Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
The world lost an incredible life on Oct. 6, 2023. William “Bill” Wertman was born on Dec. 16, 1948. Bill was a father, son, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend who made this world a better place because he was in it.
While Bill and Debbi (Beartusk) were married, they had three amazing children: two daughters, Jodean (Toby) Violett and Lindsey Wertman, and son, Devin Wertman. He was then blessed with three grandchildren, Jarrod Jensen, Kylee and Macy Burns, and recently with one great-granddaughter, Kamrynn. He is preceded in death by father William Perry Wertman, and survived by his wonderful mother, Doris Wertman; sister Sandi (Bob) Sullivan; brother Jim (Laurie) Wertman; and many, many nieces and nephews whom he truly loved, teased and supported. He loved his family above all else and his children describe him as the greatest Dad/Hero/Supporter one could ask for, as well as their best friend.
Bill's second love was the Northern Cheyenne culture which was out of a deep respect for the tradition, humility, generosity, and humor. Although he was not born Northern Cheyenne, he respected the culture and was embraced by many, spending 50 years in the community. He built a legacy focused on his love of education and people within the communities he lived and worked. He held several roles as an educator, counselor, coach, school board member and administrator, each role adding value in a different way to the community and students he loved.
When Bill was not at work or with family, you could find him at the softball and baseball fields. Bill spent many years as a player, coach, umpire and, eventually, the Montana State Softball Commissioner. He traveled countless miles through various states; his passion for softball and all those involved was endless. He could always be found pacing the dugouts, providing countless coaching lessons, and keeping the scorebook on top of that because he wasn't going to let one run go uncounted. He left his footmark on the field and a piece of his heart with all those who enjoyed the game.
Bill had an amazing sense of humor that was enjoyed by all he met. He loved to make others smile and laugh, that included wearing a goofy t-shirt to family events, hiding under the bed waiting to grab your ankles after you watched a scary movie or dressing as a hillbilly when picking someone up at the airport.
Bill also had an insatiable sweet tooth, and no Chocolate Chip Crumbl Cookie or Three Musketeer Bar was safe in his presence. His generosity extended into sweets, taking donuts to his mother each week. He would also bring enough for staff, and was affectionately known as the “Donut Man.” At holidays, or other functions, he would bring a box of Crumbl Cookies. Although this was nice gesture, really, he just wanted an excuse for a sweet treat. He even traveled with a stash of chocolate in his overnight bag just in case he had a late-night craving.
Bill was a simple man who enjoyed simple pleasures like cheeseburgers; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; Coke, not Pepsi; popcorn (especially at Colstrip High School sports); and a good recliner.
Bill always saw the value in people and in his possessions. Just because something had a little age or a few miles didn’t mean it wasn’t still good. He often took great pride while his kids winced, knowing each of his pickups turned over another 100,000 miles.
To say Bill was a huge sports fan would be an understatement. It combined supporting kids, players, popcorn, and his community. Whether it was watching, scoring, keeping the clock or coaching, you would always find him at an event. He wasn’t hard to spot; he was usually in his wind pants and his Seattle Mariners T-shirt. The love for the Mariners came from the first of many family vacations to Seattle. If he wasn’t involved with sports, he was laboring over a jigsaw puzzle, mountain scenes mostly, listening to country music or watching a cop show.
In retirement, Bill loved sitting on his patio chatting with family and friends and reading the news. If you couldn’t find him, he was probably sitting with a big mug of coffee quietly reflecting on his patio.
Bill was an exceptionally humble, generous and selfless man who was quick to put the needs of others above his own. If you needed a dollar, help moving, your lawn mowed or a shoulder to cry on, he would stop what he was doing and be there.
Bill meant so much to so many and, although we still carry him with us in our hearts and in our prayers, his physical presence will be deeply missed.
The family appreciates the enormous outpouring of support from those who knew him and hope you will come celebrate his life with us.
Viewing will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave.
Celebration of Life for Bill/Dad will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Colstrip High School.