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Obituary - Randy Anderson

 

February 4, 2020

Randy Anderson

Randy Anderson was born July 8th, 1951, in Havre, Montana. He passed away from an accidental fall January 27th, 2020.

He was the second of five boys born to Richard “Bud” Anderson and Phyllis VanWechel. They resided in the town of Joplin, Montana. Randy’s parents were wheat farmers and instilled an amazing work ethic into all of their sons, which took Randy far in life. He excelled in football, track, and basketball during his school years and graduated high school in 1970. 

He liked to talk about his “luck” of being one of the last Montanans to be drafted into the U.S. Army for the Vietnam War in 1971. He served less than a year before being released on a hardship discharge to help his father out at home, which was a blessing because he wasn’t very good at following orders anyway. 

He attended Helena VoTech for welding. Soon after, he joined the Pipefitter’s Local Union in Billings and constructed — with some help — Colstrip Powerplant Units 1 and 2. During this time, he met Susan Solberg in Billings through mutual friends. They married in June of 1977 and jumped right into their first adventure. Randy built a shop and created an oil field welding service in Williston, ND. Always optimistic, he was very sure that the oil boom would last 20-30 years. In 1980 he was asked to become a partner in Basic Petroleum Services in Powell, Wyoming. His brother and business partner Bob supervised the Williston business.

He and Susie spent several years in Powell. Their first child, Joshua, was born in 1981. Josh now resides in McKinney, TX, with his wife, Trisha, and children, Isabel and Pierce.

In 1983 Randy’s daughter Marissa was born. He was a little nervous about having a girl — he was one of five boys. He looked at his week-old daughter and said: “I’m going to give you anything you want when you get older.” Marissa lives in Miles City with her husband, Chris Morford, and children, Greyson, Emery, Rowan, and Reeves.

Their second daughter, Sara, was born in Havre, MT, in 1987. Sara resides in Helena, MT, with her significant other, David Stevenson, her two children, and stepsons, Tristan, Magnus, and Joe. 

Randy moved his family around Montana from the late ’80s until finally settling in Miles City in 1995. He worked different jobs and started other businesses. He had some wins, and he had some losses, but when you’re a risk-taker who always wants a new challenge, that’s the only road you can take.  He moved to Miles City to become the UPS contract mechanic and built parts for UPS. Over the years, he expanded into other businesses. 

Randy was an intelligent man and a creative spirit. He wasn’t afraid to look at a problem and mechanically manipulate it until it was up to his standards. Although he had no formal training, he was quite an engineer designing hydraulic windmills used in California, omnidirectional underground drilling rigs used for mining, and mud tanks used in the oil fields.

Randy felt his most significant accomplishments in life were his three children. Even though he was always busy, he would spend nights and weekends with his kids. He loved to take his kids to Rock Creek Marina on Fort Peck Lake, where he owned a cabin. Much of the summer was spent skiing, fishing, cooking over campfires, and card games. Randy also coached the kid’s sports teams and took them hunting and fishing. Randy enjoyed having his children work for him. Child labor laws don’t apply to family. He relished being present for all activities and continued to support them tremendously in their adult lives.  He worked hard to make sure his wife and children had a good life and was an ample provider.

The love he had for his wife and children was trumped only by the love he had for his grandchildren. He was interested in every aspect of their lives. He loved to snuggle with them, read to them, watch them at practice, and make them pancakes for breakfast. All the kids loved “Bop-Pa’s pancakes.” He loved to brag to people about how his grandkids were the most amazing, most talented, and best looking. The grandkids loved to sit on his lap and watch TV or cheer on the Broncos with him, and go to the cabin and fish with Bop-Pa.

The last 15 years were a period of semi-retirement for Randy and Susie. They traveled to Mexico, the Bahamas, and Hawaii twice each. They took many road trips and visited most of the Lower 48 states. A two-month road trip all the way to Florida with many stops at friends, family, and historical sites was a favorite.

Randy was initiated into the Catholic Church in 2014. A defining moment in his life was the Men’s Cum Christo. There he met many friends and companions who cheered him on and helped him to know how much God loved him.

He is preceded in death by his father, mother, father-in-law, and mother-in-law.

He is survived by his wife, Susie, children and grandchildren; four brothers, Richard (Karen), Bob (Peggy), Roger (Christine) and Rodney (Cathy), and multiple nieces and nephews.

He has one surviving aunt, Donna VanWechel and uncle Jim VanWechel, and his wife’s sisters Donna (Jon) Rasmussen and Sandy (Dave) Bishop.

Dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, we miss you so much already. The struggle you had at the end of your life will never define you in our minds. You meant everything to us, and the integrity we live by is the legacy you have left us. You were the most compassionate and giving father, and we trust that in Heaven, you will become the person you desired to be, always walking beside us and fulfilled in Christ’s perfect love. We’re so sad you could not find peace in this life. We cherish all of our time with you. 

Visitation was held Monday, February 3, 2020, with the family receiving friends from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. followed by a vigil service at 6:00 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City.

Mass of Christian Burial was today, February 4, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Miles City. Rite of Committal followed in the Custer County Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: http://www.stevensonandsons.com .

 

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