GREAT FALLS — Loney leaves behind legacy of service to the Treasure State. He served as a state representative in the Montana Legislature, chair of the Cascade County Republican Committee, and was a beloved husband, stepfather and friend.
His loved ones expressed their sorrow over his passing on social media on Sunday. Loney’s stepdaughter Rachelle Backer called him “a devoted family man and friend."
Jerry Gustafson shared a picture of the Cowboy Hall of Fame member and said, “We always enjoyed Cleve. RIP Cowboy.”
We have yet to receive any comment from loney’s family and are allowing them to take this time to grieve.
(1st REPORT, AUGUST 23) Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter announced on Sunday that a man drowned in the Missouri River on Saturday.
In a news release, Slaughter identified the man as Cleve Jeffery Loney of Great Falls; Loney was 69 years old. Next of kin has been notified.
Slaughter said that Loney and others were floating the Missouri River between Prewett Creek and Pelican Point. Loney's kayak tipped in some rapids and he fell out of the kayak into the river.
He was last seen attempting to stay above the surface and then he went back under the water.
The incident was witnessed by Loney's wife, who called 911.
Loney's body was later found by a fisherman near Pelican Point, and recovered by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Cascade County Search & Rescue, and Cascade County Sheriff's deputies.
Slaughter says the cause of death was drowning, and manner of death was accidental. He also said that Loney was not wearing a life-jacket at the time.
Loney served as the chair of the Cascade County Republicans and was well-known in the community for his civic and political involvement.