Commander Leon Houglum, U.S. Navy Ret., passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Fischer Cottage at St. John’s.
Leon was born in 1933 on the family homestead in Montana to William and Hazel Houglum. He attended and graduated from school in Sidney, received a BA in Economics from the University of Montana and a MA in Administration from George Washington University. In 1955, he married Juanita in Sidney.
Leon served as a Naval Aviator for 21 years flying a variety of aircraft aboard aircraft carriers on both coasts. As a search and rescue pilot he received both civilian and military awards for 16 rescues at sea and in North Vietnam, including two air medals for over 40 combat missions and the Presidential Distinguished Flying Cross for the rescue of an Air Force pilot under heavy enemy gunfire. He retired from the Navy with over 25 years of service.
After retirement, he spent over a decade as Director of Community Relations and Resource Development at Saint Vincent Hospital in Billings. Programs and special events initiated during this period include the Ronald McDonald House, SAINTS Ball, Heart and Sole Race, Fortin Memorial Golf Tournament, and the HELP helicopter ambulance.
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Leon was a member of many social and local organizations. They included Billings Elks, Kiwanis Club, Scottish Rite and Al Bedoo Shrine, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans.
Leon is survived by his wife of 64 years, Juanita; daughter, Laura Lee (Charles) Rose; son, William (Pamela) Houglum; grandsons, Cody Rose and Benjamin (Micah) Rose; granddaughter, Kiana Houglum; and sister, Elaine Amestoy. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, William Houglum; sisters, Alice Reisig and Verna Fisher; and granddaughter, Rachel Lee Rose.
A celebration of life with full military honors is scheduled on Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Faith Chapel (517 Shiloh Road, Billings, MT 59106 - Broadwater Ave Entrance). Donations may be made to the Billings Food Bank. The family would like to thank the staff of Fischer Cottage at St. John's and Stillwater Hospice for their loving and tender care. Online condolences can be emailed to LeonHouglumMemories@gmail.com. Memories and condolences may also be shared with the family at www.dahlfuneralchapel.com.