George Mungas, Jr., 86, of Billings, died of natural causes on Jan. 1, 2009, at Valley Health Care Center in Billings. His death occurred three weeks and one day after the death of his beloved wife, Dorothy.
Cremation has taken place, and a joint service is planned for both Dorothy and George at 11 a.m. on July 22 (which would be the 67th anniversary of their wedding), at the Granite County Historical Museum and Cultural Center in Philipsburg, followed by interment in the Philipsburg Cemetery.
George was born on Sept. 5, 1922, the son of Peter Zatezalo (later changed to Mungas) and Angela (Kosanovich) Mungas, in his parents' ranch home on Upper Willow Creek, near Philipsburg. A younger brother, Peter, was born on Nov. 18, 1924.
George and his brother Peter grew up on the family ranch. He and his brother were inseparable, and received their primary education in a country school near Willow Creek. George graduated from high school in Thompson Falls in 1939. Following graduation, George continued to work on the family ranch near Philipsburg. He and Dorothy Helen McGrath were married on July 22, 1942. After working at the ranch for several years, they moved to Renton, Wash., where George worked at a military shipbuilding yard during World War II.
George was preceded in death by his brother, Peter, who died while serving in the United States Army in Burma in 1945; his mother, Angela in 1955; his father, Peter in 1970; and, as noted above, his wife Dorothy on Dec. 10, 2008.
George is survived by four children, Peggy Anne (John) Munis of McLeod, Dr. James Edward (Carol) Mungas of Great Falls, Charles Robert (Andrea) Mungas of Marktsteft, Germany, and Dr. Dan Michael (Theresa) Mungas of Plymouth, Calif. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
George and Dorothy returned to the family ranch after the end of World War II, where George worked the ranch and Dorothy worked as a schoolteacher in Philipsburg. After retirement from ranching in 1973, they moved to Lolo, where George worked as a mechanic at farm equipment dealerships and for the State Forestry Department in the State Nursery program, until 1990, when they moved to Billings.
George was recognized at an early age as having great horsemanship skills and, as well, having a very inquisitive and innovative mind. He became a master welder while working in the shipyards during World War II, and his welding skills benefited many while he ranched near Philipsburg. He created a wide variety of innovative mechanical products from steel; many are still in use today. He was very accomplished in animal husbandry, ranch veterinary skills, machinery and mechanical operation and repairs, land and timber management
George was a "jack-of-all-trades," an inventor, an accomplished home builder, carpenter, electrician, plumber and all-around handyman. He was a very warm, generous and happy person, a person who enjoyed the company of others and who enjoyed helping others. He took special pleasure in building, constructing, making or repairing items for family, friends and neighbors.
George worked responsibly and hard his entire life, but also found time for fun diversions with his family and friends. He was always particularly proud of and supportive of his entire family: wife Dorothy, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. George will be greatly missed by all.
The family would like to express their great appreciation to the staff of Valley Health Care in Billings for the excellent care that they provided to both George and Dorothy Mungas.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial will be held at a later date.
Memorials are suggested to the Granite County Historical Museum and Cultural Center, PO Box 502, Philipsburg, MT 59858, or to the Philipsburg Area Educational Foundation, PO Box 900, Philipsburg, MT 59858.
Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences may be sent online to www.cfgbillings.com.