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The Legacy of Charlene Rich

The Legacy of Charlene Rich

1/6/2018 7:47:00 AM/Categories: General News, Original, Today's Top 5

Montana lost a true champion for agriculture with the passing of Charlene Rich. A fearless advocate and friend to the industry, Charlene was a role model for so many and a pillar of influence for the rural way of life. Her class will never be matched.

From growing up on her family's ranch near Sand Springs to her successful careers which included: MSU Extension, reshaping the Montana Beef Council, her work with Northern Ag Network and being rancher. She lived and breathed Montana.

ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) may have taken Charlene from us here on Earth. But, she will live on through her legacy and those that she touched.

Northern Ag Networks Lane Nordlund shared a heartfelt message during the Noon Market Report Radio program after Charlene's passing.  Please listen or read the comments below. 



Details for a celebration of Charlene's life:

Funeral Service
11:00 a.m.
Friday January 12, 2018
First Presbyterian Church
13th Street W.
Billings, Montana 59101

Graveside Service
1:00 p.m.
Saturday January 13, 2018
Pioneer Cemetery
Jordan, Montana 59337

To share a message with Charlene's family please click on this link. 

Charlene Rich, age 66, of Richey formerly of Billings passed away on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at the Billings Clinic in Billings.

Charlene was born April 24th, 1951 in Jordan Montana to Charles and Pohney Rich.  She attended the Mosby and Calf Creek grade schools in Garfield County. Charlene graduated from Garfield County High School in 1968. She attended MSU Bozeman then transferred to Macomb Illinois living with her Aunt Kay and Uncle Jack Hill while she attended Western Illinois University. Graduating in 1972 with a BS.  Later she returned to MSU Bozeman graduating in 1986 with a MS in economics. She also did post graduate work at Cornell University in 1988. Charlene married John Garoutte while in Illinois. Together they had 2 sons Brandon and Jay. They later divorced. She taught junior high school in Keokuk Iowa from 1972-1981. She moved back to Lewistown Montana with family in 1981 and went to work with Fergus County Extension from 1983-1992. She started with the Montana Beef Council as Executive Director from 1996-2012. At this time, she met Larry Switzer who would later become her husband. Charlene and Larry married on May 11th, 2012. She left the Beef Council in 2012. Charlene continued her involvement in the Ag community with Northern Ag Network after leaving the Beef Council. She deeply enjoyed her positions at both the Beef Council and Northern Ag. She earned respect from people in the beef industry and maintains these relationships to this day.

Charlene was a member of the 4-H club in both Mosby and Sand Springs taking lambs and sewing. Later in life she starting showing cutting horses with daughter-in-law Cindy Garoutte. She acquired a love for driving horses in 2000 when she got her draft horse Mick. She drove  horses for many years around home and in numerous parades and competitions,  winning several awards.  She encouraged her grandchildren to share her love of horses with her.

Charlene had great respect for her father and they shared a special bond. She loved the ranch at Sand Springs, spending lots of time there with her kids and family.   She was also very grateful for Larry’s compassionate and loving care during her time of illness.  Charlene has left a lasting impression on our hearts and she will be deeply missed by all.

She is survived by her husband Larry Switzer of Richey, MT; her mother Pohney Rich of Lewistown, MT; son Brandon (Cindy) Garoutte, grandson Jace, of Columbus, MT; son Jay (Megan) Garoutte, granddaughters Carlynn and Loralee of Lewistown, MT; stepsons: Tate (Dawn) Switzer, grandsons Koen and Tegan of Richey, MT, Trey Switzer of Richey, MT; step daughter Kaci (Seth) Jansma, granddaughter Seeli Rae of Fromberg, MT; sister Bonnie Jessen and son Cruz of Scottsdale, AZ; brothers Alvin (Denise) Rich of Nye, MT and Kenny (Linda) Rich of Sand Springs, MT and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father Charles Rich.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 12, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 13th Street W., Billings, Montana.  Graveside services will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at the Pioneer Cemetery in Jordan.  Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Jordan is in charge of the arrangements.  Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting:  www.stevensonandsons.com.

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch or ALS Association.

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1 comments on article "The Legacy of Charlene Rich"

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Darlene Keefer

1/8/2018 9:27 AM

Thanking you for the agricultural inroads you blazed, lasting for years to come. Roll model person.ZoQm4

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