Robert 'Gary' Ryti

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Robert 'Gary' Ryti

Robert “Gary” Ryti was born to Robert Rudolph Ryti and Phoebe Lantto Ryti in Wadena, Minnesota on January 15, 1938. He joined five older siblings: Vi, Ardis, Jane, Roger, and Lynn. Gary was forever proud of his Finnish heritage and never failed to mention his SISU roots. Gary felt fortunate to grow up in Wadena, participating in all sporting activities as well as choir. After graduating high school in 1956, he found his way to St. Cloud State where he worked a variety of jobs while earning a degree in Education.

Shortly after his graduation from St. Cloud State, he was hired to teach junior high math and science in Helena, Montana. (He drove his 1939 Ford to get there.) In 1963, a new elementary teacher caught his eye. Gary and Myrna Brubaker were married in 1963. Their first purchase was a tandem bike, which served as transportation and recreation for a number of years.

1967 was a busy year for Gary. He found himself back in school at MSU earning his master’s degree in school administration and he became a father to Marni Lyn. With degree in hand, Gary and his family moved to Buffalo, Wyoming where he was hired as the principal of the elementary/middle school. (Gary knew every student’s name after the first week. There were over 400 students. This ability to recall names followed him throughout his life.) Kalli Rae joined the family during the family’s stay in Buffalo. Helena called the family back in 1970 where Gary accepted an administrative job at Bryant, Lincoln and was the first principal at the Four Georgians School. What great years these were. During his two months off during the summer, Gary managed a cherry orchard on Flathead Lake where the Ryti family created many lasting memories. 1979 was a big change for the Rytis. They moved to Terry where they joined the family-owned State Bank of Terry. Gary loved the bank and exploring the Yellowstone River/Badlands of Eastern Montana. It was a perfect fit for a fellow who loved the banking business, fishing, hunting, and simply exploring the outdoors. His Springer Spaniels were well suited to flush and retrieve the many birds he shot.

After selling the State Bank of Terry, Gary planned to retire. However, that wasn’t immediately in the cards. He became superintendent of the Terry School system from 2001-2003. Gary was a true cheerleader when it came to all sporting activities in Terry, especially those involving Marni and Kalli.

He was proud of his membership in many Masonic organizations including Blue Lodge, Royal Arch, and Shrine. Gary loved tools, cars, and boats. He refurbished a fishing boat he bought for $50, one he used for nearly 40 years. One of Gary’s true passions was woodworking. He created many beautiful pieces, many of which he gave to friends and family.

After retiring, Gary and Myrna moved to Bozeman, Montana. Gary passed away on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at his home in Bozeman, surrounded by his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Phoebe Ryti, and siblings, Aridis Felland, Vi Grover, and Roger Ryti. Also preceding him in death were his mother- and father-in-law, Albert and Ivy Brubaker.

He leaves behind his wife, Myrna Ryti, and daughters, Marni Cota (Ed) of Dana Point, CA and Kalli Ryti (Mike Bourret) of Bozeman, MT. He is also survived by grandsons, Kayl Cota, Grant Cota, and Cooper Bourret; his canine companion, Duke; sisters, Lynn Bloemendaal of Great Falls, MT and Jane Terra of Napa, CA; and brother-in-law, Kent (Jean) Brubaker of Missoula, MT.

Private family services will be held. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.