Robert (Bob) Neil Riley passed away on July 19, 2014, at Morning Star Senior Living in Billings, from congestive heart failure. His wife, daughter and family dog were by his side. He had recently celebrated his 83rd birthday on July 9, enjoying his favorite birthday treat of chocolate cake, while surrounded by his four sisters, wife and daughter.
Robert was born in Baker, to Dwight and Alice (Ketchum) Riley. He spent his younger childhood years on a farm about three miles south of Plevna. He was the eldest of six children. He often told the story of growing up in the Depression, where as a special meal, he and his younger brother, Bernard, would get to shoot sage hens for the family to dine on fried chicken, biscuits and gravy. Robert was known by family to clean a chicken bone better than anyone — they could always tell which dirty plate was his!
In April of 1965, he married Donna Kuchinski. They bought a small farm in the valley just east of Miles City. Together they raised their daughter, Kelly, and Donna’s son, Joe. Robert was always a worker and held many different types of jobs, but ranching and cattle always seemed to be his passion. In his twenties and thirties, Robert loved to rope and rodeo with his many good friends, including Rex Cleary and C.M. Coffee. At that same time, he worked as a bartender at the old 17 Bar in Billings for Kenny Hanlin and the infamous Crossroads of Miles City for Lloyd Mackin. In addition to ranching, rodeoing, and bartending, he was a Montana state brand inspector, a designation he held until retiring after over 20 years of service. Robert also enjoyed working as a cattle buyer and attending the livestock sales in Miles City and Billings, something he did almost weekly until a few short months before his death. In his later years, the sales became somewhat of a beloved pastime and social venue for him. Robert enjoyed being a longtime member of the Sage Riders and Ranger Riders of Miles City. To many, he was known for his fiery temper and more than an occasional swear word, but also, he had a good sense of humor — both of which he exhibited even in his last moments of life.
Robert’s brand was the Double Quarter Circle. His favorite roping horse was Sadie and his favorite dog was his border collie named Dottie. In heaven, may he be doing all the things he loved while reunited with all of his favorite things and dearest of family/friends that preceded him in death.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father, and brother-in-law (Gary Green). He is survived by his wife, Donna, of Billings; daughter Kelly Metcalf, of Billings; stepson Joe Riley, of California; brother Bernard, of Miles City; sisters Beverly (late Gary) Green, of Volborg, Helen (Melvin) Green, of Cohagen, Carol Lyn Fellows, of California, and Marcella (James) Correa, of California; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the very special neighbor friends (the Hofer family, the Holmen family, the Preller family and Mick Weist) in Miles City who looked after and assisted Robert over the past few years. They also extend their sincere appreciation to all of the staff at Morning Star Senior Living, Rocky Mountain Hospice, SYNERGY HomeCare, and St. Vincent Healthcare for assistance in his end-of-life care. You are all so appreciated and such a blessing!
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 23, with the family receiving friends from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Private family interment will be at a later date in the family plot in Bridger. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com. Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Special K Ranch.