Dr. Rosaire Eli Lemire, 89, of Billings, died on Jan. 5, 2008, at Valley Healthcare Center.
Rosaire Eli Lemire was born March 11, 1919, in Ronan. His twin died shortly after birth, and Ross spent the next several weeks in a shoe box - he was so small. But he was healthy and grew quickly. As an adolescent, if he was asked to a party, his mother made him eat a whole meal beforehand so as not to embarrass the family by eating too much at the party. As he grew older and schoolwork grew more important, he lived in either Ronan or Missoula, depending on whether his mother liked his current teacher. He then went to the University of Montana, where he graduated as a Sigma Chi, and made many friendships which lasted his entire life. This was followed by medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. There he met his future wife, Rita Chapman, who initially didn't care for "that wild reservation boy." However, after several years as a medic in the Korean War, he must have settled down and she saw him in a new light - they were married in 1951. He was chief of medicine at the VA hospital in Omaha for several years before moving back to Montana in 1956, settling in Billings. By 1960, Ross and Rita had four children, and Duke the dog.
Ross had a very busy medical practice, took calls at all hours of the day and night. Because of this, most of his vacations were spent at Flathead Lake, where there was no phone (sometimes no running water) and he could sleep as much as he wanted.
He was a great lover of the outdoors, cleaning rattlesnakes from the backyard, fishing and bird hunting as much as he could. And he loved to play poker once a month with his old college cronies - no children allowed!
He was also a great storyteller - some of which he could not finish because he was laughing so hard at what was to come. This aspect of him was probably one of the most missed, as he got older his memory and word finding got harder and harder until he no longer spoke. And despite this, until recently, he was still bright and always had a smile for a pretty girl. He will be greatly missed.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Rosaire and Mary; his brothers, John and Shull; his wife of 54 years, Rita; and numerous dogs.
He is survived by his children, Mary Beth (Cary) Sanderson of Billings, Shull (Kathy) Lemire of Missoula, Sarah (Spinner) Van Arsdale of Billings and Anne (Bill) Vaubel of Austin, Texas; and 13 grandchildren, Jason, Chris (Joann), Zach, Ford, Kayla, Angela, Nicole, Mattie, Andrew, Brandon, Erin, Elie, Eric; sisters-in-law, Joan Lemire, Mary Pat Nicola, Margaret Jean Gasnick, Carol Chapman; and various nieces and nephews.
Visitation for Ross Lemire will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, and Friday, Jan. 9, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. The casket will also be open prior to the vigil and mass. Vigil services will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, at St. Pius X Church. Funeral Mass will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at St. Pius X Church. Cremation will follow.
Memorials may be made to the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, 1106 N. 30th St., Billings, MT 59101, or St. Labre Indian School, 2110 Overland Ave., Billings, MT 59102.
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be left for the family at www.michelottisawyers.com.