Alvin Raymond Sylling

June 1935 - October 2, 2019
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Alvin Raymond Sylling, age 84, beloved father and grandfather, departed on his next adventure to reunite with his Lord and his beloved wife Suzanne on Oct. 2 from WEL-Life Assisted Living in Kalispell, Montana. Born June 1935 as the youngest of Alvin O. and Nettie Larson Sylling’s four children, Alvin possessed a lively sense of humor, an entrepreneurial spirit and an enduring love for his family and the people of his hometown, Big Timber.

A curious child with many friends, Alvin regularly slipped away from his mother to visit every business and cafe in town. His love for adventure grew to include hikes into the mountains, a stowaway trip to Minnesota and a miraculous escape from a collision with a train. Big Timber also shaped his remarkable work ethic. After he paid off his first bank loan for a bicycle with money from his newspaper route, Alvin developed a zeal for hard work and entrepreneurship. From major construction jobs to building affordable housing, ranch work, a cowboy boot store, National Video stores, wholesaling Christmas trees and a car rental business, Alvin enjoyed exploring new horizons in business.

Alvin met the love of his life, Suzanne, in the first chapel service of his sophomore year at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington. They were married on April 5, 1957 in the same chapel, and their devotion to each other continued for 57 years through all the ups and downs life had to offer.

Providing for Suzanne and his family became the most important goal in Al’s life. Together they raised two daughters, Kerianne and Krista, while moving throughout the Intermountain West. Suzanne and Al shared a love for animals and enjoyed exploring the West together on weekend trips. Their household also included an adored menagerie of horses, dogs, cats, geese and a pet pig. With his zeal for competition, Al was a passionate supporter of his daughters at horse shows and in all their other endeavors.

Alvin also channeled his boundless energy into the church, in addition to his family and business ventures. Devoted followers of Christ, Al and Suzanne taught Sunday school and served with the youth ministry and weekly Meal Ministry at Calvary Lutheran Church in Kalispell. During his time at WEL-Life, he became instrumental in continuing the Thursday Bible studies for the residents, putting his business acumen to use preparing lessons and arranging for guest speakers and musicians.  

Alvin was preceded in death by his mother Nettie Sylling, father Alvin O. Sylling, siblings Hans Sylling, Neil Sylling and Dolores Starkweather, and his beloved Suzanne. He is survived by his daughters Kerianne (Tom) Robertson and Krista (Dave) Thomas of Montana, grandchildren Ariana Hayes (Robert) of Pennsylvania, Claire Robertson-Preis (Jess) of Oregon, Brock Martens of Australia and Sunny Martens of Montana, his near-daughter Nancy Miller, his cousin Katie Schmidt of Minnesota, his niece and nephews Carol Ondov, Debbie Helland, Gail McGlothin, Linda Wham and Jon Starkweather of Montana and Mark Starkweather of Michigan.

Al’s public memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m., Oct. 19 at Calvary Lutheran Church, 2200 US-2 E, Kalispell, MT 59901. In lieu of flowers, donations could be made to Calvary’s Weekly Meal Ministry.