Richard J. Rankin entered eternal peace on September 15, 2023, just ahead of his 91st
birthday, passing peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones. Cremation has taken place. A memorial
ceremony will be held at the Brundage Funeral Home on Veteran’s Day, Dick and Donna’s 61st
wedding anniversary, November 11, 2023 at 11 AM.
Born in Mingo, Iowa on September 27, 1932, Dick moved to Montana with his parents Tom and
Flossie Rankin, 9 siblings, and champion black Percheron stallion in 1936. Rankins settled on
the Wigwam Ranch on the Madison River at Varney. The family built a log home and had a
successful cattle and sheep ranching operation. Dick graduated as Salutatorian from Ennis
High School in 1951 and joined the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. He returned 2 years
later and enrolled in Billings Business College graduating with a degree in Business Accounting
and was instrumental in starting the first Circle K at the college. He worked for a large CPA
Firm in Billings and was later employed by a large CPA firm in Las Vegas NV until he returned
to Ennis in 1962 to open his own accounting, insurance and real estate company.
He met his wife, Donna Balkovetz, on a blind date to the Virginia City Players. They were
married on November 11, 1962, sharing almost 61 eventful years together. Some folks still
remember the Chivaree friends held for them to celebrate their marriage. In addition to his
business in Ennis, he worked in Madison County law enforcement and served as coroner and
as Justice of the Peace in Virginia City. He was producer and manager of the Ennis Rodeo for
several years. In the fall of 1969, the family moved to Dillon upon purchasing the Barrett Agency
and continued to build a successful insurance and real estate business and family. Dick is
survived by his wife Donna, and their three daughters- Peri (Andy) Suenram of Dillon, Richelle
(Robert) Galiger of Three Forks, and Rita Principe of Billings. Dick and Donna have eight
grandchildren and three great grand daughters.
He loved the outdoors and exploring with his family, bouncing around in his Willy’s Jeep fishing
and hunting. In the 70’s he encouraged and helped his daughters in their endeavors, raising
and showing Appaloosa Horses throughout Montana and neighboring states, becoming
President of Montana Appaloosa Horse Club.
He was a devoted Master Mason holding many offices at the Dillon Lodge along with Fraternal
Grand positions in Commandery and the York Rite Bodies. He was a member of the Order of
Eastern Star holding offices in Virginia City Chapter and Mizpah Chapter in Dillon where he was
Worthy Patron for several years and held Grand office in 2008.
Dick took great pride in his business, community service, and family. He and Donna enjoyed
annual vacations to Las Vegas attending the NFR and touring. He cherished his time with his
family and rarely missed an event. Perhaps his greatest source of pride, and his most notable
accomplishment of all, was 90 years as a serviceman, husband, Dad, and grandfather.