FAY O. &
HELEN QUAST BURRELL
Fay and Helen Burrell, long-time Woodside-Corvallis
residents, together have compiled a remarkable record of highly capable public
service to the people of Ravalli County and the State of Montana. They observed
their 50th wedding anniversary on February 22, 1976. A large number of relatives
and friends, including Mrs. Paul Lear, who taught both Helen and Fay in Corvallis
High School, were on hand, at the Corvallis Masonic Hall, to greet and visit
with the honored guests.
Fay O. Burrell was born on a ranch near Long Pine,
Nebraska, June 23, 1894. He parents, Albert and Addie Burrell, previously
resided in Wyoming, where his father was a freighter. Fay recalled his mother
telling about her dancing at the parties given by the people of the Lusk
community, for the cowboys camped there, after driving the Texas cattle north
to the summer range.
The family came to the Bitter Root in 1902, purchasing
a ranch west of Woodside. Later, a ranch was purchased where Fay lived and
called home for 61 years. It was primarily a cattle ranch, though Fay also
ran sheep and harvested grain in later years.
Fay went to grammar school on Dutch Hill, attended
Hamilton High School as a freshman, and graduated from Corvallis High School.
He then attended Montana State University in Missoula. He was an accomplished
base ball player, playing second base, first at Hamilton High School; then
with the Ford Garage team in the Hamilton City League; and was with the Woodside
team, one summer, when that team won the Valley Championship. He particularly
recalled one game where Woodside won over Hamilton 2-0. Among his many and
varied activities, as a boy, was working in a mine south of Butte; driving
a school wagon (not a motor bus), while attending Corvallis High School;
trapping on the hills in winter, and driving cattle to the Flathead Reservation,
one summer, for local people who filed on the land in 1910.
Fay served in the U.S. Navy during World War I.
He trained on the Battleship Wisconsin; shipped out on a cargo ship, and
served on a mine sweeper in the North Sea. He completed his three year service
in 1919 and returned home to take over the operation of the ranch. He is
the proud owner of a campaign bar with bronze star for his services in helping
to sweep up and detonate mines in the North Sea.
From 1924 to 1928, Fay worked at the First National
Bank in Hamilton, located in the Downing Pharmacy building, and has a keepsake
of a five-dollar bill, with his signature on it, as Cashier.
Helen K. Quast was born in Missoula August 2, 1898,
the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Quast, Sr. She spent her childhood in the
Rattlesnake Valley, adjacent to Missoula. She received her earlier schooling
in Missoula, and when the family moved to Corvallis, she attended and graduated
from Corvallis High School, where she also played on the girls basketball
team. Helen worked for the N.P. Railway for a while, before going to Chicago
where she received nurses training and graduated as a registered nurse at
the Presbyterian Hospital in 1922. Helen started her professional career
there and then served at the old Hamilton hospital.
Her next move was to California, where she was employed
at the Leland Stanford University Hospital. Returning to Montana, she served
as a surgical nurses at the Northern Pacific Hospital in Missoula until she
and Fay were married in Spokane on February 22, 1926.
After her marriage, Mrs. Burrell continued her nursing
career in Missoula, and at the then new Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in
Hamilton, both as staff nurse and as a special. Mr. Burrell joined the staff
in the County Treasurer's office in 1933, was elected County Treasurer in
1936 for a two-year term, and in 1938 for a four-year term.
In November 1942, Fay was elected Sheriff of Ravalli
County, then re-elected for two consecutive terms. He resigned early in 1953
to accept appointment, by Governor Hugo Aronson, to be Warden of the Montana
State Prison in Deer Lodge, the efficiency and capability of his operation
of the Ravalli County Sheriff's office having become general knowledge. Fay
did no disappoint the Governor. During Fay's administration, the lowest per-day
per-inmate cost, for a year ws $1.56, and the highest about $2.70. This was
one of the lowest costs per inmate day in the nation. Mr. Burrell's management
of the offices he he was always marked by his stout insistence on economical
operation, coupled with efficiency, without fanfare or internal controversy.
In 1958, Fay resigned as Warden and was state liquor
inspector for three years, then he and Mrs. Burrell returned to their home
near Woodside. They though their public services were over, but Fay, an avid
and active Republican, was prevailed upon by friends, to file for a seat
in the 1961 Montana legislature. He was elected and served one term, then
devoted his efforts to the management of his ranch until 1971 when the Burrells
sold their ranch property and retired. They purchased a new home in Hamilton,
where they now reside. In 1973, they enjoyed a trip to the Orient, going
by air, via Alaska, to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Fay is a member of the Corvallis Masonic Lodge,
where he was elected Secretary for 23 years. He was presented his fifty year
membership pin in 1974. He is a member of the V.F.W. since 1935, and of World
War I Vets since 1959, serving as quartermaster for both organizations. He
is also a member of the American Legion. Mrs. Burrell is a member of the
Corvallis Chapter of Eastern Star, Corvallis Womans Club, and the Owego Garden
The Western News, March 24, 1976