Merlin H. "Rick" Riekenberg (1938 - 2008)

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Merlin H. "Rick" Riekenberg, 69, passed away July 28, 2008, after a 7-month battle with leukemia. He enjoyed a wide variety of residences, careers and hobbies during his life. He was an incredibly kind and talented man who always put others first.

Rick was born Oct. 3, 1938, in Portland, Ore., to Herbert and Laura Riekenberg. Growing up, his family lived in Oregon, Idaho and Nebraska as his father was a teacher and organist for many Lutheran congregations. Rick graduated high school in Norfolk, Neb.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1963 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Fort Polk, La.

He had a variety of careers, including manager of F.W. Woolworth's in Nebraska, Utah and Montana, owner/operator of a Texaco service-station and restaurant, building custom homes and commercial construction in Idaho and Montana. He also taught hunter safety and was a member of the Optimist Club in Bozeman. He retired from Missoula Sheet Metal in 2001 and moved to Dillon in 2006 with his wife, Janet.

Rick loved to camp, fish, hunt, hike, ski, x/c motorcycle, snowmobile, golf, grow tomatoes, explore the mountains and historical places, and travel. His talents included being a gifted designer and craftsman. He found it rewarding to build houses, a boat, a camping trailer, multiple guns, cannons, a garden tractor, a wood stove, furniture, working with stained glass, and even a sports car. He also enjoyed restoring old cars, guns and houses. He loved to share his creations and talents with his family and friends.

Rick was a devoted father and loving husband. He is survived by his wife, Janet of Dillon; son, Bruce and wife, Sondra of Wenatchee, Wash.; daughter, Cheryl Molitor and husband, Don of Boulder; son, Jerry and wife, Christina of Bozeman; stepdaughter, Angela Kent and husband, Kevin; stepson, Jason Humberger and stepson, Eric Humberger and wife, Laura, all of Bozeman; sister, Delyla Moore and husband, Sidney of Summers, Ark.; sister, Joyce Johnson of Houston, Texas; grandchildren: Madison and Josephine Molitor, Justin and Daniel Riekenberg; step-grandchildren, Andrew and Jocelyn Kent, Logan and Dylan Humberger, Brenda Young and Sara Silva; and step-great-granddaughter, Clara Brodie; and also various cousins.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dillon.

Arrangements are under the care of Brundage Funeral Home; a guest book is available at

n lieu of flowers, memorials in Rick's name may be sent to St. Patrick House, 501 W. Alder, Missoula, MT 59802, (406) 541-2828,; or any charity of the donor's choice.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 1, 2008
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