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Jack Bergum

November 6, 1931 May 29, 2020
Jack Bergum
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Obituary for Jack Bergum

Dad was brought into this world on November 6th, 1931 in Bowman, North Dakota. He was the third son of Ted and Palma Bergum. He had many memories of his early years in Bowman. When he was a youngster, he spent most of his time at one of his uncles’ ranches. One uncle raised sheep south of Bowman and the other raised cattle east of Buffalo, South Dakota. Dad was introduced to both at an early age and found that raising cattle was certainly the preferred career. Dad was also an accomplished whistler at a very early age. He said he would stand barefoot in front of Bennett’s drug store on the main street of Bowman and whistle Home on the Range. Passerby folks would give him a penny or a nickel for his efforts and his cousins would run out from behind the store and they would all go into the drug store and buy some candy. This was dad; he would always share what he had. 

In 1936 the family moved to Winifred, Montana. This move started an adventure that would last for 84 years. Dad and his brothers were raised in the Missouri River Breaks. In those days the Breaks were filled with many interesting bachelors.   Dad was always intrigued with these fellows and spent much time listening to their life stories and experiences. This brought about a strong respect for these people and the land they homesteaded. 

Dad graduated from high school in 1949. He attended the University of Montana for a short time, majoring in what he referred to as “wildlife”. He said he did so well in this program that they asked him not to come back for his third quarter. It wasn’t long after that that Uncle Sam found out where he lived and sent him an invitation to travel abroad. Dad then spent 11 months in Korea, during the Korean War, an experience that he was extremely proud of and talked about frequently. He developed many life-long friendships with many of those he served with. Prior to being drafted into the Army, dad had an accident at a sawmill that he and his brother Jerry were operating. The saw blade threw a slab off the cutting table and it hit dad in the face, breaking his jaw and many of his teeth. It was during his stay in the hospital recovering from the accident that he met a beautiful young nurse by the name of Lorayne Youngren. In 1953, during one of his leave periods from the Army, they were married. 

Upon his return to the United States from Korea, dad returned to the ranch to work with his brother Jerry. Mom and dad lived at the Scheifler place, north of Winifred, and dad would cross Taffy Creek every day to travel, either by horseback or team and wagon, to the ranch to work. It was during this time that they were blessed with their first child, Gary. It wasn’t long after Gary’s birth that he decided to branch off on his own and they bought the Melton place on Whiskey Ridge. Mom and Dad then bought the Gullickson house in Winifred and moved into town. Son Greg was born in 1957 and Andy was born in 1959. Mom and Dad then bought the Chris Polcheski place in 1966 and moved the Montana elevator house from Winifred to the Polcheski place and began a long-term remodel project that lasted for many years. Most of the Winifred town folks were very appreciative of them for this move, taking the three young, well behaved boys to the country. In 1965 they were blessed with daughter Bonnie.  

Dad loved to work with animals and broke many horses during his younger days and even rode broncs in several central Montana rodeos. His love of horses was passed along to several of his grandchildren. He had a deep respect for the land and the outdoors. He loved to go hunting, camping and fishing with his kids and grandchildren and instilled a great appreciation for the outdoors in his family. He could sit for hours fishing the Missouri River waiting for a fish to bite. He always said that you never knew what you were going to catch in that river. During his younger years he would walk down to the river from the ranch to fish and had many tales about hunting and fishing with his friends and family throughout the years.  

Along with farming and ranching, dad also drove the Salt Creek school bus route for several years, and delivered coal to the Winifred school. Dad was active in the community and served on the school board, American Lutheran church board, Winifred town council, and Winifred American Legion. Mom and dad loved to spend weekends with the family hunting rocks and native American artifacts. His love of history also led him to Italy and the Washington DC area where he especially enjoyed Pompeii and the Civil War battlefields.  

Dad’s main priority was always his family. He was at his best in entertaining and cooking for his tribe at family gatherings. He always made time for the things that counted with his wife and family. He was always looking ahead to the next holiday; making plans for future family gatherings. Dad and mom loved it when the grandkids and great grandkids came to visit. There was rarely a holiday that the house at the ranch wasn’t filled with laughter, fun and love! Everyone expected his delicious “hot cakes” in the mornings. He was involved in all aspects of the hunting trips; whether going along; feeding the hunters; making sure they brought everything they needed; providing suggestions on where to hunt; and keeping in touch if he didn’t go along. Dad never missed a sporting event (other than track) that his kids were in. There were too many spring work projects that kept him from watching track. He continued to attend many events his grandchildren participated in.  

Dad was a very kind gentleman. He was a great listener and always made people feel welcome in his home. He had a knack for telling his colorful life stores. He made friends wherever he went. His family always valued his advice; grew from his strength and constant generosity. We know we will have a hard time living up to his legacy; the best dad, husband, grandpa and great grandpa around. We know he will be watching us from heaven; guiding us and making sure that we raise our kids as we were raised.  

He will be greatly missed by his wife and family but heaven has received a precious gift. Dad passed away May 29, 2020 in Billings, Montana.

Dad is survived by his wife of 67 years, Lorayne; children: son Gary (Barb) of Lolo, MT and their children Britni Brumfield (Matt) and their sons Bridger and Mason, Whitney Denham (Josiah) and their daughters Lilly and Eleanor, son Greg (Cindy) of Billings, MT and their children Garrett and Candice Malia (Beau) and their boys Mickie and Teague, daughter Bonnie Anderson (Eirik) of Billings, MT and their children Hunter, Hannalise Anderson and Hayley Desin (Danny) and their children Mia and Marshall Jack, daughter in law Janelle of Garneill, MT and her children Brandon and Brianna; brother Boyd; numerous nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by son Andy; brothers Kenneth and Jerry; mother Palma and father Ted.   

Cremation has taken place and a celebration of Jack’s life will take place in the future.  Memorial donations are requested to the Ted and Palma Bergum Scholarship Fund, c/o Ann Econom, 500 Main/PO Box 109, Winifred, MT 59489.

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Event Information

Cremation has taken place. Services will be announced and held later.

Memorial Contribution

Ted & Palma Bergum Scholarship Fund

c/o Anne Econom
500 Main / PO Box 109
Winifred, MT 59489

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