Cover photo for Alton Ervin Sept's Obituary
Alton Ervin Sept Profile Photo
1923 Al 2024

Alton Ervin Sept

May 3, 1923 — July 5, 2024

Alton E. Sept, 101, former Superintendent of Power for the Flathead Irrigation Project, passed away on July 5, 2024. Al was born on May 3, 1923, at his family home in Twin Falls, Idaho, to Gottlieb and Elenora Sept. He was the second son in a family of three boys.

As a child of the Depression, he helped at the family home, worked on friends' farms doing everything from weeding beans to driving a team of plow horses, and would go to work on a bicycle he motorized. A rascal at times, he once scared his aunt by bringing a live garter snake into the house. He and his family hunted, camped, and fished together, and as adults, they met each summer on the Salmon River to fish. He began his lifelong love of ballroom dancing, taking instruction from his mom in their kitchen, while dancing with a neighbor girl. Determined in school, he earned excellent grades, and played violin in the school orchestra. He attended the University of Idaho, majoring in electrical engineering. With WWII raging, he joined the Naval Reserves V12 program at 20 years old, and the Navy transferred him to the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago to complete his degree. As a Seabee, he was shipped to the island of Tinian in the South Pacific. One of his jobs was engineering the lighting of the runways on the island for the B-29 Superfortress bombers, the planes that delivered the war-ending atomic bombs.

After the war, while working as a journeyman in Twin Falls, he took the civil service exam and was offered a job in Ft. Peck, MT, working for the Bureau of Reclamation on the infrastructure required to deliver electricity from the dam. He packed up his Ford Coupe and headed to Ft. Peck. There, he met his treasured wife and partner in crime, Beulah, who worked as a secretary for the Army Corps of Engineers. They moved to Polson in 1952, where they raised their two children, Jerry and Kathy, and made many lifelong friends. 

Al loved hunting, fishing, doing all home, RV, and boat repairs, remodels, and building his huge workshop garage at their home in Polson. He even made scaffolding he could pull behind his truck to trim his arborvitae hedges with tools he modified. He was always inventing ways to make work easier and even had some hidden talents like yodeling and playing the harmonica. He and Beulah worked tirelessly to restore the old homestead on the Swan River they purchased in the 1960’s, and it remains a beautiful family retreat.

After 28 years, Al retired from the Flathead Irrigation Project. In retirement, Al and Beulah traveled all over the United States, pulling their 5th wheel RV as far as Alaska for fishing trips with friends. Al and Beulah were expert dancers and, while wintering at Sun Vista Resort in Yuma, AZ, they enjoyed dancing, making new friends, and trips into Mexico.

After over 50 years in Polson, they moved to Missoula in 2012 to be close to family. After Beulah's death in 2014, Al still wintered in Yuma, dancing three nights a week at the age of 98. At the age of 99, he moved to Village Senior Residences, where he celebrated his 100th birthday, enjoying new friends and excellent care until his death.

Al was preceded in death by his mother, father, three brothers, their wives, and his dear wife, Beulah. He is survived by his son Jerry Sept (Sandee) of Helena, daughter Kathleen Sept Devlin of Missoula, his granddaughters Dr. Jennifer Hall (Rick) of Missoula, Megann Sept of San Francisco, Zoelle Devlin Khameneh (Kagen) of Missoula, and his grandson Ryan Sept of Helena. He was blessed to have two great-granddaughters, Madelyn and Meredith Hall of Missoula.

Al was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend who will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was a man who worked hard, loved to help others, and enjoyed life. He certainly left his mark on the world.

The family would like to thank the staff of the Village Senior Residences for their loving care and Hestia Hospice for the wonderful care provided during his last days. 

Memorial services will be held at the Missoula First United Methodist Church on Thursday, July 11 at 11am with a reception following. Graveside services will be held at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery that afternoon at 2pm. Memorials in Al's name can be made to the National Arbor Foundation.

Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Alton Ervin Sept, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, July 11, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

First United Methodist Church

300 E. Main St., Missoula, MT 59802

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Graveside Service

Thursday, July 11, 2024

2:00 - 2:30 pm (Mountain time)

Western Montana State Veteran Cemetery

1911 Tower St, Missoula, MT 59804

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