Michael R. Biggerstaff, 65 of Stanford, Mont., died Monday, May 9, 2011, near Miles City of injuries sustained in an airplane crash. He was born Dec. 18, 1945, in Lewistown, the son of A. Ronald and Mildred (Dunn) Biggerstaff.
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He attended elementary school in Lewistown, and when he was in junior high his family moved to Denton, Mont., where he graduated in 1964. He then attended Montana State University, graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1970. He put himself through college by crop dusting in Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. While in college he entered the Air National Guard in Great Falls.
On Dec. 17, 1972, he was united in marriage to Connie Fulbright in Denton. They began their married life together in Billings. He worked for his uncle using his degree in engineering but didn't want to sit in the office, he simply wanted to fly. While in Billings he also worked for Blood Services of Montana as a currier. They then moved to Belgrade where he worked for Newby Aviation where he was a flight instructor and a crop duster.
In 1974, Mike and Connie bought an aerial applicator business which became known as Big B Flying. He began flying for New Frontier Aviation on BLM fire contracts and had been doing this for the past eight years. He also worked for Youderian Construction for more than 20 years in the off season. He was able to continue his love of crop spraying with Newton Aviation, in a business arrangement, after selling his beloved Weatherly to Don.
He enjoyed aviation, snowmobiling, NASCAR, mountain brookie trout fishing, hunting, music, reading and rodeo. He also enjoyed college football where he rooted for the MSU Bobcats. He enjoyed many trips to the Reno Air Races and Oshkosh Fly-In.
Mike was a people person and loved to visit. His gentle spirit, quick wit, and sense of humor was contagious. He will be greatly missed. He was a man of faith. He valued integrity, honesty, hard work and education. A meticulous planner, his attention to detail and his intelligence made him a standout. He was really a dog person, but when he married Connie, he became a cat person too. He was a true pet lover. He was a very generous man and loved his family and many friends.
He was an active member with the Association of Montana Aerial Applicators and a former NAAA board member. He was a member of the Little Belt Snowmobile Club, NRA and AOPA.
Mike was bitten by the flying bug during his first flight over his childhood ranch north of Hilger in a Luscombe Silvaire piloted by his uncle, Ed Biggerstaff. Building and flying model airplanes kept his fire going until he could start flying for real when he was a student at Montana State University with the Flying Bobcats. He quickly moved up the ladder after soloing in only four hours of total flight time. Soon after receiving his private, commercial and flight instructor ratings, he was immersed in commercial flying from that point on.
He is survived by his wife Connie of 38 years; his daughter, Brandi Pitt of Eden, Wyo.; his son, Brian of Philadelphia; brothers, Dan (Sherry) of Bozeman, Ron (LouAnne) of Loma Linda, Calif.; sister, Ardis (Franc) Rice of Helena; 17 nieces and nephews; 30 grandnieces and nephews; his many friends; and his beloved yellow Lab retriever, Cassie.
He was preceded in death by his parents; father and mother-in-law, Ralph and Dorothy Fulbright; and sister-in-law, Judy Fulbright.
Funeral services for Michael R. Biggerstaff will be Friday, May 20, at 1:30 p.m. in the Fergus Center for the Performing Arts in Lewistown, with interment to follow in Lewistown City Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to attend a reception that will be held at the Eagles Club, 124 W Main St., Lewistown, following burial.
Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Friends are asked to make memorials to the charity of their choice, and they may be left at Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com.
Cloyd Funeral Home
209 Third Avenue North
Lewistown, MT 59457-0118
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 16, 2011