Joseph Charles Maheras, M.D.


Joseph Charles Maheras, M.D.


Joseph Maheras
Joseph Maheras

Joseph Charles Maheras, M.D., age 76, died January 10, 2014 after a brief, intense struggle with cancer. He leaves us as a beloved and respected husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, physician, and colleague.

Joe was born June 14, 1937 to Celia Argenta Miles Maheras and Peter John Maheras in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was raised on the family farm along with five siblings and it was here that his passion for the earth and growing things was nurtured. Over the years gardening provided continuing enjoyment and he took great pleasure in sharing the bounty of his plot.

Intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of understanding were driving forces in his life. He graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1955 and received a B.S degree from the University of Chicago. He pursued further studies in chemistry at the University of Oregon and Idaho State University where he received his Master’s in Chemistry. Taking a new direction he entered medical school at the University of South Dakota in 1963. It was here that he met his love and life partner, Mary Gugin. Together they received their B.S. in Medicine and entered the University of Washington Medical School receiving their Doctor of Medicine Degrees in 1967. They were married on August 20, 1966 and continued their medical training together. Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine took them to Hennepin County General Hospital in Minneapolis.

Joe’s residency was interrupted by the Vietnam conflict and he was called to serve in the Medical Corps at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was the brigade surgeon for the 172 Infantry Brigade. Major Maheras was discharged in 1972 and returned to Hennepin County to complete the residency program. A highlight of his Alaska service was providing medical services to the outlying villages.

While serving in Alaska he took on the role of father with the arrival of Andrew and Amy. Son Toby joined the family as he resumed his training at Hennepin. The family moved to Billings in 1975 and Joe started his practice with the Billings West Medical Center and began an active 36 year career in the practice of medicine.

As his sons reached scouting age Joe became very active in the Boy Scouts of America. He served in numerous leadership capacities and received the District Award of Merit, the Silver Beaver Award, and the God and Service Award. He is a member of the Order of the Arrow.

Music was always a part of Joe’s being. He learned to play the accordion and clarinet and later the concertina. Family trips always included singing accompanied by the concertina. He sang for over 30 years in the chancel choir of Grace United Methodist Church and recently joined the Big Sky Chorus.

From the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the heights of the Beartooths and the Scottish Highlands, Joe enjoyed hiking, canoeing, camping, skiing, fishing, and hunting with family and friends for many years. Since an initial retirement in 2005 he was building a cedar strip canoe. Before his death he was able to see it finished; family will launch this work of love as warm weather returns.

Dr. Maheras was dedicated to his patients and his practice. He was board certified in Internal Medicine and served in various capacities at both St. Vincent Healthcare and the former Deaconess Hospital. His practice led him from Billings West to the Broadwater Clinic to temporary retirement in 2005. Retirement was short lived and he worked until 2013 assisting at the Sleep Center at St. Vincent Healthcare. He was very humbled and honored when he was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 2008.

Dr. Maheras is survived by his wife Mary; son Andrew; daughter Amy and son-in-law Pablo; son Toby and daughter-in-law Courtney; grandsons Mason, Pablo, and Carlos; sisters Elaine, Ruth, and Joy; brother Ted. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother John.

Dr. Maheras was, and will continue to be, a gift to his family, friends, and profession. As he was described in his high school year book, “He gives much and knows not that he gives at all”. Truly we have been blessed.


The family extends an invitation to join them for a time of fellowship and greeting at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, on Wednesday, January 15 ,from 5 P.M.-8 P.M. We welcome your presence at a Memorial Service at Grace United Methodist Church, 1935 Avenue B, on Thursday, January 1,6 at 11 A.M., to be followed by a luncheon in the church Fellowship Hall.

Memorials may be directed to Doctors Without Borders, Saint Vincent Healthcare Foundation, or the charity of your choice.

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0 thoughts on “Joseph Charles Maheras, M.D.”

  1. Chuck and Carol Heath

    We are truly sorry for your loss and ours. We treasure our memories of pursuing various outdoor adventures and sharing meaningful volunteer experiences with Joe and you. We smile when we think of his sense of humor and corny jokes and appreciate his kind and gentle ways. Love to you all~

  2. Barbara & Gale Chambers

    Our prayers and love to all of you. Uncle Joe will be greatly missed! We love you Uncle Joe! Gale and Barbara Chambers and Family

  3. Timothy Dernbach, M.D.

    Joe– you will be sorely misssed by all of us who trully enjoyed your friendship and appreciated your tremendous skills in medicine and patient care. I personally will always be greateful for the support you gave me when I came to Billings in solo practice in Cardiac Surgery in 1979. I especially enjoyed your universal optimism in difficult situations we faced together–for you the glass was always “half full”.
    Certainly this world is a much better place for you having been here with us for the past 76 years!! God bless and continue to keep on eye on us so that we do things right!!
    Tim Dernbach, M.D.
    Heart and Vascular Center
    St. Vincent Health Care

  4. Terry & Tami Haan and family

    Mary and family~
    Our prayers and love to all of you as your mourn the loss of your husband, father and grandfather.

  5. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at Joe’s passing.
    We enjoyed our recent visiting with the family on a couple of trips to Idaho Falls. We are IFHS alumni and remember how kind and helpful Joe always was. With sympathy, Ed and Karen Payne

  6. Barry and Louanna Maheras

    Mary, Andy, Amy and Toby,
    You are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.
    It’s always great to visit with you, Uncle Joe was the most pleasant person anyone could be blessed to know. His witticisms were enjoyable and enlightening!
    The final comment is so true:
    “He gives much and knows not that he gives at all”.
    Uncle Joe’s passing leaves a void in our family.
    With love and sympathy, Barry and Louanna

  7. Dr. Maheras, You were one of a kind. You always remebered the nurse’s names – even when we weren’t working. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you. I also was honored to be your patient through the sleep center. Your smile and laugh will be missed here, but have joined the chorus in heaven!

  8. My dear Mary. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. It was such a shock when, on Friday morning, Echo came into our zumba class and tearfully announced to us that Joe had passed away. We were stunned. I miss you and Joe as my “floor” partners in yoga. You have my deepest sympathy.

  9. Charles A. Wittnam

    I had the privilege of starting my medical career with Joe in 1982. I was his partner at Billings West Medical Center for over 10 years. As is often the case in medicine, physicians are the product of their teachers. I consider Joe to have been of my more important teachers as a young physician. He taught by example. In Joe’s case, he taught me the value of kindness. He was one of the kindest and most thoughtful physicians I have known. He was truly concerned about the people he took care of, and was very patient with even the most demanding of them. In any situation, it was always his kindness that prevailed. It is often the case that human kindness is one of the more important parts of healing, sometimes more so than a medication or a surgery. That is the most important lesson that I learned from him as a young physician so long ago. I consider it a great gift. I will always remember him for it.

    Charles A. Wittnam, M.D.

    Core Faculty and Site Director,
    Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency
    Billings Clinic Department of Internal Medicine

  10. Larry and Dora Bean

    Having lived next door to Joe and Mary for over 23 years now, we have had many ‘across the fence’ conversations, nice meals together, as well as canoe progress inspections. Our relationship began on the first day we arrived at our new house. I went to meet the neighbors. Knocking on the door, I was mentally prepared: handshake, “Hi, my name is Larry”, etc. Instead, when the door opened, there was Joe with a smile on his face and a bowl of tomatoes in his hand. Before I could say a word, Joe presented the bowl and said, “Have a tomato.” I think that was a great way of saying, “Welcome, Neighbor” and set the tone of this wonderful relationship with our good neighbors all these years.

  11. Mary and family we are so sorry for your loss of Joe and shocked at his sudden departure! It seems I just saw him with a merry hello! on his driveway. We know of Joe’s sincere concern for his patients and those around him. May pleasant memories of him carry you thru this difficult time.
    Tom and Bonnie Eldredge

  12. phil jarvis 3803 stillwater drive billings, montana 59102

    dr joe maheras was truly one of the good guys in medicine….it has been said “you can learn a lot about the character of a person by how they treat a salesperson” …I called on dr maheras for twenty eight years as a pharmaceutical representative with the Upjohn company, he was always a true gentleman to me during all those years that I had the pleasure to visit with him…..mary, my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family….joe will be missed by all those he had interactions with, of that I am certain.
    phil jarvis

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