Gene Essig

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Gene Essig, longtime resident of Paradise Valley, passed away peacefully on June 7, 2020 at 93 years of age. She had been lovingly cared for by the staff at Diamond K Lodge in Livingston since Jan. 2018.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, in September 2006.

Gene was born to William J. and Agnes G. Schmitt on Aug. 28, 1926 in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, California. In addition to her parents, she had an older brother, William, Jr., and older sister, Dorothy. Gene was raised surrounded by a large extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. She grew up as a member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church and attended their elementary and high school. Upon graduation she worked as a secretary before marrying the love of her life, Bill Essig, in 1946. Together they raised five children, Stephen (Charlene) Essig of Redding, California, Carol (Darron) Hartman of Rochester, Washington, William (Deborah Parker) Essig of Oakland, California, David Essig of Livingston, Montana, and Patty (Dennis) Loosli of Oakley, California. She also leaves behind 10 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren (two more arriving shortly) and numerous nieces and nephews. Gene enjoyed a lifetime of memories made during family camp-outs, birthdays, and holiday celebrations made with the Bauder, Glantz, and Hendrickson families. 

On a vacation trip to Yellowstone in 1977, Bill and Gene bought 10 acres in the Pine Creek area of Paradise Valley. After building a home there by hand with the help of family and friends, they left California and retired there in the early 1980s. They fell in love with the Yellowstone River, majestic mountain ranges, the Absaroka’s to the east and Gallatin range to the west, and especially loved watching the sunsets, oh those fabulous sunsets! They joined St. Mary’s Catholic church in town and remained active parishioners for most of their remaining years.

Gene always loved a party. Numerous holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries (their 50th and 60th) were celebrated there at the “Round-To-It Ranch.” Gene was active in many organizations — Catholic Daughters of Montana, Christian Women’s Association, the “50 PLUS” group, and the Pine Creek Coffee Klatch. She was always busy cooking, baking, crocheting, and hosting house guests and the grandkids in the summer. Many baby booties, caps and tams, stuffed toys, and blankets were made and given away over the years by those busy hands. In later years when her fingers didn’t work so well, she enjoyed a cup of coffee while doing a Word Search Puzzle.

Gene had a giving heart based in a strong faith and love of God, family and friends. Her body is now free of worldly cares as she is joined forever with God and her all loved ones.   

Family and friends are invited to join in a celebration of Gene’s life. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 25 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, with burial following at Calvary Catholic Cemetery. After her burial, you are invited to a picnic lunch at 12:30 p.m. (approximate time) at the Gazebo in Sacajawea Park. Please bring chairs.

Social distancing will be practiced, and masks are welcome but not required.

Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements. To view the obituary and share condolences, visit