Retired plumber, business owner and fossil hunter John Wallace Brandvold Sr., 83, of Bynum died Oct. 25, 2020, in a Great Falls hospital after a week and a half long battle with COVID-19 complications.
Cremation has taken place under the direction of the Gorder-Jensen Funeral Home in Choteau, and a memorial service will be held once it is again safe to gather together.
John was an integral part of the Bynum community and involved in many activities from shoveling the snow from the Post Office walkways to maintaining the Bynum Civic Park to seeing to those who were less able than he. While he was officially retired, he stayed active at The Rock Shop and the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum.
John was born in Moorhead, Minnesota, on Sept. 16, 1937, the second youngest of seven children born to Edwin and Irene Brandvold. From a young age, John helped his father in the plumbing business, and had his own journeyman’s certificate by age 16.
John married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Cantlon, in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and they had five children.
After a stint in the National Guard, serving on active duty at Fort Collins, Colorado, John took a plumbing position at Hammond Plumbing in Choteau in about 1959.
Unfortunately, his marriage didn’t last, and John and Ruth divorced in 1963.
John married Marion Trexler of Bynum in 1965, in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, and they made their home in Bynum. Marion was widowed, and she had a grown son and a younger son from her previous marriage. They remained together until her death in 2015.
While plumbing was John’s main profession, he was also very actively involved in Marion’s Rock Shop and jewelry business as well as her small family ranch.
The family’s discovery of the first baby dinosaurs in a nest from anywhere in the world was one of John’s proudest events. John was responsible for obtaining the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for the Old Trail Museum in Choteau that the family had created to showcase their dinosaur discoveries. He is also one of the founders of the Shadows of the Past Art Auction, which was originally a benefit for the OTM though it now benefits the hospital in Choteau.
Later he helped establish the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center as a research institution for paleontology, and he even donated the land on which the Dinosaur Center sits.
John loved to visit with people, and he remained active in the family’s Rock Shop until his death.
John was preceded in death by his daughter Mary Jo Brandvold, who had Down syndrome, and died from leukemia in her 30’s.
He is survived by his sister Elvina “Beanie” Johnson of Minneapolis, Minnesota; children, Laurie (Dave) Trexler of Bynum, John “Butch” (Cindy) Brandvold Jr. of Dutton, and Jim Brandvold of Belgrade; step-sons Clifford (Jane) Trexler of Hamilton and David (Laurie) Trexler of Bynum; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Memorials are suggested to the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, P.O. Box 786, Bynum, MT 59419, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Wallace Brandvold Sr., please visit our floral store.