Jan. 27, 1931 — Aug. 2, 2018
Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Nick Weppler

H. Nicholas “Nick” Weppler, 87, of Billings, Mont., and Sun City West, Ariz., passed away on Aug. 2, 2018.  Nick was born in Columbus, Mont., to George and Cleo Weppler on Jan. 27, 1931, and he was the older of their two sons.  He spent the majority of his life in Stillwater and Yellowstone Counties.  While growing up, Nick spent the school years living with his mother while she taught school in various communities in the Yellowstone and Stillwater valleys. In the summers, they would return to the family's cattle ranch in the Big Coulee, between Rapelje and Ryegate. 

Nick graduated from Columbus High School in 1949 and then joined the U.S. Army where he served stateside on both coasts during the Korean conflict.  After completing his Army service, Nick returned to Montana where he met and married Donna Marsh from nearby Rapelje.  From this union one son and three daughters were born.  They would later divorce. 

In 1980 Nick reacquainted himself with a friend from high school, Joan Richardson Horton and they married in November of the same year.  Nick and Joan enjoyed their lives together, each other's families, pot-luck dinners with friends at the Dean Community Center, and traveling the country in their fifth-wheel RV trailer.  Together they made homes in Twin Falls, Idaho; Billings, Absarokee, and Columbus, Montana; and Florence and Sun City West in Arizona. 

Nick was a quintessential Montana working cowboy. He could ride a green colt, rope and doctor a cow, and feed hay with a team of draft horses.  He also could weld, overhaul an engine, rewire a submersible pump, and frame a machine shed.  He worked for years at Parker Montana and Western Ranch Supply. In their retirement years, Nick and Joan owned and managed the Mountain Range RV Park in Columbus allowing them to summer in Montana and winter with friends in Arizona.  Several years ago, Nick was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and over those years, his health significantly deteriorated.  His final years have been spent in Arizona with Joan.  

Nick was preceded in death by his mother Cleo, his father George, and his brother Dan.  He is survived by his wife Joan, children, Max (Shelly) Weppler (Minot, N.D.), Marsha (Ralph) Duchsherer (Balfour, N.D.), Valerie (Jim) LaFrance (Billings, Mont.) and Keri (Mark Thompson) Weppler (Portland, Ore.),  Joan’s children John (Donna) Horton (Columbus, Mont.), Richard (Jamie) Horton (Sun City West, Ariz.), and Doug Horton (Billings, Mont.).  Together, Nick and Joan’s grandchildren include, Brock, Eric, Wade, Jeri, Laura, Tyler, Nikki, Ian, Grant, Marcia, Kelly, Stephen and Shelby and great-grandchildren, Grady, Hayden, Olivia, Madden, Preston, Stetson, Jordee, Gavyn, Justyce and Alexaz. 

Nick will be remembered for his love of family, his love for Montana, raising good working Australian cattle dogs, well-bred cattle, his devotion to 4-H and the county fair, traveling the U.S. with Joan his soul-mate, and lover of a good pinochle game. 

Rest in Peace.  We love you. 

A celebration of life will be held for Nick on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 11 a.m. at the Community Congregational Church in Absarokee, Mont.