Roger E. Nelson
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Belt —Roger E. Nelson, 89, of Belt, passed away on January 8, 2014 at Benefis West. Born on May 16, 1924 to Roy E. and Isabel (Sandmeyer) Nelson, he was a lifelong rancher and steward of the land. He married his high school sweetheart, Lois (Vaskey) and together they continued to ranch on his grandfather's homestead in the Tiger Butte area. He was proud to see the centennial mark of the ranch's family ownership in 1995. Family and friends always felt welcome back at the ranch. Roger maintained the Tiger Butte Telephone line until the community subscribed to the underground 3 Rivers line in 1978. Having lived during the hardships of the 1930s, Roger appreciated the comforts of today and never wanted more than he needed to live a fulfilled life.
Roger was a lifetime member of the Belt Masonic Lodge No. 137 and Knights of Pythias (Cascade Lodge No. 39). He was a charter member of the Belt Rural Fire Department and belonged to the Tiger Butte Cemetery Association and Farmer's Union. It was not unusual for Roger to put his own work on hold to assist a neighbor or someone in need of help.
Being a rancher, Roger grew up with a love for animals, especially horses. He said the best feeling was to be on a horse and just ride. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and particularly keeping the tradition of family camping trips to the Tenderfoot. He figured out a way to fix anything and was quite an inventor. Welding was his specialty, and he created many gifts made form horseshoes for friends and family. The ranch home shows off his works of art and creativity. He kept an interest in many local, regional and national sports, stemming from his own athleticism during high school. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, teaching them many things about hunting, fishing, ranching and the art of tying various knots. His mother-in-law described him as the most patient man she knew.
He and Lois celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on October 8, 2013. She survives him, along with one daughter, Lynn (Frank) Bedosky; his sister, Elly Hess; three grandchildren: Nathan (Mary), Mandy, and Jenna (Jacob) Botts; four great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his twin sister Isabel Camille in infancy, his sister Arline Smith, an infant son and daughter, and his parents.
A memorial service will be held later in the spring at the Tiger Butte Cemetery.
Condolences to the family may be shared at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com
Memorials may be sent to the Belt Ambulance, McLaughlin Research, or to the donor's choice.
Croxford Funeral Home and Crematory
1307 Central Avenue
Great Falls, MT 59401
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Jan. 12, 2014