Roland A. Ritter

BOZEMAN Roland A. Ritter, 95, of Bozeman, died of respiratory failure Saturday, Dec. 29.

Private family services will be held at a later date. Dahl Funeral Chapel of Bozeman handled arrangements.

He was born Feb. 25, 1917, the son of Sarah (Herman) and the Reverend Henry Ritter, on his parents homestead north of Rudyard. He grew up attending Grace Evangelical Church, of which his father was a founder. He attended grade school at Oreana School and graduated from Rudyard High School in 1935.

In the Depression years, he was able to join the N.Y.A. program and learned the masonry trade. He attended one term of forestry school at the University of Montana and then worked at Boeing in Seattle until drafted into the Army in 1942. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers as an instructor in topography at Ft. Belvair, Va.

In 1945, Roland traveled to Bozeman to bring Gillette Obie back to the family farm where they were married Feb. 6 by his father, Henry. They lived their adult lives raising six children and bountiful crops.

Roland was active in the Rudyard community, serving on numerous business and community boards. He especially enjoyed being a Boy Scout leader. He designed and built a memory wall at the Depot Museum in honor of the homesteaders and veterans with fieldstones engraved with the names of their families.

He cherished the years he was able to follow his grandchildren as they participated in sports, music and theatre.

In 2006, a condo was purchased in Bozeman, and Roland and Gillette lived there until he entered a care center in 2010. He was very appreciative of the care and attention received in later years from family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and one brother, Clarence Ritter.

He is survived by his sister, Mary (Donald) Lincoln of Hingham; brother Sam (Joan) Ritter of Sidney; and sister-in-law Lucille Ritter of Lakeside; wife of 67 years, Gillette; sons Jerry and Ross (Rhonda); daughters Lila (Ken) Heydon, Fay (Con) Johnson, Jean (Dennis) Konopatzke and Wanda Condon; 14 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews who meant a lot to him.

Roland was foremost a man who had the ability to do anything. He was a farmer, a carpenter, a mason, a mechanic and a wonderful father to the six children he and Gillette raised on their farm. Many chimneys and buildings are still a reminder of the efforts he extended to the Rudyard community.

So Dad, your kids are raised, the neighbor's chimneys are finished. You put a lot of good crops in the bin. Your work is done. We love you and will always miss you.

Condolences may be posted online at and/or

Reprinted at the request of the family.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Jan. 3, 2013