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Gayla Jean Hamilton Horvat 1953 - 2-17

Gayla Jean Hamilton Horvat was born November 1, 1953 in Broken Bow. She grew up on a ranch north of Thedford. She attended grade school District #136 in Cherry County and graduated from Thedford High School in 1972. Gayla enjoyed 4-H and got to go to Washington, D.C. through a 4-H program. She always said it was one of the best things she’d ever got to do. She attended Chadron State College for two years. Gayla loved to travel to see places she’d never been before. She went to Florida two times and worked in a cafe, but the love of the Sandhills brought her back to Thedford where she worked at the Cowpoke Inn; where she met Mark Horvat. Later, Gayla moved to Fort Collins, CO where her and Mark were married. Mark had his own shingle business and Gayla helped him and together they made a successful business.

Mark and Gayla have a daughter, Ashley. Education for Ashley was the most important thing for Mark and Gayla. Whatever Ashley was involved in they supported her whole heartedly. Gayla’s love of 4-H was instilled in Ashley and she loved every animal she came in contact with. Her parents were proud of her when she became a veterinarian. She currently lives in Lewistown, MT.

When Ashely was four, Mark and Gayla had an opportunity to go to Latvia. Latvia is a small country that is located in northern Europe. It is one of the Baltic states and it neighbors Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia. Mark had a friend who needed help to setup a lumber business. After their one year commitment, they returned to Montana. Gayla said it was an awesome experience.

Gayla became a full-time caregiver for three years when her mother, Minnie Mary Hamilton had a stroke in 2013.

Gayla passed away at the Kalispell Hospital on April 16, 2017.

She is survived by her husband Mark Horvat of Eureka, MT; daughter Ashley (Sam) Knox of Lewiston, MT; mother Minnie May Hamilton; three brothers, Craig Hamilton of Thedford, John (Cindy) Hamilton of Thedford, Tom (Pat) of Ennis, MT; and one sister Clarine (Wally) Balliet of Valentine; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends.

 A memorial service will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Thedford Fairgrounds.