Richard (Rich) Eugene Wilkins born April 15, 1965, passed away Jan. 7, 2013 in Belgrade, Mont. He met Kelley Hudson in January 1988 in Babenhausen, Germany while he was serving in the U.S. Army for eight years. They married Oct. 15, 1988 in Svendborg, Denmark. They moved back to the States in 1990 and went to Fort Riley, Kansas until he had an honorable discharge in 1992. During his time in the Army, Rich served a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield where he was injured and flown back to the U.S. After he left the military, he and Kelley then moved back to Washington until Rich went to Montana State University in 1995. He graduated from Montana State University in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in soil science and land remediation. Rich and Kelley both fell in love with the Bozeman area and decided to settle in Montana where he started his career with Scientific Materials, then after a merger, worked for FLIR building laser range finders for the Apache Helicopter and also optics for the Hubble Telescope and Mars probe.
Rich loved being outdoors and hunting deer and elk with both a bow and a rifle, and especially enjoyed taking people in need of food out to hunt and helping them learn to provide for their families. He would also give an animal every year to a family in need and almost every year to the food bank. Anytime anyone needed help with any kind of auto mechanics, he was right there, ready to help and to teach.
He is survived by his wife, Kelley; grandmother, June Drigger in Florida; his father, Lyle Wilkins in Florida; and his mother, Sharon Peek Johnson in Washington State; brother, Robert Wilkins (Laurie) in Florida; sister, Bonnie Bigler (Richard) in Washington State; step-brother, Ray Peek in Washington State; cousin and friend, Doug Peek in Washington State; and several nieces and nephews.
He will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore. on his 48th birthday, April 15, 2013.