Kenneth Morris Newgard (Kenny/Snuse), son of Leonard and Solvay (Karlsgodt) Newgard, passed away in his home at the age of 82 on February 9, 2023, from pancreatic cancer. He was under the care of his family and hospice. Ken was born September 23, 1940, in Polson Mt. He was a 3rd generation Newgard in Polson, with his grandfather homesteading in the area in the early 1900’s.
His long life was full of many outdoor activities, friendships, family, community, and lots of love. He loved Montana and everything about it, particularly the Flathead and Swan Valleys. Many adventures and memories were created.
He would tell you that he grew up in the most beautiful area in the world, Polson. In his early years he grew up in the family home situated on Kootenai Avenue on Flathead Lake near the City Docks and the old sawmill. This afforded many wonderful memories of catching perch and dangerously walking the sawmill logs that had been boomed in from the Elmo area. Beautiful Flathead Lake provided many opportunities for adventure. When asked where he grew up, he loved to comment: “Polson! No-Slop spelled backwards!”. Another big part of Ken’s life was spent at the family cabin on the Swan River, fishing, hunting, and exploring the area. Many friends and family were included in life there.
Ken attended school in Polson and graduated high school with the class of 1959. He excelled in Pirate sports, including football, where their team won the championship in 1958 and 1959, and basketball, lettering in both. Golf was another sport he thoroughly enjoyed, learning on the Polson’s original nine. He attended the Montana State University in Billings receiving a basketball scholarship. He later transferred to the University of Montana, majoring in Business, and playing on their golf team graduating in 1963.
After graduating from the University of Montana, he began his career working for the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Corporation in Salt Lake City and Seattle. He also served in the National Guard for 6 years. Missing family and the Flathead Valley, he moved back to Polson where he worked with his father at the Newgard Oil Company, eventually purchasing the business. He loved helping his customers and doing the best for them. Between he and his father, they successfully ran Newgard Oil for 55 years.
In 1970, Ken met Jeanne, a new schoolteacher, at the Hut Café. They soon married on March 6, 1971 and to this union a baby boy was born. Jeffrey Kenneth was their only child where he was raised in the same environment as his dad, enjoying many happy experiences together. They lovingly referred to each other as “partners” in their adventures and in life all the way to the end.
Ken was a member of the Salish Shrine Club and Life Member of Mission Valley Masonic Lodge #78, serving as Past Master and recently receiving his 50 year membership pin. He was a life member of the Mission Valley Elks Club. He was a Volunteer Fireman for 23 years, serving under Chief Bud Morris. He was confirmed in 1955 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, where he served in many capacities including Council President. He was Boy Scout Master for Polson Troop 47. He sponsored a Men’s Golf League team and his bowling team, the Newgard Oilers. His interest in golf eventually led him and 20 others to create another course in our area, The Mission Mountain Country Club, where he was a board member for 13 years. He was an avid Trap Shooter, where he made many friends.
In 1993, Ken sold his business and retired. More time was now available for his hobbies, travel, and grandkids. He kept an immaculate yard and perfectly snow-shoveled driveway. He and Jeanne traveled to the Holy Land, Greece, New Zealand and Fiji and enjoyed an Alaskan Cruise. They made many trips to Las Vegas, for business and pleasure. Recently, winters were spent in the Yucatan, in a tiny Mayan fishing village, near Merida. Many new friends were made enjoying the warm weather and cuisine.
As a daily goal Ken looked for an opportunity to do at least one good deed a day. To say that Ken had many friends is an understatement. He had many best friends and was loyal to them all. They all cared for him throughout his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister-in-law Karol and nephew Mark.
Ken is survived by his wife Jeanne, son Jeff and his wife Savannah, grandchildren Sophia (Tommy and great grandchild Stefan), Shae, McKenna, Presley, Oliver, and Charlee, his loving brother Gerald and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He leaves a huge void and will be missed immensely. To quote a grandchild: “Poppy was our Popstar”.