Cover photo for William  "Dean" Gilbert's Obituary
William  "Dean" Gilbert Profile Photo
1938 William 2021

William "Dean" Gilbert

April 27, 1938 — April 20, 2021

William Dean Gilbert passed away suddenly on Tuesday April 20, 2021, attended by Carol Woodley, Nancy Noyd, and his son Judson. Born on April 27th, 1938, at the Lott Hospital in Livingston, MT, Dean was the second son of Les and Ruth Gilbert. Without trying, Dean was a builder of memories. Every person who crossed paths with him will have a story to tell. More than a few will be a ‘fish story' of dubious claims. The memories and stories will live forever.In his youth, Dean was raised with the sheep on the plains and hills of Park County above the Yellowstone River. Those carefree days with his brother Paul were the subject of many campfire stories. After graduating from high school in 1957, Dean attended Oregon Technical Institute, where he studied rodeo, and possibly some diesel mechanics. After school he served in the United States Army Reserve in Fort Ord, CA, from 1959 to 1965, and was honorably discharged home to Montana.Life takes the most interesting turns and Dean spent time in Georgia on multiple occasions. During these times he was blessed with his daughter, Jodi, and the beginning of his career with Southern Bell. He became a lifelong member of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He transferred to Mountain Bell in Montana, where his sons Dan and Judson were born. Eventually Dean moved his family to Denver, CO, against his will as he tried to survive the breakup of the Bell System into the ‘Baby Bells.' He worked for AT&T until he retired in 1991. Afterwards, he returned to Montana, where he went back to work for US West/Qwest, and then he retired again.In June of 1969 Dean married his Southern Belle, Billie Jo Stephenson. Dean and Jo were very active in the Park County Pioneer Society and Dean served as President. They were inseparable until her passing in 2011. Dean and Jo leave behind a legacy for their future generations that will be celebrated for many decades to come. Most recently, Dean has enjoyed his companionship with Carol Woodley, and they spent many years together.Dean has left his mark on Park County as one of the original founders of the Shields Valley Old Settlers Days. Like his father before him, he was the Grand Marshall in 2019. He was also the 1st place award winning historian for American Legion Post 23, and he represented Montana at the national level. Many families in the county will know Dean for his involvement in Post 23 and his dedication to those who served as a member of the Honor Guard. We thank Dean for his service to his country and to his fellow veterans.Survivors include daughter Joanna Dean "Jodi" Ball of Darby, MT, and her husband Marc; two sons, Daniel Gilbert of Denver, CO, and Judson Gilbert of Barre, VT and his wife, Nicole; four grandchildren, Danielle, Addison and his wife Kat, William Dean Gilbert, II, and Delaney; one great-granddaughter, Bae Iommi; brother Paul and his wife Bobbie Gilbert of Big Timber; and nephews Ken (Suzie) of Rapelje, MT, and Alan (Teri) of Big Timber, MT. Dean was preceded in death by his wife of 43 years, Billie Jo.If so desired, memorials may be directed to the American Legion Park Post 23, 112 N B Street, Livingston, MT 59047, or a charity of your choice.A memorial service in honor of Dean will be held Monday, April 26, 2021, 11:00AM at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home; the service will also be live-streamed on the Franzen-Davis Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Parkcountycremationandfuneral). Following the service, all are invited to a reception at the American Legion Park Post 23.
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