On the night of December 6, 2020, Starr passed away in Rosebud, MT. He was 65 years old.
John Starr Plympton was born in Rapid City, South Dakota on March 19, 1955 to Thomas John Plympton and Billie Hoke Caldwell Plympton; the youngest of three children.
Starr’s childhood was spent in Philip, SD until 1959 when the family moved to the Bill Locke place on the Yellowstone River. He said living on the 650 section ranch was a fairytale. In 1960 he moved to the Barley place on Sand Creek and lived there until he graduated in 1973 from Rosebud High. Starr was born with God-given talent and natural athleticism. He excelled at anything he tried; from calf roping, team roping, track, and basketball, Starr was the best. In high school he was the state champion team roper and took runner-up in the calf roping and excelled during basketball career.
After high school, Starr went to Arizona and worked on John Wayne’s feedlot taking care of his horse. Rumor has it he might have taken that said horse out for an unsupervised spin or two… He moved back to Rosebud and was hired on as a beekeeper for Simpson Apiaries. It is there that he met and married Ellen Marie Condotta on January 15, 1983. Together they had two children; John Thomas & Katherine (Katie) Ellen. After the birth of John, they moved to Laramie and Starr found himself logging and, in true “Starr- fashion,” he excelled. He continued logging in Laramie at the Rob Roy Reservoir and throughout the forest in Custer, South Dakota before moving back to Rosebud and welcoming Katie.
Starr had a true obsession with trapping. It was a passion that consumed him. Understanding the ways of a coyote, was his life’s work. He spent countless hours simply observing them. It might be said that “Starr Plympton killed more coyotes than Parvo.” He worked as a county trapper until 2000 and then continued as a ranch hand and fur trapper until his death. Aside from cowboying, hunting, and trapping, Starr enjoyed gardening and growing enough for everyone. He had a strong faith in God and found comfort reading his bible. He was recently baptized in the reservoir on the Fitzgerald Place, up Horse Creek. He was a kind and gentle man who loved horses and his two faithful companions Frank (deceased) and Junior.
He was truly, one-of-a-kind. Starr leaves behind a legacy of stories and laughs as one of the “last true cowboys.” He was a natural cowboy; coffee, cigarette and rope in hand, pistol on hip and gutting a deer with a pocket knife. He was always willing to help and was liked by everyone. Those that knew Starr said he was quick-witted, funny and the first to give you his last $5 or the shirt off his back. His humble personality and calm demeanor attracted many. Starr also battled many demons and was at times, his own worst enemy. There is comfort in knowing that he is free of those battles.
Starr Plympton was preceded in death by: his parents; Tom and Billie, nephews; Tucker Plympton and Larry Ross, faithful companion “Frank” and many close friends.
Starr is survived by: his son John Swenson of Miles City; daughter Katie (JR) Lund of Winnett; four grandchildren; brother, Rocky (Carol) Plympton of Rosebud; sister, Justine Plympton of Cayucos, CA; niece, Toni and nephews, Ryan, Forest and Lincoln, and his loyal pal “Junior,” as well as many friends that he considered his family.
A very sincere and special thank you to the Rosebud Community and those that were always there for Starr. The Buck Family, Keith (Brenda) Stabelfeldt, Rocky (Carol), Brian Schwend & Jesse Hahne, you meant more to him than words can describe.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Forsyth, MT with a luncheon to immediately follow. Private family inurnment will be held in the Rosebud Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.