Joe Widdicombe

August 12, 1934 - April 13, 2019
Thursday, May 16, 2019
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Joe was born on August 12, 1934 to Tilly and Bill Widdicombe in Big Timber. He was the third child and eventually had five brothers and one sister. He and his brothers spent a lot of time exploring, fishing and later hunting in the Big Timber and Harlowton areas. He played basketball in high school, joking that any other sport would interfere with his hunting.

Joe attended Montana State University for a short time. In his early twenties, he made two special purchases: a reloading press and a blue tick hound named ‘Two Dollars’. He became an expert reloader, developing an encyclopedic knowledge of both guns and ammunition. It was one of his favorite hobbies late into his life. He also raised hounds for many years, training them to hunt. He had many successful hunts of bears, bobcats, mountain lions and raccoons with his dogs. In addition, he hunted deer, elk, moose and almost anything else that would run. One special hunt ended with the capture of the huge grizzly displayed on the Montana Centennial train in 1989. He could tell stories of hunts in nearly every valley, ridge or hollow in south central or northwestern Montana.

Joe worked in the construction industry for 40 years. He took part in building the silos and the Yogo Inn in Lewistown. He moved the family to Libby while he worked on the Libby Dam. There the family stayed until the five daughters graduated from high school. After the completion of the dam, Joe went to work for Ramsey Construction based in Billings and Joe and Kaidi relocated to Laurel. Joe progressed from carpentry to become a superintendent of several trades. He worked on oil refineries in several states including Minnesota, Wyoming and North Dakota as well as in Montana. He was very organized and had an excellent work ethic. The company was purchased by his brother and Joe continued to work for Weltech until his retirement.

Joe had many interests. In addition to fishing, guns and hunting, he loved picking chokecherries to make syrup, jelly and bounce. He enjoyed the spring hunt for morel mushrooms and their preparation after the find. He liked to cook and was the chef for many family fish fries, after catching the main course himself. He went on several Alaska fishing trips with his brother and filled the freezer with all kinds. He looked forward to hunting camp each year, where he frequently cooked for everyone and the annual elk hunt was an event. Later on, he welcomed the elk that other people got for him.

Joe’s love of animals continued his entire life. Although he was a ‘dog’ person, he was also fond of cats and horses. He joined two brothers and two friends to start Deer Creek Thoroughbreds to breed and race horses. Much of his time was spent watching their training and organizing races in Montana, Arizona, California and Washington. He frequently drove them himself to races in Montana and Canada. There were many successes and photos in the winner’s circle. They also won the Yellowstone Downs in 2004.

Joe passed away on April 13, after a courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by brothers Charles (Jeannie) Widdicombe of Billings, Samuel (Nancy) Widdicombe of Harlowton, wife Kaidi and daughters Susan Lavold and Ranna (Widdicombe) McCauley of Big Timber, Charlotte (Lavold) Curran of Stuart, Florida, Kathy (Widdicombe) Banks and Keli (Widdicombe) Fogle of Twin Bridges, Montana. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, May 24 at the American Legion in Big Timber

Memorials in Joe’s name may be made to Hearts and Hands Hospice, Box 1337, Big Timber, MT 59011.

To leave condolences for the family, please visit www.stenbergfuneralhome.com.

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