Elaine Stutz Higgins-Homewood

Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Elaine Stutz Higgins-Homewood,  89, of Red Lodge, passed away on Aug. 8, 2018 after 14 years living with dementia.

Elaine was born in the Bronx, New York City, May 8, 1929 to William and Katherine (Meier) Stutz.

She received a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University 1951 and was a member of Tri Delta Sorority.

In 1953 Elaine married Grove L. “Larry” Higgins. Larry had graduated with a degree in geology and was hired by Carter Oil.

Carter Oil led Elaine and Larry to Carmi, Illinois, then West to Worland, Wyoming.  While working the Montana and Wyoming oil fields they discovered Red Lodge.

In 1956 they purchased Piney Dell Resort. In 1964 Elaine and Larry represented the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association at the Worlds Fair in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In 1967 Elaine and Larry divorced and Elaine remained in Red Lodge taking a part-time position as the Secretary for Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce.   

In 1969 Elaine was appointed by the Carbon County Commissioners to fulfill a vacate position as Justice of the Peace. After completing the appointed twoyear term as Justice of the Peace she then ran for reelection, and served for the next 23 years, retiring in June 1993. She served on the Montana Commission on Courts of Limited Jurisdiction 1980 -1988, appointed by State Supreme Court Justice, John Sheehy.  

During her terms as Justice of the Peace, she became a Reverend of the American Fellowship Church in 1987 in order to perform both civil and religious ceremonies. She often performed marriages, frequently in her home, rather than in the stark Judicial Chambers.  Thus in 1992 she built “Canyon Wedding Chapel” performing 100 weddings that year alone. Many others were performed there over the next 18 years in a variety of ceremonies on  skis, in a hot air balloon, on horseback, on an elephant, on bridges, or on ranches, in remote locations in the Beartooth’s, Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming.

In 2001 she married “Buck” Duane Homewood of Frannie, Wyoming and enjoyed 15 “Good Years” splitting time between his ranch and her home in Red Lodge.  

Elaine loved the community of Red Lodge, and her adopted HOME State of Montana.

She served on the Festival of Nations Board, as well MC’d German Night.  She was also a Girl Scout leader and served on the board of Yellowstone Country Montana, and Red Lodge Community Church, UCC.  She was also a member of Red Lodge Mountain Hooter Peaks Ski Club.    

Elaine loved music and learned to play the drums as her children left home. She loved dancing to a Great Western Swing, a Polka or Waltz. For numerous years she was in the Red Lodge Community Band, famous for her appearances in the parades over the 4th of July, becoming known as “Boom Boom Higgins.”

She spent many weekends enjoying her Beartooth and Pryor Mountains,  hiking, skiing, taking the back roads around her county and state.  She took classes through the Yellowstone Institute, learning everything from rocks, to track, to scat.

Elaine leaves behind her son Kurtis Higgins Stutz of Boise, Idaho; her daughter Julia Higgins of Whidbey Island, Washington; her husband Duane “Buck” Homewood of Frannie, Wyoming; and several Cousins in New York City, Arizona and Germany.

Here’s To A Life Well Lived.

Elaine preferred  a Celebration of Life with her friends and community rather than a (traditional) funeral. In that spirit please attend an afternoon of stories, song and music at Red Lodge Ales event tent, Aug. 26 at 3 p.m.  Wear your sunscreen, sunhat's, German Durndels / Lederhosen or cowboy boots. BBQ meats and refreshment will be provided. Please bring a small accompanying dish to share of salads or dessert.