Posted by: Scott | Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Shrinking World via the Internet

I have to admit, this is not the first time that I’ve been amazed by this, but the significance of this particular instance is worth noting. There have been a few occasions where I’ve known someone, lost touch with them, and then through the technology of a computer, phone line and modem, and an ISP, I have caught back up with them. There have also been times that I have not known someone outside of the internet and then sometime down the road, met them in person. Then there are times that, in what would be considered very close distances, I have only known someone through the internet, via blogs, forums, or social networking sites.

I recently joined one social networking site, Facebook. I found everything from old friends from my college years to recent friends from blogging. I have to admit that it is kinda’ neat. There is a group on there from my alma mater.

While perusing the membership one day, I came across some one in the Billings, MT network. I figured maybe she picked Billings just because is was closest to her (NW Wyomingites tend to join Billings, MT for that reason). I being from the Wyoming suburb of Billings (Cody) was curious, and so took a glance at her profile to find out the she was in fact from Billings. We shot a couple messages back and forth. We’ve not met in person (that I recall anyway) as she was in AZ after I graduated.

Yesterday I was at Grandma’s for dinner. While heading to the dining hall, we stopped to look at the Billings Gazette. She wanted the funnies, and I was intrigued by the front-page headline.

Former Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs, a soft-spoken rancher whose negotiating skills helped bring the Freemen standoff to a peaceful end in 1996, died Sunday morning of complications from brain cancer.

Ohs, 61, died at his Helena home surrounded by family members. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in March.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

In 2005, Ohs was elected chairman of the Montana Republican Party, but he did not seek re-election this year.  […]

As a legislator, Ohs said he was proudest of his involvement in the state’s effort in 1997 to buy many of the historical properties of Virginia City and Nevada City.

In 2000, Ohs was elected Montana’s lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket headed by Judy Martz. They served from January 2001 to January 2005 and didn’t seek re-election.

“He was an honorable man,” Martz said Sunday. “His word and his handshake were as good as anything you could have on paper. He worked real hard as lieutenant governor. He was a great negotiator with legislators and worked on water issues on the Hi-Line and the ultimate proof of that was when he negotiated with the Freemen.”

Martz said she last saw Ohs Nov. 18, which was his birthday and the same day his new grandson was born.

“Karl knew that he wasn’t going to be here very long, but he also had great peace about where he was going,” Martz said. “He was a true man of God and wasn’t afraid to tell that to anybody.”

Former House Speaker John Mercer, R-Polson, called it “a very sad day for all of Montana to lose Karl Ohs because he was the ultimate gentleman for any occasion he was involved with.”

“I think he would be the person in politics that any person would aspire to be,” Mercer said. “He would be the role model. There aren’t many people in politics like Karl Ohs, but there should be.”

Ohs’ nephew, former state Sen. Duane Grimes, R-Clancy, said, “What he showed us is you can be a politician and show dignity and respect, even to your adversaries, and still be effective.”

As lieutenant governor, Ohs was chosen by his peers nationally to head the National Lieutenant Governors Association.

As I read the article, I kept thinking, I know that last name, Ohs. His time of service was before I paid much attention to MT politics; TV reception was snowy during the Freemen standoff, even his Lt. Gov. service was half-over by the time I was out of college. Not like Ohs is a common Smith or Jones type of name. Hmmmm….

Then it hit me: Facebook!  IBC Group! Billings! I sent off a message later on to this fellow alumnus, simply inquiring. Sure enough, a familial relationship was there. As I implied in the title, it’s a small world after all.

Keep the Ohs family in your thoughts and prayers.



  1. Wow, it’s a small world after all.

    Condolences to the Ohs family.

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