Celebrating the life of Samuel R. 'Sam' Widdicombe
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Samuel R. Widdicombe, 82, of Harlowton, MT, passed away April 24, 2023, at home in the care of his loving family after a long illness. Sam was born in Big Timber, MT, to William “Bill” Widdicombe and Thekla Mathilda “Tillie” Mathes Widdicombe on August 15, 1940.
A child of the mountains and the plains, rivers and brooks, Sam grew up hunting, fishing, and wandering the wild and free areas around Big Timber. His immediate family of five brothers and one sister spent summers during the growing up years in Yellowstone Park, picking arnica, collecting arrowheads, fishing for their supper, and living a free untrammeled life. Sam loved the Boulder and Crazy Mountains and was able in his later years to spend time on the Twenty Acres where he and his dog Rowdie enjoyed each other’s company, raised cattle now and then, and did some dirt poor farming.
Sam with his family moved from Big Timber to Harlowton where he attended school until he entered the Army in 1959. After Basic at Fort Ord, CA, he spent the rest of his time in Germany, travelling extensively throughout Europe during his military years.
After separation from the Army, Sam returned to Harlowton where he met his wife Nancy E. Neighbor. They were married October 15, 1963, and would have celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary in October. Most of their married life was spent in Harlowton where they raised their five children: Kim, Mary, Judy, Sam, and Randy.
Sam worked several jobs during his lifetime until settling on the profession of Boilermaker, a career he took great pride in. He worked away from home and spent time on the building of the Colstrip Power Plant and on the refineries in Billings and Laurel. He made many good friends during those years “on the road.”
Retiring with ill health in the early 1990’s, he found ways to keep busy until the last couple of years. He enjoyed reclaiming old furniture, puttering in his garage, and driving out to the Twenty Acres. Sam especially liked talking Army and politics and wild youths with buddies Al and Nick Bornong.
Sam was preceded in death by his father and mother and brothers Bill, Jim, Joe, and Whick, sister Sheila, and grandson J.C. Widdicombe.
Sam is survived by his wife Nancy of the family home and their children: Kim (Jamie) Olson of Helena, Mary (John) Harrison of Missoula, Judy (Glenn) Ivory of Woodland Park, CO, Sam (Kathy) of Belgrade, and Randy Widdicombe of Missoula; grandchildren Corinne (Nick) Olson, Logan (Chelsea) Olson, Lexi, Jonathan, and Ian Harrison, Mackenzie and Colton Ivory, Maggie and Randi Widdicombe, and Don, Nick, Mariah, and Sergey Widdicombe; great-grandchildren Aspen and Beau Olson, and Aiden Henderson, brother Charles (Jeanne) Widdicombe of Billings, sisters-in-law Nadine Neighbor, Noreen Neighbor, and Diane Jones, and many nieces and nephews and cousins.
Our family thanks so many for Sam’s care through the past years: Wheatland Memorial Healthcare and the excellent staff; Wheatland County Ambulance and Wheatland County Sheriff’s Department; the VA Home Health Care Program which allowed Sam to receive care at home—especially Susie, Becky, and Chelsea; his personal musician and entertainer Wendy; and so many thanks to daughter Kim, who came and stayed, son Randy, and sister-in-law Diane Jones. Sam knew and appreciated each person who helped him stay at home—his last desire. Sam and Nancy’s five children and many grands made the trip “home” to see him during the last weeks of his life. He couldn’t make the “loop” so they all lovingly came to him.
Donations can be made in Sam’s memory to the Milwaukee Depot Museum, Box 25, Harlowton, MT 59036.
Thanks also to Stenberg Funeral Home of Big Timber, MT.
Sam’s Memorial Service will be at the Wheatland County Cemetery on August 12, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. with Military Rites, followed by a luncheon.
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Harlowton, MT 59036
Luncheon to follow