In memory of

Michael Pichette

September 13, 1945 – September 24, 2011

Mike Pichette died September 24, 2011 after a brief illness. He was a dad, a golfer, and a public servant. He was a student of rocks, history, politics, Montana, music and words. When Mike told one of his funny stories, he bobbed back and forth laughing with his whole body. Naturally, he laughed hardest and earliest at his own jokes.

Because of his passion for public policy and the political process, Mike spent a lifetime teaching others about government. He was an advisor at Boys State and Youth in Government and he made his career in politics. He worked closely with Governor Schwinden and many members of Congress and was only a few months away from his retirement as Director of Government Relations for NorthWestern Energy.

Mike lived life to the fullest; he enjoyed traveling and exploring all Montana has to offer. He fondly remembered his early involvement with the creation of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, and his last hike into the edge of that country was this summer with family and friends.

Mike was born to Betty and Charles Pichette on September 13, 1945 in Great Falls. He grew up there and spent summers with his mother and brother David at Flathead Lake. He is survived by a family who loved him: Alicia, daughters Anne and Claire, son-in-law John Dendy, brother David, and sister-in-law Toni Cross. He is preceded in death by his parents and his daughter Blythe.
There will be a celebration of Mike’s life at Jorgenson’s on Thursday, September 29. The family will begin receiving guests at 4:30 p.m. and friends will share memories of Mike beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Mike was a Key Club International Trustee and continued his service work in Kiwanis throughout his life. A Key Club Service Scholarship has been established in his memory to benefit students dedicated to service. Contributions may be made to the Mike Pichette Scholarship Fund c/o Valley Bank P.O. Box 5269, Helena, MT 59604. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting:


Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Betsy Pahut says:

    Dear Pichette Family, and my dear friend Anne, I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and co-worker Mike. You are all in my heart and prayers during this most difficult time. Mike was a gentle and kind man. He will be greatly missed. The world is a much greater place for having had Mike amongst us. Love and Prayers from The Montana District of Kiwanis and myself personally.

  2. Betty Blankenship West says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my deepest sympathy and know you and your family are in my prayers.

  3. Bill Strizich says:

    Please accept my sincerest condolences on the passing of a genuine gentleman. Mike’s wisdom was recognized by folks of all political stripes and persuasions. I will personally miss his analysis of politics and the solid guidance he provided over the years to myself and so many others. His sensitivity to the human condition and his sense of humor will leave an empty spot for many.w

  4. Bob & Cheryl Summerer & family says:

    We extend our sincere prayers & condolences to all of Mike’s family. He was taken away too soon, & will be greatly missed by all those he touched & served.

  5. Brenna Coleman (Nally-Wilcox) says:

    Alicia, Anne, and Claire-
    I am very sorry and saddened to hear of Mike’s passing and your loss. I have great memories of Mike because I grew up with Claire. I will never forget his laugh and how he would give us a quarter if we found a word misspelled in the local newspaper! 🙂 My thoughts are with you during this sad time.

  6. Bruce Whittenberg says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the wonderful Pichette family. Mike will be missed. Love each other.

  7. Carolynn Bright says:

    Alicia, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I am thinking about you and your family. I look forward to running into you around town. It’s been awhile.
    Sincerely, Carolynn Bright

  8. Clementine Lindley says:

    Alicia, Anne, and Claire: I am writing this, fighting tears. All I can think about it Mike’s compassion, love and graciousness he showed me my entire life. I remember being in elementary school and spending afternoons at the Pichette house. I remember hearing Mike’s laugh in the halls of the capitol during the 2005 session. His compassion for all is so evident in his daughters. He will be missed. Sending big hugs and happy thoughts your way!

  9. Dennis Himmelberger says:

    So very sorry for the families loss. I knew Mike through the legislature and he was a wonderful gentleman. He will be sorely missed in the halls of the capitol

  10. Dick Shockley says:

    As a high school classmate and friend of Mike, I am deeply saddened by the sudden loss of a wonderful man. May your grief be quickly overwhelmed by warm laughter at fond and cherished memories.

  11. Dorothy McCarter says:

    To Alicia and family,
    My husband and I were so saddened to learn of Mike’s passing. He was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed in this town. Please accept our deepest sympathies.

  12. Mike will be greatly missed!Alicia and Anne and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you!

  13. Dulcy Hubbert says:

    Alicia and Family,

    I am very sorry and saddened to hear of Mike’s passing and your loss. I knew Mike for many years during my time working at the Commissioner of Political Practices office. He was a true gentleman and will be dearly missed.

  14. Emily Hollow says:

    Alicia, Anne and Claire: I pray perfect peace to you three beautiful ladies. I have really good memories of our holidays together, and our summer vacations on Flathead Lake. I’ll hold tight to the memory of Mike’s smile. Thank you for being a part of my wonder years. You all are in my heart.

  15. Emily Melton says:

    Alicia and Family, How sad to hear about Mike’s death. Many good memories are passing through my head. I live in Taylors, SC … so you know that the Montana network is strong and we are all sending you love and support. Emily Melton and husband Bert Wakeley

  16. Genie(Gillette) Lang says:

    To Mike’s Family —- Although you may not remember me, I too spent every summer on Flathead Lake. The memories I have of Mike and “our gang” are unforgettable. We all looked forward to our summers together. Two yrs. ago my husband & I rented a home for our entire family for a week. It happened to be on Peaceful Bay! We took a chance to see if Mike would happen to be there at the Pichette cabin — & there he was on the beach, having a cocktail!! I was so excited to see him & the 3 of us had a great visit, staying much longer than planned. I am so thankful we had that visit. Thanks for the memories, Mike!!!

  17. Gerry Bulger says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Mike’s untimely passing. He was a good man and a good friend we will all miss. My heart goes out to all his family.
    Gerry Bulger

  18. Hal Robbins says:

    To Mike’s Family and Friends.
    I was very saddened to learn of Mike’s passing. I knew Mike for many years in my profession and thought highly of him. Despite all his professionalism, I can’t help but think of golfing when I think of Mike. I had the opportunity to golf with Mike at a number of “business” outings. (At least we liked to think they were “business”, when in fact they were just plain fun). It was always insightful and entertaining to talk with him. He will be sorely missed by all. Condolences.

  19. Jack Haffey says:

    Mike was a great person, teacher, co-worker and friend. He did indeed actively and quietly teach others that public service and the creation of wise public policy is a high calling. Susan and I send our condolences and best wishes to Alicia and family. Jack Haffey.

  20. I only knew Mike professionally through oil and gas issues and through golf. That was enough to know what a solid guy he was to work with and fun to be around when we were playing. He will be missed by his business friends.

  21. Jacquie Burchard says:

    To the amazing Anne and the rest of the family: I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. What a tremendous man and an inspiration. I hope you can hold the memories close and that the pain of your loss fades over time. With many hugs to my dear friend Anne and the rest of your family,


  22. Janis Hansen Horan says:

    Dear Family,

    My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of you at this very sad time.
    Mike & I went through junior high & high school together….both being proud members of the graduating class of “63”
    I so enjoyed my visit with Mike at the 45th reunion. He will be terribly missed by of us as we celebrate our 50th (right around the corner).
    Mike was a very special human being and Montana has lost a true friend of it’s people.
    May all of the wonderful memories of Mike comfort you at this difficult time.
    My prayers & thoughts go out you!

    Janis Hansen Horan

  23. I am so sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. His warm and friendly smile and good humor will be missed.

  24. Jeanne Wolf says:

    Dear Alicia, Anne, and Claire, we are so sorry for your loss. Our family sends you our most heartfelt condolences. Sincerely, Jeanne, Kelsey, and Kyle Wolf

  25. Jerry Boland says:

    My sincerest condolences to the Pichette family. RIP Mike.

  26. John ODonnell says:

    To the Pichette Family; Alicia and Daughters,
    I deeply value the guidance Mike provided the MPC/NWE team and its members individually. His quiet unassuming, but strong, presence was such a blessing. His humor is fondly remembered and will be missed.

  27. Jon Jeffries Thompson says:

    Anne, Claire and Alicia – My heart is breaking right now. Mike was such a delight to know and his impact on me and many others will always be felt. Even after I left MT, there was hardly a week I didn’t think of him and you all. Love you always, Jon

  28. Kathleen (Murphy) Kelly says:

    Dear Alicia, Claire, and Anne,

    I was so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was one of the nicest people I met while living in MT and I’ve always had good thoughts of him and his family. I remember years ago when my son, Rory, was working in Helena for a few days, you and Mike opened your home to him and I always appreciated that. You are all in my prayers.

  29. In the past several days I’ve thought again and again about events in our connections with Mike, Lish and the girls. From the days when Mike was the Democratic party exec and I was the Republican Party exec and our mutual reflections over the years on a time of a kinder, more tolerant, political system where we could debate ideas and tactics and remain friends through it all. From the repairs and projects we always had going on at our homes a block apart. From time off at our Flathead cabins across the lake from each other. And seeing our kids grow up together was and remains a blessing. He was the master of the bad pun and good joke, and probably knew as much about Montana history as anyone in the state. Mike will be missed by all of us, and our prayers go out to Lish, the girls and all the family.

  30. I was so sorry to hear of your loss, Alicia. My late wife, Ellen, and I were quite close to Mike during his (and my)years in Arnold Olsen’s office in Washington. Ellen and I had lunch with him when we passed through Helena on our way to a wedding in Missoula in ’96. When my Christmas letter came back today I Googled Mike’s name and learned the sad news.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you! May Mike rest in peace!

  31. Alicia and Family. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your great loss. We will all miss Mike’s kind greeting and smile in the days ahead.

  32. Margarett Campbell says:

    Mike was such a kind and generous man that it is difficult to believe that this is real. He leaves many, many friends and people who respect him deeply and appreciate his public service. I was able to enjoy his advice as a new legislator and I will always appreciate him taking the time to provide good sound advice. Alecia and daughters I am so sorry for your loss. You will be in my heart and prayers.

  33. Mary Brydich says:

    To Mike’s Family – I am so sorry for your loss. I have wonderful memories of Mike when I was a member of the Helena Kiwanis Club. He was such an asset and all around great guy. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Mary Brydich, District/Secretary Treasurer – Montana District of Kiwanis.

  34. Melissa Lewis says:

    Mike was a good neighbor and a friend at the Capitol. He will be missed.

  35. Michael Majerus says:

    Alicia, Anne and Claire, Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I have many fond memories of Mike and hold him in the highest regard.

  36. Nancy Harte says:

    Alicia and family, I am so sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. He was ED at the Democratic Party when we first met, and he was such a kind, funny, smart person who helped not only me but countless others throughout the years. He is greatly missed. My condolences to you all.

  37. Nedra Chase says:

    DearPichette Family:

    I have known Mike for many years. He has many friends here in Butte. All of us were so shocked to here of his sudden passing. May God be with you all.

  38. Dearest Alicia, Ann and Clair. He died too soon. There can never be enough Mike Pichette’s in this world. Yet, he was very blessed in his life. He raised three wonderful daughters; two accomplished and admirable young women. He was married to a woman who, not only beautiful on every level, was the strongest and most supportive life partner I have ever seen. I’ll be thinking of you in this difficult time and understanding how you must be mourning such an unthinkable loss. God be with you.

  39. Paul and Becky Donaldson and family says:

    Dear Alicia and family,
    We are so very sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. Please know we carry you all close in our hearts during this difficult time.

  40. Phyllis Surface Salesky says:

    I was privileged to be part of Mike’s circle of friends at Paris Gibson Junior High and Great Falls High School. Even in his earliest teens, Mike always seemed more mature and dignified than the rest of us! I also have great memories of his sweet, smiling mother Betty working in the guidance office at GFHS. I was truly sad to hear of Mike’s passing at such a young age. My deepest sympathy to his loved ones.

  41. R.D. Corette says:

    To Mike’s Family
    Very sorry about Mikes passing, I always enjoyed seeing and visiting with Mike. My heartfelt sympathy. R.D. Corettellday

  42. Dear Alicia, Anne and Claire: I was so sorry to read of Mike’s passing. He was a wonderful family man, a trusted friend and a great Democrat. He will be missed by all who knew him.
    I pray that you can take great comfort from all the marvelous memories you share of a life well-lived.
    Rae Olsen

  43. Rep. Tom McGillvray says:

    Alicia and family, I always enjoyed working with Mike. He was a credit to his profession serving with integrity and distinction. He will be missed. My sincere condolences to your family.

    Tom McGillvray

  44. My earliest memories in life have my friend Mike Pichette in them as we were best buddies through age 6 in the little town of Eastport, Idaho. Later our families reconnected in Great Falls and he became school hero to many boys, but especially me. As a preteen, he weathered the death of his father and shouldered the duties of man of the family without an outward grimace; he was a penultimate scholar, early on a dedicated Kiwanian through his Key Club leadership; a school and civic leader; probably one of the most greatly admired boys in the class of ’63. Above all he lived his life like a man when the rest of us were boys. He taught me how to waterski,drive a motorboat, find satellites in the night sky over Flathead Lake; gave me ‘just in time dance lessons’. Perhaps most important he gave me an internal litmus test which I knowingly or not used frequently as a teenager and young man: what would Mike Pichette do in this situation? Years and careers caused us to separate and sadly never reconnect. I followed his career and accomplishments off and on and certainly wasn’t surprised to find him an admired businessman, successful public servant, and a great friend and mentor to many, many people. It’s overused but never has this saying been more poignant: Montana and the world are lesser places without his grace amongst us. Goodbye my friend and thank you for helping me on my way. To David, Alicia, Claire and Anne, the Madeen family (Helen, Ron and Margaret) send their condolences and best wishes.

  45. Salty Payne says:

    During my time with the City of Helena, Mike taught me how to be a good public servant. His devotion to duty and integrity are renouned and will be remembered by me and all those that knew and respected him. His passing is a tremendous loss to mankind.

  46. Steve Schmitt says:

    Mike had a sense of peace about him that showed itself in his sense of humor. Despite 35 years difference in our age he could relate to me like a friend…doubtless that wisdom came from his life as a father. I’ll miss Mike from Kiwanis and our golf outings with NorthWestern Energy. Your family is in my prayers.

  47. Terry and Deborah Hanson says:

    Dear Alicia and daughters, We send our sincerest condolences. We were so lucky to know Mike in our early days in Helena and throughout the years. His laugh, his smile, his dedication to public service, his guidance for us Democrats. We have lost too early this friend. Take care.

  48. Tom and Judy Rolfe says:

    Dear Alicia and family,
    We are saddened to hear of Mike’s untimely passing. We so appreciated his hard work and dedication to the community and all he gave to Kiwanis. He will certainly be missed. Please know we are thinking of you all at this very difficult time, you are on our hearts and in our prayers.

  49. I join the many friends and colleagues of Mike in expressing my heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. I’ve known Mike since 1970 when we were both in Washington DC but working hard to avoid catching the dreaded disease known as Potomoc Fever. He was a good man and all those who had the pleasure of working with or around him attest to his genuine goodness. He left too soon.
    Tom Boland

  50. Tonna and Joe Strasko says:

    Alicia and Anne and Claire,
    Our prayers and thought are with you all. Please let us know if we can do anything to help you.
    God bless.
    Joe and Tonna Strasko

  51. Tony & Joey Carter says:

    Alicia, Anne & Claire –
    We were so sorry to see that Mike passed away -he was always such a sweet, funny man. You three are strong and together I know you’ll get through with lots of love.
    Our prayers are with you,
    Tony & Joey Carter

  52. Torian Donohoe says:

    Dearest Alicia and family:
    I am deeply saddened at Mike’s passing. He was a true gentleman whose smile always lit up the room. You have lost a wonderful husband and father and Montana has lost a fine, gentle man with a keen intellect. I am so sorry.

    May God bless and comfort you at this very sad time.

    Torian Donohoe

  53. Tricia Leaure says:

    Dear Alicia, My heart is with you and your family. I know that Mike was a remarkable man because of the beautiful daughters you both have raised. Your children have certainly enriched the lives of my girls, both when they were young and more recently when Mara was able to have Claire teach her in high school. Mike’s passing is an enormous loss for your family and for this community. I will keep you all in my prayers. God Bless,Trish

  54. Virg & Pat Deppmeier says:

    We are in shock and know all of you must be.
    Our deepest sympathy.

  55. William Thomas says:

    My deepest sympathies to the family of Mike. He was an excellent professional and good friend, and made many lasting contributions to The Montana Power Company and NorthWestern Energy. He helped me throughout my utility career and set an excellent example as a utility professional.

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