Clarence Frederick Phipps II
Rancher, logger, and life-long Reed Point resident Clarence Frederick Phipps II died Dec. 29, 2015. He was 56.
Born Feb. 25, 1959 to Roger and Ricky (Bourgnine) Phipps, Clarence and his sisters, Yvonne and Virginia, grew up splitting their time between the family ranch and their grandparents’ yellow house on Bridge Street under the indulgent care of Clarence Sr. and Minnie Phipps.
Clarence was a standout basketball player and possessed a keen mind for mathematics and accounting, but he chose ranching over college following graduation from Reed Point High School in 1977.
In June 1985, Clarence married Lynn Barthule and embraced her two daughters as his own. Through their 30-year marriage, Clarence and Lynn farmed and ranched 25 miles north of Reed Point on the high prairies of Stillwater County. In addition to cattle, sheep, and dry-land crops, the couple raised six children: Jennifer (Paul McCarter) Ries, Katherine Ries (Erik Arminger), Clarence III, Anna (Brannon) Cain, Lexi James Lacy, and Emma Phipps. Clarence’s family eventually grew to include five grandchildren: Gabrielle and Mason Cain, Rose McCarter, Jillian Robinette, and Tel Lacy.
Though family and heritage tied Clarence to the land, his heart was in the timber. From the age of 13, Clarence carried a chainsaw as though it were an extension of his body, hiking countless miles through the every mountain range in Yellowstone, Stillwater, Sweetgrass and Carbon Counties to fell and mill timber used in barns, corrals, and homes throughout the U.S.
Clarence was a man of integrity and honesty, and a faithful friend. He worked hard every day and led with quiet strength and common sense. Clarence was involved in many community organizations, including the Reed Point Jaycees, Reed Point Volunteer Fire Department, Beartooth Stock Association, Stillwater Woolgrowers Association, and served on the board of the Farmers Union Trading Company in Columbus as an officer for many years.
Following a multi-year struggle with the rare diseases Waldenstrom’s Lymphoma and AL amyloidosis, Clarence left life peacefully at dawn, his favorite time of day.
To remember Clarence is to remember fishing trips on the Missouri, elk hunting in knee-deep snow, Bachelor Days, pork roast and cherry pie. That mountain of a man had a soft spot for baby animals and little children.
Clarence was preceded in death by his grandparents, father Roger in 1977, sister Yvonne in 1980, sister Virginia in 2007, an infant daughter in 1991, and close friend Denny Holmgren in 1999.
Clarence is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, mother, and life-long friends in Reed Point, Columbus, and Big Timber.
Clarence’s life will be remembered and celebrated Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Reed Point High School gymnasium, 308 Central Ave. A reception will follow at the Waterhole Saloon, 209 Division St. A private interment ceremony will be held at a later date.
Memorials can be made to the Reed Point Volunteer Fire Department.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff of Billings Clinic, especially Lisa, Kris, and the caregivers of the cardiac unit.