Richard Allen Fitz-patrick (Fred), 64, of Valier, Mont. passed away on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021.
The funeral service was held on Monday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church in Valier. Burial followed the service at Lake View Cemetery.
Rich was born on May 24, 1957, in Conrad, Mont., to Barbara Wagner Fitzpatrick and Gerald Fitzpatrick. He graduated from Valier Public Schools in 1975.
After high school, Rich went to work for John Greytak, of 1st Continental Corporation. He originally worked on irrigation pivots, but later moved to the farm crew, which he preferred. He was operating tractors, trucks, combines, performing farm equipment maintenance, mechanic work, and welding. Fred remained there for several years, working thousands of acres of 1st Continental lands through-out the state.
He started work at the Kingsbury Ranch, west of Valier, then traveled to Fly Creek, between Billings and Hardin, Mont., Snowy Mountains, north of Lavina, Mont., and Briggs Ranch in Dell, Mont. After a few years Fred went to work for Big K Farm, a contract farming corporation, out of Canada, that took over farming operations for John Greytak.
In 1979, Rich moved back to Valier to help with the family mechanic business at Fitz Repair. Working along his dad, Gary, and his brother, Peter, they grew a successful business. They were instrumental in transitioning the business beyond auto body and engine repair to a machine shop, filling a need in the farming community.
Rich maintained the buses for Valier Public Schools, and took on the role of bus driver, safely transporting area farm kids to and from school.
Rich lived life to the fullest. He loved hunting, camping, the mountains, cooking, and baking, especially delicious pies, which were always a work of art. Most importantly, Fred loved spending time with his family and friends. He was the ultimate family man and a great friend. He always made himself available whenever called upon.
He had a true love for horses and the outdoors, so he joined East Slope Back Country Horsemen in 1998, in which he was president for several years. When he was not acting as president, he was secretary, treasurer, or vice president, along with state treasurer of the group for several years. The volunteer role of keeping trails cleared, in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, for others to enjoy was his passion and the friends he made there were paramount.
His life will forever be cherished in the lives of his family and friends, devoted niece, Kelsey (Kord) Ramberg; nephew, Adam Fitzpatrick; great nephews, Nash and Crew Ramberg; aunt, Helene Gartner; uncle, David Fitzpatrick; numerous cousins and friends.
Rich is preceded in death by parents, Gerald and Barbara Fitzpatrick; brother, Peter Fitzpatrick; numerous aunts and uncles.
Condolences can be made to www.asperfh.com.