Charles "Sam" Samuel Lei, age 88 of Ashland, MT, quietly passed away at the Powder River Manor on Thursday, March 29, 2012.
Sam was born on August 21, 1923 in Miles City, MT to John and Oral Lei. He grew up on the family ranch on Cache Creek in the southeastern Montana community of Sonnette. When Sam heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he immediately enlisted in the United States Navy. He served aboard the USS Jason and the USS Blackhawk. Sam was always proud of his service time.
He married his beloved Joyce Fletcher of Otter Creek on April 18, 1953. Together they lived and raised their family on Otter Creek. Sam was employed with the U.S. Forest Service in the Custer National Forest, where he retired after 30 years of service. He then worked for Powder River County as a blade operator until his final retirement in 1995. Sam volunteered his time at the Powder River Museum until the fall of 2010.
Sam was a lifetime member of the Masons receiving his 50 year pin in 2010. He loved to hunt & fish with family and friends and enjoyed many special Sunday dinners with Gladys & Dick Fletcher on Otter Creek. During retirement Sam spent many hours reading on the rich history of the local areas and it has been said by some that "There isnÂ´t a rock in Powder River County that Sam hasnÂ´t touched."
Sam was preceded in death by his wife Joyce; sister Clara, and grandson Percy Robinson. He is survived by his brother, Jim and wife Jeannette Lei of Taylor Creek, a sister Ann and husband Bill Gamble of Miles City; a son Charlie Lei of Rosebud Creek and a daughter Mary Jane and her husband Ernie Robinson of Ashland, MT, 4 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A visitation time has been set 1 -3 p.m., Sunday April 1, 2012 at the Stevenson & Sons Funeral Chapel in Miles City. Funeral Services will be held Monday April 2, 2012 at 11 a.m. at the Powder River Congregational Church in Broadus with interment to follow in the family lot of Valley View Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Heritage Living Center at 5982 Tongue River Rd, Ashland, MT 59003, or the Powder River Historical Museum at Broadus, MT. SamÂ´s family would like to thank the staff of Heritage Living Center of Ashland for their support & care of Sam during his stay at the facility.