August “Gus” Magnuson, age 89, of Miles City passed away of natural causes on Sunday, September 29, 2013 in Billings, MT. His passing was peaceful, in the arms of his loving wife of 66 years.
Gus was born the youngest of four children, to August and Anna (Myrstol) Magnuson in Miles City, MT on September 13, 1924. He was always very proud of being a Miles City native!
As a child, he had the opportunity to enjoy a summer camp in the mountains south of Red Lodge, MT. He vowed then and there that he would someday build a cabin where he could go to enjoy the nature and beauty of those mountains. He enjoyed fiddling with radios, chemistry, and photography during his teenage years. He even built his own darkroom in the family’s basement. He attended public school in Miles City where he graduated in May of 1942. He briefly worked in the shipyards in the Seattle, WA, area. He returned to Miles City around his 18th birthday to wait for his call to service in World War II. While in the Army, he was chosen as a “volunteer” for chemical warfare experimentation. He then was sent to the South Pacific where he served tours on Biak Island and New Guinea. His job was patching war aircraft with sheet metal.
He returned home via Japan, was honorably discharged in 1946, and immediately joined his father and brother, Harold, in the sheet metal business. He was a very energetic and busy man who was never happier than when he was working with his tools. During the following years, he worked long hours to support his family, built the L&M Drive-In in Terry, MT, where he installed all of the electricity and speakers; used recycled materials to construct the family cabin in the Red Lodge mountains from the ground up, played poker with his buddies, and belonged to the Elks. He also had a love for aviation and in 1972, he achieved his dream of becoming a pilot. He spent many adventurous years flying small aircraft.
Mostly, Gus spent time with his wife and family. He married Patsy Elbert on February 20, 1947. He and Pat bought their first and only house in 1955 and worked for several years to update it while adding to their family. He loved Pat dearly and together they raised 6 children: Sally, Sandy, Jill, Jane, Bob, and Nancy. What a wonderful example of commitment he and Pat are for their children and grandchildren!
In 1991, Gus and his brother, Harold, sold the family business, Magnuson Tin Shop, to his son Robert (Bob) and enjoyed many summers with Pat at the cabin in the mountains. It was his own little piece of quiet and a dream come true!
Gus and Pat enjoyed living at Highgate Senior Living in Billings for the last 2 ½ years and appreciate the loving care he received from their staff.
He is survived by his ‘sweetheart’, Pat; daughters, Sandy (Keith) Brownfield of Billings and Miles City, Jill (Lynn) Solomon of Billings, Jane (Gary) Robertson of Houston, TX; son, Bob (Joni) Magnuson of Miles City; daughter, Nancy (Kevin) Tennant of Gillette, WY; and son-in-law Ken (Janet) Neumiller of Helena, MT; 16 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, whom he loved as his own children.
He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings – Betty, Harold, and Walter, and his daughter Sally in 1999.
A memorial service for Gus Magnuson will be held on Friday October 4th at 3:00 P.M. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City, MT. Family and friends are invited to celebrate the life of this wonderful man. Burial will take place at the Eastern Montana State Veteran’s Cemetery following the service with a reception after that at the Parlor. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com. We will miss him, but celebrate a life well-lived!