Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Walter Sales

August 15, 1927 ~ February 07, 2018

Walter Rivenes Sales departed this world (February 7, 2018) with a smile on his face, knowing he would join his dear wife, Shirley Sue, to continue their beautiful love affair.  Their strong belief in Jesus and an eternal life in the Kingdom of God made their departure more bearable for family and friends. 

Walter was born in New England, North Dakota, on August 15, 1927.  Weighing 10 lbs. at birth, parents Walter L. and Solveig Sales decided one child was enough!

At 8 years old he was excited to move to the Sales Ranch in Montana close to grandparents, Walter H. and Zula Sales.  New adventures were had and he learned what it meant to work hard to earn a dime. 

Walter attended Baker Creek School and Manhattan H.S. moving on to Purdue University, MT State College (Go Cats!), then to the University of MT.  In 1952, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Mannheim, Germany, during the Korean War.  

He then moved to San Diego to work in Real Estate.  After a night out, Walter would make deep fried eggs for friends, including Ted Geisel (Dr. Suess). 

Walter moved back to Bozeman to become Assistant City Manager, where Shirley, a Deputy Clerk at the Courthouse saw him drive up in the cutest Thunderbird.  He asked, “Wouldn’t you like to go out with me?”—and they fell in love and were married at Hope Lutheran Church in Bozeman on June 3, 1956. Following the ceremony, Walter placed Shirley in a wheelbarrow and ran up and down the street happily broadcasting the catch of his life.

In 1958, Walter became City Manager for Clarinda, Iowa. He spoke proudly of his time there and loved the people.  In 1968—five children later—they returned to live at the Sales Ranch where he served as County Commissioner for 7 years.

He was ready to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in 1978, and was elected District State Representative for 5 sessions.  Walter never thought of himself as a politician but rather as a Public Servant.  His passion for the community was never ending.  His encounters with others built his library of stories that he loved sharing.

The wisdom he passed on to his children was to find their own life in this world, never borrow but to pay only with the money you have earned, play hard (golf, world travel, and entertaining were his favorites), and most importantly, to believe in Him (Jesus).  Never did Walter question his faith. It was unwavering. 

His parents, wife, and a newborn son preceded him in death. His survivors include children, Stacy (Scott) Springer, Vicki (Dennis) Olson, Walt (LaRae) Sales, Sabrina (Andrew) Kennedy, Heidi (Rick) Braaksma; grandchildren, Melissa (Travis) Stuber, Dennis Olson, Wally (Lisa) Sales, Justine (Ryan) Van Dyke, Conni (John) Mahoney, Rob (Brittany) Braaksma, Darren Braaksma, Kyle Springer; and 6 great-grandchildren. 

The Sales family is thankful for the compassionate care provided by the staff at Gallatin Rest Home and Compassus (hospice care).  Dad was actively devoted to the Gallatin History Museum and we ask in lieu of flowers that donations be made to them at 317 W. Main, Bozeman, MT 59715.

“Better than I deserve.”  Dad, you are missed!

Visitation will be held at Dokken-Nelson on Monday, February 12, from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. with family present from 5"00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.  An open house to celebrate Walter’s life will take place at Aspen Pointe on Thursday, February 15, from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.