Marvin and Juanita Works


June 9, 2021

Marvin and Juanita were partners in life and passed away within months of one another.

Juanita Edith (Stearns) Works passed away on April 9, 2020 after a brief illness while fighting a long brave battle against dementia.

She was born March 25, 1929, in Dayton, Washington to Everett and Nettie Stearns. She graduated from Dayton High School, graduated from Willamette College in Oregon with a degree in Home Economics. Her mother insisted she needed a teaching degree so she and her sister Mary shared yet another room and another set of books to get their education degrees from Washington State College in Pullman, WA. After graduation, she moved to Chinook, MT to become Blaine County's Home Demonstration Agent. She made many life-long friends and corresponded with them throughout the years. After she moved to Fort Benton to accept a similar job, she met Marvin. They married on November 9, 1957 in Fort Benton. Upon their marriage, Marvin's parents, Irvin and Mildred, built a house and moved to Fort Benton. Marvin and Juanita moved to the farm and resided there together until she was admitted to the Big Sandy Medical Center.

She grew up in the mountains in Washington and there were times that she missed it. But she grew to love the prairie. She kept the binoculars on the window sill to see who was traveling on the Rudyard Road. When she returned to Washington to visit, she would say she missed not being able to see very far because the mountains were in the way.

Among her hobbies were cooking and baking, gardening, painting landscapes, upholstery, working crossword puzzles and cryptograms, chickens, and sewing. While her children were growing up, she sewed many of their clothes. She gardened until she was no longer able to do so. She was always up to learning new things so she took community classes that included dancing and cooking.

Juanita was active in Eastern Star, Spring Coulee Hobby Club, and bowling. While her children were in 4H, she was a leader of the Dry Fork Coulee 4H Club. She judged sewing and foods at the Chouteau County Fair many times. She was also a reliable judge for Mr. Barsotti's home speech meets. She was a Methodist Sunday School teacher for many years.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers: Donald Stearns, William (Bill) Stearns, brother and sister-in-law Gerald and Iris Stearns, sister and brother-in-law Mary and Frank Snow, brother-in-law Thomas McCauley, and niece Janet Snow.

Her laugh will be missed. Her children always knew if Mom was present in a group they need only listen for a bit and her laughter would rise above the noise of the crowd.

Marvin Lee Works passed away after a brief illness on July 23, 2020, at Benefis Hospital.

He was born on the farm October 4, 1932, to Irvin and Mildred Works. He attended elementary school at the country school and went to Fort Benton High School where he graduated in 1950. He was in the army from 1950-1952. Where he traveled the world, (Fort Lewis, Washington).

He attended Northern Montana College for a quarter learning diesel mechanics. Then he settled on the farm and spent the rest of his life in the same house he was born in. He met his partner in life, Juanita Stearns, in Fort Benton when one of his friends told him about this girl that lived in the apartment building.

Marvin liked fixing things. He was always working on something. As he aged, it became more difficult for him to do some of the repairs however he wanted to make his own repairs. He also liked animals so he always had a dog or cats. For quite a few years he had a few head of cattle too.

Marvin volunteered for numerous organizations over the years. He served on many different boards over the years whether it was with his church, water board, or soil conservation board. He enjoyed the Chouteau County Tractor Pullers Association and looked forward to awarding the scholarships to the area youth. He liked to serve. He was always willing to lend a hand to any neighbor that needed it. He stated he wanted to teach his children that family is important. There was always family and close friends at any holiday or birthday gathering.

When his daughters were involved in Rainbow Girls, he joined Masons and Eastern Star. He enjoyed the fellowship of the Masonic Lodge. He traveled many miles with fellow Masons making visitations. He was soon part of the Scottish Rite and then became a Shriner. He was a big supporter of the Shriners' Hospital in Spokane and the Speech Clinic in Great Falls. To that end he sold tons of onions to support the Shriners.

Marvin and Juanita bowled together on the Dust Bowlers league for many years in Fort Benton until they were no longer able to do so. They also enjoyed dancing from square dancing to ballroom dancing. They enjoyed traveling via bus, airplane or cruise, where they always made new friends to exchange Christmas cards with for years after the first meet.

Marvin never passed on a chance to play cards. He loved playing cribbage with his grandchildren. If they beat him, someone had to win 2 out of 3 games. Pinochle was another favorite card game. In the last few years, he enjoyed playing pinochle at The Mint and Big Sandy Medical Center on Sunday afternoons. He also played Pitch and Pan. Of course, with any card game there was always good conversation. Conversation was central to all his activities whether it was going on elk hunts or fishing with his good friends.

Marvin loved to tease people. One always knew when he was going to start. There would be a twinkle in his eye. It made the people he met feel special. The waitresses at Ma's Loma Café, The Mint in Big Sandy,and staff at the Big Sandy Medical Center were favorite targets. When visiting his bride at the Medical Center, he always spoke to the staff and many of residents. It was rare for him to leave without stopping to visit someone.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Juanita, and his parents, and cousins. Marvin and Juanita are survived by their three children: Marie Murphy, Belgrade, MT; Dan (Rhonda) Works, Big Sandy; and Lisa (Tony) Benegas, W. Richland, WA. Their eight grandchildren are Erin Murphy and her significant other (Derek Flinders), Helena; Daniel Murphy, Bozeman; Caitlyn Murphy and her significant other (Conner Becker) Helena; Tanner and Everett Works, Big Sandy, Zachary Works, Fort Benton; Jacquelyn Benegas (Kurt Yeasted) Seattle, WA, and Jessica Benegas (Jason Ashby), The Dalles, OR; Juanita's sister, Elaine McCauley, Colorado, and sister-in-law Neita Stearns, Washington.

A memorial service will be held for Marvin and Juanita at the Big Sandy City Hall on June 12 at 3:00. Please bring your stories to share.


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