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Raymond Swanson
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Shirley Vander Stelt
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Ralph Drowne

August 24, 1944 ~ September 26, 2017

Ralph Currier Drowne, Jr., 73, died of natural causes Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Bozeman, Montana, after a long, steady decline in health.

Ralph was born on Aug. 24, 1944, in Derry, New Hampshire, to Ralph C. Drowne, Sr. and Pearl Louise Drowne. He attended high school at Sanborn Seminary in Kingston, NH, and soon after met and married the love of his life, Patricia A. Howard, a beautiful Irish Catholic girl from New York, in Fremont, NH, in 1966.

Ralph was a highly knowledgeable, witty, multi-talented man, able to succeed in a host of trades – from mechanic, truck driver, woodsman, welder, heavy equipment operator to gardener, arborist, gunsmith, storyteller – and he ultimately made his living as a sand and gravel pit owner/operator. His business was called R.C. Drowne Trucking. Being his own business owner afforded time for lengthy summer vacations, and Ralph and Pat took their kids, Dan (born in 1966) and Kim (born in 1970), on many a road trip tour of the United States. Ralph and Pat successfully ran the business until he sold it along with his long-time, log-cabin home in 1988 to follow his growing fascination with the West.

After 1988, Ralph and his family lived in Wyoming, Colorado (where he and Pat ran a peach orchard for a time), and then back to Wyoming, eventually settling in Alpine, where he lived from 1997 until 2015. He and Pat built a home there, planted many trees, traveled to places like Hawaii and Alaska, and always kept busy. They started to winter in Yuma, Arizona, during this time as well. 

However, Ralph’s world was turned upside down in 2004 when his beloved wife, Pat, died suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack at the age of 56. He was again blindsided in 2007, when his son, Dan, died at the age of 40 after a brief illness. After that time, Ralph continued to winter in Yuma and return to Wyoming for the summers, but declining health led him to eventually move to Bozeman in 2015 with the help of his daughter and son-in-law.

Ralph was “his own man” who “did it his way” until the very end. He was a true leader, a loving husband, a committed father, a classic older bother, a caring grandfather, a memorable friend, and a consummate New England storyteller who never lost his thick New Hampshire accent even after several decades “out west.” 

Ralph is survived by his daughter, Kimberly (Michael) Tucker of Bozeman, MT; grandchildren, Patrick Drowne of Alpine, WY; Taylor Drowne of SLC, UT; Devon Alm of Bozeman, MT; Samuel Alm of Bozeman, MT; sister, Suzanne (Will) Anderson of Sandown, NH; and his late son’s wife, Nancy Drowne, of SLC, UT, in addition to many nieces, nephews, friends, and other relatives from NH and New England. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ralph C. Drowne, Sr. and Pearl Louise Drowne; wife, Patricia A. Drowne (Howard); and son, Daniel Taylor Drowne.

A private interment will occur on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman.  A memorial gathering in New Hampshire will take place at a later date.

The family would like to thank Highgate Senior Living, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, Fresenius Dialysis Clinic, Bozeman Health and Rehab, HRDC/Galavan, and all other healthcare providers that kindly assisted Ralph over the past several years. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to HRDC/Galavan, 32 S. Tracy Ave., Bozeman, MT 59715.

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