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.