Jean Louis Ruhkamp, 77, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, at Northern Montana Care Center of natural causes.
His memorial service will be 1 p. m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Holland & Bonine Funeral Chapel. His burial will be at Fort Harrison Veteran Cemetery in Helena, Mont., on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. Memorial contributions in Jean’s honor may be made to Wound Care Department, c/o Benefis Foundation, P.O. Box 7008, Great Falls, MT 59406. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.
Jean was born Nov. 13, 1934, in Witten, S.D., one of nine children born to John and Margaret (Tappe) Ruhkamp. He was raised and educated in Witten. He enlisted in the United States Army in January 1954. He served during the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged in 1955. He married Beverly Scissons on April 6, 1957, in Winner, S.D. The couple made their home first in Wichita, Kan., where Jean worked for Boeing. They moved back to South Dakota and began their family. Jean worked as a farm laborer, for Nesbitt Bottling Company and then for Prairie Distributors in South Dakota before moving to Havre and operating the Sandvigs store. When Sandvigs merged with Big R, Jean retired and went to work for Vita Rich Dairy in 1981.
Jean enjoyed people. He couldn’t go anywhere without meeting someone new. And he didn’t just meet them, he knew everything about them, like where they worked, how long they had worked there and where they lived. He was a positive person who always saw the best in everything. He enjoyed tinkering with things, woodworking and was a “picker” before it ever became cool. His greatest enjoyment was the farm life. He loved getting on the tractor and the daily operations of the farm. He and Bev in later years operated their greenhouse on the North Side, growing beautiful plants and vegetables, having their “own farm. ” One of Jean’s favorite things was vacationing with his family in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where they spent many summer vacations. And all of the kids remember they would always get a phone call from Dad just to check in on everyone and see how they were doing.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Lauren, Norbert, David, Kenny and Noel Ruhkamp; his sister, Monica Harrington; and one nephew, Bobby Jo Wheeler.
Jean is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Beverly Ruhkamp of Havre; his daughter, Kathy (Steve) Kleinjan of Chinook, Mont. ; sons, Brad (Janet) Ruhkamp; Blaine (Linda) Ruhkamp and Bryan (Vicki) Ruhkamp, all of Havre; 11 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren; two sisters, Bernice Harter of Winner, S.D., and Francis Wheeler of Fort Collins, Colo.