CAMP CROOK - Rex L. Burghduff, 76, Camp Crook, passed away Friday, April 8, 2011, at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D.
Rex wrote his own obituary as follows: I was born Oct. 26, 1934, at Camp Crook to Edith Mae (Turbiville) and Kenneth Lee Burghduff during the dry depressed years of the Dirty Thirties. We saw a lot of hard up years living in sheep wagons, herding sheep, driving horses, and moving from place to place with my parents, myself, my sister, Alice, two years younger, and my brother, Kenny, four years younger.
Then came the '40s, World War II, more tough and sad times. But the drought broke and we had grass and hay for the livestock.
Us kids started school so my parents settled down on the homestead my granddad had since around 1910 so we could go to country school. I went to the first grade in Camp Crook, the following seven years to Tarter School, much of the time only us three kids going there. I had the same teacher for my last six years of school, Caroline (Peterson) Heggem, a wonderful teacher and dear friend.
In 1947, we had another brother born, but he passed away when only a few hours old. Then in 1949, Gerald, my youngest brother was born, and in 1954 my youngest sister, Rhoda Mae, was born.
I never started to high school the year I got out of the eighth grade. Wanted to stay home and help my dad. This happened to be the winter of '49. It was one of the worst this country has ever seen. We pitched hay and shoveled snow all winter, and drove four head of horses on the sled and fed sheep and cattle – a terrible winter.
The next year some kids talked me into going to high school. I was bashful at that time and the third week my teacher, Jane Bennett, told me on the following Monday I had to get up in front of the class and make a speech. I never went back! That was the end of my education in a classroom. The rest of my education came from the "School of Hard Knocks."
In 1952 I married Jean Vigoren from Buffalo. We lived on my parents place then later moved to the Juntti place on the Little Missouri River. We had five healthy, tough, rambunctious kids, Rexene Jean, Debbie Mae, Kelly Jo "Bunny", Lex Lee and Alice Joy. The kids all liked the ranch and practically lived on horses as I was breaking horses all the time and shearing sheep (for 18 years) as a sideline to make the ranch work.
In the '80s I moved back to Red Hills where we used to live 40 years before in a sheep wagon; a beautiful spot where I can see 25 to 40 miles in every direction. Cheryl and I were married on Oct. 10, 1994.
I have 15 grandkids that I think the world of. Rexene has Dek, Tandy, and Trinity. Bunny has Tracy, Jesse, Mazee, Mattee, and Emilee. Lex has Lexy, Hazer, Annie Kate, and Jake. Alice has Shaylene, Cole, and Marissa "Missy". All are top cowboys and cowgirls and a wonderful bunch of grandkids. And now there are seven great-grandkids.
I've been broke nearly half my life. I lived behind times compared to a lot of people I know, money wise. In other ways I'm one of the richest and luckiest men I know. What an honor to have so many wonderful friends.
Rex has been a brand inspector for 59 years. In 2002, he was honored at the Stockgrowers meeting in Spearfish for 50 years of service. He was a director for the Ludlow Grazing Association, director for the Camp Crook Roping Club, helped with the Camp Crook Junior Rodeo, 4-H Rodeo and was a high school rodeo director. Throughout his lifetime, Rex met and made many lifelong rodeo friends.
In the last sentence of Rex's obituary that he wrote he sums it up best, "God has blessed me and I wouldn't trade my life for all the world." "It's been a great ride."
Those left to mourn his passing are his wife, Cheryl, Camp Crook; his two brothers, Kenny (Lois) Burghduff, Belle Fourche, and Gerald (Becky) Burghduff, Camp Crook; one sister, Rhoda Mae (J.O.) McDonald, Hulett, Wyo.; his children, Rexene (Justin) Till , Buffalo, Debbie (Bill) Mackay, Custer, Mont., Bunny Bail, Wall, Lex Burghduff, Ludlow, and Alice Burghduff, Glendive, Mont.; 15 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth Lee and Edith Mae Burghduff; his brother, James Otto Burghduff; his sister, Alice Burghduff Johnson; and his nephew, Shawn Burghduff.
Visitation will be for one hour before services.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Camp Crook Community Center, with Pastor Tom Martin officiating. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Camp Crook. A memorial has been established.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are under the care of Stevenson Funeral Home in Baker, Mont.
Published by Rapid City Journal on Apr. 13, 2011.