Robert F. Clary Jr.
Great Falls, MT —Robert F. Clary was born June 16, 1915 in Great Falls, MT, the son of Roy F. Clary and Elizabeth G. Clary, a native of Lebanon, KY. Roy F. Clary was born near Sun River, September 12, 1875. The Custer Massacre occurred the following June.
Roy Clary was in the livestock and ranch business, which made it possible for young Clary to work summer vacations as a ranch hand. His favorite was the LF cattle ranch surrounding Haystack Butte, west of Augusta, where he learned to drive a team of horses and to ride saddle horses, working cattle. Branding then was strenuous, roping and wrestling calves.
Clary's grandfather, Thomas Clary, came to Virginia City, MT from Missouri in 1863. After working as a wagon master with the Diamond R. Freight Company, he homesteaded a cattle ranch just east of Sun River. He later moved to Ft. Benton, where in the 1890's he was elected sheriff and then county commissioner of Chouteau County, when that county extended from the Missouri River to Canada and east to Malta. The only forms of transportation then were a saddle horse, wagon or train.
Robert Clary attended local schools through his freshmen year (1929) in the afternoon at Great Falls Central High School. That was the school's last year of use as a high school. It is now the Paris Gibson Square Museum. He then went east to school, graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After being admitted to the Bar in 1940, he was associated with a law firm in Missoula for a little over a year before being called to active duty in World War II in the army, where he served until 1946.
Upon separation from service, he returned to Great Falls, opening his law practice, which he maintained until he was in his 80s.
Active in community affairs, Clary was City Attorney from 1951-1953. In 1948, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cascade County Chapter of the American Red Cross, he was chairman of the first blood program committee when the Red Cross began to conduct the drawing of blood to be donated to hospitals in the triangle area.
In 1954, he became associated with the Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Association's mausoleum, joining its governing board and serving as an officer and counsel.
He was a longtime member of the Rotary and served on its board and as president. Clary was active with the C. M. Russell Museum as it was expanding towards its present size, serving on its board of directors and as president and counsel. Clary was also a member of the Meadow Lark Country Club, on its board and as an officer and counsel as well.
He was a member of the Great Falls School District Board of Trustee for nine years, the last as chairman.
He was a member of the American, MT, and Cascade County Bar Association, serving as president of the latter in 1961.
Clary always enjoyed the outdoors, fishing and hunting in his early years, golfing in the later years. For thirty two years, starting in 1958, he rode with the Helena Wilderness Riders on pack trips throughout most of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Those rides lasted eight days in August and over the years, depending on layover camp, varied from seventy five to one hundred twenty miles in length.
Robert is survived by 4 of his children: Ann Clary Gordon (Jim) Baltimore, MD, Helen Clary (Doug MacKinnon) Meredith, NH, Dick Clary of Windham, MT, and Jean Clary, Great Falls; his 6 grandchildren Holter Graham (Neela Vaswani) NYC, Troy Clary (Jamie) Portland, OR, Ford (Cindy) Clary & Libby Clary, Seattle, WA, Mat Schaefer, Portland, OR and Tom Schaefer, Bozeman, MT: 2 great grandchildren Parker and Whitney Clary and 1 more grand son en route!
Clary died on February 15, 2014 and was preceded in death by his wife, Helen "Tiss" Holter Clary, his son and former law partner, Thomas Holter Clary, and his grandson Hugh P. Graham.
Per Bob's request there will be no funeral. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. If inclined donations in his memory may be made to Hillcrest Lawn Memorial, 1410 13th St S, Great Falls, MT 59405 or to donor's choice.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Feb. 19, 2014
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