Clinton Lee Howery, 77, of Dillon, MT died June 4 at home with his extended family by his side. Clint was born on Oct 20, 1943 to Wayne and Kjestine Howery in Torrington, Wyoming. He grew up with his 5 siblings in LaGrange, WY, where he played basketball and rode bulls and broncs for his high school rodeo team. Clint later moved to Dillon, MT where he worked as a cowhand on various ranches and also for the BLM before starting his hog business. He raised four children, teaching them all about working on a ranch, raising hogs and horses, and how to be a good cowboy. He kept busy with team roping, keeping cows and horses, and generally cowboying. Clint loved leatherwork, making bridles and harnesses, along with custom chaps and other rodeo items. He had a deep love for animals, especially cats, and shared that love with his children and grandchildren. He loved spending time with his family, and adopted his three stepchildren later in life, to make sure they would always be part of his future. Clint is survived by his longtime companion, Sue Keough, his children David Howery of Cheyenne, WY; Terri (Don) Brantz of Cheyenne, WY; Steve (Belinda) Howery of Casper, WY, and Wade Howery of La Quinta, CA, along with 8 grandchildren, Adam (Jenn), Garrett, Gabrielle, Emily, Maddie, Ben, Lexi, and Peyton, and one great-grandson, Wyatt. He is also survived by his brothers Marvin (Dawn) Howery of Lexington, NE, Martin (Becky) Howery of Lingle, WY, and his sisters Elaine Howery and Eileen McKay of Highland, Indiana, along with numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Clint was preceded in death by his parents Wayne and Kjestine Howery, and his brother Clayton Howery. Throughout his battle with lung cancer, Clint fought bravely and quietly, never asking for help or a handout. His perfect day would begin with a smoke on the front porch looking over the prairie, include friends and family stopping by for a visit, and end with some kitty snuggles. At his request, no services will be held, and he wanted to remind us all to be kind to each other and to love our families. Clint’s family will remember and use his Clint-isms, including our favorites, “Busier than a one-eyed cat watching two mouse holes”, or “If I hugged her any tighter I’d be on the other side of her”. The picture of a man and a horse on the wall is faded, covered in a layer of cigarette ash and time. As he sits at the table, his once 6 foot 4 stature is smaller now, legs encased in blue jeans older than the rust covered horse trailer with grass grown into the wheel wells, the worn in aroma of decades from his hand-rolled cigarette smoke permeating the air. Beside the door hangs a rifle filled with rock salt, “to keep the coyotes away from the cats,” he explains. There are pill bottles lined up on the kitchen table, a reminder of the once strong, now fragile man before me. Underneath the years is the man he once was, a handsome, rugged man brimming with confidence some 30 years before. With one hip cocked and a hand nonchalantly placed on his horse he is the picturesque embodiment of everything I’ve ever imagined a cowboy to be. A Granddaughter's Tribute His faded tan cowboy hat hides the hair I have never seen and his callused hands might portray him as a rough man, yet inside him there are mine shafts you may stumble upon that lead to depths unknown. He reminds me of the mountains outside of his window. You can fancy yourself to take just a few steps from his house until you are in the midst of the Rockies. From the outside, they seem cold, hard, impassive, yet there is life and mystery inside: fields of wildflowers growing without any help, birds swooping low to feed their babies, forest fires raging, newborn deer standing for the first time. It’s lively. And beautiful. Even harsh, but never less than the sum of its parts. There are cats as far as the eye can see. As we bump down the driveway kicking dirt up behind us, they scatter like marbles dropped onto an uneven concrete floor. Black, grey, white, and orange flashes zip around in seemingly mindless patterns. One particularly bold tabby winds himself around my feet as I walk toward the door, purring as he makes his way in a figure eight. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to play with the kittens at Grandpa Clint’s place. No matter when we came, there was sure to be at least a few, ranging from newborns on the beds he leaves out in his covered porch to the old tabbies who would purr and rub against you with tufts of fur missing, pieces of ears, toes, and tails frozen off long ago or taken in a fight. One of the last times I visited his house before college, I once again looked for the kittens I knew would be waiting for me. This time, as I wove my way through the purring, furry mass, what I saw stopped me in my tracks. In the entryway to the covered porch lay a grey and white kitten, perhaps just a few weeks old. At first glance, I thought it was dead. Flies swarmed its eyes, nose, and mouth- and as I watched it moved, just barely. Still alive… just barely. Not being accustomed to the ranch life, I couldn’t hide my horror or grief. . As my grandfather opened the door he saw my reaction and ushered me inside, explaining how the little one had been fairly sick since birth and no, we just couldn’t save it. The next time I came to the house, the sick kitten was nowhere to be found, gently put out of its misery by a compassionate and callused hand. My mother has always had the maiden name Howery, even though her mom and Clint divorced when she was in college. One day, curious, I asked her why it hadn’t changed to her biological father’s or her mother’s maiden name. Unbeknownst to me, my grandfather had gone to great expense to legally adopt the children he raised with my grandmother. Although only one of the four is his by blood, all of them have always been his in heart and now on paper. His divorce with my grandmother spurred him to make absolutely certain none of his kids would ever question whom they belonged to. What I know of my grandfather is this: he once introduced me to a cow called Oreo who, as he put it, would “meet me again on my dinner plate.” He has taught me to call a spade a spade without preamble or apologies. He showed me how to let baby cows think you’re their mom so they nuzzle up to you and suck on your fingers. He taught me to find the joy in even the small things: a newborn kitten, working with your hands, end tables with legs made of “legs” wearing jeans and cowboy boots. He once put a small, dying kitten out of its misery quietly, with gentle love. He has taught me to be like nature: tough but fair, and compassionate. My grandfather is like the mountains: ineffable and grounded, rustic and majestic. From his blue jeans to the faded hat he must have had since before I was born, he is a cowboy through and through. And a father. Partner. Grandfather. Saddle maker. Full of stories. Thrill seeker. Lover of cats. Direct and honest. Tall drink of water. Nurturer of cows. Enemy of coyotes. Family. But to call him just one robs him, he is much more than that. He is none of these things without the others. He is as I have described him and more, much more. My grandfather is the mountains.