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William "Bill" Fleming

August 28, 1950 February 19, 2019
William "Bill" Fleming
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Obituary for William "Bill" Fleming

William “Bill” Fleming, 68, passed away suddenly on February 19, 2019 at his home in Billings, MT.

Bill was born on August 28, 1950 in Crow Agency, MT. He was the first son of Leslie Cline Fleming and Clarice Williams Fleming both whom preceded his death. Bill was also preceded in death by his youngest sister, Carol Fleming, whom he adored dearly. Bill was a member of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas. He was also Cherokee, Oneida and of Irish decent: His Kickapoo name was Tak-ke kos Kuk meaning “walking or running to a certain spot”. He was a part of the Bear Clan.

Bill was a long time resident of Billings, MT. He grew up living in Lame Deer but he and his siblings went to school in Colstrip. He graduated from Colstrip High School in 1968. He accepted a football scholarship to the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, ND.

A year later he went into forestry which took him to surrounding areas fighting forest fires. He began to teach and pass his wisdom down to newly hired firefighters. The stories and camaraderies that he developed during this time of his life was beyond impressive. It was during this time his passion for photography started, especially photographing nature. He later worked for Ashland Sawmill as a laborer. While working at the sawmill he also offered to help around town bailing hay and other various ranch duties. He joined Montana Power Company as an apprentice pipefitter which started his life long career as a pipefitter. Bill was a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 30 and other organizations and groups. He worked at all Billings surrounding area refineries. Bill has always had an excellent work ethic and was constantly working.

Bill participated in several sports throughout his life including kicky ball, softball and football. Bill was a member of the Jimtown Coyotes softball team from 1970-1986 with best friend/ brother, Marvin Beartusk. They shared an amazing friendship for over fifty years. Bill was Marvin’s best man at his wedding. During his life he and Marvin constantly went to basketball games and tournaments. Bill enjoyed watching all aspects of all sports. Bill was an avid supporter of surrounding high school sports teams, especially the Colstrip Colts (Go Colts!)

Bill enjoyed reading and learning about local and Native American history just like his brother Walter Fleming. He dedicated a lot of his research to compiling several different family genograms especially the Burns family (Marvin’s family). He enjoyed caring for and visiting with several friends and family. He was always willing to help out anyway he could with anything.

Bill loved to visit certain restaurants around Billings including Torres Cafe (recently closed), Muzzle Loader Café and Blues BBQ. He made life-long friends everywhere he went. He also “gladly made donations” to several casinos over the years which includes Dotty’s and the closed Alpine Casino. He always had time to tell a story that would leave you with a smile. He also enjoyed visiting with everyone he saw and knew.

Bill is survived by his son, William Darryl Fleming of Denver, CO; daughter, Erin Nicole Fleming of Tulsa, OK; sisters, Janice Rivers (Glenwood) of Van Horn, TX, Candace Fleming of Denver, CO; brothers, Walter Fleming (Shelly) of Bozeman, MT and Stanley Fleming (Dallas) of Ronan, MT; and numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved spending time with.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be on May 4th, 2019, details pending.


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