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Obituary: Arlen Lee Kitson

Arlen Lee Kitson, 86, formerly of Cascade, passed away peacefully January 29, 2019 in Great Falls.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel with visitation at Schnider Funeral home from 10-7 on Friday February 22, 2019 and also an hour prior to the service. Burial will follow at the Highland Cemetery. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Arlen was born August 13, 1932 in Great Falls to Mable and Chuck Kitson and was raised in Millegan on the family homestead started by his great-grandfather Oliver Brodock in 1870. Arlen went to the Millegan one room schoolhouse for grades 1-8.

During his early teen years, he first met his future wife Vernie at a picnic with area families by the Hound Creek Bridge. She recalled him throwing rocks at her and he never denied that was a possibility. The two reconnected and dated while both attended Great Falls High School, graduating in 1950 and were married August 15, 1953.

In 1955, Arlen enlisted into the Navy and was stationed in Alameda, CA attached to a Sea Plane Transport Squadron. He and Vernie returned in 1957 to Millegan to join his parents and grandparents that were still on the ranch.

In the early days they raised sheep while living there full time, feeding in the winter with a team of horses and a sleigh. Son Glen was born in 1958 and daughter Brenda in 1964. In 1968, the family moved to Cascade during the school year and summered with the cattle at the ranch. He always had a story about hunting with his granddad or fishing with his dad horseback on Hound Creek and Smith River.

While running the ranch, Arlen also worked for the Dana Ranch and later for Foothills Livestock for 19 years.

Arlen was a Master Mason of the Meridian Lodge #105 Masonic Lodge in Cascade since 1970 and was also active as a Shriner, riding in many parades with the Algeria Mounted Patrol.

The fall of 2016, they made the decision to leave Cascade and moved into the Brookdale Senior Living facility in Great Falls.

While missing Cascade and many friends, they made new friends at their new home. He enjoyed passing the time visiting, dealing and playing Texas Hold’em for pennies, pinochle, crib and especially playing Hand and Foot, watching Mollie B and the NFR with their lifelong friend Elsie Gruel and his newest hobby, jigsaw puzzles.

To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.

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