Walton Thomas Laird

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Walton Thomas Laird

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Walton Laird
Walton Laird

Walton Thomas Laird, beloved husband of Priscilla Laird, passed away peacefully at home on November 18, 2014 at the age of 85 years.   Besides his loving wife of 60 years, Walton will be missed by his children, Michael (Linea) and their children Erin, Kristin, & Colin, Patricia (Steve) and their children Daniel and Sean, and Lisa.

Walton was born on March 26th, 1929 to Glenn and Nina Laird of Miles City, Montana.  He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers Bev, Bill, Glenn, and Loren, and three sisters Florence, Joyce, and Muriel.

Walt grew up in Miles City, Montana working with his dad and brothers in the family ice business. He graduated from Custer County High in 1947, and was soon after attending college when he was called away by his service in Korea from 1950 to 1952 in the 40th Infantry Division.  Walt married Priscilla Russell, December 21, 1953, in Lethbridge, Alberta.  The couple then returned to live in Missoula, Montana while he finished his education. Walt graduated from the University of Montana in 1956 and was a proud member of the 1954 Grizzly football team.  Upon graduation, he and Priscilla moved to Conrad, Montana where Walt taught and coached at the high school.  In 1960, they moved to Billings where Walt took a position as a teacher and coach of multiple sports, including serving as head football coach at West High School.  Following his tenure at West he served as a School District #2 administrator where many treasured friendships were forged. Walt retired and began the next chapter of his life in 1993.

Walt was a devoted husband and caring father, grandfather, and friend. He was an Elk. He spent many years enjoying the game of golf, fishing and hunting. He taught his children and grandchildren the values of friendship and family. To celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, Priscilla and Walt traveled to Costa Rica with their family in March of 2014.

Walt’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service on Saturday, November 29 at 1pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 2420 13th Street West.  Following the memorial service, friends and family are invited to further share this day in the Fellowship Hall. Memorials may be given to First Presbyterian Church, the University of Montana or the charity of choice.

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0 thoughts on “Walton Thomas Laird”

  1. William O'Donnell

    It was with great sadness that I read about Walt’s death. He was my first boss when I worked with him at. Evening High school. I remember his great kindness to me and his deep desire to help students be successful. My greatest lesson from Walt was how to establish positive relationships with the students and staff with whom you work.

    After I moved to Washington, Walt continued to be a good friend and mentor. When I returned to Billings for the funerals of my father and then my mother, Walt was at both services.

    I taught Patricia when she was in sixth grade. She showed the same traits as her dad. She was intelligent, friendly and had a great sense of humor. It was fun to see Walt in a different role as a parent. He was loving and kind.

    When I received a Washington State award for educational leadership, I wrote Walt a letter thanking him for all he taught me and for always being a friend. I am so glad I let him know what a positive influence he was on my life. My heart is heavy with the news of his death but I was blessed to know him. My prayers go out to Pricilla, Michael and Patricia.

  2. I have always remembered Coach Laird throughout the years and mentioned him often in storytelling to friends and family, he left a lasting impression on me, and I assume many hundreds of kids. I am sorry for your loss of Walt..(Heck, I still feel funny calling him Walt, and I’m 65 years old now)

  3. Dear Priscilla, Mike, Patricia and Lisa, Sandy and I are saddened by your loss. Priscilla, we are still grateful to you and Walt for welcoming us to Billings and West High. I have fond memories of Walt. He was an amazing teacher. In the classroom or on the practice field, Walt had an unbelievable way with kids. He was a real champ. Priscilla, Walt was so proud of you and your family. May he rest in peace. Peace be with you and your family. Peace on earth. Bill and Sandy Shikany

  4. Linda (Graham) Sheridan

    Priscilla & kids, I was in Billings recently for the funeral of my father Walt Graham and asked around about Coach Laird because I never forgot him and had fond memories of being in his class and living across the street. I lived on Pueblo when I attended High School 1964 to 1967. I baby sat the kids for a weekend when you & Walt took a trip out of town. I remember fixing hot chocolate and cinnamon toast that kept me in their good graces.

    Because I had been asking after him, Donna Graham sent me his obituary from the newspaper.

    Mr. Laird was so sincerely kind and engaging the whole time I lived in Billings, I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed this during this time. Even though he made it tough for me to date any of the football players. They had to really want to go out with me as they would often find cryptic messages written on their automobiles parked at our house, or a word or two of embarrassment in the locker room.

    My sincerest sympathies and warmest wishes for you and your family.

    With love, Linda (Graham) Sheridan

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