Celebrating the life of Henry James Valgamore
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Henry James Valgamore of Springdale, MT, passed away peacefully at his home Saturday morning, October 7th, 2023, with his wife, Lorraine, and daughters, Karen and Jamie at his side. Henry was passionate about ranching life and leaves a legacy of hard work, and love of the land, livestock, and wildlife.
Henry was born in Big Timber on August 10, 1929, to Cecil and Eva (Bourne) Valgamore. His family lived northeast of Melville not far from his uncles’ and grandmother’s homestead before moving to Glaston Flats. He loved the outdoors and ranch life, so continued to ride his bike 13 miles from Big Timber to Glaston on the weekends after the family moved into town. The spring of his senior year in high school, Henry was hired to ride horseback in an endurance race from Sheridan, WY, to Billings, MT. Training included riding horseback 15 miles after school each night, a labor of love given Henry’s love of horses.
Henry graduated from Sweet Grass High School in 1948. He was drafted into the Army in 1951 where he spent six months on the front line during the Korean Conflict. He was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded, then became a Supply Sergeant in Japan to complete his tour of duty. Upon returning home, Henry married Lorraine (Laubach) in1953. Four girls blessed their union; Debra, twins Sharon and Karen, and Jamie. He and Lorraine celebrated 70 years of marriage in August this year.
Henry worked various ranch jobs before taking a job as a core driller for the State of Montana Highway Department, but held fast to his dream of owning his own ranch and cattle. He was able to lease land while working for the Highway, eventually purchasing their Rock House Ranch along the Yellowstone River east of Springdale and building a herd of Black Angus cattle. Henry was especially proud of raising and selling yearling bulls, and maintaining quality, gentle cattle. He and Lorraine were inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2016.
Henry was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was especially proud to be able to take his 11 year old grandson, Corby, on the cattle-drive to commemorate Montana’s centennial in 1989. Many of his favorite days were family gatherings at the ranch to brand, ride horse and check cattle, put up hay, or just enjoy a card game with kids and grandkids.
Henry is survived by his wife, Lorraine, daughters Karen Ward (Lynn) and Jamie Valgamore; grandchildren Lyndee Kuehn (Kris), Corby Ward (Alison), Meggan Cirrincione (Brandon), Holly Chappell, Sarah Schick (Sam), Brian Graybeal (Jessica), and Bradley Graybeal; great-grandchildren Kaylyn and Dylan Kuehn; Trey (Anabelle), Henry Cole, and Carter Ward; Emmitt and Hadley Cirrincione; Camden and Kaden Fenton; Ryder, Charlotte, and Sebastian Schick. He is preceded in death by his parents, daughters Debbie Graybeal and Sharon Gregorich, brother Dale Valgamore, and sister Lois Montijo.
As per Henry’s wishes, a private family gathering will be held to spread his ashes on the land he loved.
To leave condolences for the family, please visit www.stenbergfuneralhome.com
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