Harold ‘Rich’ Stevenson

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
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Harold “Rich” Stevenson, 76, of Livingston, passed away on the evening of Feb. 9, 2020 after a long illness.

Born in Crosby, North Dakota to Harold and Hazel Stevenson, he spent his childhood developing his love for hunting, fishing and cars in Billings, Montana. Rich received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree at Eastern Montana College and went on to earn his Master’s Degree at Montana State University in Fisheries Science. He did his thesis work on the Big Horn River, where he found and worked to eradicate whirling disease.

Later, Rich worked as the fisheries biologist, housed at Livingston, and was instrumental in working with farmers and ranchers to establish water rights and create public access to streams and land. He worked to preserve native cut throat trout to Yellowstone River and tributaries that we are privileged to enjoy today.

After working for the Forest Service in Cody, Wyoming, he returned to Livingston, where he dedicated the rest of his life to his second career as an artist, writer, conservationist and outfitter. His paintings grace the walls of homes and businesses throughout the U.S. and aboard. Rich’s fish bronzes are stunning and so accurately detailed down to the exact number of fin rays. His paintings, illustrations and written articles appeared in many scientific and fishing magazines as well as newspapers. One example was his “Flies” series, which ran weekly in the sports section of the Billings Gazette for several years. To this day,  Rich’s, “Montana Wild” painting is used to teach riparian zone ecology and biodiversity of Montana in science classrooms throughout the state.

Rich spent years on the rivers, lakes and streams of Montana sharing his knowledge of fly-fishing with beginners to professional fishermen and women. Days were spent teaching everything from casting techniques to reading the water, gentle catch and release, and even removing the occasional hook from fingers and heads, including his own.

Rich met and married Marie Teslow, of Bozeman, Montana in 1978. They were graced with three beautiful, smart and talented daughters, study director at Bio/Science, Collette and her spouse, Jeremy Duley, of Belgrade; Dr. Rae Stevenson, M.D., and spouse Spencer Lawley of Livingston; and Kelly Stevenson, a Fellow at Archie Bray Foundation in Helena. As grandparents, they were blessed with Noah, 10; Luella, 5; Paxson, 2 and 1/2; and Cronin, 6 months.

Rich instilled in his daughters respect for all living things and stewardship of the land. Years were spent building treasured memories of camping, flyfishing and hunting with our beloved Labradors at our side.

Rich will be remembered for his integrity,  honesty,  love of family, perfect casting arm and having a part in preserving the land and waters of Montana. “Tight lines on crystal waters.”

A celebration of Rich’s life will take place this summer.

Please consider any memorials be given to the Yellowstone River Spring Cleanup. Make payable to the: Joe Brooks Chapter of Trout Unlimited; mail to: Matt Swan, P.O. Box 1642, Livingston, Montana 59047. Please put: “Yellowstone Cleanup” in the memo line.

Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements. To view the obituary and share condolences, visit www.Franzen-Davis.com.