Zortman's namesake exhumed after 72 years
Posted Aug 26, 2005
People and Places By MIKE STARK
Of The Billings Gazette
BIG TIMBER - Tall, square-jawed and confident, Pete Zortman spent half his life scouring Montana's badlands and beyond in search of treasures.
Although his death on July 17, 1933, was noted in the local newspaper, Zortman was buried in a pauper's hand-dug grave beneath 4 feet of thick chocolate-colored dirt.
But this week, Zortman came home.
Seventy-two years after being lowered into the ground, his yellowing bones were dug up, placed into a freshly built pine coffin and driven to Zortman in the bed of a pickup truck.
His remains will be reburied Saturday in the Zortman cemetery with all of the pomp and ceremony befitting a local dignitary.
The remains are being kept in the fire hall in his namesake town until activities this weekend.
"We've used it for everything from funerals to potlucks," Candy Kalal said. "We might as well use it for Pete."
[Read the whole story]