TERRENCE ‘TERRY’ JOHN THEISEN
After a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, COPD, and a short battle with Covid-19, Terrence “Terry” John Theisen died on Dec. 23, 2020, at his home at Open Arms in Belgrade, Mont.
Terry was born in Missoula, Mont., on Jan. 28, 1944, to Wilford C. and Kathryn Theresa Deegan Mellen. He and his mother moved to Virginia City, Mont., after his father’s sudden death. His mother then married John “Cliff” Clifford Theisen and moved to the family ranch near Belgrade in 1950. After Cliff Theisen adopted Terry, they had two more sons, Michael and Daniel Theisen. Terry enjoyed living on the ranch with his brothers and always said Cliff was the best thing that ever happened to him. He gained knowledge of ranching and farming as well as being exposed to core values.
Terry attended Belgrade Schools and graduated in 1963 from Belgrade High School. He then attended Western College of Education in Dillon and received his bachelor’s degree in 1967. After graduation, he and his first wife Marie Ann Ott Strunk moved to Merced, Calif., where he taught junior high industrial arts. He and Marie expanded their family, with Sean Terrence in 1967 and Teresa Ann in 1971, and were married 11 years. He then moved back to Belgrade in 1979 and married his second wife Mary Hamilton, who had four children of her own whom Terry doted upon. They were married for two years, and Terry continued to work various jobs and helped care for his mother for several years.
He later met Kaye “Bobbie” Shepard, and they married in 1997. They built a beautiful home on the family ranch and raised cattle. They lived there for nearly two decades, ranching and teaching all the many grandchildren. Terry worked for MSU in the Agricultural Research Farm, and thoroughly enjoyed working with his students. He enjoyed attending the Catholic Church and was a proud member of the Knights of Columbus.
He and Bobbie divorced in 2018 and he moved into Open Arms Assisted Living facility in Belgrade, where he was a part of a whole new family. Faith and Rod Vanover welcomed him into their family, and that is where he wanted to spend the rest of his days.
Terry was known to have a quick wit and a biting sense of humor. He was an accomplished woodworker and spent most of his time crafting something or teaching. He was happiest on the Theisen ranch working with cattle. He loved his daughter and cherished the time they spent together. He adored his family and loved to sit around storytelling.
Terry is survived by his brothers, Michael (Ron) and Daniel (Anne); his daughter Teresa (Todd) Ricketts; his former wives, Marie Ott Strunk and Kaye “Bobbie” Shepard; grandsons Canyon and Ridge Ricketts, his niece Jenna Theisen (Lezlee); family members by marriage: stepdaughter Adrenna Briggs (Charlie), granddaughters Megan Klein (Butch) and Ashley Smith (Chris), great-grandchildren Hailey and Weston, great-nieces and nephews Habib, Sami, Lindsey, and Maggie Mostefa; and many cousins and a myriad of friends. His son Sean died in 2003.
His family wants to thank the staff at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital whose care helped Terry survive the acute phase of Covid-19, and especially to the staff and residents of Open Arms where he felt so welcome and at home.
Services will be held in the summer of 2021. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com