck ran out of gas on the way back to Great Falls, thus Lloyd asked him if he had any propane in the back of the truck.  He did have a tank, so Lloyd stood on the running board with the side hood up and used propane to squirt in the carburetor to run the vehicle until they got back to Great Falls.  Imagine what oncoming traffic must have wondered …..what is that weird guy doing standing outside that moving truck?  Sometimes he squirted a lot of propane, which would make the truck go faster, and the driver kept telling him to slow down, especially because he could not see the road very good.  Well, they got that old truck back to town and Lloyd was glad to be finished with that day.  This was just another example of Lloyd’s ingenuity in how to fix things or “make do” with what you’ve got available.

Lloyd really enjoyed road construction work and had a lot of stories to tell of times with his good buddy, Owen Pike.  One included them working a job on the west side of the Continental Divide around Ronan, Montana and taking a small motor boat up a river and fishing in the lake.  They caught a lot of fish and when they got back, they were told that motor boats are not allowed on the lake.  Luckily they did not get fined.  During two off seasons for construction, Lloyd worked at the Anaconda Copper Company smelter in Great Falls.

In the late 1950’s, Lloyd began working for the City of Great Falls building streets and alleys as the community experienced a growth spurt.  While working at the City, Lloyd was honored for his expertise in operating and demonstrating patrols/graders.  The City demonstrated their confidence in him by flying him back to Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois to view the manufacture of the latest heavy equipment technology because the City was interested in purchasing more equipment.

Around 1969, he switched over to Cascade County where he maintained over 200 miles of dirt/gravel roads that stretched between Ulm and Hardy Creek.  Some of those roads were; Lower River Rd, Ten-Mile, Hound Creek, Castner Falls Rd, Schrammeck Lake Rd, Millegan Rd, Adel Rd, Whitmore Rd, Wolf Rd, Rocky Reef Rd, Chestnut Valley, Hardy Loop, Wiegand Park Rd, Mission Rd, Sun River Rd, Sullivan Hill, Birdtail Rd, Ft. Shaw, Old Cascade-Ulm Rd, and Monroe Rd.  He told of real winters when the snowstorms covered fence posts in many areas and he automatically figured out where the roads were and cleared them.  One scary story was of him being down in a valley near a bridge and a young lady (Shelley R) came zooming over the top of the hill, slammed on her brakes, and skidded off the road into the ditch near the water.  Lloyd used the grader to pull her back into the road.  He told of stopping for lunch up Sullivan Hill way, looking out over the valley where the stagecoach used to travel through the area, and taking time to look around the hillside to see if he could find anything associated with a stagecoach robbery from years back. 

Lloyd retired around 1991; however because of his expertise, he was sought by many to return to maintaining the roads in Cascade County or operating graders for other highway or road contractors.     It seemed that other operators were just unable to fulfill the challenging requirements of the job to the bosses satisfaction and they knew or had heard that Lloyd was an “Ace” skilled grader operator.  He finally relented in 1995 and helped a few weeks with reconstruction of Interstate 15 near Brady.  However, his help there was short-lived when a general check-up revealed a lung tumor.  Lloyd underwent successful surgery and recovered fully but never went back to work for the company even though they practically begged him to do so.  He was keeping plenty busy with everything at home.

After the loss of his dear Dorothy in 1994, Lloyd kept a tidy home surrounded by a beautiful big lawn, lilac bushes (some started from Kelly family bushes in Lewistown and Allee family bushes in Indiana) and flowers.  He was such a good neighbor to Bud and Carol Place by fixing mowers countless times for them, including one just two days before his demise.  In fact, Lloyd helped Bud get a job with Cascade County as a mechanic in 1985 and they enjoyed swapping many yarns throughout the years.  

Between 1996 and 2014, Lloyd was an integral assistant to Carol as she did bus and trolley tours in the Great Falls and North Central Montana area.  Lloyd accompanied her on numerous in-town and out-of-town tours and those on board would love to hear his fascinating stories.  She referred to him as her “Security Blanket” due to his mechanical prowess.  He was so versatile in his abilities, talent and generosity and was almost a perfectionist whether doing mechanical fixes or cutting out stars and Christmas trees to help make tour posters. 

In more recent years, Lloyd immensely enjoyed bowling with the Seniors at Little’s Lanes, Black Eagle Community Center, and the Elk’s Club.  Unfortunately, his bowling was interrupted with major surgery in August, 2017.  It took the wind out of his sails, but he was getting stronger and looking forward to returning to the lanes with the bowling family members that he missed so much.  He was rather grumpy about that surgery but grateful that his granddaughter and great granddaughter came from Texas to help him return directly to his home after leaving the hospital instead of going to recover elsewhere.  Lloyd also enjoyed going to listen to fiddlers perform at various venues around town and regularly to an assisted living facility where he joined in many sing-alongs with his wonderful voice.

One would be remiss if one did not mention that Lloyd was very proud of his three children.  He was proud that Phillip seemed to inherit the “bubble in the butt” and was a good grader/patrol/blade operator too.   He spoke of Tommy being such a good wrestler in high school and there being an event where students wrestled their fathers.  Lloyd was quick to point out that he was no match for his son.  He was also proud of those boys as they in their early years travelled the Northwest putting on performances with their own band.  He and Dorothy really enjoyed going to watch their sons perform.  He definitely was very proud to watch his miracle baby, Lisa, grow up and even more proud to see her graduate from the University of Great Falls.  In recent years, he cherished having Lisa and her husband, Dan, bring out Sunday meals and play dominoes.  He truly did cherish having his family gather for his birthdays and was looking forward to seeing family and friends together again in another five days for his 92nd birthday.  However, that was not to be as the Lord obviously had another plan.

Lloyd “did it my way” (remember Frank Sinatra’s song) when he left this earthly world on Sunday, June 2, 2019.  He performed mechanic work that morning on his riding lawn mower and then got on it, mowed his lawn and pruned a dead limb from a tree.  He left us while doing what he loved.  Amen.

 

 

He was predeceased by his parents; brother Bert; four sisters, Lillian Carpenter, Vivian Mills, Betty Haltom, Jewell Haltom; wife; and son, Phillip.

He is survived by sisters Pauline Russo, Eugenia Hendershot and Loretta Snyder of the Spencer, INarea; son Thomas (Kelly) of Rock Springs, WY and daughter, Lisa (Dan) Gross of Great Falls; eight grandchildren; sixteen great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and special neighbors, Bud and Carol Place.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the charity of your choice.

 

 

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