Richard Allen Knapp, 91, lifelong farmer and rancher, passed away May 13, 2014, at the Northern Montana Care Center. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at Van Orsdel United Methodist Church with Pastor John Ulrich officiating. Interment will take place in Highland Cemetery. The family has suggested that memorials in Richard's honor may be made to the Montana Chapter of the American Cancer Society, Van Orsdel United Methodist Church, or the charity of the donor's choice.
Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Memories and condolences can be expressed at http://www.hollandbonine.com.
Richard was born south of Chinook on Feb. 10, 1923, to Earl and Elva (Whitson) Knapp. He was raised 32 miles north of Havre, graduating from eighth grade at Miller School and attending Havre High School. In September 1947, Richard married Margaret (Peggy) Butterfield, and together they built the farm and ranch. To this union were born two sons, Earl Lee and Allen Dale. Richard loved the earth, he had a great rapport with his livestock. He and his father raised both sheep and cattle at one time along with wheat and barley. Richard was a "steward of the land" long before it became a catch phrase. The same went for his being a "horse-whisperer" as he broke and trained many horses.
Richard rode to school bareback during the Depression. It was a great day when he got a saddle. He hardly needed to drive the cattle as they would come when called.
He was very good at repairing machinery.
Richard's family was very important to him, and he was very proud of his children and grandchildren. His first wife passed away in 1971. In 1974 he married Laurel (Stevenson) Preuninger. They farmed and ranched together for 40 wonderful years. He enjoyed exploring and playing cards on the computer. He loved all music except Rock, collecting tapes, records and CD's He enjoyed having a nice car and never tired of driving. He especially liked going to Glacier National Park for a brief respite after harvest.
Richard is survived by his wife, Laurel; sons, Earl and Allen (Susan) Knapp; stepdaughter, Janet (John) Ryan; stepdaughter-in-law, Carrie Preuninger; grandchildren, Mira (Andrew) Head, David (Patricia) and Michael Knapp, Katie (Dustin) Smith; step-grandchildren, Christopher, John (Karen) and Nicholas (Megan) Ryan, Casey (Phoebe) and Abigail Preuninger; and special nieces and nephews.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents; first wife, Margaret (1971); daughter-in-law, Kathy Jo (Earl) Knapp in 2013; and step son-in-law, Scott Preuninger in 2011.
He was a 50-year member of the Van Orsdel United Methodist Church where he served at times on the board of trustees. He was a member of the Montana Farmers Union and Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Richard trusted everyone, and if he did business with you, you became a friend. He never doubted a person's motives, seeing only the good in everyone he knew.