FORSYTH — Dr. Eugene Elliott, Professor Emeritus of Eastern Montana College (MSU-Billings), passed away Jan. 30, at Rosebud Health Care Center in Forsyth at age 97.
Eugene Willis Elliott was born May 29, 1916, in Longmont, Colo., to Earl and Ethel Elliott, and he grew up in Billings, graduating from Billings Senior High School.
Eugene’s brother John died when Eugene was 12 years old but was a lifetime influence.
Having joined the Boy Scouts at his father’s encouragement to find “brothers,” Eugene achieved Eagle Scout in 1932 and was devoted to Scouting for the rest of his life. He was the recipient of the Silver Beaver, Scouting’s highest award, and the Lamb Award for service to youth from American Lutheran Church, where he served as Scout Master and as Sunday School Superintendent for many years.
Eugene met Myrtle Jackson, the love of his life, at the University of Montana. After he graduated from U of M, attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, and served as a medic during World War II, they were married in Billings on March 15, 1946. In 1948, he completed his Ph.D. in mycology at the University of Iowa.
Eugene and Myrtle were the parents of two children, Cheryl and Randolph.
After working as a research chemist for Monsanto Chemical Company in St. Louis, Eugene moved his family back to Billings, where he was a draftsman for the Bureau of Land Management and Shell Oil Company until he accepted the position at Eastern Montana College, where he taught for 25 years.
He is especially remembered for his dedication to nurses’ chemistry and his role in the committee which oversaw the construction of the new library on Eastern’s campus. He was a 65-year member of the Sigma Xi science honorary. For several summers he served in the Visitor Information Program for Custer National Forest and spent one summer as a Ranger Naturalist at Canyon in Yellowstone National Park.
During 62 years of marriage, Eugene and Myrtle enjoyed music including playing duets, their cabin in Red Lodge, church activities and sponsorship of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship on the college campus, many years of traveling during retirement, and active roles at the Billings Senior Center. They moved to Forsyth to Fountain View Care Center in 2008.
Eugene was preceded in death by his brother John; his parents; his wife Myrtle; and his grandson Joshua Heser. He is survived by daughter Cheryl (Doug) Heser of Forsyth; and son Randolph Elliott (Victoria Rogers) of Center City, Minn.; grandchildren Heather (Saul) Laureles of Houston, Taffeta Elliott (Claes Hansen) of New York City, Clinton (Lydia) Heser of Colstrip, Anne Robinson of Lolo, and Johnna Heser of Lewistown; and 14 great grandchildren.
Family visitation will be held at Smith Funeral Home in Billings on Friday, Feb. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at American Lutheran Church at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15. Interment will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens under the direction of Smith Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Boy Scouts of America or the charity of your choice.