1917 — 2010
DUNNELLON, Fla. — Otto Theofield Habedank, 92, died of natural causes at his home near Dunnellon, on Saturday, July 10, 2010. He was born Oct. 8, 1917, at Bowdoin, Phillips County, Mont.
In 1936, Otto attended Billings Polytechnic Institute, after which he was employed by the Northern Pacific Railway and advanced to private secretary to the Yellowstone Division Superintendent. Otto married Arleen (Miller) on Oct. 8, 1938, and moved to Glendive. He was a Court Reporter, studied law and passed the Montana Bar Examination in 1946 to become a practicing attorney.
On Jan. 1, 1947, Otto moved his family to Sidney, and partnered with Carl L. Brattin. The firm of (Brattin) Habedank, Cumming, Best & Assoc. was the oldest law partnership east of Billings. He loved the practice of law and dedicated himself to counseling and helping others.
During his 50 years in Sidney, Otto was very active in the community. In public education, he served as member and chairman of the Sidney School Board, and president of the Montana School Board Association. In health care, he served on the board of Community Memorial Hospital of Richland County and was chairman of the hospital when the new facility was built. He was a faithful church member and served every office at Pella Lutheran Church. Additionally, he was involved in Kogudus Renewal Ministry. For the Boy Scouts of America, he was the first Scoutmaster of the Lutheran Scout troop in Glendive, and was instrumental in organizing a Kiwanis and Lutheran Scout troop in Sidney. In 1957, he led a Yellowstone Valley delegation to the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pa. For his scouting service, Otto was awarded the distinguished Silver Beaver Award and Lamb Award. He was involved in many service organizations. Otto joined Kiwanis Club of Sidney in 1947 and served all offices except Secretary. In 1961, he was Governor of the Montana District of Kiwanis and a founding board member of the Kiwanis Foundation of Montana. Otto served several terms as President of the Richland County Chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. He was awarded “Boss of the Year” by the Jaycees and “Citizen of the Year” by Kiwanis.
The Montana Supreme Court appointed Otto to the Montana Constitutional Revision Commission. That Commission prepared the people of Montana to vote on whether to call a Constitutional Convention. In 1972, he was elected as a delegate, where he served on the General Government Committee. When the Montana Constitution was adopted by the voters; it was recognized as one of the best state constitutions and used as a model for other states and even foreign countries.
Otto was a loving father, devoted husband and loyal friend, strong in faith, integrity and honor and always genuine and generous. He will be dearly missed by his close-knit family and those who knew and worked with him. Survivors include: Arleen, his wife of 72 years; a sister, Clarice Kegel, Fargo, N.D.; his four children, MajGen Otto Kendall (Karen) Habedank, Dunnellon, Gary (Kathryn) Habedank, Seattle, Darleen (Robert) Shawl, Woodlake, Calif., Captain Barbara Habedank, The Plains, Va.; and goddaughter, Sally Beck, Ocala, Fla.; eight grandchildren, Kim (Bruce) Kinnaird, Orlando, LtCol Otto Daniel (Holly) Habedank, San Antonio, Texas, Silke Habedank, Seattle, Annie (Aaron) Vaughn, Tacoma, Wash., Montana Umbel, Ft. Worth, Texas , Dakota Umbel, The Plains, Va., Kathleen (Cory)Parkes, Oceanside, Calif., Kristi Shawl, Ft Worth, Texas; and six great-grandchildren, Molly and Katie Kinnaird, Stefan Habedank, Isabella and Otto Vaughn and Sage Parkes. He is preceded in death by a brother, Edvin; two sisters, Jane Hofmeister and Elsie Ekedahl; and one granddaughter, Brooke Umbel.
A memorial service is pending during August at Dunnellon. His wife, Arleen still resides at their home in Florida. Condolences may be sent to 14728 South West 112th Circle, Dunnellon, FL 34432.