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Categorized | Obituary



Charlotte Anne Zikan, a long time resident of Conner, passed away peacefully on October 21, 2020 at Kalispell Regional Hospital. She had just turned 82. Charlotte was born on October 11, 1938 to Stanley and Iva Gabel of Pierson, Michigan. Born in the days when milking cows before you went to school was just part of what had to be done. This hard work ethic, learned early in life, combined with a loving and devoted Christian family made Charlotte the person she would become. After graduating Valedictorian from Pierson High School, Charlotte went on to get her elementary teaching degree from Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, where she only missed one day of class in four years.  She taught for a few years before taking on her highest calling in life…starting and raising a family. In 1976, the family moved west to Montana where she created a new life for herself in Conner. Her work ethic was witnessed again with the many jobs she took on to supplement the family income. Waitressing fostered her love of connecting with people and she made many friends from her years working at the Broad Axe and Rocky Knob Lodge. She returned to her teaching roots as a substitute at Darby Elementary. With the family interest in hunting and fishing she operated an outfitting business for several years. She had a housecleaning business as well. Mom’s life truly defines the Bitterroot Valley Dream as the “Prettiest Place in the World to Starve to Death!” Mom didn’t have time for hobbies but was able to pursue her passion for horses. The ranch in Conner allowed her to breed and raise them. Ironically it was a traumatic backcountry horse accident that redefined the last 16 years of her life. The dream moose hunt ended with six weeks in ICU. Mom again relied on God’s divine mercy and made a miraculous recovery.  God clearly had more work for her to do. Mom was a member of the Conner Wesleyan Church and later the Hamilton Wesleyan Church. In her later years, she spread her Christian spirit by caring for her elderly friends.  She had tireless energy and, although incredibly stubborn, her strength and feisty spirit gave her a personality that people enjoyed being around…her caregivers found her completely entertaining. Mom was always happy and content, where family, church and friends were all that was necessary for a life of fulfillment. While worldly goals were never a part of Mom’s program, she very much enjoyed attending the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and was fully intending on completing the Triple Crown! Mother, you were an inspiration to anyone who took the time to get to know you. Your love and patience was tireless. You were always positive and generous even in the toughest of times.  Your strength was amazing!!  God is a great teacher and you were a great student. We all love you and still feel your presence and encouragement. Like those Glorious words that you have already hear from The Almighty, we too Mother wish to tell you… “Well Done.” Charlotte was preceded in death by her sister, Sarah Dreyer, and her brother; Chip Gabel, both of Pierson, Michigan. Charlotte is survived by her three children, daughter, Amy; son, Robert; son, Doug; grandchildren; Barrett, Bo, Madi, Cooper and Crosby. She also leaves many other family members and friends who will greatly miss her. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at the Conner Wesleyan Church. Please send your condolences and thoughts of Charlotte to charlottezikan@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Conner Wesleyan Church, 4674 US Highway 93, Darby, Montana  59829.

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