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Clayton Mejie

| July 27, 2005 12:00 AM

Clayton Irwin Mejie, 83, a Libby resident since 1991, died on July 25, 2005, at the Libby Care Center.

He was born on Jan. 25, 1922, in a squatter's shack in the small farming community of Tweet to Lottie Mae Davis Ward and Ernest Mejie.

From the age of three, Clayt lived with his Aunt Rose and Uncle Clayt on the family farm near Hogeland. He was baptized and confirmed in the First Lutheran Church on Oct. 13, 1937.

Clayt attended the Wing school and graduated from Turner High School in 1941.

After graduation he worked for the railroad, earning 68 cents an hour until he was offered a job at the local elevator company where he earned $90 a month.

On Dec. 9, 1943, Clayt was called to defend his country, serving as a machinist aboard the U.S. Macinac in the South Pacific and Japan.

Upon his discharge from the Navy on Dec. 22, 1945, Clayt returned to Montana to work for Lewiston Construction in Great Falls, but he soon decided that returning to the family farm was the right career choice.

His first big purchase for the farm was a 1942 John Deere tractor that he bought for $500 in 1946, despite the fact that his uncle considered an International the only tractor worth buying.

In 1963 Clayt purchased his first registered Black Angus cows, beginning many years of breeding, showing and selling the beautiful animals.

Year after year, Jennie and Clayt grew wheat, barley and oats on the homestead property and property Clayt purchased up north.

In 1991, after 66 years on the homestead, Clayt and soulmate Jennie sold the farm and moved to Libby to be closer to family. They soon settled into their new home, caught the "rummage sale bug" and enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Winter evenings were spent watching their favorite game shows and checking the national rodeo highlights.

When Jennie suffered a stroke in 2000, Clayt sat with her each day at the care center. For three years he kept a constant vigil and developed a wonderful circle of friends among the doctors, nurses and aides who loved and cared for them both.

Preceded in death by his wife Jennie, Clayt is survived by an extended family that includes Sandy and Michael Wagner, their children Mike and Linda and Debbie and Wes, and grandchildren Chris, Brian, Kimberly and Tyler; Sandy and John Wagner, their children JonMichael and Danell and Bergetta Ellen and Rob and grandchildren Nick and Kelsey; his half-sister Mary, several nieces and nephews, a host of friends in Libby and Turner and his faithful companion J.R and Miss Highness, the cat Jasmine.

Nelson & Vial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and services will be conducted at the funeral home at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 28.