Celebrating the life of Cornelius Elden 'Hap" Bokma
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Hap entered the world January 9, 1933, the second son of Cornelius R. and Evelyn May Wimsett Bokma. He lived with his parents and two brothers on the family homestead on Berry Creek. They moved to the new family ranch on Keyser Creek, north of Columbus, where he loved running the hills with his brothers.
Hap attended Keyser Creek County School and Columbus High School, graduating in 1952. That same year on February 8th, he married Evelyn Mae Lorash, a union that lasted 69 years. They lived and worked the family ranch, while raising their son and daughter.
In the late 1970’s, Hap moved into Columbus, where he worked for the Smokey Mt. Ranch, owned and operated the Branding Iron Cafe, in addition to working for the Stillwater County Road Crew. He loved his big equipment, even working part-time for Stillwater and Sweet Grass County Road Crews following retirement.
Hap had many passions, with one of his favorites flying his Taylor Craft Airplanes and taking his children on airplane rides. He enjoyed spending time outdoors, snowmobiling, four-wheeling and hunting. Hap also spent many hours tinkering in his shop, and particularly with his John Deere tractors.
Hap and Ev loved taking rides through the country. Many afternoons were spent traveling with his son and daughter-in-law, seeing the sites of Montana. Hap and Ev pulled their trailer to Alaska for three weeks to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They also traveled to Utah and Colorado, taking in many national parks. Traveling to his grandsons’ college graduations in New Orleans, Phoenix and Seattle were some of the highlights of his life.
Hap was a caring and giving man. Spending time with his family was very important to him. He always lived up to the nickname given to him by a hired hand as a baby… “Happy”, which was later shortened to “Hap”.
Hap is survived by his wife, Evelyn, of Billings, son Owen and wife Bobbi Bokma of Big Timber, daughter Audrey Sweten of Columbus, three grandsons, Lee Bokma of Lincoln, Nebraska, Scott and wife Sydni Bokma of San Francisco, California and Josh Sweten of Phoenix, Arizona, four great-grandchildren, Anna and Ella Bokma of Lincoln, Steven Sweten and friend Emily of Butte and Audrey Sweten of Phoenix, his older brother George Bokma of Columbus and special friend and adventure buddy, Steve Sweten of Columbus.
Hap is preceded in death by his parents, brother Bill and grandson Kerry Cornelius, “K.C.” Sweten.
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.
Happy Trails to you, Dad.
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