Gilbert J. 'Chief' Vicain

Sunday, June 8, 2003

BOZEMAN -- Gilbert J. "Chief" Vicain, 80, of Bozeman, a decorated World War II and Korean War Navy veteran who formerly worked for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, died of natural causes Thursday in Bozeman.
His funeral is 2 p.m. Monday at the Evangelical Free Church in Bozeman, with burial at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Missoula County Cemetery. Dahl Funeral Chapel of Bozeman is handling arrangements.
Survivors include a sister, Anna Vicain McDonald of Frenchtown; sister-in-law Alma Druckhammer Vicain of Duncanville, Texas; three nieces Nancy (Dwaine) Wall of Lustre, Marcia (Ray) Cline of Fernadina Beach, Fla., and Connie Jo (Rick) Whisenhunt of Texas; four nephews Lester (Sylvia) Vicain Jr. of Houston, John Lee Vicain of Duncanville, James Lee Vicain of Phoenix and William G. (Kimberly) Vicain of Texas; 18 grandnieces and grandnephews and one great-grandnephew.
He was preceded in death by his brother Lester and brother-in-law Harvey McDonald, a niece Elaine Vicain, nephews Harvey A. McDonald Jr. and Bobby Gil McDonald.
He was born September 13, 1922, in Missoula, Mont., the son of Gilbert Edward and Anna Carolyna (Johanson) Vicain. He graduated from Hellgate High in Missoula.
Gil served in the U.S. Navy during WWII aboard the naval amphibious vessel USS Skagit in the Pacific and European Theaters as a Chief Petty Officer where he earned his nickname "Chief". Following the war he owned and operated a Mr. Spudnuts Donut Cafe in Sioux City, Iowa. He had to leave his business as he was called to serve in the Korean War, returning to the USS Skagit. During his service to our country he received several medals and citations including the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
Following the Korean War, Chief worked as a station manager for the Northern Pacific Railway (BNSF) serving in most western Montana stations. Upon retirement he focused his energies on managing his Viking Apartments in Bozeman. During his lifetime he traveled extensively, visiting almost every nation. He was an accomplished water skier, enjoyed photography and as a former boy scout, loved exploring the Montana landscape.
Gil was a member of the Moose Lodge, the VFW and other charitable organizations.
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