Joy "Sug" Kathleen Hokanson


January 10, 2024

Joy "Sug" Kathleen Hokanson joined her husband of 55 years in heaven on December 31, 2023, arriving in time for them to celebrate the New Year the way they always had, dancing the night away.

She was born on March 15, 1946, to Ernest and Bernice Peterson, living west of Big Sandy on the farm owned now by her brother, Bruce and Evelyn Peterson. She attended North Star Country School until she was 9 years old, when her dad, Ernest finished building their home in Big Sandy. Sug continued schooling in Big Sandy until graduating in 1964. After graduation, she attended the Billings Business School and received a Certificate in Accounting, and then moved to Havre, Montana and worked at Northern Tire.

In 1967, Sug moved back to Big Sandy and began keeping books for Denny's ENCO Service. During that time, Sug met Arnold. They began dating, were engaged, then married on August 25, 1968. They lived on the ranch near Warrick, Montana for 46 years raising their prized Hereford cattle. Along with caring for their herd, Sug enjoyed days of strolling in the mountains and bluffs, collecting elk and deer sheds. She loved watching the pheasants, bunnies, and fawns that wandered into her yard. And she loved the friends that would travel the rustic trail to their home for a visit.

Arnold became involved in the many Cowboy Poetry Gatherings across the west and Sug always accompanied him. Sug was so proud of his writing and reciting ability and loved listening to him. They travelled everywhere together, never without the other by their side. Arnold said he went once without Sug. The whole night everyone asked where Sug was, so that was the only time he went anywhere without her.

In 2014 they sold the ranch and moved to their beautiful home on the bluffs above the Milk River northeast of Havre. Sug loved her new home and always wished her mom could have seen it.

Sug was preceded in death by her husband, Arnold Hokanson; her parents, Ernest and Bernice Peterson; and brother-in-law, Gary Geyer.

She is survived by a brother, Bruce (and Evelyn) Peterson; a sister, Sharon Geyer; nieces, Connie Malone, Karen Lockhart, Kim Geyer, Kari Evans, Kathi Rasmussen, and Michelle Wisby; nephew, Lance Peterson; and very special friends, Kyle and Charla Terry and Don and Dolly Weaver.

Memorials in her honor can be sent to Dedman Animal Shelter in Fort Benton, Montana, or MSU-Northern Nursing Program in Havre, Montana. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Please visit Sug's online memorial page to send a card or leave a message of condolence for her family at


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