Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Ray G. Stucky

February 11, 1922 ~ January 01, 2020

The doctor rode out in a horse and buggy to the Cowan Ranch North of Belgrade to deliver Ray Gilbert Stucky on Feb 11, 1922.  He would call this area home for the next 97 years, with the exception of a short stint in Jordan, MT when he was a young child.  In 1928, farming was difficult and even more so in Eastern Montana, so they loaded everything into a rail car and headed back to Dry Creek.  The only thing that didn't fit in the rail car was his pony, which broke his heart, but his dad promised him another as soon as they got back to the Gallatin Valley.  His love for horses started at a very young age.  It was their only mode of transportation.  He grew up riding them, breaking them, survived being kicked in the face by one and participated in ranch rodeos. He rode the range on a horse, working for George Sinton in the Horseshoe Hills North of Manhattan.

Ray was the oldest of 4 children born to Ralph Cameron Stucky and Hazel Rebecca Cowan.  His mother passed away when he was 13, leaving Ralph to raise the 4 kids on his own.  His work ethic was formed at a tender age and one he lived with to the end.  He and his sister, Dorothy milked 18 cows by hand each day before school.  Dorothy & George Vogel and brother, Caroll (Buck) & Donna Stucky all preceded him in death as well as his brother-in-law, Charles Guiot.   His sister, Jean Guiot survives him.  

Once the cows were milked, Ray hopped on his horse and rode across the creek to the little one-room schoolhouse, the Dry Creek School.  In the early years, his mother would tie a jar of milk to his saddle.  By the time he got to school, he always had a little pat of butter to skim off the top.  The milk he saved for lunch.  

His high school years were spent in Manhattan, where he was a boxer and a football player.  When his coach heard he and his buddies, Rex and Paul were walking more than 8 miles home after practice, he gave them the use of his car.   Ray graduated from MHS in 1941.

Military service soon followed when he joined the Marine Corp, serving from 1942 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater in Guam, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.  He never spoke much about those years but was proud and honored to serve and protect.

 On the first of June 1947, Ray married Hazel Mae McLees in Manhattan.  Their early married life was spent working on various farms in the area. That included lots of fun times like accidentally roping the outhouse while chasing a bull on the Carrot Farm.  He always chuckled at the fact that the boss's wife was in it at the time.  

Ray then worked at "The Plant" (Trident Cement) for 25 years, serving in almost all capacities at one time or another.  He was proud of never missing a day work, even after hitting a cow on the way one day.

Their family grew with the addition of their daughter, Kimberly Rae, born in 1954 and son, Chris Taylor, born in 1956.  Both survive him along with their spouses and children.  Russell & Kimberly Mifflin and their sons, Chad, Sean and Nick and Chris & LaVonne Stucky and their son, Kelly and daughter and son-in-law Juliana & Johnathan Tipton.  He is also survived by Dan & Sandy (Plum) Rodoni , her son, Shannon Dunigan and his daughter, Riley, who were always family to him.  Steve & Heather Dunigan preceded him in death.   Several nieces and nephews also survive.  

Ray was one of the unusual and fortunate people who was able to enjoy 35 years of retirement.  He and Hazel sold the place to Chris & LaVonne in 1985 and hit the road in a 30-foot Winnebago.  They split their time between Montana, Washington and Arizona and traveled many places in between.  Hazel passed away in 1995, leaving Ray to go fishing and ride his 4-wheeler.  Fishing was his life.  His favorite fishing holes were holes he had fished since he was a kid.  He was not a catch and release fisherman but preferred to fish with a worm on his hook and kept on fishing until his worms were gone.   We won't mention limits.  

Fiercely independent, he lived life on his terms, often to the chagrin of many.  Father, grandfather, brother, uncle, neighbor, cowboy, fisherman, Marine, friend.  You are missed and forever loved.   

Visitation hours will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 5, at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.  A. Graveside service with Military Honors will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, at Meadow View Cemetery in Manhattan.

Donations in his name may be made to Jolly Neighbors, 5477 Swamp Rd. Belgrade, MT 59714 for maintenance and upkeep on the historic Dry Creek School.