LAME DEER — Thomas "Tuck" Small Jr., 90 years old, of Lame Deer, made his journey to the cow camp in heaven on Jan. 25, 2012, at the Eastern Montana Veterans Home in Glendive, with his beloved wife of 64 years, Beatrice Seminole Small, at his side.
"Tuck," Mo'ohta'ena'hkohe (Black Bear) was born Dec. 8, 1921, on the family ranch in Dry Creek, near Kirby, to Thomas Small Sr. and Josephine Rondeau. His younger years were spent on the family ranch with his nine brothers and three sisters. Tuck received his education at the Busby Boarding School located in Busby. At 21 years of age, Tuck enlisted in the U.S. Army attending basic training in Ft. Lewis, Wash., then transferred to Bouse, Ariz. for tank training. He served as an infantryman in the European Campaign, during World War II. He was honorably discharged Dec. 3, 1945.
After returning from the war, he met Beatrice Seminole; soon after, they were married in March of 1948. To this union they had five children, Fred (Myrna), Linda, Vernon (Theresa), Jeanette, and Dean (Carrie). In the spring of 1956, they settled on South Fork Creek, Lame Deer, where they entered the cattle business. Tuck's happiest moments were riding among his cattle on his favorite horse Ol' Brown (aka dog meat). After a long and successful career in the cattle business he decided it was time to retire from cowboyin'. He was 88 years old when he made his last ride from the ranch pasture to Cook Creek Basin trailing 700 yearlings. He was a very knowledgeable rancher and his friend Hugh Jones remarked one time, "Tuck Small could tell you if a cow had licked salt that day."
Tuck was preceded in death by brothers Victor Sr., Ed, Max, Ralph, Ivan Sr., and sisters Josephine, Hazel and Vera Sue.
He is survived by his wife, children and brothers Horace Sr., Melvin Sr., Clinton and Johnny Small and his faithful steed, Ol' Brown (amazing 32 years old). Grandchildren include Gene, Mellanie, Justin, Colt, Dutch, Robert, Kayla, Clint, Tiff, Eli, Blaine, Cheyenne, Babes, Sissy, and Tayler, and 14 great-grandchildren who all loved their great-grandpa dearly.
Wake services will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Forsyth is assisting with these arrangements. Condolences may be left online by visiting www.stevensonandsons.com.