THREE FORKS - Arnold A. Nimmick passed away at his home in Manhattan on Friday, May 13, 2011, at the age of 92.
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Arnie was born on April 23, 1919, in Fingal, N.D., on the Nimmick homestead. He was the youngest of 12 children born to Reinhold and Anna Nimmick, immigrants from Russia and Germany.
Arnie moved to Great Falls in December 1939. He went right to work selling Christmas trees and developed his own side business making tree stands and delivering trees. Arnie always knew how to make a living! He subsequently worked in a Texaco gas station and Andy's Tire Company in Great Falls as well as owning a business with his brother, Fred.
That same December, Arnie met Joyce Curtis at a Christmas Eve party at his sister Lea's in Great Falls. They were married two years later on Dec. 28, 1941, the coldest day of the year as Arnie would tell it. They spent three short days together before Arnie left for Fort Bragg, N.C., and his tour of duty with the Army. Joyce visited him for a couple of weeks in North Carolina before he shipped out to North Africa. The war had begun, and Joyce wouldn't see him again for four long years.
Arnie served in the U.S. Army 66th Armored Regiment, part of Patton's 2nd Armored Division. His tour included time in Sicily, Algeria, French Morocco, Northern France and Germany. He landed in Normandy the day after D-Day. Arnie was very proud of his Army tours and was honored to serve his country. He received seven battle stars and was honorably discharged on July 13, 1945, and then returned to Great Falls. He was called up again to serve in the Korean War.
Arnie and Joyce had four children - Don and Bob who were born in Great Falls, and Carol and Lori who were born in Conrad. While in Conrad, Arnie was a ranch manager for Leroy Anderson. Then when Lori was just a baby, Arnie and Joyce bought a small farm in Big Sandy. They worked very hard to build the little farm, raising sheep and cattle and whatever crops they could.
Then one day in 1960, Arnie told Joyce he had found his ranch. They went to see the Hager ranch in Milligan Canyon, and he immediately knew it was where they would move the family. Joyce wasn't so sure she could live so far out of town, but she grew to love their new home and the ranch. Arnie loved the land and farming but also loved all his animals including several favorite cows and many special dogs. He had a passion for machinery and enjoyed working in his shop on his farm equipment.
Arnie and Joyce spent 47 years together at their North Slope Ranch with their children and grandchildren. Arnie had a very fulfilling life with his family and friends, and both he and Joyce were often seen dancing the night away at many a dance party in Whitehall, Butte, Three Forks or anywhere they could find music to dance.
Arnie's family was important to him and he loved spending time with his grandchildren - especially when they were tiny babies. He will be so missed by everyone, touching so many lives and having made friends all over the world.
Arnie was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, August, Ed, Theodore, Richard, and Fred; sisters, Alice, Esther, Lea, Martha, Alma, and Natalie; a grandson, Jeremy Nimmick; and infant twin granddaughters.
He is survived by Joyce, his wife of 69 years; children, Don (Jerry) of The Colony, Texas, Bob (Gwen) of Three Forks, Carol (Mark) Eichler of Helena, and Lori Davis and Myles Foley of Red Lodge; grandchildren, Brian, Brent, Barry, Rob, Jeff Nimmick, Nicholas and Kimberly Weisert, Tyler and Jacob Davis; 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Grace Lutheran Church in Three Forks, with the Rev. Bruce Linderman officiating. Interment with military honors will be at 10 a.m. Friday, May 20, at Mount Green Cemetery in Willow Creek. Viewing will be held Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at K&L Mortuary Chapel in Three Forks.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 17, 2011