John Alden Ragsdale

Thursday, August 30, 2018

John Alden Ragsdale, 88, moved on to greener pastures Sunday morning, Aug. 26, 2018, at home with family.

John was born in Cushing, Oklahoma, on July 24, 1930, to Gilbert and Marie (Karnes) Ragsdale. John’s parents moved the family in 1933 to Emigrant, Montana, to start a great life of ranching. That was the beginning of John’s life full of passion for family, friends, and ranching. John helped his parents ranch on Big Creek in Paradise Valley, Montana, on the Ragsdale Ranch. John became known for raising Simmental and Braunvieh cattle.

John married Charlette Hookum, on Sept. 14, 1966. Together, they continued to ranch with his parents on the family ranch until Charlette died on April 10, 1986.

John married Donna Mae (Munro) Beer in August 1986. John and Donna had been childhood friends with both families living in Paradise Valley. Gilbert bought the Kotke place from Tom Munro, Donna’s father, in 1942. John and Donna attended school in the one-room schoolhouse on Big Creek, now a historical site.

In 1997, John and Donna, and his dad, Gilbert, sold the Ragsdale Ranch on Big Creek (which is now the West Creek Ranch), packed up all their belongings, including all the cows (in a 1997 version of an oversized SUV) and moved to their new ranch in Meeteetse, which John bought from Ollie Kukla, known as the “old Ollie Kukla Ranch.” John brought with him an old gnarly tree down from Montana. He erected it at the bottom of Spring Creek Road, in Meeteetse. He hung a new sign “Ragsdale Ranch,” where he and Donna, with his three stepsons, and the Montana clans of Munros and Dodge Boys families, as well as many well-remembered and appreciated friends continued to live a quiet cowboy’s dream of ranching, winter calving, holding spring brandings, moving cows to “cow camp” on Pickett Creek and Carter Mountain for the summer, then returning home to Meeteetse by fall, until 2012, when they sold the Ragsdale Ranch. Donna passed in 2013.

John is survived by his stepsons, Curtis (Kathy) Beer, Kenneth (Dawn) Beer, and David (Wendy) Beer, as well as many loved and beautiful grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, including those from his extended Munro and Dodge families.

He was preceded in death by his father, Gilbert Ragsdale; his mother, Marie Ragsdale; his first wife, Charlette; and his wife, Donna Ragsdale.

Ballard Funeral Home in Cody, Wyoming, handled arrangements. Cremation has taken place. Family is planning a celebration of John’s life on Sept. 6, 2018, at 1 p.m., at St. Andrews Church, Emigrant, Montana, with burial at Emigrant Cemetery. A reception will follow at Emigrant Hall. Please come bid John farewell.

We are grateful for the time John shared with us. He will be missed by family, friends and faithful caregivers. God Bless.

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