Donald M. Batista, 87, passed away on Dec. 5, 2022 at home. A Memorial Service for Don will be Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 11:00 AM at the Fort in Fort Shaw.
He was born Oct. 28, 1935 in Great Falls, MT to Manual and Helen Batista. He spent his entire life in the Great Falls area.
He graduated from Great Falls High in 1953, “Go Bison”. He also attended the College of Great Falls where he played basketball for the Crusaders.
When he was young, he was active in the Boy Scouts, earning many awards and badges.
An outdoor man, he loved fishing, hunting, hiking, cutting wood in the mountains, photography and traveling. He took lots of folks, young and old, on guided hikes into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He had a Blue Bird Trail and built over 40 houses to help the recovery of the birds. He also belonged to the Cascade County Wildlife Association and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Sun River Valley Historical Society where he was a director for many years. He volunteered at the Montana Fish & Game, driving for them, and working at the Fair, and the Salvation Army and R.S.V.P.
Working summers from the time he was still in school, first at Montgomery Wards, then as a Gandy Dancer for the Railroad, for the Forest Service clearing trails in the Bob Marshall Wilderness west of Choteau and at Lubec in Glacier Park, for the Great Falls Public Schools where he was an engineer for over thirty years, first at C.M.R. and at North Jr. High from before it first opened until he retired in 1994.
He married Burnette Peterson in 1979 and they were married over 43 wonderful years.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Batista and his parents.
Survivors include his loving wife, Burnette; son, William (Dena) Weaver; daughters, Bonnie Holm and Kathy (Bart) Stimmel; grandchildren, Rob (Betsy) Wynegar, Melissa Wynegar, Tyler Weaver and Eric Weaver, Heather Sanfranski, Kati Miller and Taylor Engstrom; great-grandchildren, Reid Wynegar and Tucker Wynegar and Lincoln Miller; sister; Shirley (Allen) Sietsema and several nieces and nephews.
Donations in Don’s memory may be made to the Sun River Valley Historical Society, Box 155, Sun River, MT 59483.
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