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David John Vanek Sr.

May 14, 1942 September 19, 2019
David John  Vanek Sr.
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Obituary for David John Vanek Sr.

David J. Vanek Sr., 77, of Lewistown, MT died in his sleep of complications from cancer treatments and heart disease on September 19, 2019. 

Dave was born in Lewistown to V. Marie and Wencil J. Vanek on May 14, 1942, the oldest of 3 children. He grew up and lived his entire life at the Vanek Ranch northwest of Lewistown, near Brooks. He attended Brooks School from 1st through 8th grade and graduated from Fergus High School in 1960. At the very young age of 14, he had to take over most of the responsibilities of the family dairy and ranch work because of his father Wencil’s failing health. He juggled school, milking 40+ cows, and ranch work until graduating Diesel Technologies at Northern Montana College in Havre in 1962. Dave decided that it was time for a change, as he wanted to pursue a Beef cattle operation rather than a dairy and that’s exactly what he did. 

On April 4, 1964 he was united in marriage to Barbara L. Bourret of Great Falls. They had 5 children, Dave Jr., Alan, Darlene, Patti, and Bill; then, divorced in the late 1990s. On Nov. 15, 2002 he was united in marriage to Judy Vandeberg Vance of Great Falls.  

He actively worked the family ranch at Brooks until early this year as his own health started declining. Dave was one of the first in the Brooks area to buy and use a Semi Truck for hauling hay, grain, and cattle, and started a Trucking Company to help with ranch finances. Dave was an accomplished farmer/rancher and active in many farm organizations such as NFO and Farmer’s Union. He was a member of St. Victor’s Catholic Church in Hilger as well as St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Lewistown. His faith in God was undeniable as he enjoyed helping with many church functions, including Cursillo.  

Dave loved farm machinery and tractors. At one time, Dave Sr. and Dave Jr. had a combined 26 tractors on the ranch! He also loved big game hunting and spending leisure time on his boat or at their home in Yuma, AZ. He loved sharing hunting experiences with many friends along the way. But most of all, he loved watching his children and grandchildren grow up and teaching them life’s lessons.  

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wencil and Marie Vanek and his daughter, Patti. 

He is survived by his wife, Judy of Lewistown; ex-wife, Barbara of Lewistown; sister, Carolyn Vanek of Boulder, CO; brother, Frank Vanek of Moore, MT; son and daughter-in-law, Dave Jr. and Denyse of Columbus, son, Alan of Lewistown, daughter, Darlene of Lewistown, son William of Lewistown; grandchildren include: John, Daniel, Alyssa, Liam, Savanah Robertson, and Hugh Vanek; also Fritz, his faithful 3-legged dog.

A Vigil Service will be held at St. Leo’s Catholic Church on Thursday, September 26th, 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 27th, at St. Leo’s. Memorial donations are requested to the Sletton Cancer Institute or Peace Hospice of Great Falls. 

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home in Lewistown and Schnider Funeral Home in Great Falls. Dave’s family and friends can share memories and condolences at

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Previous Events





7:00 PM 9/26/2019 7:00:00 PM
St. Leo's Catholic Church

124 W. Broadway
Lewistown, MT 59457

Parish Vigil

St. Leo's Catholic Church
124 W. Broadway Lewistown 59457 MT
United States





11:00 AM 9/27/2019 11:00:00 AM
St. Leo's Catholic Church

124 W. Broadway
Lewistown, MT 59457

Funeral Mass

St. Leo's Catholic Church
124 W. Broadway Lewistown 59457 MT
United States

Memorial Contribution

Sletton Cancer Institute

1117 29th St. S.
Ste. 200
Great Falls, MT 59405

Peace Hospice


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