Gordon July Youst

Gordon w Helen Youst

Gordon July Youst
was born on July 1st, 1904 in Belfrey, MT to James Albert and Goldie (Hancock) Youst. He was the grandson of Gilford E. and Virginia V. (Cunningham) Youst.
He married Helen Wanderaas on August 30th, 1941.

by  his sister Velda –

Gordon’s parents were married on July 1, 1903.  Gordon was born at Belfrey, Mt on July 1, 1904, so they gave him the middle name of JULY, but he never liked it. He was the older of 2 children born to James ALBERT (Brig) Youst and Goldie Fern Hancock Youst. At age 5 the family moved to Hardin where he stayed until 1923. While in school he worked for years with the banks until they went broke. Then he marked for the Campbell Farming Corporation. He played in the Hardin band and orchestra starting with the piccolo until he played all of the woodwind instruments. He went to New York City to an accounting school but his music interest led him to attend Julliard School of Music several years. He supported himself working for banks in the city. He played for some big name bands and arranged music for the Walter Damrosch orchestra. He was married to Lillian Ottun of Hardin while living in New York. He got sick with ulcers and determined to return to Montana for healing. Divorce occurred because she would not leave. So he returned to Belfry and recuperated working on a. farm.

He was active in bands and singing for years. He stood 5’11 1/2″ and weighed about 155 lbs.  In 1936 he came to Billings for work. The Bank offered him $18 a week even with all of his banking experience. So he decided he could make more with music and did so on the side and he also ran a paint contracting firm – Cartrode & Youst Paint Co.  All the while he played with other bands and also had his own band. That’s where he met Helen but he said she was too young and she had to grow up.  Finally he was married to Helen Clarice Wanderaas on Aug/30/1941. He always was so grateful he had found such a good woman. During WWII he took 6 months carpentry work in Utah to help the war effort.  Then for 24 years he worked in St. Louis shipyards building tug boats for the Russians. While there he also learned the upholstery trade. To be nearer his mother and sister he moved to Sterling, Colorado are ran an upholstery shop for 2 years, and did the same thing In Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Then he paint contracted for 2 years in the Ordinance Plant at Sidney, Nebraska. He longed for Montana so they returned in 1953 and began a paint business but the spray paint had ruined his lungs. In 1958 began a carpet business from which he retired in 1966. Gordon was a perfectionist who supreme prime pride in meticulous work.

He loved working with his hands as a craftsman, but music was so big that he never got over his first love. He liked to make music in anyway. He played the piccolo, flute, clarinet, saxophone and oboe, and all the variations of these instruments. He had begun to teach himself to play the organ. He had perfect pitch and also absolute pitch in music. He loved to dance and have fun. He was a marvelous ballroom dancer.  He liked to go fishing but not to hunt to kill animals with no purpose. He was an avid reader in religion and science fiction and history. He read in depth and could visit about most subjects with real understanding. As a boy he was a “protector’ of his little sister and that became typical of him all his days. He liked to share with young people so they wouldn’t repeat his mistakes. He’d give them hints for living. With little children he wanted to be firm but not hurt them, so soon they learned that his bark was bigger than his bite. He loved the mountains and camping out in nature. His writings and drawings were beautiful.  In 1962 he began suffering arthritis. Medicine from Mexico freed him of pain these later years. He loved his family ties and gatherings. He eagerly made friends and tried to help out and make things happen right for folks. He leaves to honor his memory: his widow Helen, a sister Velda Belfrey Youst Hiller and her husband, Edwin Hill Hiller of Boulder, Colorado, a niece Gwen Johnson of Auburn, Washington, a nephew Gary Miller of Montreal, Quebec and many other friends and relatives.

from Billing Gazette Jan 27, 2014

Our beloved sister, aunt, and friend passed away peacefully Jan. 23, after a short stay at the Riverstone Hospice Home. Having lived independently for 95 years, Helen suffered a stroke on Dec. 13. Born and raised on the family homestead near Vida, Mont., of Norwegian immigrant heritage, to Regina (Christopherson) and Alfred Wanderaas on Nov. 12, 1918, she was endeared as the “Armistice Baby.”

After graduating from Wolf Point High School in 1936, Helen enrolled in Billings Business College and enjoyed working in Billings, especially her many years at Bidlake Insurance Agency. During her professional career she was an active officer for the Billings Women’s Professional Insurance Organization. On Aug. 30, 1941, Helen married the love of her life, Gordon Youst. They spent their early years together supporting the World War II effort by working in the war industries in St. Louis, Mo., Utah and Nebraska. Upon returning home to Billings, they continued their full lives together by enjoying family, friends, careers and especially the music and dancing of the Big Band Era.

Being a longtime Billings resident, she took an active interest in watching her city develop and grow into the thriving community it is today. Helen embraced helping people from all walks of life, and she never turned away a person who needed a meal or a place to stay. She will always be remembered for her warm smile, extraordinary gift of hospitality, and a compassionate heart filled with love and sage wisdom. She had a gift for the attention to detail and was known for her crystal clear memory of dates, anniversaries, places and events.

Helen treasured her church family and was a faithful servant and member of First Evangelical Free Church and the White Cross Women’s Ministries. She was a supporter and home host for Child  Evangelism Fellowship. She was an original member of the Deaconess Mended Hearts Support Group, a longtime Billings Clinic Volunteer and a member of RSVP. She also enjoyed and honored her heritage through active membership in Sons of Norway’s, Jotunheimen Lodge No. 4-499.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; husband Gordon (1978); siblings Arthur, Harold, Nellie (Foster), Leonard; sisters-in-law, Ruth Wanderaas and Velda Youst Miller; and nephew, Terry Dobson. Survivors include brother Bernard Wanderaas; and her nieces and nephews David Wanderaas (Kim), Camille Spitzer (Bill), Bonnie Bohmbach (Clark), Steve Wanderaas (Cathy), Melody Dobson, Bernadine Strange (Mike) and Sylvia Koitmaa (Mark), Dwight Foster (Beverly), Dennis Foster (Ann), Gwen Miller and Gary Miller-Youst; loving God child, Lynette DeShaw; and many great nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors, and beloved friends.

A celebration of Helen’s life will be held Friday, Jan. 31, 11 a.m. at First Evangelical Free Church, 401 Custer Avenue, Billings. Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Child Evangelism Fellowship, PO Box 81254, Billings, MT 59108 or a charity of choice. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Chapels.

Helen’s family will always remember her fondly for her enthusiasm for picnics in the park, which were sure to include her famous fried chicken and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

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