William (Bill) Thormahlen

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
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Bill passed away with his wife Jean by his side on June 25, 2019, at his home within a few miles of where he was born on July 11, 1934 to Wilbur and Mary (Mill) Thormahlen.

He leaves his wife and soul-mate of 44 years Jean Thormahlen.  His brother Bob (Darleen) Thormahlen.  His children Debbi (Albert) Brown, Dan Thormahlen, Dayna (Phil) Lambert, Dean (Erin) Thormahlen, Dawn Thormahlen, Tracy Thormahlen, and Travis Thormahlen and their mother Barbara Thormahlen.  Jean’s children Jami (Joe) Earsley, Jess (Connie) Anderson, Joyti (Derek) Lermeny and Jonette (Cal) Myrick who he loved just as much as his own children.  Also, 19 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and close friends.

Bill is preceded by his parents, 3 brothers Wally, Raymond and Donald Leroy, children Dallas, Dawson, Delena, infant daughter, grandson Eric Lermeny and best buddy and faithful dog Tug.  Also, his grandparents, aunts and uncles and many other relatives and friends.  

Many people knew Bill as ‘Pumprunner’ or ‘Deadeye.’  Bill grew up in the Bridger/Belfry area and played basketball for the Belfry Bats on their championship team 2 out of 3 years.  

As a young man he rode bareback horses in rodeos and worked for various ranches, as well as in the oil fields, but mainly as a truck driver.  He drove over a million miles for Townsend Lumber before he moved to Alaska in January of 1975.  

He was the dispatcher for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Valdez before moving to Fairbanks, Alaska in December of 1976.   He was an owner/operator for Kodiak Oilfield Haulers driving the haul road to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.  

On one trip he was caught in a severe blizzard for two days and was about to run out of fuel when he heard a rollagon, he kicked open his frozen door to see an Alaskan Eskimo with no teeth and said “don’t leave me.”  The Eskimo then drove him into Prudhoe Bay.  Upon returning home several days later he told his wife Jean that he always thought God had long hair and a beard but now he wasn’t so sure about that.  

Bill retired in October of 1986 and traveled the lower 48 with his wife Jean for two years.  They then moved home to Bridger in 1988 and that winter they bought a cabin and 65 acres in the Pryor Mountains where they built a log home with the help of his son’s Dan and Dean.  

In 2003 they sold the mountain property and moved back to Bridger.  Bill loved hunting (hence the nickname Deadeye), fishing, and golfing.  He played on several pool leagues over the years and was a loyal NBA basketball fan of the Utah Jazz.  Bill and Jean were 9 year season ticket holders each year pulling their fifth wheel to Salt Lake City to live out the basketball season.  Bill will be dearly missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.  

“Honey, you meant the world to me, I will love you forever,” your wife Jean, known by you as Jeannie, Bessy or Grandma.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, July 25, at 1 p.m. at the downtown Smith Funeral Chapel, 925 S. 27th Street in Billings, a Celebration of Life reception and light lunch will follow.  For the entire obituary and to leave memories for the family please visit smithfuneralchapels.com.