Donald “Don” Harry Emmert was a man of faith, quiet strength and few words. He was born on July 12, 1935 to Martha (Buxton) Emmert and George “David” Emmert in Wolf Point, MT.
He slipped peacefully into heaven and the waiting arms of Jesus on April 6, 2018. He showed his love for his family and his deep faith in God by his actions. He modeled the servanthood of Jesus as he cared for his wife of 63 years, Joyce Edena Hedman Emmert, and worked hard as a logger and a truck driver to provide for their six children. Don was a proud American who always prayed fervently for our country. He served honorably in the Korean War and came home to marry his sweetheart.
Don and Joyce met when he was 15 and she was 12. She saw him ride his horse up the road to their farm and she told a friend, “I’m going to marry that boy someday.” Don would say he never had a chance, because Joyce had made up her mind. They corresponded while he was overseas and one day she received a letter asking her if she could plan a wedding in as little as three weeks so they could marry when he came home on leave from Korea. She was 17 when they married on March 20, 1955.
They raised their children in Whitefish and Columbia Falls surrounded by loving Hedman and Emmert grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
In 1996, Don and Joyce co-owned a ranch in Hot Springs with their son, Gordy. Raising cattle was a dream of Don’s, and he and Joyce loved their years on the ranch. Don could get big bulls to obey him with just a word and he became affectionately known as the “Bull Whisperer.” Every day after they had their morning coffee and Bible time, Don would head off on the tractor to feed the cows. Joyce always listened for the tractor and would run to the window to wave to him. He would tip his cowboy hat to her as he drove by.
Don is survived by his sister, Shirley (Evan) Speer and his children Rodney Emmert, Gary (Jane) Emmert, Randy (Melody) Emmert, Donita (Dave) Toavs, Gordy (Susy) Emmert and Darlene (Scott) Meehan and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents George “David” and Martha Emmert, brother, Bill Emmert, daughter-in-law Laurie Emmert, and grandsons Baby Randy Emmert, Erin Emmert, Wesley Emmert and Travis Vandersloot.
Those of you who knew Don well know that he wasn’t overly fond of large crowds or parties, particularly if he was the center of attention. Instead of a funeral, he asked that the children and grandchildren gather for a potluck dinner and spend time together. Over 50 family members were present to celebrate the man we loved and admired.
We know that he is out of pain now and we rejoice because we will see him again. In his final hours he reminded us that, “It’s not enough to live a good life. You need to give your life to Jesus and live for Him. Do that, and we’ll meet again in Heaven. “
We’re looking forward to seeing him there.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project or the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in memory of Don.