Ag Industry Mourns the Loss of World Renowned Volunteer

by Andy Schwab

Martin Earle Stanley

On October 16, 2023, God called Martin (Marty) Earle Stanley home. He passed away at Canyon Creek Memory Care in Billings, Montana. He was the son of Orville and Harriet (Banister) Stanley born in Bismarck, North Dakota on April 3, 1953.

Marty grew up on the family stock farm at Kintyre, North Dakota, where they raised registered Shorthorn cattle, sheep and swine, dryland hay, grain, and corn. He was the oldest of four brothers and worked alongside his Dad and Uncle Alvin in all aspects of the farm. There was a rule that the last boy to get outside for chores had to stay in the house to help their mother. Marty rarely was the one to stay in the house. As a youth he participated in 4-H, cattle shows, FFA serving as a State Officer, and the American Junior Shorthorn Association. Upon graduation from Napoleon High School, Marty attended college at North Dakota State University in Fargo and was a member of Alpha Gamma Roe Fraternity, Saddle & Sirloin Club, Rodeo Club, and University 4-H. While attending school he worked at the University’s Beef and Sheep Barn. Roger Jacobs worked with Marty at the Beef Barn and said that chores started at 5:30 a.m. and Marty prided himself in always being the first at work, had the coffee on, and was mixing feed for the show cattle before anyone else showed up. He was on the University’s Junior and Senior Livestock Judging teams and participated in contest at the Chicago International where the team won the sheep judging division, Fort Worth Stock Show, Kansas City Royal, National Western Stock Show and others. Marty loved livestock judging and was always one of the top scorers on the team. Marty enjoyed fitting and showing cattle and loved his Shorthorns. In 1974 Marty was elected President of the American Junior Shorthorn Association. He served as the Manager of the Bison Stampede Intercollegiate Rodeo. Even with all the extra curriculum work and activities, Marty graduated in three and half years with a degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in animal nutrition. Upon graduation, he was asked by the Governor to be a Vo Ag Teacher due to a shortage of Ag Teachers. He taught Vo Ag at New Rockford, North Dakota for a year. He spent two years as the Agriculture Extension Agent for Benson County, Minnewaukan, North Dakota, where he enjoyed team roping with his good friend Alvin Nelson and others. He also had successful cattle fitting and showing business.

In 1979, Marty moved to Miles City, Montana, to work at the USDA Livestock and Range Research Station as a Research Assistant managing the feedlot, feedmill, and animal care/hospital. He managed the Station’s Line 1 Hereford Herd and produced the annual sale.

It was at the Station where Marty met his future bride, Kathryn Burkhart. They were married on August 16, 1980. They lived on the Station until November 1982. L.F. McCullom (Mac) hired him to manage his Scattered Oaks Ranch in Bleiblerville, Texas. Mac told Marty that he was authorized to borrow all the money he needed. He was also authorized to pay the loan back. Marty did just that, growing the ranch from a yearly budget of $250,000 to $2.5 million, always paying the loans back. He managed two European importations of seedstock working hand in hand with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the French government and going to France to hand select the cattle to be imported. Many foreign dignitaries were hosted by Marty at Scattered Oaks Ranch including the President of Finland, Princess Anne of Great Britian, and the Prime Minster and Agriculture Minster of Turkey. Marty and crew showed Scattered Oaks’ cattle from coast to coast and Canada, winning several prestigious shows. He served on the Board and as President of the American Salers Association during his tenure at Scattered Oaks. Marty was asked to judge the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, Australia, the 1987 National Junior Shorthorn Show, and many other state and national shows.

After Mac sold Scattered Oaks, the family returned to Montana, with a couple additions, son Matthew Adam born in 1983, and daughter Meghan Elizabeth joining the family in 1987. Marty worked for AgriBasic West Feeds and later was hired to manage the U.A.P. Seed Company. When he retired from the seed company, he began his fall adventure with the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks as a Hunting Access Technician. His territory extended from Pompeys Pillar, down to Hardin and back to Absarokee.

Marty stayed at home until January 2023, when he entered memory care. He joined Canyon Creek Memory Care in August. The family will be forever grateful to the staff at Canyon Creek for making Marty’s last months so wonderful. They not only took excellent care of Marty; they treated the entire family as part of theirs. Marty is survived by his wife Kathryn of 43 years, his son Matthew (Adri), daughter Meghan (Don). He is also survived by his brothers, Curt (Karla) their children Ross (Leah) and Mimi; brother Tom (Deb) and Mikaela (Dallas) and the many members of his beloved wife’s family who became his.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, and brother Orville John, and his father and mother-in-law, Bud & Mary.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to the following organizations: Animal Science Education Foundation through North Dakota State University, P.O. 5144, Fargo, ND 58102; North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, 250 Main Street, Medora, ND 58645; Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, Christy Stensland, Executive Director, 4946 Road 1064, Wolf Point, MT 59201; North Dakota FFA Foundation, 909 Basin Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58504, or a charity of your choice.

Funeral Services will be held on October 27, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., at Peace Lutheran Church, 1301 Avenue D, Billings, Montana. A reception will be held immediately following the service at Walkers, 2700 1st Avenue North, Billings.



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