In Memory

Roy Countryman (General Manager) - Class of 1976 VIEW PROFILE

Roy Countryman (General Manager)


Roy Countryman       

Nov. 23, 1919-Dec. 26, 2016          

In the early hours of Christmas morning, our kind and loving dad suffered a stroke and passed away early December 26, 2016.

Roy Countryman was born November 23, 1919, in Roundup, Montana, the second of four sons to Alex and Carrie (Harryman) Countryman. After living in Modesto, California, from ages three to five, his family settled in Longview, Washington. Although money was extremely tight due to the Depression, theirs was a tremendously loving home. He had three great brothers, loving aunts and uncles, and parents who loved their sons more than life itself.

From his parents, Roy observed and absorbed qualities which would serve him well his entire life. As a young boy, Roy worked picking potatoes. On occasion, his mother had to walk to the field with a flashlight to find him as Roy would not quit when the sun went down; he quit when his last basket was full. Roy learned the value and pride associated with quality work as well as integrity, honesty, and fairness from his parents. Roy loved his parents dearly and his many accomplishments were a great source of pride to them.

Roy attended the University of Washington briefly until Pearl Harbor was attacked, at which point he enlisted in the Army. Roy was a 1st Lt. with the 11th Airborne Division. While in the service and stationed in California, he met and married Lucille Madole. They had four children: Roy, Carol, Cherie, and Keith.

When the war ended, he attended the University of Washington full-time winter and summer and worked nights full-time unloading produce trucks. In 1950 he graduated with degrees in both mechanical and chemical engineering. He then returned to Longview, working for Weyerhaeuser (a company Roy would think very highly of all his life) until 1957. When the paper mill started up in Missoula Roy took a position as a foreman there for Hoerner-Waldorf.

In 1963 Roy was promoted to Production Manager of Hoerner-Waldorf in Missoula. In about 1964 he and Lucille divorced. Roy was promoted to Resident Manager of Hoerner-Waldorf in Missoula in 1966 and he directed huge expansions which greatly increased the mill's production. Those accomplishments were a great source of pride for him always and he loved to talk about those days. He enjoyed very much being a part of The Grizzly Riders and going on pack trips with his friends from Missoula. In 1967 Roy remarried.

In 1976 he was promoted to Senior Vice President with Hoerner-Waldorf and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1980 Hoerner-Waldorf merged with Champion International and he was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of Pulp and Paperboard Manufacture with Champion in Stamford, Connecticut. Roy was responsible for overseeing mill operations for many of their mills. Also, during this period, Roy was Chairman of a task force assigned to assess state-of-the-art computer aided manufacturing in the paper industry, audit the process control systems in all Champion mills and recommend retro-fit CAM systems for all Champion mills. This state- of-the-art study covered North America and Scandinavia. The system recommendations for eight mills approximated $52 million over five years. When Roy retired in 1984 implementation had begun.

Roy returned to Montana, retiring to Bozeman. He made very close friendships there which he treasured for the rest of his life, including with Gene and Edie Renner and Fred and Jinny Traeger. Roy was pleased to find Don Leuschen, who was a business associate and longtime friend from Missoula, living in Bozeman along with his wife Myrt.

While living in Bozeman Roy was active in SCORE, Rotary Club, his church, and his community. For several years he enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing and golf.

Roy and his second wife divorced in 2004. He then found himself in uncharted waters at age 85 and separated from a huge portion of his assets which he had worked tirelessly over the years to attain. After 37 years of separation, Roy's children rallied around him and came to his aid. Carolyn Pfohl Erickson also remained genuine and supportive with Roy until her untimely death in 2006 at age 57, which Roy appreciated very much.

Over the next year, Roy regained his health and happiness. Roy's tremendous inner strength, stamina, and sense of humor were important factors in his good outcome.

While living in California with his daughter Carol and her family, Roy reunited with his high school sweetheart, Phyllis Clark. Phyllis, a widow, lived in Palo Alto, California. Roy then moved to be near Phyllis and they married in 2006.

Their fairytale romance continued for over 10 years. While living in Sonoma, California, the newlyweds would attract attention due to how sweet and attentive they were to one another. In the first few years of marriage to the elegant, charming, intelligent Phyllis, Roy appeared to grow younger, as evidenced by the photo of him and his grandson Terry sparring and laughing at Terry's wedding when Roy was 90 years old!

Roy loved to talk about his work years, mill expansions, and production increases at the Hoerner-Waldorf Mill in Missoula. Roy so respected his old friend Dick Springer from the Missoula mill. He often would say that under just slightly different circumstances he could have found himself working for Dick and been happy to do so, instead of the other way around.

Bob DeMarois was also a close and treasured friend and Roy was very fond of the DeMarois family as well. Adrian Vincent, who had been at the Missoula mill, phoned Roy this past year which pleased him immensely. He also was very happy to have had the pleasure of speaking with Margaret Shriner, widow of Walt Shriner, from the Missoula mill this past year as well as Dan Potts, a good friend from the Missoula mill.

Roy was predeceased by his parents, Alex and Carrie; his brothers Vern, Bob, and Charles; grandson Wallace N. Clark III; stepdaughter Carolyn Pfohl Erickson; son-in-law Duane; and niece Debra.

Roy is survived by his dear wife Phyllis in Novato, California, to whom his children and grandchildren remain completely devoted. He is also survived by his children Roy, Carol, Cherie, Keith; grandchildren Brenda, Ronnie, GraceAnne, Charles, Terry, Carrie, and Keenan; great-grandchildren Vincent, Tom, Jimmy, Jacqueline, Jessica, Ronnie Jr., Joey, and Seth; nieces Barbara, Kathy, Kay, Teresa, and Margo; and sister-in-law Mary.

Roy is pictured with his granddaughter Carrie (named for Roy's mother) and grandson Terry at Terry's wedding in 2010 when Roy was 90. He is also pictured with his sweet Phyllis when they were 89 years young.

The following is a tribute to Roy written by a good friend with whom he and Phyllis attended church in Sonoma, California. This says it all: "Roy truly was a gentleman and one of the best his generation offered us. We don't see integrity, honesty, and loyalty much like that anymore. He will be so missed."

Yes, he will be so missed. He was one of a kind and we loved him dearly.

At Roy's request, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Rotary Club of Bozeman in Roy's memory.

-- Carol, Keith, Roy, and Cherie

Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 22, 2017

Click here to see Roy's last Profile entry.