In the several days since the passing of Cleve Loney, many people in Great Falls have expressed their grief over the loss of their fellow community member. But Loney’s widow, Cyndi Baker, suggested there was more to the Montana man than people realize.
For instance, Loney’s assumption of a role in public office originated from his lifelong commitment to service.
“He had a servant[‘s] heart. You could ask him to do anything and he was right there to help people. People were the most important thing to him,” Baker said.
Loney served as a representative in the Montana Legislature - where he was able to be a voice for members of his community. One of these instances involved child abuse victim October Perez, whose case Loney used as motivation to bring about change in the community.
“He got involved in the child abuse issue when October Perez was killed and no other politician stepped up to take that on. And he went to the memorial service and promised (her) grandma April Hall that from that moment on he would be a voice for April, and he never let go of that,” Baker said.
His commitment to advocacy resulted in the passage of laws against child abuse and greater representation for families victimized by child abuse.
In addition to his passion for public service, Loney was also heavily involved in his own community - serving on committees where he could serve others.
“I hope they remember his work on behalf of people... the service he gave - whether it was with the rodeo committee or just so many different boards he was involved in. He - like I said - loved people and wanted to serve this community and make it a better place,” Baker said.
Baker hopes his legacy of service will encourage others to serve as well - whether by offering their time or funds to Toby’s House, the crisis nursery being built in October Perez’s honor, or expressing care for others.
“I know he’d be honored if they joined in and helped support Toby's house being opened. Just anything - an act of kindness. or just more love towards their family would be a way to honor him,” Baker said.