Celebrating the life of John 'Jack' Bernard Plaggemeyer
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Obituary for John 'Jack' Bernard Plaggemeyer
John Bernard Plaggemeyer, known as "Jack" to family and friends passed away peacefully February 25, 2015. He was a remarkable spouse, parent, mentor, and teacher and will be missed by family, friends, students, and colleagues. Jack was born on August 12, 1947, the eldest son of John and Ida Plaggemeyer. Jack grew up on the family ranch at the foothills of the Crazy Mountains. Jack was an avid storyteller, and enjoyed sharing his experiences of attending country school and ranching with younger generations. Jack loved growing up in the country and felt very lucky to have brothers and sisters, who were his constant friends and companions. One of Jack's fondest memories of his father, John, was of children from neighboring families coming to the ranch to learn to operate farming equipment, since John was likely to let anyone drive farm equipment. While Jack did not support youth driving in the same way, he was an equally compassionate mentor who loved teaching youth about the prairie. Jack's children all learned about native plant species early in life, as Jack felt it was important to respect and care for nature. Jack treasured the Crazy Mountains and spent lots of time studying plants and animals of the area. On June 3, 1972, Jack married Shannon Ronning, also of Big Timber. Jack served as a member of the Montana National Guard, earned his bachelor's degree in range management, and ranched near the Crazy Mountains. Jack believed hard work was important and frequently night calved for other ranchers in addition to his own ranching. Jack loved his time ranching, but found his true calling in teaching. Jack had a strong belief in the importance of education and was happiest when he was engaged in teaching or learning. He returned to college in mid-life and loved to visit with different generations of family members who were also attending college. Jack was proud of how education broadened the opportunity for his family and he often spoke of the interests and work of his siblings, Lorayne, Mary, Louis, Bert and Ted. Jack's family was always first in his heart, and his gentle and caring nature was a silent support for many of his immediate and extended family members. Jack also encouraged his children to follow academic pursuits that fit their own interests, and Josh, Sara, Karen, and Leah have each found careers where knowledge and learning remain important. Jack was greatly interested in the health of ecosystems and specialized in grasslands while earning his Ph.D. at Montana State University. In recent years, Jack served as a professor in the science department at Little Big Horn College, located at Crow Agency. While his work as a collegiate professor began later in life, he was truly inspired by his students and found great joy in teaching ecology, statistics, and environmental science. Around the college he was known as Dr. Jack, and was appreciated for his expertise as well as his genuine interest in helping his students be successful. He was adopted into the Pegan clan because of his contributions at Little Big Horn College, which he considered a great honor. Jack enjoyed many hobbies, especially those that brought him close to nature. As a young man he worked for the Forest Service and spent his free time flying a single-engine plane. As his children were growing up, Jack taught them numerous sports and outdoor activities. Jack loved watching baseball, from little league to professional teams and rarely missed watching a broadcasted baseball game. Jack also enjoyed statistics work and assisted many graduate students on data analysis. Jack is survived by his wife of 42 years, Shannon, five siblings, Lorayne (Jim) Stermitz, Mary (Cal) Sarver, Louis (Kim) Plaggemeyer, Bert (Libby) Plaggemeyer, and Ted (Sandy) Plaggemeyer, and numerous nieces and nephews, as well as by his four children, Josh Plaggemeyer of Bozeman, Sara Plaggemeyer of Big Timber, Karen (Darin) Toavs of Williston, ND, and Leah (Bob) Samuelson of Billings. Jack also delighted in having five grandchildren: Kierra Plaggemeyer, Clayton and Blake Toavs, and Bryce and Brody Jack Samuelson. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ida Plaggemeyer.
2:00 P.M. Tuesday March 3, 2015
Big Timber Lutheran Church
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