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Robert Vincent Willett, Sr.
Robert Willett

COLUMBUS - Robert Vincent Willett died peacefully Oct. 29, 2008, in Columbus.

Born Jan. 8, 1914, to Amye (Wilbur) and Frank Willett in Great Falls, Bob graduated from GFHS in 1932. Bob earned a bachelor of science degree from Montana State College in Bozeman and a master of education degree from the University of Montana.

An outstanding football player in both high school and college, Robert was recognized by The All American Board of Football with an All America Rating for exceptional playing during the Bobcats' 1936 season.

While attending MSU, Robert worked summers at the Mammoth Hot Springs gas station in Yellowstone Park, where he met Marion Swan, a switchboard operator for the Park. Robert and Marion were married on Dec. 23, 1939, in Colstrip.

Bob began his teaching career in Wibaux. In 1941, he returned to Great Falls, where he taught mathematics and coached. He retired in 1977. Throughout his teaching career, Bob was always active in student activities, including athletics. He coached, refereed and kept time for high school football and basketball games for more than 25 years.

Bob loved sports of all kinds and especially enjoyed hunting and fishing. The Willetts were active in civic activities, supported school and community events, and enjoyed social activities and playing golf and cards with family and friends in Great Falls. They moved to Oceanside, Calif., in the early 1980s and returned to Montana in the 1990s to be near their family.

Bob was a life member of the Montana Education Association, the Montana Officials Association, the Montana State University Alumni Association and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Bob is survived by his son, Frank Willett and daughter-in-law Arleen Boyd of Fishtail; granddaughter Kelley Willett of Madison, Wis.; and grandson Michael Willett, who lives in Hamilton.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Marion; his son, Robert Vincent Willett, Jr.; and brothers Graydon "Bus," Wilbur and Frank.

Services will be announced at a later date and held in Great Falls.

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