Robert (Shorty) Eugene Cline Jr., 91, peacefully departed this earth on April 30, 2013 rejoining the love of his life, Betty.
Shorty began his life-long ranching journey on June 24, 1921 to Robert and Nellie Cline in Ryegate, Mont. He joined four older brothers and five sisters. The family relocated to the Gallatin Valley in 1926. Shorty attended local schools and graduated in 1939 from Belgrade. Montana State University was the next stop, until he was called to active duty with the United States Army
in November 1943. He joined the Fighting 69th Infantry Division and soon after departed for Europe. The Fighting 69th played a pivotal role in the Battle of the Bulge and the eventual ally victory. Shorty was able to visit the World War II
Memorial in Washington, D.C. soon after it opened in 2004.
He was discharged from the Army in April 1946 and returned to the Gallatin Valley with unequivocal intention to marry Elizabeth (Betty) Cline. The two became one June 16, 1946 at the Willow Creek Methodist Church. That matrimonial union was tested but never once waivered through nearly seven decades of marriage. Shorty was beside his wife of 66 years when she passed away on Jan. 10, 2013 in Bozeman.
The couple lived in Manhattan until moving to Harrison in 1951. They returned to the Gallatin Valley in 1986 to their ranch, north of Belgrade. The couple was blessed with three children, Linda, Rick, and Rod. The two sons have followed in the footsteps of their father, both as ranchers in Deer Lodge and Belgrade.
Shorty's devotion as a husband and father was a testament, an example for all. He was a loving grandfather to Travis, Robert, Lori, and Steven and was instrumental in their lives; religiously traveling to sporting events, birthdays, and family functions. He later became great-grandpa to six great-grandchildren, Sara, Jace, Remington, Charlee, Blakelynn and Ilaina.
Shorty was very active in the communities and civic groups of both Harrison and Belgrade including 50-plus years as a member of the Mount Jefferson Lodge #56. He served on the Production Credit Association, Federal Land Bank, Farm Bureau, NRCS, Pork Producers, AGR Fraternity and Gallatin Wool Pool. Membership to these associations brought the couple numerous travels around the west for meetings. Shorty took pleasure in getting the children on the Pony road to school in Harrison driving both the school station wagon and bus for many years. He was as a member of the Belgrade School board and Belgrade Senior Center board.
Shorty is survived by his sister, Maxine Hemund (Cline); daughter, Linda (Garland) Shaw of Belgrade; son, Rick (Nancy) Cline of Deer Lodge; son, Rod Cline of Belgrade; four grandchildren, Travis (Stacie) Cline of Gold Creek, Robert (Barb) Cline of Deer Lodge, Lori (Jeremy) Kopp of Belgrade, and Steven Shaw of Boise; six great-grandchildren, Sara, Jace, Remington, Charlee, Blakelynn, and Ilaina. Additionally, he leaves behind a large extended family.
Memorials in the name of Shorty may be sent to the Belgrade Senior Center, 92 E Cameron Ave, Belgrade, MT 59714.
A visitation will be held Sunday, May 5 at the Dokken-Nelson Chapel from 3 to 5 p.m. A celebration of Shorty's life will held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 6 at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel. Interment with military honors will follow in Sunset Hills Cemetery; reception to follow at the Holiday Inn. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.