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Bruce MacIntyre, a longtime Billings businessman and community booster, passed away Tuesday at the age of 81.

Bruce MacIntyre grew up working at his father's car dealership in the early 1940s and '50s — starting off pumping gas and checking tires, and working up to mechanical work. 

"It was not selling gasoline. You sold service," he said in 2014. "You get the grease underneath your fingernails and you never ever get rid of it."

He never got service out from under his fingernails either, whether it was at the family car dealership, business advocacy or as a school trustee. 

MacIntyre died Tuesday night at age 81, leaving behind a strong imprint on the Billings community and a reputation as a measured, well-spoken advocate who preferred to listen in an age of talkers. 

"Words cannot describe his magnificent heart, generosity, humble leadership style and the impact he had as a mentor and friend to so many," said Billings Chamber of Commerce President John Brewer in a statement. 

Billings based

The MacIntyre family had deep roots in Billings; Angus MacIntyre, Bruce's grandfather, worked several sales jobs, including one for Heinz 57 that had him making horse-and-buggy trips to Roundup. 

Angus MacIntyre started MacIntyre Motors in 1928, weathering the Great Depression. The business passed to Bruce's father, and Bruce began working there as a kid. 

"In a good Catholic family, the oldest son came into the business, and the second son became a priest," he said in 2014. 

MacIntyre would go on to take over the business after attending the University of Notre Dame, but found that his preferences didn't keep pace with the times; he didn't like the cars he was selling, and his people-focused style was a fading trend. 

He sold the business in 1983. 

“The path was chosen for him," said MacIntyre's daughter, Katie Seibel. "He did a very good job, but his passion was about the family and honoring that. ... He honored the MacIntyre name no matter what he did. I think that’s more his passion than any of the jobs, is just honoring that name and honoring Billings.”

MacIntyre founded a business consulting firm and worked as the General Manager at the Briarwood County Club. He also worked at City Vineyard after his "first retirement."

"He was never going to retire," Seibel said, then corrected herself — "he'd retire, but he wasn't going to stay retired."

MacIntyre joined the Chamber of Commerce in 2006, working as the government affairs director until his retirement in 2017. That year he joined the SD2 school board as a trustee.

He had already been active on district committees and in advocacy for bond and levy passage. 

"He just had a love for the community and a passion for education," said SD2 board chairwoman Greta Besch Moen, the board's longest serving trustee. "When I came on the board, he was already someone that had a presence with the district."

In both education and government policy, MacIntyre was known for a measured, calm style. 

Seibel compared it to MacIntyre's "even keel" mother, who kept five children in line with apparent ease. 

"Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing, and just sit back and listen," MacIntyre said in 2014. "We all feel like we gotta talk. You don't learn when you're talking. You learn when you're listening."

That didn't mean he didn't believe in action. Seibel recalled a frequent line that MacIntyre used.

“He always would say that you can’t complain about it if you’re not willing to vote ... that you can't complain if you're not willing to try to change things."

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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Billings Gazette.