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Vernon Bandy

April 11, 1931 ~ January 31, 2018

Service: February 10, 2018 1:30 P.M.
   Location: First Presbyterian Church

Vernon "Vern" Bandy loved God, his family and friends, his country, and finding water at the end of his dowsing rod. Vern lost a courageous battle against cancer on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.

Vern was born in Ekalaka, Montana, on April 11, 1931, to Frank and Hannah Bandy.  He attended schools in Ekalaka and graduated from High School in Broadus.

In 1951, Vern joined the U.S. Navy. After completing basic, training at the San Diego Naval Training Station, he was assigned to the USS Essex (CV-9) aircraft carrier, the flagship for Carrier Division 1 during the Korean War. Aviation Boatswain Bandy was on the forward flight deck of the Essex on September 16, 1951, when a Banshee jet fighter approached the carrier, jumped the safety barriers and slammed into parked refueled planes portside.  Vern lived through the ensuing explosion and fire, he said, by the grace of God. After his time on the Essex, he was sent to Alaska an honorably discharged in 1954.

Vern joined the Montana State Employment Office in Butte, and after a year, enrolled in Butte Business College.  He then joined the sales staff of Nabisco, centered out of Miles City.  His love of dancing led him to meeting Alice one night in 1956.  He fell in love with her and her two daughters, Rena and Gayle, which he later adopted after they were married on September 15, 1958 in Miles City.

The couple bought a home in Bozeman and about that time, Vern began to look at his hobby of dowsing as a part-time profession.  In 1963 Vern began working for Life of Montana Insurance.  Weekends found him with dowsing equipment in hand, locating water for wells.  As Vern and Alice's family grew and their two daughters gifted them with grandkids, Vern took the grandkids on numerous dowsing trips, teaching them not only about dowsing but about Montana's geography and history, being true to themselves and doing what is right instead of what is popular.  In tough times and good, Vern's motto was:  "Giggle, grin, and go again."

Vern and Alice enjoyed their time with family and friends.  Vern loved fly fishing, hunting, and playing bridge.

Vern was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, two brothers, and son-in-law Jim Hickert.

He is survived by his adoring wife of 59 years, Alice; daughters, Gayle Hickert and Rena (Bruce) McKay; grandchildren, Mitch (Mary) McKay; Jaime (Edward) Saunders, Justin (Ashley) Hickert, and Michael Hickert; great- grandchildren, Gabe and Olivia Saunders, Zoe McKay, and Mattie Hickert; sister-in-law, Rose Norman; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The lessons Vern taught us - always set an example for your kids, how to hold a dowsing rod, don't believe the expiration date on string cheese, be kind to others, rotate your tires, laugh often - will be carried with us for all of our lives. The love we had for this man will be carried even longer.


A Celebration of Vern’s life will be held at 1:30pm Saturday, Feb. 10th, at the First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman.
 
Memorials can be made to Warriors and Quiet Waters or First Presbyterian Church - Rockhaven Camp.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com

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