By HDN Staff
CHESTER Richard Anthony Laird, 84, Chester, died March 13, 2000 at a Chester rest home after a 2-year fight with cancer.
Funeral Mass will be 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chester. Burial will follow at the Chester Cemetery.
Laird was born Oct. 16 in Chester to John Robertson and Marie Irene Daly Laird. He grew up on the family ranch 17 miles north of Joplin. He received his formal education at the Alma Country School, then began working on the farm.
When he was 20, Laird enlisted into the U.S. Army. He served in the military during the final years of World War Two. At the time of his honorable discharge in 1947, he had attained the rank of corporal.
Laird returned to Montana to the family farm where he worked with his brothers, Jim and Bob. He lived and worked on the Laird ranch from that time on. In 1981, Laird was treated for a perforated ulcer, so he retired and moved to Great Falls.
In 1999, he moved to a nursing home in Shelby and then to a nursing home in Chester.
Laird was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus in Chester. After moving to Great Falls, he enjoyed serving as lector at St. Ann's Cathedral.
Before his eye sight failed five years ago, Laird was an avid reader. He wrote and published a short book titled "The Barnyard Hawk" many years ago that reflected some of his personality traits.
Laird enjoyed traveling and looked forward to frequent trips to Las Vegas to play Keno. He also enjoyed off-road motorcycle excursions throughout Montana in his youth.
Laird was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, John, Donald and Robert.
Survivors include a brother, James of Chester; sister, Rita Melonas of Vancouver, Wash., and numerous nephews and nieces.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.