By David E., Shirley, Marc, Maggie, and Annie Shane
On July 8, 2017 Shane Farm celebrated their centennial out on the farm with many friends and family, including members from the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth generations.
Lester Shane was born December 6, 1879 and Lucy Aitchison was born February 6, 1881. They were married in Spear, Illinois on December 23, 1902. Their two sons, Harold and Hubert, were born in Speer, Illinois on December 4, 1903 and June 23, 1913 respectively. Lester and Lucy Shane moved from Illinois to Montana with their two boys Harold and Hubert on February 6, 1917. Lucy purchased the first piece of land west of Portage in March of 1917 and Lester bought the second piece of land where the original home once stood, in October that same year. The boys worked alongside their parents until 1935 when Lester and Lucy retired from the farm. Harold and Hubert took over after their parents moved into Great Falls and the two sons bought the farm in 1947. Lester and Lucy passed away simultaneously in August of 1956 in Great Falls.
Hubert took over the original farm from his parents, while Harold farmed just north of his brother on property he had been leasing for several years prior to his parents retiring. Harold married Helen Bell in 1926 and started a family, raising two daughters, Gail and Sharlee, and one son, David. In 1931 Harold’s family moved further north and in 1935 bought the current home of David and Shirley Shane. Over the years Harold and Hubert purchased more pieces of land that are all currently parts of Shane Farm.
David married his wife Shirley Stillman of Choteau, Montana on June 10, 1956. They had three daughters, Tara, Darci, and Karel, and one son, Marc, that all grew up on the Harold Shane farm. David took over the farm in 1962 after his father passed away. Hubert continued on the properties he owned until the early 1970’s when he retired and David purchased his land. David and his son Marc worked together on the farm until David retired in 1993 and Marc took over.
Harold and David were both very conservation oriented. Harold was on the original committee for the Soil and Water Conservation District in Cascade County and his son David continued in his footsteps. Over the years they started to use many conservation focused practices including grass waterways and adding over 30 miles of Caragana windbreaks. Practices like this earned them the Outstanding Cooperators Award from the Conservation District in both 1965 and 1997. David was a very innovative farmer with advanced crop rotations including mustard for 29 years. He started to practice no till and minimum till farming in the late 1970’s and his son still continues this practice today.
Marc purchased his first piece of land in 1982 south of the original farm where Hubert had lived. In 1993, he married Rachel Pachek and they had three children, Maggie, Annie, and David. Marc continues operating the land his family has accumulated over the years, including a piece of property his sister bought in 2003, with the help of his father and children. Marc has also joined the Conservation District like his father and grandfather, continuing in their conservation practices.
Harold and Helen were very active in Montana Farmers Union. Helen was a big advocate for the Farmers Union Education Program. Harold was on the Board of Directors for the Farmers Union Oil Company of Great Falls and Farmers Union Elevator of Portage. David grew up being very involved in Farmers Union too. He attended the Fort Assiniboine Camp in Havre, Montana, went to All-States in Colorado, traveled to New York for the Encampment of Citizenship, and received his Torchbearer Award. He also followed in his father’s footsteps in both the Farmers Union Oil Company of Great Falls and Farmers Union Elevator of Portage Board of Directors. David’s children were very active in Farmers Union as well. They grew up going to the summer camps at Arrowpeak Lodge, working as summer staff, and also attending All-States.
Marc’s three children have also stayed very involved by attending the summer camp since an early age, working as summer staff, traveling to All-States, attending many State and National Farmers Union Conventions and Conferences, and all three have received their Torchbearer Award.
Montana Farmers Union wants to congratulate the Shane family on reaching this milestone and and appreciate the opportunity to share it with them!