Fay Lee Pemble was born June 6, 1927 in Kalispell, the 3rd of 4 children to Charles T. and Verna L. (Johnston) Pemble. He passed early Sunday, December 19, 2021.
He started school in September, 1933 at Deer Park, accompanied by Spot, the black and white dog that followed the kids to school and waited in the field for them to come home every night.
Fay joined 4-H and exhibited at the fair, including a heifer that a neighbor paid a dollar for and gave to him. He also showed her as a cow when he joined FFA as a freshman at Kalispell High School. He served as FFA treasurer from 1943 to 1945. In FFA he had Ag Shop which he excelled at, learning the basics of blacksmithing, welding, filing saws, mechanics and carpentry getting all 1’s (straight A’s today).
When he was 4 days past his 16th birthday, he went to the Glacier National Park Service and was stationed at Belly River. He couldn’t boil water, but knew if you can read, you can cook, so taught himself how to cook, including baking bread, one loaf at a time.
The next summer, he worked for a relative at a sawmill and got enough money to buy two new shirts and a pair of pants to wear to the 1st day of school.
The summer of 1945 after graduating he was a smoke chaser at the head of Lake McDonald. He transported and transplanted bears. Using canned salmon, he trapped and moved 23 black and brown and 1 grizzly bear.
He spent the next 2 years at Waterton Lake and learned how to run a boat, so as not to have to walk out 10-12 miles. They had a portable forge with coal and he taught the crew that they could reset the shoes on 4-5 horses and mules. The professional horse shoer was not happy to lose his $12.50, so the next summer Fay took the horses and mules the 50 mile round trip to the horse shoer.
He turned 21 and became the St. Mary dispatcher for three years from 1948 to 1950. He was in charge of packing supplies in to two lookouts and trail crews. Then in 1950, he left the Park Service and married Dorothy Vorell, known to most as Dot.
He took over the family farm in Deer Park and continued to farm for over 50 years. He built their first house, and then moved it ¼ mile north before their daughter was born. He also worked simultaneously for 24 years at Anaconda Aluminum Company plant.
Fay and several neighbors started the Bad Rock Fire station, he building the foundation and then pouring the floor with John Leubner. Fay was the first to drive the new fire truck back from the dealer with the only equipment being the siren, much to the glee of neighborhood kids. Because he was working straight swing shift at the plant, he couldn’t attend fireman training, so never became one of the crew.
He continued to farm and became the neighborhood animal surgeon, fixing tomcats to stud horses, and never lost a ‘patient’.
When he neared retirement from the plant, he built a hay truck with the steering wheel on top of the cab, so winter feeding of cattle could be a one man job. He was nearly finished when a minister drove up and asked if the vehicle had a purpose or was it ‘just to have people asking silly questions’. He and the truck were featured in the Montana Farm Show magazine.
He was preceded in death by Dorothy in December, 1995 and later married Audrey Cline Boe. They moved to Kalispell after Fay sold the farm and “the Higgins’ Place” (which now has a Pemble Drive). They moved again to a new house, this one built by a dear friend and contractor, Marilyn, who gifted him his first set of golf clubs, adding a new hobby to his bowling. He grew some beautiful sweet peas and tomatoes there. He and Audrey took several great trips and cruises and delivered Meals on Wheels prior to her death in November, 2014.
Fay moved to Buffalo Terrace and used his farming skills to grow some mean amaryllis each Christmas. This summer, after being hospitalized, he moved to Immanuel Skilled Care Center where he remained until his death.
He is survived by son David (wife Billie), daughter Dorann (husband Mike) (Mullins), grandsons David (Julie) and Steven (Jessica), granddaughters Becky (Jake) and Laurie (Trevor), 10 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
If you wish, donations can be made to Intermountain Children’s Home, 500 S. Lamborn St. Helena MT 59601, a food pantry, or other charity of your choice.
A Graveside Service will be held Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 10:00am at Fairview Cemetery and a Celebration of Life will be held later in the day, June 11, 2022, at 2:00pm at Epworth Methodist Church. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home is caring for the family.