Alfred Grandchamp

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  • "I first met Al at a clinic at Walt Vermedahl's ranch in..."
    - Sharon Vanderbout Schiebold
  • "Dear Noel & Family, Although I didn't get to have your Dad..."
    - Carol (Gonder) Smith
  • "I had Mr. Grandchamp my sophmore year and really enjoyed..."
  • "Dear Noel and family. What a full and wonderful life your..."
    - Judy Robinson Forbes
  • "Noel and Family: So sorry to hear about your Dad. What a..."
    - JoAnn Jordan Piazzola
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Long-time Radersburg resident Alfred Doughty Grandchamp passed away Aug. 24, 2009, at the age of 102. His grandparents, Alfred H. Doughty and Harriet (Burdick) Doughty were pioneers of Broadwater County. They came to Montana in 1862, first to Helena for five years before settling in Springville, where Alfred ran a store. They moved to Radersburg in 1872, where Alfred ran a livery stable and six of their nine children grew to adulthood: John, Mertie, Henry, Mary, Alfred Jr., and Warren.
As a child, Al spent summers in Radersburg where his uncles exposed him to horses, thus starting a love affair that continued throughout his life. He enjoyed breaking and training horses, conducting horsemanship clinics, team roping, and braiding horse tack, mostly hackamores. Because of his rawhide braiding he was featured in two books, "Old Masters of the West" and "Montana Folks."
Al was living independently in the "Doughty Family home," where his mother was born in 1880, until Aug. 1 when he moved to the Bozeman Lodge. He passed away at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital due to a brief illness.
Alfred D. Grandchamp was born Oct. 9, 1907, at Cedar Spur, just west of Heron, to George W. Grandchamp and Mary (Doughty) Grandchamp. When he was very young his parents lived on the Grandchamp ranch/sawmill at Belknap and on Elk Creek at Heron. When he was 5 years old his parents moved to Thompson Falls. As a teenager he had summer work at the Donlan-Moderie logging camp, the Ford Garage, and the Thompson Falls Mercantile.
In 1926 he graduated from high school. Later employment at Thompson Falls was with Montana Power Company and the Forest Service. To further his education he attended Eastern Washington College, Cheney, where he acquired a teaching certificate.
He moved to Ronan to teach, and met fellow teacher Doris Ross. He married Nea Doris Ross on Dec. 21, 1931, in Ritzville, Wash., daughter of William Ross and Edna (Criger) Ross. At the end of the school year they moved to Washington so Al could finish his B.A. degree at the University of Washington, which he did in 1932.
He taught in Sims, and then Columbia Falls, becoming a high school principal and the district superintendent of schools.
Al and Doris's only child, a daughter, was born at Kalispell Feb. 12, 1939.
Education was important to Al, so from 1937 to 1942 he spent his summers attending the Universities of Boulder Colorado, Missoula, Montana and Chicago, Illinois. In 1943 he earned a Master's of Administration from the University of Chicago. From1945 to 1948 he took a break from teaching to work for his uncle, Alfred Doughty, at the Riverside Ranch west of Toston. Next, the family moved to Missoula.
The harsh winter of 1949-50 made a lasting impression on him because out of 200 cattle he leased to a friend on the Missouri River Breaks, only about 15 head survived due to more than six weeks of -20 to -40 degree temperatures. Also that year he traveled to Texas to buy his first quarter horse, which he broke and trained.
Next, it was off to Meridian, Idaho, where he was an elementary school principal and assistant superintendent of schools. While in Idaho Al became acquainted with C.O. and Ruth Williamson who made a better horseman of him, and he met Leige Lewis who taught him how to rawhide. Another move brought the family back to Montana, to Livingston where he taught high school English and his daughter, Noel, graduated. During the summers he broke and trained horses. Then it was on to Olympia, Wash., to teach during the year and break and train horses in Montana for the summer.
In 1963 Al and Doris came back to Radersburg to live with his mother and run the Riverside Ranch with Bob Harris; Doris taught at Crow Creek School. In 1980 his mother passed away at the age of 99. He and Doris stayed on at the "Doughty family home." In 1986 Doris passed away, ending a wonderful marriage lasting 54 years.
Al was a remarkable man. At nearly103 he still had his mental and physical health; he kept his mind sharp through regular reading and study, while his body benefited from his positive attitude and lifelong use of weights, isometrics and walks. He not only taught in the public schools but also taught horsemanship and rawhide braiding to those who wanted to learn. He conducted horsemanship clinics in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Canada. Even in the end he has chosen to be a teacher, as he donated his body to science.
Al will be missed by several special friends in Radersburg and Broadwater County, as well as the friends all over the country he made through his horse connections.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Noel and Russ Vance; two granddaughters: Heather (Allen) Meredith and her husband, Mark Meredith, and Gwen Allen, all of Bozeman; grandson, Meredith Allen, living south of Livingston; four great-grandchildren: Ashley (Billis) Duneman, Britten Billis, Tanner Billis, and Kira Meredith, all of Bozeman; three great-great-grandchildren, Kylie, Kinzie and Dillon Duneman of Bozeman; cousin, Linda (Doughty) Cobban and her husband, Robert of Townsend.
No services are planned.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 30, 2009
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