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Winston Morgan Wanstrath, 85, of Darby passed away Thursday, August 9, 2018 at Marcus Daly Hospice. Winston was born August 21, 1932 in Kalispell, Montana. He was the son of the late Joseph and Reva Wanstrath.
Winston was born in Kalispell, Montana and moved to the Bitterroot Valley as a child. He attended Darby High School when he felt the need to take a break from his logging apprenticeship with Shook Logging.
His good fortune in 1954 brought Lillian Permann and him together. They married April 23, 1955. By 1962 Winston and Lillian had built a house in Darby. He was part of a trio of Wanstrath brothers that started their own logging company and sold logs to the Del Conner Company. Winston, Grant, and Donnie were a gregarious bunch that spent the majority of their teenage and adult years in various dangerous ventures moving timber and digging holes in search of riches. Ironically Winston was claustrophobic but still found a way to obtain gold in tunnels up the West Fork. That being said Winston had many friends and family that were up for his adventures. Even Jody, although Winston chopped her finger off in an unfortunate wood splitting accident.
After many close calls in the woods, and the uncertainty that he may run low of fried bologna sandwiches he chose to build steady work near his home. In 1982 Winston and Lillian built a Bitterroot Wood Products in partnership with Gary and Gail Schulz. In 1991 Winston’s daughter Kelly and son in-law Steve moved back to Darby and took ownership of the Schulz’s share. The mill continued to be operated at a high pace until 1998 when it burned down. They built their house across the highway from the Brown family. This proved to create a unique set of checks and balances and interesting memories for everyone.
Winston has spent his whole life building things and modifying perfectly working things. He had a keen eye and could fix nearly anything in the woods. Winston was passionate about classic cars and was a member of the Bitterroot Dusters car club. He built many he was very proud of and enjoyed attending car shows. Winston also was mandolin and fiddle player with the Sapphire Mountain Boys. He sang once. Winston enjoyed driving his bus conversion to Bluegrass festivals with Lillian and jamming early into the morning. One of his passions most recently was playing poker with Bob Stewart and the boys up the West Fork. The winner continues to be a mystery.
He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Reva, his sister Gennie and Zada, and brothers Grant and Donnie. He lost his first wife Eva to an automobile accident. Winston also was preceded by his grandchildren Jarrod Ralston and William Flanagan.
Winston is survived by his wife Lillian, daughter Arlene, son Joseph, daughter Kelly and sister Jody. He is survived by 7 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
An opportunity to swap stories about Winston and show scars he witnessed will be set at a later date this Autumn.