On August 8, a long-time cowboy, Cliff Dolatta, passed away at Friendship Villa at the age of 99.
Cliff was born May 26, 1919 to Raymond J. and Elsie Dolatta in Terry. Cliff liked to tell that he was born at a midwife house 2 houses down from where he eventually made his home in town. He was the third son after Adrian (Scorio), and Raymond H. with a sister, Lillie, arriving 9 years later.
He spent all of his 99 years calling Prairie County home. As a young man, Cliff worked numerous jobs including: herding horses for CBC, breaking horses and working for various ranchers, working at the elevator, trucking grain and cattle, and delivering block ice in town.
He married Gene Ross on October 5, 1947 and took over the ranch he was raised on. They had 3 children: Nancy (Butch) Howard, Robert (Cathie) Dolatta, and Paula (Dennis) Bedosky. In his early married years, he mined coal, moved dirt with heavy equipment, sheared sheep, and worked at the Miles City Sales Yard along with ranch work. Cliff particularly enjoyed roping and roped at many brandings and also liked to hunt and pack in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Cliff and Gene moved into the town of Terry, retiring from ranching in 1975. He bought the dray (freight) business and went to work at Buffalo Rapids Irrigation Project doing ditch maintenance. After a few years, he worked for the Prairie County Road Department. Some of his greatest stories were of plowing snow during the winters of 1977/1978 and 1978/1979.
Cliff and Gene enjoyed many Montana fishing trips in their motor home and spent one winter in it in Arizona. They also took an extended vacation traveling as far East as Virginia visiting family and friends along the way. This was a big trip for a country boy! After the loss of his wife in June 2008, Cliff lived independently at his home in Terry for as long as he could. Nearly getting to celebrate his 99th birthday there. He enjoyed having visitors come by the house and getting to reminisce about old times in great detail and was able to recall names or dates.
Cliff is survived by his 3 children, 6 grandchildren: Wade (Bobbi) George, Dean (Kim) Dolatta, Cami (John) Graham, Tisha (Tyler) Larsen, Todd (Tia) Bedosky and Becky (Jeremy) Hart and 9 great-grandchildren: Jake & Garrett George, Tyann and Trey Graham, Raelynn Dolatta, Shellbie & Kenan Larsen & Grant and Lexi Hart. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, brothers, and sister.
Memorial services will be held on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Terry. Interment will follow in the Prairie County Cemetery in Terry. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made to a local charity of one’s choice.