Russell R. Pepper: 1941-2017 |

Russell R. Pepper: 1941-2017

Russell R. Pepper, 75, of Simms, Montana, passed away at home in the loving arms of his family on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 of natural causes. Russell was born to Warren and Irene (Walton) Pepper in Livingston, Montana on February 26, 1941. Russell was raised on the family ranch in Wilsall with his sister Lynn and brother Joe, until Russell left home to pursue his education in Bozeman at the Montana State University. To put himself through college, he worked hard as a racehorse trainer. The fruits of his labor allowed him to earn and receive a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from MSU. He also worked hard to earn the attention of Barbara Dear from Simms, Montana. On December 19, 1964, the two were married on Barbara’s family ranch in Simms.

Russell continued his career with race horses throughout the early years of his marriage to Barbara. The young couple became respected in farm and ranch circles as hard working members of their community. Russell added to his expertise by working as a field man for both the Record Stockman and Western Livestock Journal, then becoming the Co-Owner/Operator of Birdtail Ranch Angus and Treasure Bull Test. Although his life’s work may be summarized in brief sentences, anyone who knew Russell knew him to be a hard-working man who spoke his mind, a man whose expertise was sought after, a man who would succeed and did.

Being a member of ranch life in Montana goes hand-in-hand with service. Russell exemplified this truth by serving his country in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Russell never forgot the meaning of service and served his local community in a number of capacities. He was a Past President of the Montana Quarter Horse Association, Past President of the Montana Angus Association, State of Montana Horse Racing Steward, Montana State Fair Advisory Board Member (two terms) and a longtime member of the American Quarter Horse Association and the American Angus Association. Russell held each one of these positions with pride and his impact will long be remembered.

Throughout his life, Russell was drawn to any type of horse racing. He loved showing cattle and horses. He was an avid Denver Bronco football fan. He was a beloved husband and father. He was a great friend to many. He spoke his mind. He shared his knowledge. He was quick to lend a hand. From all this, Russell leaves a legacy not many could fill. He will be greatly missed, but always remembered.

Russell was preceded in death by his father, Warren Pepper; mother, Irene Pepper; sister, Lynn Toresdahl; and brother, Joe Pepper.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara Pepper of Simms, Montana; daughter, Jamie Wood (Jeff) of Simms, Montana; sister in law, Dee Dee Rains of Simms, Montana; along with several nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm at the Simms, Montana, Lions Hall.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to the Lion’s Hall or the Volunteer Fire Department, both of Simms, Montana.

Condolences to the family may be shared at F

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