- Your Town
Howard Robert Crumbacher
"Forever Married - July 21, 1946". On that beautiful day Howard R. Crumbacher and Norma A. Jacobson were married in Red lodge. This earthly union lasted over 57 years until Norma went to be with the Lord on Feb. 24, 2004. Howard grieved his bride's loss with a heavy heart, yet vibrantly lived and continued to love his family and friends for over ten years after Norma's passing.
Howard Robert (Bob) W. Crumbacher died on July 18, 2014, in Billings, and has now joined Norma in the eternal union as "Forever Married - July 21, 1946". Howard selected this as the phrase from his heart to be the central message for their final resting marker. Dad and Mom may now have the last dance forever, as was Dad's wish at Norma's memorial. Howard Crumbaker and Vienna (Puhto) Crumbaker were blessed with the birth of Bob in Red Lodge, on Jan. 15, 1926. The family was again blessed with the birth of Bob's only sibling, his loving sister, Bernice (Crumbaker) Christiansen in October 1927. Bernice lives in Billings, following the recent passing of her husband, Hubert (Buzz) Christiansen, with the support of her three wonderful daughters, Denice, Jo, and Beth and their families.
Bob enjoyed his childhood, embracing as much outdoor life as his parents would allow, in Billings, Red Lodge, and summers on his uncle's farm in Roberts. As a youngster Bob would be seen on the streets of Billings as he "hawked" newspapers for candy, treats and family money. On the farm in Roberts, he eagerly began to learn about animal husbandry and agriculture, which would later enhance his love for animals, the land and agricultural studies.
El ementary s cho o l started for Bob at Taft School in Billings. He continued and completed the next phase of a comprehensive education in Carbon County Schools, graduating from Red Lodge High School. Bob's academic education later continued after service to his county in the U.S. Army during World War II. First Sergeant Howard R.W. Crumbaker, 1st Infantry Division, served in Field Artillery and as a Medic and Ambulance driver in Europe, (1945-46), often behind enemy lines. Dad was unbelievably proud to have served in the Army and had numerous stories of the tragedies and successes he witnessed as a dedicated soldier. Thank you, Dad, for your service to your country and our family. We live in a better place because of you and all who have served to this day. Howard was Honorably Discharged on June 21, 1946, promptly scampered to return to the love of his life, Norma, and on that beautiful day became "Forever Married-Jul y 21,1946".
Bob and Norma lived and worked a dairy farm near Roberts and the family grew with the births of two children. Their son, Jack and daughter, Betty are two of the most fortunate children to have had such loving, caring and adoring parents. We will grieve and miss them terribly, yet rejoice in the unconditional love and support they gave us, and in the precious memories they built with us and our families. Thanks, Dad, for a job well done.
Bob continued his secondary education, with the full-time job on the farm, as he attended Montana State University, commuting to and from Bozeman, while Norma managed the house and kids. He earned undergraduate degrees in Vocational Agriculture, Dairy Manufacturing, and Education coupled with teaching credentials in sciences and math. He later continued to achieve Masters Degrees in Educat ion and School Administration. Bob served his communities as a teacher and administrator of over thirty years. After teaching in Red Lodge, the family moved to Billings where Howard (he was known as Mr. Crumbaker) taught sciences at Lincoln Junior High. Howard continued to mentor children as Dean of Boys, Assistant Principal and Principal while at Lincoln. Howard completed his education service career in 1985 as Principal of the Career Center in Billings.
While Bob worked in education and as Norma worked as a legal secretary, they ventured into the business world as a "part-time" endeavor. This turned out to be a "part-time" venture for over twenty years as owners of Crumbacher Gallery and subsequently Rimrock Art and Frame, a truly premier art gallery and frame shop. They loved the business and cherished this as their retirement career until it was sold in 2004. During their lives Howard dabbled in other careers. He was a licensed real estate agent for over twenty years in Billings. Howard Homes was the banner under which he built several custom homes in Billings for him and his bride, as well as homes for other family members. Howard loved working with wood products, and was a true perfectionist in all home construction facets.
Howard is survived by his sister, Bernice Christiansen; son, Jack (Darla) Crumbaker of Meridian, Idaho; daughter, Betty (Crumbaker)(Bill) Spoonemore of Billings. The surviving grandchildren are Jason (Tracey) Spoonemore, Ryan (Jennifer) Spoonemore, Eric Hancock, and Shannah (Wesley) Phares. Howard dearly loved his grandchildren and his great grandchildren: Hazel and Houston Phares; Lena Hancock; Jordan, Colby, Jada and Kaden Spoonemore; Morgan, Rylee, Logan, Emma, Ashton, and Jaxon Spoonemore.
Howard's fourteenth great grandchild, a boy (Phares), is expected to bless our family in October. Howard lived the past few years with friends in the care of Highgate Senior Living in Billings. Our family wishes to sincerely thank the caregivers and management staff at Highgate Senior for their dedicated and compassionate care they provided to Dad in his final years. We also thank you for the care and support you have provided to all our family.
Jack and Darla, Betty and Bill wish to extend a special heart-felt and loving "thank you" to Barbara S p o o n emo r e wh o , throughout the years, unselfishly has provided time, care and comfort and visits with Bob. You have been a truly remarkable family member helping and supporting us all. We are grateful.
For a number of years, Dad has been sharing with me five words he recited often. He kept telling me, "Don't give up on God". I am convinced that he never did give up on Him. Thanks again, Dad, for a job well done. We love you. Rest in peace with Mom.
Memo r i a l s e r v i c e arrangements were held 11 a.m. at Dahl Funeral Chapel, 10 Yellowstone Avenue, Billings, MT 59101 on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Howard will be laid to rest at Yel lowstone Val ley Memorial Park with military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to be directed to ASPCA (aspca.org), or any Animal Humane Society, Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject. org), Kaleva Lodge, (P.O. Box 128, Roberts, MT 59070) or the charity of one's choice. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlfuneralchapel. com.