Richard Dewey Hjort, Billings, passed away at home on Feb. 27, 2002. A gathering of friends will take place at Smith's Funeral Home, 120 N. 26th St., between 7 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, and the funeral will be held at the Medicine Lake Union Congregational Church (UCC) at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.

Richard was born at the farm near Medicine Lake on April 11, 1928, to Dewey and Alice Hjort. Howard, Douglas and Judith Ann subsequently joined the family. Richard married Violet McGraw, his partner in life, on June 20, 1979.

Richard performed a leadership role at the local and state levels in the Future Farmers of America before graduating from Medicine Lake High School in 1946. He farmed with his father before and after serving in the Army during 1953-55. He attended Montana State University for a time before moving to Billings to begin a career as truck driver/owner. When Dewey and Alice retired from farming in 1962, Richard and Douglas operated the farm properties until 1969.

During his time in Medicine Lake, Richard was a member of the Board of the UCC and the building committee as well as the Medicine Lake Oil Co. Board. He enjoyed having the opportunity to manage the Medicine Lake baseball and all-star teams.

Richard returned to Billings in 1969 and soon returned to his former occupation as a tractor-trailer operator. He and Vi bought their own rig in 1979 and lived in it more than in their house over the next 20 years, hauling food to and from California essentially every week.

His wife Vi; her sons and their spouses, Rex and Elaine, John and Barbara, David and Tammy, and their children; as well as his brothers Howard and Douglas, their children and their wives, Marinetta and Joyce; and his stepmother Annabelle, survive Richard. Richard treasured his five McGraw grandchildren, Angie, John Jr., Rex Jr., Bobby and Julie Ann. He was especially close to his granddaughter Julie as they joined hands in their fights for life over the last five years.

His parents, Dewey and Alice, and his sister Judy preceded Richard in death.

Memorials to Big Sky Hospice, PO Box, 35033, Billings, or the Union Congregational Church in Medicine Lake, MT, or the charity of choice.

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