Donald Rieger 1945-2016
September 6, 2016
A funeral service for Donald "Don" Rieger, 71, of Ismay, Montana, will be 11 a.m., Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at the Plevna High School, Plevna, with Pastor Joe Noel and Dale Rath officiating. Burial will follow in Community Union Cemetery.
Family will receive friends from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Tuesday, September 6 at Stevenson Funeral Home, Baker.
Donald "Don" Rene Rieger, age 71, Ismay, Montana, was born August 28, 1945 to Edwin and Emilie (Singer) Rieger in Baker.
He grew up on the family ranch near Ismay – commonly referred to as "Riegerville." He attended Plevna Public School, graduating in 1963. After graduation, he attended Eastern Montana College in Billings. In December 1965, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served a tour in Vietnam as a microwave communication repairman and later retasked as a company clerk. Don was honorably discharged in 1967. After returning home, he attended Western College of Auctioneering in Billings. Along with two partners, he formed Northwest Auction Service. Auctioneering became a lifelong profession. He helped construct Baker Livestock and was employed as foreman and auctioneer. Don always had a passion for horses. He enjoyed competing in rodeos and horse racing, and in later years enjoyed being a spectator. He was a member of the Montana Rodeo Hall of Fame.
On June 20, 1970, Don married Eileen Buerkle. They resided in Baker until moving to their ranch south of Ismay in 1972. They were then blessed with three children – Lynn, Lisa, and Leighton. In 1989, he was elected Fallon County Commissioner and served for 24 years. During his time as commissioner, he served on multiple boards and committees across the state, including MACO, Joint Powers Trust, Mental Health and Human Services, and EBMS. Through his involvement, he made many lifelong friends. Don generously volunteered his time and talent to many organizations. He served locally on the Fair Board, Farmers Union Board, and was a brand inspector. He was a member of the American Legion Post, VFW, Plevna Senior Citizens, and the Plevna coffee group.
Family was very important to Don. He enjoyed family reunions, holidays at the lodge, and family get-togethers and vacations. For Don and Eileen's 40th anniversary, their children took them on an Alaskan cruise. He always said that was one of his most memorable trips. He was very proud of his grandchildren. One of the highlights of his day was watching out the front window, as the grandchildren tended to their animals, played basketball, rode bicycles, or anything else they happened to be doing. He often had them over for root beer floats. In retirement, Don and Eileen were able to spend much more time together.
Due to failing health, Don was no longer able to be as active as he would have liked. He passed away near the ranch on August 31, 2016. He is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Eileen; children Lynn (Albert) Paul, Jessica, Jenna, Jaeda, and Jordan of Ismay, Lisa Rieger of Ismay, and Leighton Rieger of Billings; brothers Ronnie Rieger of Manhattan, Tom (Jackie) Rieger of Billings, and Roy (Berdie) Rieger of Baker; sisters Sharon (Bill) Ware of Grapeview, Washington, Maralee (Bart) Burdick of Baker, and Tanya (Brad) Dorvall of Bridger; brother-in-law Alvin (Debbie) Buerkle of Big Timber; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Ed and Millie Rieger, and parents-in-law Art and Betty Buerkle.