Cliff Dolatta, 99

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, long-time Prairie County cowboy, Cliff Dolatta, passed away at the Friendship Villa at the age of 99.

Cliff was born May 26, 1919, to Raymond J. and Elsie Dolatta in Terry; he joined older brothers Adrian (Scorio) and Raymond H. His younger sister Lillie was born nine years later, and the family settled into life on the ranch twelve miles north of Terry.

Cliff lived all his 99 years in Prairie County and was forever proud to call that his home. He married Gene Ross on October 5, 1947, and together they took over the ranch where he spent his childhood. They raised three children Nancy (Butch) Howard, Robert (Cathie) Dolatta, and Paula (Dennis) Bedosky. In addition to the many hours he dedicated to their ranch, in his early married years to help make ends meet, Cliff also mined coal, sheared sheep, worked at the Miles City Sales Yard and was a heavy equipment operator. Cliff was a charter member of the Terry Roping Club and when not working, could often be found at one of their events or roping at a neighbor’s branding. He also enjoyed the time he spent in the Bob Marshall Wilderness with good friends both packing in and guiding.

In 1975, Cliff and Gene retired from ranch life and moved to town where he bought the dray (freight) business and went to work for Buffalo Rapids. He also worked for the Prairie County Road Department and could be counted on to share a story or two about plowing snow during the winters of 1977-78 and 1978-79, two of the snowiest and most memorable winters on record. Cliff and Gene enjoyed many Montana fishing trips in their motor home and spent one winter in it in Arizona. Their most memorable vacation was an extended trip traveling across the country to Virginia, stopping to visit family and friends along the way. For a country boy born and raised in Prairie County, this was the trip of a lifetime! For the 10 years after Gene’s passing, Cliff was proud to be able to live independently at his home in Terry. He enjoyed having visitors and could reminisce for hours about the old times and had a memory for dates and names that amazed many of his visitors. In fact, he became a bit of a Prairie County historian in his later years, sharing stories from the past century.

Cliff is survived by his three children; six grandchildren Wade (Bobbi) George, Dean (Kim) Dolatta, Cami (John) Graham, Tisha (Tyler) Larsen, Todd (Tia) Bedosky and Becky (Jeremy) Hart and nine great-grandchildren Jake and Garrett George, Raelynn Dolatta, Tyann and Trey Graham, Shellbie and Kenan Larsen, and Grant and Lexi Hart. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, brothers, and sister.

Funeral Services for Cliff were held on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Terry, Montana. Graveside services followed at the Prairie County Cemetery. A luncheon will be held at The Evelyn Cameron Heritage Center following the graveside. Should friends desire, memorials may be made to a local charity of one’s choice.

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