Richard “Rich” Earl Townsend of Three Forks died on Feb. 24, 2020. He was born in Whitehall, MT, on December 23, 1943, to Earl and Inez Townsend of Harrison, MT. Rich joined a sister, Gail, and brother, Max. The family moved to Trident, MT, in 1948 where Rich became a “Trident kid”. He attended grades 1-8 in the two-room schoolhouse in Trident. During this time, two more brothers, Ray and Gene, came along to complete their family.
Rich had a very fun childhood with lots of friends, good times in Trident and spending memorable times with a large extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles. He attended high school in Three Forks and graduated in 1962. He then moved to Billings, MT, and worked at various jobs to save money for college. Rich graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Montana State University in 1970; he remained a Bobcat and true-blue supporter of the College of Nursing the rest of his life. Rich had the good fortune to become lifelong friends with some of his nursing school classmates; they stayed in touch through the years, including get-togethers and many trips and were planning their 50th class reunion this May in Bozeman at the College of Nursing.
Rich worked in Billings as a pediatric nurse before moving to Albuquerque, NM, to continue his nursing career. He decided to take a leap of faith and moved to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1978 where he worked at the Aramco Hospital Education Department for the next 25 years. He was able to travel to every continent in the world, riding camels, traveling on the Orient Express and enjoying the culture of all the countries he visited. He retired in 2003 and came back to Three Forks to the family home.
Retirement brought more traveling, remodeling his home and getting involved in the local Historical Society as the Secretary. Rich enjoyed helping with all of the Society’s many projects; he was a generous donor to not only the Historical Society, but also to numerous other local causes. He was a great supporter of the Headwaters Trail System and helped his brother, Gene, every year with the annual Headwaters Run. Rich became well-known for serving shots of Jack Daniels and Absolut Vodka with cups of water at his water station along the run route! He enjoyed lunches with his two high school buddies (Lorna and Yvonne), watching sports and family get-togethers. He threw a great Super Bowl Party every year for family and friends. Rich worked with Mike Lane at the Soda Shack for the Three Forks Rodeo every summer. He will be remembered for his dry sense of humor, discussing old movies and family/area history, among other things.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother, sister (Gail) and her husband (Ron), half-brother (Pat), sister-in-law (Joy), nephew (Tim) and niece (Dawn). He is survived by his brothers, Max, Ray (Dorothy), Gene (Pat) and sister-in-law (Marie). He is also survived by his nieces, Vicki (Jim), Rena (Nick) and Becky; nephews, Steve (Lotse), Paul (Steph), Ryan, Tom, Joe (Danielle) and Helton. Rich was very proud of his great nieces and nephews, Tori, Nick, Elizabeth, Tessa, Emily, Matt,
Caroline, Alexandra, Antonio, Izabela and Grayson. Aunt Blanche, Uncle Lew, first cousins Wilma, Ken (Karen), Jackie, Janet and Pat are survivors, as well as numerous other cousins. Many friends will miss him always.
Graveside services will be held this summer at the Harrison Cemetery followed by a “great party” (his request). Memorial donations may be made to the Headwaters Trail System (PO Box 187, Three Forks) or the Three Forks Area Historical Society (PO Box 116, Three Forks).