Hugh Joseph McCullough The small cowboy and ranching community tucked along the winding Big Hole River fell to its knees with tears on the morning of August 20, 2020 upon hearing of the passing of legendary Hugh Joseph McCullough (Joe). Melrose, Montana lost its favorite son, its staple of what a good neighbor and true friend really are, and its reminder of the past and days long since gone but always remembered as the best of days. Joe was born on November 5, 1953, to Hugh and Pearl McCullough of the McCullough Ranch at Melrose, Montana. He leaves behind so many special friends and relatives (you know who you are) and his loving, loyal companion Roxanne Shaffer. A poet was Joe, maybe not in conversation or verse, but in living and how proud he was of his Irish heritage. Unposed, Joe was the photo of the cowboy leaning on the saddle horn on the horse that, only in his brightness, showed the mountains, the cattle, the beauty, and life somehow, someway timeless and filled with peace. He adorned the well known smile that we all knew was genuine and unassuming in his life. He troubled you not with his troubles but said, ‘pard’ “anything you need” to years of many friends and to strangers. He may not have known what his friends and neighbors respected and loved about him or never said, but of the greatest that lived, wrote, or spoke,even they wouldn’t have the words or song to speak or sing their truth and feelings about Joe. He would have told you, ‘pard,’ and anyone would have stopped at that and shook their head in agreement and held up a beer which he bought, and you the next, for the epitome of what is missed about the days we wish to live again. A saint he wasn’t. Joe was more than that. He didn’t want credit but accepted all that made him a profound influence, and friend, a man of character and promise to all that he loved. He was a devoted fan of the Minnesota Vikings, Boston Celtics, and the New York Yankees. He would put his money on any of his teams in good and bad times, winning or losing (have to say many more losing than winning) but his loyalty spoke volumes to what his bet was or meant. His chuckle to losing most but winning in greater ways will always be more meaningful to those who loved him most. Even in his pinochle days on Tuesdays, he outsmarted his opponent’s attempt to cheat and carried his partner much to the dismay of his opponents. Joe was a friend to many ranches and ranchers in the Madison and Beaverhead County valleys for several generations and a family member to these same ranches. A grandson of one of these families was named after you Joe; and this is more than family, it cannot be defined. Much of Joe’s strength came from his dearest companion Roxanne Shaffer. When a man needs to have the ground to stand on and the arms to catch him, he is lucky. Joe was lucky as Roxanne was both for him and more. She unconditionally supported and loved him; there was an unwavering beauty in their devotion and time together. We can all hope to be so lucky. Joe, indeed, does leave behind many friends who are family, and until we all too pass, we will hold dear the truth: Joe will always have many ‘pards’...that will never end. To hear the song Joe lived, listen to his favorite, Gordon Lightfoot’s, “Don Quixote.” We will forever hold this as the definition of our friend, brother, and dearly loved favorite son of Melrose, Montana. We will always speak of you as you have never left. We know what to say, “Joe been in?” Heaven is luckier today. And when we meet again, this rounds on us, Joe. Rest in peace, ‘Pard.’ There will be a celebration of Joe’s life at the Melrose Bar on Thursday, August 27th, at 2:00 pm.