In memory of

William Duffield, 58, of Forsyth

August 10, 1954 – January 11, 2013

William H. Duffield (Willie), 58, of Forsyth, MT  passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 11, 2013 in Helena where he was preparing for the 2013 Legislative Session. 

He was born on August 10, 1954 to Merritt and Bonita (Braun) Duffield in Baker MT.  Willie grew up in Baker and attended Fertile Prairie Country School and Baker High School.  

After High School, Willie made Baker his home East of Baker where he operated a small farm while raising three children, Shodd, Summer and Braden.  During this time he also owned and operated his own tractor trailer and received his pilot’s license.    He then got a job with Fallon County on their road department.  In 1985 Willie was elected County Commissioner of Fallon County where he served two terms.  

 Willie had a love for politics and an incredible wealth of knowledge about the oil, gas and coal industry, which led him to his current position as Executive Director/Lobbyist for the Montana Association of Oil, Gas & Coal Counties, Inc. (MAOGCC).  Willie’s overwhelming knowledge of this industry and devotion to his job and the people of Montana will leave a void by his untimely passing. As a lobbyist for over 25 years he has spent many sessions in Helena and made many wonderful friends and allies along the way.

In 2000 Willie found his best friend and soul mate, Joan Kanta.  Together Willie and Joan shared a wonderful married life in Forsyth with their two daughters, Bailey and Kenzie.   Willie was a genuine family man and enjoyed spending time with those whom he loved.  He enjoyed watching both girls in sporting events and especially enjoyed sharing his passion of flying with them.  Willie was happiest when his house was filled with all of Bailey and Kenzie’s friends. Willie and Joan also operated a successful trucking business, Duffield Express Inc., of which Willie was very proud.    

Willie is survived by his loving wife and best friend Joan, her two children, Bailey and Kenzie Stahl  all of Forsyth, a daughter Summer (Bobby) Ewalt of Baker, MT, his sons Shodd Duffield of Williston ND, Braden Duffield of Whitehall, MT, sister Linda (David) Knudtson, brothers, John (Kaye), Rapid City SD, Mickey, Baker ,MT,  Dennis (Paula) Bismarck, ND his mother Bonita Duffield of Baker ,and two granddaughters Autumn of Baker and Ashley of Billings,  as well as numerous nieces and nephews.  Willie was a wonderful husband, companion, father,  grandfather and friend.  He will be missed by all who knew him. 

He was preceded in death by his brothers Doug, Kenny, Keith, his sisters, Pam, Sharon, Amy and his Father Merritt.


Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Cristy Tuggle says:

    Joan, Brady, Shodd, Summer & Autumn, Kaye & John, Bonnie, families…I am SO sorry to hear this. Willie was an awesome man and friend, my prayers are with you all.

  2. Maggie Hoke-White says:

    My sincere condolences go out to all of the Duffield family,I wish you all Peace.

  3. Janet & Randy Stanhope says:

    We are so very sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that we are praying for you all and send all our love your way.

  4. Jena Sampson Hagemeister says:

    Im so sorry to hear about Willie! Thinking of all of his family and friends!

  5. Donna Ronning says:

    Thinking of you all and your in my prayers. Love Donna

  6. Big Sky Truck and Trailer Repair Blgs,Mt says:

    You’ll be greatly missed, Thoughts and prayers to family and friends, God Bless.

  7. Nancy Ness says:

    I am shocked to here this. Summer, Autumn and all of Willie”s family you are in my prayers.

  8. Sheila and Monty Haselhuhn says:

    What a shock to read this in the paper this morning! My deepest sympathy to JoAnne, Bailey, Kenzie and all the members of his family. He was a great guy and will be sorely missed by many.

  9. Jay Hecker says:

    My condolences go out to all of Willie’s family. Joan, Bailey, and Kenzie my prayers and imaginary hugs are around you constantly. Take peace in knowing that you had Willie for the time you did and never forget the memories that were made together.

  10. Jesse & Paula Coate says:

    Joan – all our thoughts go out to you and your family! If there is anything we can do don’t hesitate to call us.

  11. Robert and Janet Singer says:

    We are sorry to hear Willie has passed away. Sending our deep sympathy and keeping you in our prayers.

  12. Shane and Carole Bettenhausen and family says:

    We are so saddened and shocked to hear that Willie has passed away. We have such wonderful memories of his laughter and his joking…what a wonderful man. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  13. Keith and Ellen Beach says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family. Such a shock when it happens to someone our age. We shared many memories at the Cue and Brew in Baker.

  14. Dave & Wendy Shreeve says:

    Joanne and Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you. It is hard to believe Willie is gone and the world is not as good of place because of it. When Willie walked in a room, he had a way of putting smiles on faces all-the-while commanding attention for his knowledge and high level of intellect.
    Please be at peace knowing Willie is looking down on you and loving you more than ever.

  15. Jean Anderson Loyning says:

    Duffields and Families, I just wanted to let you know how very sorry I was to hear of Willies passing. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Jerry and Jan Townsend says:

    To all of Willie’s family: you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  17. Virgil & Waneeta Farris says:

    Joan, we were shocked and saddened to hear about Willie. It is so difficult to know what to say at a time like this. Just know that we are thinking of you and we feel blessed to have known
    Willie the time that we did. He was a friend to many and will be missed in the community.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  18. Tara Sander-Carlsen says:

    Joan and family I’m so sorry to hear about willie. Your in my thoughts and prayers.

  19. Nancy Schaub Sandoval & Steve & Family & Shelly and Dee Batey and Family says:

    joan – we are so sorry to hear of your loss – you are in our prayers

  20. Clenora cogdill Quinlan says:

    Unbelievabe, Unbelievable Joan Bailey Kenzie and all of Willie’s family. Wow he was a man with a purpose, god has him now. Hugs and prayers for those he left behind. Sorry for your loss- we will hold you in our prayers.

  21. clarence rose ewalt says:


  22. Kelly Leivestad says:

    Our thoughts, and prayers are with you all. Willie was a great man, and will be missed deeply!

  23. Terri & Terry Watson says:

    We are so very very sorry to hear about Willie’s passing; a complete shock for someone so young. He leaves us with so many memories; from that cute little smiley 5th grader following big brother Doug & Kregg around the theater when I worked there, to many holiday meals, picnics & Cue tourneys. He was a joy to be around and well liked. He will certainly be missed. Our deepest sympathies to Summer, Braden & Duffield family.

  24. To all of Willie’s family, We are so sorry and sad to learn about Willie’s passing. Please cherish your memories and know that many other people are going to remember Willie and the good that he was able to contribute to this life.

  25. Don and Brenda Wood says:

    Joan and Girls; Shodd, Braden, Summer, Autumn, Bonnie, Linda, John, Dennis, Mickey and the rest of Willie’s Family-We were deeply saddened to hear of your loss. Willie was a great friend and co-worker who was always willing to listen and help in any way. Willie and Kregg taught me how to make good pizza’s at the Cue, those were good times. I enjoyed working with Willie when he was Commissioner, he was very devoted to that position. We were fortunate to have him lobby for us as an Oil and Gas county (he found his nitch in life) because he was superb in that position. Donnie and I worked with Willie in the trucking industry also; devoted to his business as well. I have enjoyed working with you too Joan and feel Willie and you were such a great couple, a real team. Hold your memories close; God Bless all of you-Willie will be deeply missed!

  26. Lonnie Lindstrom says:

    Summer, Braden, Autumn I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. Your dad and grandpa was a very great man he was always there for you when you needed him most and he will always be there for you watching over you from heaven.

  27. Barb Athey says:

    dear Summer, so sorry to hear of your dads passing…even though it is not easy the memories of your dad will always be a big part in everything you do from now on.prayers to you & your family.

  28. Todd Devlin says:

    I am so saddened by Willie’s passing. As I know, first hand, it is a shock. I sent you an email on Willie’s Range Telephone address.
    May the Lord give you Peace that surpasses all understanding.

  29. Becky O'Donnell Weinert says:

    Bonnie and family,
    May God’s Blessings pour down on your family during this sad time. My prayers are with all of you.

  30. Karen, Jack , Tawnya, Shawna Tiner says:

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Aunt Bonnie Summer Braden Shodd Joan Dennis Linda Mickey John and to the rest of family He will be greatly missed by all but he will always be remembered by all of us

    jthe family He will be greatly missed But he will be always remembered We know he will be looking down and watching over his family

  31. Jerrt Martinson says:

    You and the Girls have my deepest sympathy. I loved working with Willie he was very straight forward and always treated me with respect. I appreciate the way he always dealt from the top of the deck. Willies devotion to the people of eastern Montana and Oil Gas and Coal was amazing. The people he served will probably never fully understand all the good Willie did for them. Willies circle of friend will be saddened for a long time. God bless you in your grief, and I sincerely hope you are strenghtened by the memory of what a wonderfull and intelligent man Willie was.

  32. Anita & Wayne Wetherelt says:

    So shocked to hear this. Didn’t know him well, but had worked with him on EMI board a few years back, would have liked to get to know him better. Our sincere sympathy to all his frieds & family.

  33. Lloyd & Norma says:

    JoAnn , our deepest sympathy to you and your family. You are in our prayers! May the Lord give you peace!!!! We are so sorry !



  35. Peggy Redman says:

    Joan, Bailey, and Kenzie,
    Earl joins me in sending heartfelt condolences to you in the passing of your beloved Willie. We are thinking of, and praying for you at this difficult time. May the many beautiful memories you have of him give you peace. Our prayer is that the love and support you receive from family, friends, the communities of Forsyth and Baker help
    comfort you during this sad time and in the days ahead.

  36. Stacey Kehoe Beyer says:

    Summer I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

  37. Deb and Randy Hoffman says:

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family–May your memories sustain you and the love and support of family and friends comfort you. Love and prayers to you and your family.

  38. Sharon & Del Dinstel says:

    We are so sorry and saddened to hear of your loss. We are putting you in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you strength and understanding at this most difficult time.

  39. Don Schillinger says:

    Our sympathy to the family during these difficult times. Willie was extremely important for Fallon Co. & Baker Schools during many legislative sessions. He will be greatly missed for his knowledge and friendship for me personally during the last three sessions in Helena.

  40. Terri and Charlie Brown says:

    Joan, Bailey and Kenzie,
    Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for you during this difficult time. If there is anything we can do for you, please call. You are in our hearts and prayers.
    With deepest heartfelt sympathy,
    Terri and Charlie

  41. George and Sandy Wright says:

    Joan – We were deeply saddened to hear of Willie’s passing and our prayers are with you, Bailey and Kenzie. You and Willie have been such a supportive neighbor. There aren’t enough words to express our sorrow for all of you at this time, but know that Willie will always be with you.

  42. Curtis and Sandra Ehman says:

    Sandra and I were deeply saddened by Willie’s passing. He was beloved by many and those shared memories of our youth are imprinted on our hearts. He was a good friend and a good man. Our sympathy and prayers are with you all.

  43. TERRY & ANNA STRAUB says:

    To the Duffield Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of loss. Willie was a great person and I really enjoyed working with him. He was very well respected and liked throughout the State of Montana. He will be missed!

  44. Norton and Jule Walker says:

    Joan and family: Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Willie was a proponent for Fallon County and had a great understanding of oil and gas and the politics involved. His presence at “the bench” in the capitol building will be missed. May God’s mercy keep and sustain you in the days ahead. Our heartfelt condolences to each of you.

  45. Merle Ehman says:

    To all the Duffield family: I was so saddened to read of Willies passing. I have many fond memories of Willie. He was at our home many times with Curt. May your fond memories sustain you through this sad time. God Bless.

  46. Sandy McFarland Hays says:

    Joan and Family, Just to let you know we are thinking of you during this difficult time and keeping you in our prayers.

  47. Ken Huber says:

    I recall some good times with Wille going to BHS and out on the Duffield farm. He was a good person, and accomplished much during his life. I was in Billings last summer , and ran into him for a short visit out in Lockwood. Was so nice to see him again, it had been a long time. Was so shocked and saddened to hear of his passing way to soon. Would like to offer My sincere condolences to all is family. He will be missed. RIP old friend….. KH

  48. Roger A. Hagan, Rep HD 19 says:

    Duffield Family, I have you in my prayers during this difficult time. He will be missed terribly I will cherish our many conversations in the Capitol halls. Especially his kind words on Monday prior to my swearing in. Willie was an amazing person with whom you were a stranger but once. We enjoyed many good times when he was here in Helena with the Legislature. God Bless.

  49. Cathy Byron says:

    Joan and Family –
    I’ve struggled to find words that bring comfort, but they evade me. While I did not know Willie, I saw your joy and deep happiness when he entered your life. What a testimony of his character that was! I’m deeply saddened by your loss. And selfishly, I am saddened by the loss for all of us in coal, oil and gas country without his presence in Helena and other important places at this time in our history. Joan, please know that I am here and will help with anything you need during the days ahead. I know Kristine joins me in the offer. Take care of yourself – and try to focus on the memories. That is where the healing lies… Hugs and prayers going out for both you and your girls.

  50. To Joan and all, says:

    We are so sorry about Willie. May Gods love be your strength and comfort. “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you”.
    Tom and Barb Overton

  51. John+MaryAnn Hecker says:

    Bonnie and family, You have our condolences for the loss of Willie. May he rest in peace. Our prayers are for you all.

  52. Laurie O'Donnell Schilt says:

    Bonnie and family, I have many memories of the Duffield family and spending time on the farm. We always loved seeing Bonnie and Mick at church praying for us all. So very sorry for your loss-Willie was way to young to go. Prayers for you all.

  53. FRED VERZANI says:

    Duffield family my condolences on your loss of a loved one. I will miss delivering Willie’s Association purchases to “Willie’s corner” in the State Capitol. I have placed a Black Memorial ribbon with personalization on his bench in respect to you the family and Willie for his friendship.

  54. callie clark says:

    I”m sorry for your loss. He will be missed. I loved to weld stuff for him. He was always nice when he came into the welding shop to see if his hooks were done and they weren’t cause we were busy. Again i’m sorry for your loss. Your family will be in my prayers.

  55. Kay Davis Berdahl says:

    Joan, Shocked to read of Willie’s passing. Know you are in my thoughts at this time.
    Been there. It a tough thing to deal with, but you will. God gives us a strength we don’t know or understand.

  56. Billy & Arlene Singer says:

    To The Duffield Family, May GOD’s healing hands comfort you all in the days to come. Willie will be greatly missed for his service to Fallon County and the rest of Montana. Willie and I had many great times working together at the Road Dept running dozers , he always gave 100% PLUS. We had a lot of fun shooting together. Willie was very good at whatever he done and it showed. He will be hard to replace in Helena. He left quiet a legacy for all of the people in Fallon County to be very proud of for the good he done A true friend he was . May GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

  57. Joan, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. TJ

  58. Ted J, Braun Jr. says:

    I am so sad to hear, when again another relative of mine has passed away,
    Wille you were a greeat joy to be around, I remember when you would sit
    and listen to me play the guitar and sing with your mom and all the rest.
    would joine in. To my wonderful sister Bonnie, even tho I just talk to you
    yesterday, I can not give you and Mick enough praise for raising your
    children, and how wonderful it is to be honered be a brother and Uncle
    to your children. God is with us, in him, of him for always. GOD bless you all, keep
    up the excelllent work that you always showed from you love. I love you all.
    By the way I still play music and having a lot of friends and have my own band.
    My oldest son, Shawn is working at the coal mine, if you see him tell him hi and
    I miss him, take care, you are well thought of, GOD bless you all…….

  59. John and Donna Graham Crow says:

    We are so sorry to hear of Willie’s passing I have know Willie since I was just little. Spent a lot of time with the Duffields growing up. Willie is a wonderful man he will be missed greatly. Our condolences to all of you. Donna Graham Crow and John

  60. Roxi Harris Walker says:

    So sorry to hear of Willie’s passing. Thinking of you all. May your faith and good memories see you through this difficult time.

  61. Emily Quinlan says:

    Joan, my thoughts and prayers are with you and the girls! I am so sorry for your loss.

  62. JT and Julie Korkow says:

    Joan and family,
    We were so sorry to hear about Willie passing….it was a shock to us. We truly appreciated his expertise and committment to lobbying for our natural resources. May God wrap his arms around you and we hope your wonderful memories will comfort you. Bless you…..

  63. Jim and Alice Anderson says:

    We considered ourselves good friends with Willie for many years when we lived in Baker. He was ambitious and always thinking of ways to help the people in Fallon County and other parts of the state. We were very surprised to hear of his death and our heartfelt love and sympathy goes to every one of the Duffield family and Bonnie, his mother.

  64. Rock La Cross says:

    Learning of Willie’s passing is a unwelcomed shock. He packed a lot of living into those 58 years, and he’ll be missed by so many. My sympathy goes out to all the Duffield family.

  65. Gayle Major Harpster says:

    So sorry to hear about Willie. I enjoyed being his teacher all those years ago. He kept things going, loved his sense of humor. Thinking of all of you!!! Love and Prayers!!!!!

  66. Dick and Barb Allard says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this devastating time.

  67. Vikki & Arne Mysse says:

    Joan and family,
    Please accept our deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved husband and father. Although we never had the privilege of meeting him, we have heard only the highest praise of his fine character from our granddaughter, Dalaney. There is no doubt that his passing will be a great loss to all who knew him. Mom (Beverly Bennetts) also sends her condolences. Joan, she thinks of you often.

  68. Kathy (Schillinger) McGowan says:

    To all Willie’s family, I express my sorrow and shock. We lobbied together for many years and I always counted myself as part of the eastern MT guys in the halls. Willie was well liked and respected and it’s just not going to seem the same without him.

  69. Connie Lohof says:

    Our deepest sympathies to Willies family. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  70. Christine Kanta Godinez says:

    Dear Joan,
    I cannot express my sorrow to you in person. Please know that I love you and am thinking of you and the girls. I know how much he ment to you and how much you will miss him, how much all of us will miss him.
    I have such happy memeories when I first met Willie at Coronado Beach, and he took the girls into the water, even though he couldn’t swim! He was a wonderful person and loved by everyone. I know that you have been overwelmed these last few days, so I will call you soon. Love Chris

  71. Vickie and Dennis Krause says:

    Words can not express the shock and the sorrow for your loss. I know God gives you strenght to go on. A day won’t go by without a memory of him. Just remember he is always with you in spirit.

  72. Dolly Morrison says:

    Joanne and girls, I am so sorry for your loss. Willie was a very friendly person and I am sure he will be missed by many people. Love and prayers, Dolly Morrison

  73. Jeff Madler says:

    Wishing to express my condolences to the Duffield family at the passing of Willy. May you find comfort from family and friends during this time of sorrow.

  74. Dorothy Reid says:

    Dear Joan, Bailey and Kenzie, we are so sorry to hear about your loss, our thoughts are prayers are with you at this sad time. Bruce and Dorothy

  75. Linda Pyne says:

    My heart goes out to the Duffield family. My prayers for the family.

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