When he was about five years of age his family moved to a homestead near Red Lodge, Montana. He attended grade school in a one room schoolhouse in Luther Montana, and rode his horse, Lady, to and from school daily. In the summers his job was to watch over the family’s band of sheep on the bench above the homestead. It was a big job for a little boy but he rose to the challenge.
After several years on the ranch, struggling to make a living, the family moved back to Helena where Buster attended high school. Later in life he earned a BS and a MS in Counseling from the College of Great Falls.
Herb loved his country and served proudly in the United States Navy for 27 years. He completed 5 tours of duty in Vietnam as a hospital ship coreman. Upon retiring from the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer, he worked for the California State Penitentiary system and the Montana State Prison as a counselor.
After spending much of his adult life living in California or seeing the world with the Navy, his heart longed to return home to his family and to Montana. It was here that he would reconnect with his roots and meet his beautiful wife of 32 years, Linda Velez.
He and Linda bought a small farm in Anaconda where they raised kids, cows, goats, and a big garden. Later they would move to Thompson Falls, Montana, where Herb served as a probation officer and a counselor.
He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and following his retirement, he and Linda served a two year mission for the Church. They were called as Military Liasons, working with LDS soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
When he wasn’t working, Buster enjoyed, hunting and fishing, and could often be found on the banks of the Clark Fork River near Thompson Falls. On occasion, he would trailer his boat to Helena to go fishing with his brothers Dave and Denny. One of their favorite fishing trips was taking the boat to northern Saskatchewan, fishing in the daylight at midnight.
Herb loved to learn and was an avid reader. He took many classes and encouraged others to do the same. He was a talker, but more importantly, a great listener. He gave good advice when asked, but never pushed his point of view. He was a loving husband, a father, a brother, an uncle and a friend. He will be greatly missed.
Buster was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Esther Lay, his brother, Randy, and sisters, Ramona and Yvonne, and his children, Penny, Rodney, Debbie, and Mona Lee.
He is survived by his wife Linda Lay, and their children, Herb Jr., Tim, Leslie, Chris, Nuvia, Richie, Shèree, Amy, and Tasha, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his brothers, David (Marlene), Dennis (JeNae), and his sister, Vicki Sanburg, (Tom), all of Helena.
Services will be held Saturday August 19, 2017 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Thompson Falls MT at 10 a.m. Arrrangements have been entrusted to Sunset Hills Funeral Homes.