June Arvilla French
June Arvilla (Porter) French, age 87 passed away peacefully at home on April 17, 2017 near Bigfork, MT. She was born February 11, 1930 in Nebish, MN to Ralph E. and E. Bessie (Madison) Porter. She and her three siblings grew up enjoying various rural locations in southern California and later moved to Oakland, CA.
She attended high school in Oakland, CA and in 1946 she met her husband of 66 years, Richard L. French while he was stationed in Oakland serving as a Coast Guard radioman. In 1947 she married Richard and when he was discharged from the Coast Guard they moved to Richard’s home state of Nebraska where they farmed outside Blair, NE until 1959. In 1957 Richard and June’s adventuresome spirit drew them to visit Northwest Montana. Later that year they purchased a remote ranch located on the upper Fisher River between Libby and Kalispell. In 1959 they moved to the Wolf Creek Ranch. June quickly adjusted to the remote lifestyle, homeschooling their four young children and perfecting her off-the-grid skills. Even without modern conveniences their hard work and effort turned the ranch into a productive cattle and horse operation.
In 1971 Richard and June started building a registered black angus operation known as Clay Creek Angus. They ranched near Hot Springs, MT, Irvine Flats, near Polson, MT and on the Tongue River near Miles City, MT. After retiring from ranching they owned and operated a motel in Greybull, WY and later lived in Cody and Emblem, WY. In 2001 their travels brought them back to Northwest Montana where they resided on Flathead Lake near Dayton, MT until Richard died in 2013. June then spent time with her daughter Billie and husband Roger Murdoch near Fairbanks, Alaska. Most recently she had been living with her daughter Jackie McCoy and her home caregivers grandson Levi Harrod and his wife Holly (Davis) Harrod.
June was a hard working wife and dedicated mother who enjoyed sewing, knitting, crocheting and was renown for her delicious pies. She had a quick sense of humor; she loved dancing, gardening, playing bingo at the Sitting Duck, playing cards and board games. She was an active member of the Red Hat Society, Rollins Women’s Club, Yellow Bay Club and the Dayton Quilters group.
June is survived by her sister Lillian (Porter) Waters, Yukon, OK; her four children: daughter Billie (French) and husband Roger Murdoch, Dayton, MT; son John French and wife Jan (Rue), Otis, OR; daughter Jackie June (French) McCoy, Bigfork, MT; son Jim French and wife Lori (Mathern), Emblem, WY; grandchildren Nikki (Garrison) Reynolds, Libby, MT; Justin French, Havre, MT; Sally June (French) Taylor, Pahoa, Hawaii; Tyler French, Tyler,TX; Levi Harrod, Bigfork, MT; Jesse Harrod, Kalispell, MT; Carlissa and Charlie French, Emblem, WY; 11 great-grand children and 1 great-great-grand child. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Charles French and his wife Donna (Ralston), Parrish, FL; sister-in-law Gerry Porter, Reno, NV and many nieces and nephews. June was preceded in death by her husband Richard L. French, her parents Ralph E. and E. Bessie Porter, sister Darlene (Porter) Shaffner, brother Ralph Porter and son-in-law Mike McCoy.