Dr. Elmer E. Kobold Jr. joined his sweetie in heaven on Thanksgiving evening surrounded by his six children and his big sister. Elmer was born on Oct. 15, 1935, in Sheridan, Wyo., to Elmer E. Kobold Sr. (Slim) and Rose Kobold. He was the youngest of six children.
Elmer grew up on the family ranch in Kirby, Mont. The ranch is where his dad homesteaded and is now on the National Historic Registry as the Rosebud Battlefield State Park. He grew up as a true Montana cowboy working the ranch with his parents, brother and sisters. He rode his horse everyday to grade school in Kirby's one room schoolhouse, attended Sheridan High School and graduated from Holy Cross Abbey School in 1953. At this time, he made the decision to continue his education with the goal of becoming a surgeon. He attended Creighton University from 1953 to 1956, Creighton University School of Medicine from 1956 to 1960 and Wayne State University Affiliated Hospitals Detroit Internship & Surgical Residency 1960 to 1965.
Dr. Kobold married the love of his life, Diana Lynn Dugan on Oct. 8, 1960. They moved to Detroit, Mich., where he finished his residency. While in Detroit, he was a researcher, instructor, and Chief Resident. One of his greatest professional accomplishments in Detroit was being named teacher of the year in 1967. He served as President of the Yellowstone Valley Medical Association, President of Montana-Wyoming Chapter of American College of Surgeons and numerous other achievements. He was the Chief of Surgery at Billings Deaconess Hospital, President of Medical Staff at St. Vincent's Hospital, and President of the Montana Medical Association. He has had numerous medical publications and one of his proudest medical achievements was developing a procedure that he showcased at the National Institute of Health, which is still used today in surgical procedures.
He and Diana moved to Billings in 1967 where they raised six children. Although he was a busy surgeon and worked very hard, he always managed to find time to be the doctor on the sidelines of every football game, wrestling match or any other sporting event in which his children were involved. He loved to laugh and tell jokes and he frequently challenged people to give him a category, to which he would always have a joke to match. Elmer loved to golf and was very proud of winning the Hilands Fling golf tournament twice, the second time with his youngest son. He is a past president of the Hilands Golf Club, where he and Diana made many friends and had many wonderful memories.
After retiring from surgical practice at Surgical Associates in 1997, he and Diana moved to Henderson, Nev., where they were snowbirds for eight wonderful years. He cherished that time where he finally had mom all to himself. They made many friends and loved to have family come to visit. They moved back to Billings full time when Diana became ill in 2007. He never fully recovered after mom died Jan. 25, 2008.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother George; sister Joanne; and his beloved wife Diana. He is survived by his sisters, Kathleen Skelton of Missoula, Lenore Johnson of Billings and Delores Burley of Lansing, Mich. He also leaves his six children: Danny (Charlotte) Kobold, Debbie (Dwite Johnson) Kobold, Teresa (Greg) Brown, David Kobold, Tammy (Jason) Madill and Luke (Sarah) Kobold. He is also survived by his 14 ½ grandchildren: Zach, Samantha, Caitlin and Jake Brown; Nathan, Taylor, Maia and Raelee Kobold; Faith, Grace, Isaac , Hope, and baby Madill to be born February 2011; Morgan and Olivia Kobold and one great-grandchild Alizae Woodward.
Dad will always be remembered as being an accomplished surgeon, whose compassion and caring will be remembered by all he healed and those whose lives he saved. His friends will always remember him as being the life of the party, the teller of jokes and a man with a huge heart. His family will always remember him as being their strength whose love never wavered. Thanks Dad! We love you and we are so happy that you are in Heaven dancing the jitterbug with mom.
Dad was a lifelong Catholic and generous supporter of Billings Catholic Schools. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to support Billings Area Catholic Education (BACET).
Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Vigil service will be 7 p.m. Monday, and Funeral Mass 1 p.m. Tuesday, both at St. Pius X Church. Rite of Committal will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com.