COLUMBUS — April 13, 2011, marked the end of an era. The last surviving child born to George and Mary Matovich has left us. On Feb. 18, 1921, in Mecaha, Mont., on the Missouri Breaks, David Matovich, seventh of 10 children, was born. Marcus, Anna, Agnes, John, Philip, Martin came before; Paul, Mary and George followed. Though he would say that he wasn't a true cowboy, in his early years he spent a lot of time in the saddle. He joined his father, brothers and neighbors in many cattle drives.
The family moved to Columbus in 1937, when their ranch was to be flooded by the Fort Peck Reservoir project. During his high school years at Columbus, he was part of the 1939 state football championship team. In track, he earned the name of "Iron Man Dave."
David served in the China-India-Burma Theater during World War II and was a life member of American Legion Post 34 and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He married Thora Stene on May 20, 1950. Three kids were born to that union: Steven (Lisa), Judy (Tom Cowan) and Carol (Ric Hanson); grandkids: Cassi and Scott Cowan and girlfriend Brenna, Megan Matovich, Jenny (Martin Cheff), Nicola Perrigo, Kimberly Canoy. He also got to spend some time with first great-granddaughter, Annabelle Cheff.
David ranched with his brother George on the home place where the Stillwater flows into the Yellowstone. He served 18 years as Stillwater County Commissioner and later Stillwater County Road Boss. He also served a term with the Montana Aeronautics Board and was a past Chairman of the Columbus Airport Board.
After retiring, he worked for his sister, Agnes, at Git's Conoco and for his nephews, Ron and Gary Woltermann, at the 307 Pour House. He thought the world of his family and friends, and had a special place in his heart for all of his nieces and nephews, his kids, and grandkids. David was preceded in death by his granddaughters, Julie and Laura Hanson.
Cremation has taken place. Memorial graveside service with military honors will be 2 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Mountain View Cemetery, Columbus. Smith Funeral Chapel-Laurel & Columbus is in charge of arrangements. Memorials to charity of choice.