Louis O. Aleksich, Sr.

       

Louis O. Aleksich, Sr., 25th, 27th & 29th U. S. Marshal for the District of Montana

 

Louis O. Aleksich, Sr., 25th, 27th & 29th U. S. Marshal for the District of Montana

 

Louis Obren Aleksich, Sr. was born April 2, 1919, and raised in East Helena, Montana; he was one of six children of Serbian immigrants from Montenegro (Yugoslavia). He spoke the Serbian language fluently and often served as an interpreter for many new immigrants brought over to the United States and residing in Montana. Following graduation from high school in Helena, Aleksich attended the Helena Business College.

 

In August 1942, Aleksich started a career of public service to Montana which spanned 40 years; when he was accepted into the fifth Montana Highway Patrol Candidate School. Upon graduation, Patrolman Aleksich was assigned badge number 148 and traveled to his first duty station at Plentywood with his wife, the former Ada Schiavon, and their children. Patrolman Aleksich was also stationed at Miles City and ultimately transferred to Billings.

 

In October 1953, Aleksich resigned his position with the Montana Highway Patrol to accept the recess appointment of President Dwight D. Eisenhower as United States Marshal for the District of Montana on November 1, 1953; an office he would hold for 18 years during three decades. Marshal Aleksich was confirmed by the full Senate and sworn in by U.S. District Judge Murray in Butte on April 7, 1954.  Marshal Aleksich was an avid competition pistol marksman; he instituted a progressive pistol training program for all of his deputies; expecting them to maintain high standards in their law enforcement skills as well as exactness in their administrative duties. 

 

In 1961, following the election of President Kennedy, he resigned his appointment.  Marshal Aleksich with his wife ran successful Republican election campaigns and he oversaw the Montana field office for U.S. Congressman James F. Battin as Chief of Staff.

 

On April 25, 1969, Marshal Aleksich, was again appointed U.S. Marshal by President Richard M. Nixon and sworn into office by his friend, mentor and now U. S. District Judge “Big Jim” Battin. Marshal Aleksich remained in office until 1977 after President Gerald Ford declined to run for a second term.  Once again, Marshal Aleksich answered the call of public service in 1981; with the untimely death of Marshal John C. Krsul. He was appointed by the court to fill the position until 1983 when Marshal Ronald J. Alles was selected as the appointee under President Ronald Regan.

 

A proud American and native son of Montana; Marshal Aleksich was active in and took on leadership posts in civic and fraternal organizations throughout the state. He served as President of  Montana Junior Chamber of Commerce (1952); National Chairman of the Jaycees Safety Program for the western states and originated the Teenage Driving Rodeo in Montana; member of Billings Kiwanis Club, member of the Yellowstone Country Club; President and founder of the  Montana-Dakota-Saskatchewan Peace Officers Association; President of two Billings area PTAs and enjoyed many years as a Mason and Provost Marshal of the Al Bedoo Shrine Temple, a member of the Billings Consistory  and the Plentywood Blue Lodge No. 91.

 

After retirement, Marshal Aleksich wintered in Palm Desert, California, staying physically active - golfing, hunting, fishing and riding horseback in the backcountry were some of his passions. Marshal Aleksich was a self-taught student of western historical Americana and loved to tell a good story. Around Billings, he was well-known for wearing a western hat, cowboy boots, a bow tie and a smoking a cigar. Marshal Aleksich past away on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 at Billings, his interment at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena, he was 88 years old.

 

Sources:

1) Billings Gazette: 03/06/60, 04/25/69, 04/26/69, 1992 - Guest Column, "Political Patronage Just Political Whim", 7/29/2007 - Obituary

 

2) Great Falls Tribune: 10/22/53, 04/08/54, 12/23/54, 01/14/55, 01/20/55, 03/08/60, 03/13/69, 04/24/69, 09/24/69, 10/16/69, 10/31/69

 

3) Montana Standard: 10/22/53, 10/29/53, 11/01/53

 

4) Biography of Louis Obren Aleksich, Sr. by Lou O. "Skip" Aleksich, Jr.

 

5) Lt. Colonel Mike Tooley & Captain Tom Hamilton, Montana Highway Patrol

 

6)  Montana Highway Patrol of the Annual Reports 1943 - 46, 1947 - 50, 1951 - 54

 

7) 1991 Montana Highway Patrol Yearbook

 

8) 2001 Montana Highway Patrol Yearbook

 

9) 3-7-77, An Informal History of the Montana Highway Patrol, 1991, Keith Edgerton.