Richard Franklin Damstrom
June 28, 2023
Richard Franklin Damstrom passed away on Sunday, June 18, 2023, at the age of 88. He died peacefully with his loving wife Lois by his side.
A memorial service will be at St Paul Lutheran Church in Missoula, Mont., at 1 p.m., Thursday July 20, with a reception to follow.
The eldest son of Richard T. and Sarah Damstrom, Richard was born in Lyford, Texas, on Nov. 24, 1934. He grew up with his brothers, Walden and Clifford, on the family farm just outside of Lyford. As a teenager he worked on farms and in cotton gins in southeast Texas. He graduated from high school in three years and attended Texas Lutheran College. He sang in the Men's Chorus which traveled to competitions as far away as Minnesota.
He came to northeast Montana while working for a land surveying company. At the age of 19 in 1954 he "hired on" with the Great Northern Railroad. He worked for the Great Northern / Burlington Northern Railroad beginning as a brakeman in Havre, Mont., continuing as a brakeman/conductor in Glasgow, Mont., until his retirement in 1996. He was extremely proud to be a railroader and union member, serving a couple of terms as representative for the local union.
On May 1st, 1973, Richard married Lois M. Bergstrom. Rich and Lois made their home in Glasgow where they resided until March of 2021. In Glasgow Rich was an active member of the Sons of Norway, Elks Lodge, Tuesday bowling league and Scottie Booster Club.
Rich dearly loved all his children. His four children from his first marriage - Debi Friede (Tom), Leslie Damstrom (Jim Ragan), Robert Damstrom (Roxanne) and Kelly Brenden (Dave). And Lois's five children - Rick Mortimer, Rob Mortimer (Sheila), Randy Mortimer, Ryan Mortimer (Jill) and Lori Downing (Ben).
Lois and Rich enjoyed almost 27 years of retired life. They spent most of their retirement as snowbirds traveling south to Texas and in later years to Arizona. They enjoyed square dancing, attending lutefisk dinners and spending time with numerous old friends and making countless new ones during those trips south.
Rich enjoyed seeing and visiting his large family which included 20 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson, born just a few weeks ago.
Richard went by many names during his life – Richard, Rich, Franklin, Poncho, Dad, Pops, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa but one that was important throughout his life was child of God. He was a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church, regularly attending worship and singing in church choirs.
Richard was a proud American of Swedish ancestry with the gift of gab. He loved getting to know people and their life stories. He brought love and joy to so many lives and will be greatly missed.