William Thomas Kanta (Tom) was born on April 23rd, 1938 at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital to Joseph and Mary (Ridzon) Kanta. The youngest of four children, Tom spent his childhood on the family farm on the outskirts of Bozeman. Graduating from Rosary High School in 1957, he briefly attended Montana State College before making the move to Idaho to help on his brother Joe’s farm. In 1960 Montana eventually called Tom back home where he settled in Three Forks and went to work with his brother George at Builders Products which later became the Kanta Products Block Empire that still exists today. A boy at heart, with interests of fast cars and blocks, Tom never gave up his love of farming and was seen riding in a combine from time to time.
His love of fast cars and drag racing earned him the reputation of the “man with the purple car,” capturing the attention and later the heart of Carol Knutson. The soul mates married on April 20th, 1963 and completed the all-American dream with daughters Dawn and Kimberly Jo. “Too many girls!” Which was Tom’s favorite saying in his last couple years when being surrounded by his loving caregivers.
A faithful member and supporter of the Catholic Church, Tom’s generous heart extended to his checkbook when it came to his family, friends, employees and community. Though Tom had a quiet strength about him, his blue eyes smiled and his love for his family was undeniable. His love for his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren was demonstrated at so many family gatherings where he was always photographed with a plate of food, a child and a smile, and he always had room for dessert.
As a team effort along with friends and family, Tom and Carol built a cabin on Canyon Ferry. Years of managing people and their skills at Kanta Products extended into the weekends because if you showed up expecting a leisurely weekend of boating, you were often put to work, whether you were family or not! However, the result was 60 years of cherished memories shared by all who visited the lakeside retreat.
On Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023, at 85, the Patriarch Kanta was reunited with wife Carol as he passed in his home after a full life.
He is survived by his daughters: Dawn Burgess and Kim Kanta Fink, grandchildren: Kayla (Halfdan) Galgerud, Matthew Burgess, Erika (Sam) Asay, Hailey Fink and Brigett Burgess and great grandchildren: Isabella, Nikolai, Lawson, Reuben, Roselee and Ellenor Galgerud, and many other beloved family.
His legacy lives on in the hearts of his friends, family and the masonry products that built so much in Montana and surrounding states.
“Blessed are the humble, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 5:3
Rosary~Wake Service will be Friday, Sept. 1, 2023 - 7pm at K & L Mortuary and Funeral Service will be Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 - 11am at Holy Family Church. Both located in Three Forks.
A luncheon will follow graveside services in the basement of the church.
Donations can be made in his memory to Holy Family Church, Three Forks Senior Center, Three Forks Rodeo Bleacher Fund or your choice.