Robert "Bob" Weitz (1925 - 2012)

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Robert Weitz (Bob) passed away March 21, 2012, at Mountainview Medical Center in White Sulphur Springs.

Bob was born Dec. 18, 1925, in Portland, Ore., and graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland. During World War II, he served in the Marine Corps attaining the rank of Sergeant, and fought in the Pacific Theatre, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

At war's end, Bob returned to Portland where he went to work at the Iron Fireman Shipyards and then as an auto mechanic apprentice for a local repair shop. It was there that he met and soon married Elsie Ruth Holmstrom on Feb. 19, 1949. She encouraged him to use the GI Bill and complete his education. He graduated from Montana State College in 1952 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. At that time he and Elsie returned to White Sulphur Springs to begin his lifelong career in ranching at Elsie's family's sheep ranch.

Bob loved hunting and fishing, playing baseball, and in the early 60s secured his pilot's license. He flew his family numerous times to Portland and the Pendleton Round-up. While there, he loved taking his family to all the places of his childhood, especially the beaches for clam digging. He swore those razor clams were eight inches long and he always called them "gooey ducks."

He went to Alaska for many salmon fishing trips with his sons and good friends. Competition raged and the bet was on for who could catch the largest fish and win the pot. Since the days were endless, one could easily fish until 2 a.m. and not know the hour. In recent days he talked wistfully about those times and would have loved to enjoy them again.

He and Elsie traveled extensively enjoying cruises, trips to Hawaii, and their special getaway in Puerto Vallarta for 19 years, where they made numerous friends and invited still more to join them there. Their last trip was in 2001.

Bob's parents were born in Russia and emigrated with their families around 1892, settling in the Palouse River Valley in Washington, then moving to the Portland area. They married in 1902 and had seven children; Bob was the youngest with four sisters and two brothers. All have preceded him in death. Growing up in Portland, he had a paper route and odd jobs to help support the large family. An unusual job he had was picking hops for the breweries. A penny per pound was the salary and he would add "to an 11-year-old kid, those bags were the size of wool sacks." A good day earned him 50 to 60 cents.

When Bob was 14, his father was injured at work. A boxcar of pipe broke loose and fell on him, crushing his spine and paralyzing him. They sold their house to make ends meet and Bob became the family's sole support. It was tough times.

Bob is survived by Elsie, his wife of 63 years, his two sons, Michael (Gail) and Richard, all of White Sulphur Springs; six grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was very active in civic organizations, including the Masons (50-year member), Shrine, and Rotary. He was also a member of the Montana Wool Growers Assn., Montana Stockgrowers Assn., and the MSU Steer-a-Year Program.

Services will be Tuesday, March 27, 1 p.m., at Twichel Funeral Home in White Sulphur Springs. Memorials are suggested to the Wounded Warriors Project; P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS; 66675, or a .
Funeral Home
Twichel Funeral Home - White Sulphur Springs
103 E Garfield Street
White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
(406) 547-3821
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 24, 2012
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