Ronald (Ronnie) Melvin Reed, 81, passed away Jan. 2, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. Ronnie was born to Melvin B. Reed and Marcella McFarland Reed in Miles City on April 29, 1937. The family moved to Billings where he spent the rest of his life. On July 22, 1961, he married, Judith (Judy) Irene Redding and had a son Shawn B. Reed and daughter Kellie K. Reed. Ronnie is survived by his wife, son and daughter of Phoenix, Arizona and was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers Lanny B. and Rudolph H. Reed.
During his early life, Ronnie was involved in all things livestock and cowboy. He and his brother Rudy would ride their ponies from daylight to dusk in the open fields near the fairgrounds. When the circus came to town, they helped them set up in hopes of getting in for free. Their Dad sent them to Kuchera’s for boxing lessons, which came in handy in later years.
In May 1961 Ronnie started his 30-year career with the State of Montana - Board of Livestock as a Brand Inspector then sworn Investigator. He knew his areas well, the folks and their brands, and gained the trust and confidence of the Sheriff offices.
Ronnie’s love for horse racing started back in the early '60s. For 50 plus years, he was involved with the racing industry in many capacities.
Ronnie was a founding member of Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame, along with Lyle Graves and other rodeo friends. A scholarship program was created for the boys and girls of Montana high school rodeo. His efforts in this endeavor, his passion, and donation of his time and wealth to the Hall of Fame were significant.
Ronnie was not one to sit back after retirement or even during his working days. He always had things to do and people to see. He worked on the filming of the movie ‘Little Big Man’ and was a Blue Blazer for the Chamber with his team and stage coach. Ronnie also helped Bill Bernhart at Bill’s Custom Saddle Shop for many years cleaning and repairing saddles.
Ronnie was a great, generous guy, always thinking about the needs of others ahead of himself. He loved his lap cat, Coco, and she already misses him. We love you Ronnie and miss you so much!
Services to be handled by Smith Downtown Funeral Chapel (Billings), 11 a.m., Friday Jan. 11th, interment to follow at Mountview Cemetery. Condolences may be shared at smithfuneralchapels.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame Scholarship Program or the charity of your choice.