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American Patriotic 11


Norman Perry Banta

September 29, 1943 ~ March 26, 2018 (age 74)
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Norman Perry Banta, 74, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 26, 2018 doing one of the things he loved most - tinkering on the tractor. Visitation will be held on Saturday, March 31st, 2018 at the Simms United Methodist Church from 2pm-3pm.  Funeral services will begin at 3pm at the same location followed by military honors, provided by the United States Army Color Guard and VFW Post 1087. Cremation will take place at a later date.  A reception will follow the service at the Sun River Valley Lions Hall in Simms

Born on September 29, 1943 in Mobile, Alabama to Elizabeth and Perry, Norm was the youngest of four children. Throughout his high school years, he enjoyed running a landscaping and tree trimming business, perfecting skills that would last him a lifetime. 

Norm attended San Luis Obispo College in Pasadena, CA studying agriculture. During his time there, he was on the gymnastic team, performing on the rings. While there, Norm also enjoyed spending his time working on his uncle’s ranch in Pasadena.

In the late 1960’s, Norm moved to Cascade, MT where he began working with livestock for Glen and Kate Lechner at Siebens.  He then worked at the John Gordon Ranch. After college, Norman enlisted in the United States Army, where he served a tour (1967-1968) in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry. Every week the Lechners would write a letter to him, reminding Norm that someone from back home loved him.  He was always very appreciative of this. Norman was a recipient of the Bronze medal (with Valor), among many other decorations.

In 1969, Norm began the process of buying the old Bill Moss place, in which he was proud to call it his own in 1970.  During this time, he also worked for the Fort Shaw Irrigation District.

During time spent working at Siebens, he met Ruth Mortag and in 1972, the two were married.   After 11 years of marriage, they parted ways, but remained dear friends and partners.

On March 8, 1987, after five years of dating, Norm married Rita Eyre Kirby. Through this marriage, Norm welcomed three children (Patricia, Scott, and Clint) whom he dearly loved from the beginning and made it clear that they were never step children - they were his children. Norm built them a house, and made it their home.

Norman was a proud lifetime member of the VFW and served as a member of the Color Guard with the American Legion.  He was also a member of the Sun River Lions Club for 40+ years, and a devoted member of the Sun River Methodist Church. 

Some of Norm’s favorite hobbies included woodworking, landscaping, farming, and tending to his cattle.  Everything he touched he loved, and everything that touched him, loved him. Above all, the most important thing to Norm was his faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, followed by family and Country. 

Norman was preceded in death by Elizabeth (mother), Perry (father), Betsy (sister), Scotty (son), Renee (daughter in-law), and Sean (grandson). 

Norm is survived by his wife, Rita; dearest friend, Ruth; sister, Peggy; brother, Richard; daughter, Patricia (Darren); son, Clint (Ronda); eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and his best dog Thumper.

In lieu of flowers, Norman would have greatly appreciated donations be sent to the Sun River Valley Lions Club, as it was an important aspect in his life.



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