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Obituary: Michael L. Haugan

Posted at 10:00 AM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 12:00:57-04

Michael L. Haugan, 71, passed away peacefully on Monday, September 20, 2021, in his home under the loving care of his sons and family.

Mike was born on July 16, 1950, to Olaf and Doreene East Haugan. He grew up in Martinsdale, MT, and went to high school in White Sulphur Springs, MT graduating in 1969. Shortly thereafter he enlisted in the United States Navy and served multiple roles during active duty until 1974. During the Vietnam War, he served on three salvage ships as a mechanic and certified Class II underwater diver. Over the course of his 25-year military career, he was also part of the Naval Reserves, National Guard, and was a proud service member of the Seabee’s, known for their CAN-DO attitude. Mike received several medals for his service. After active duty, he attended Dawson Community College in Glendive, MT, and obtained a Law Enforcement Degree. Mike went on to work in Colstrip as a police officer.

Mike married Juanita Bachmeier on September 8, 1979. After two years as a police officer, he pursued his passion for mechanics and worked for Long Machinery in Sidney, Missoula, and eventually transferred to Kalispell—ultimately raising their three sons in Bigfork, MT. He later worked as a railroad mechanic in Livingston, MT, Tri State Truck and Equipment, and then spent most of his working years as the Equipment Superintendent at Knife River in Bozeman, MT. Throughout his career, he received numerous awards and recognition for his achievements; he was modest and rarely spoke of his accomplishments. Mike was always looking for continuous improvement, building and fixing things, and when he said, “Well, that should do it.”, you know you were in good hands. After a very short retirement from Knife River, he began to work for Treasure State, Inc. as a mechanic, equipment operator, and truck driver, all of which he truly enjoyed. His knowledge and expertise were valued by many people throughout his career.

Mike was an avid outdoorsman, hunting, fishing, camping, and with his passion for riding and packing horses, spent a lot of time in the woods volunteering for the Backcountry Horseman keeping the trails clear, riding with 4H kids into the Bob Marshall, and participating in wounded servicemen and women horse adventures. He regularly attended horse clinics to learn new skills and techniques and was always willing to lend a helping hand to ranchers moving their cattle. His life-long commitment of love and service to our country and community shine through in the organizations he participated in, and through his kindness and generosity to family, friends, and acquaintances.

Mike is survived by his sons, Brandon (Carolyn) Bigfork, MT, Barrett (Kristen) Belgrade, MT, and Ben (Jordan) Bozeman, MT; his grandchildren, Brayden, Taylor, Blake, and Anna; his mother, Doreene Haugan Nesbit, Billings, MT; siblings, Cathy Kirkpatrick (Gary) Glendive, MT, Linda McGinnis (Joe) Billings, MT, Kevin Haugan, Big Timber, MT, Kim Jennings, Pell City, AL; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Olaf “Babe” Haugan.

Join us as we celebrate the life of Michael L. Haugan on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at 12:30 P.M. at the Haugan residence, 560 Clovehitch Road, Belgrade, MT 59714, in the outdoor riding arena—the last project that Mike was determined to complete. He touched so many lives and will be greatly missed by all.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]