William Richard "Rick" Willson


William Richard “Rick” Willson, 63, of Miles City died at home on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, of an apparent heart attack with his wife, Dolores, by his side.

Mr. Willson was born in Miles City on July 10, 1950, the sixth child of Norman H. Willson Sr. and E. Marie Roberts Willson. He was raised on the family ranch in the Pine Hills east of Miles City. He attended grade school in Miles City and graduated from Custer County High School with the class of 1968. At the age of 16, he lost his mother and was forced to board, first with the Fred Bement family and then Mary Hardy while finishing high school.

To continue his education at Miles Community College, he moved in with the Rose Waldo family. It was at this time that he began to seek God and found Him in the life of Mrs. Waldo and her children, and he made his choice to follow in the footsteps of his Dear Savior, Jesus Christ. 

In June of 1969, Mr. Willson married his high school sweetheart, Dolores Meidinger, with whom he shared this precious faith until his last breath.

For the next several years, starting with Reynolds, Mr. Willson worked in the grocery business and learned the meat cutting trade, although his lifelong love of architecture found him going back to Montana State University for the third time and finishing a degree in Construction Engineering Technology. Because of his love of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style, he visited many of the famous buildings he designed.

Mr. and Mrs. Willson moved back to Miles City in 1999 when he was offered the position as the Miles City Building Official for the Engineering Department. Three years later, he opened up Willson Meat Processing LLC, continuing to process wild game until his death. He also started Willson Inspections, doing lot inspection surveys for the title companies and construction progress inspections for financial institutions, all the while developing properties on his own. Mr. Willson had spent his last day with Mrs. Willson, first doing an inspection survey in Ekalaka, then another in Miles City, before working in his meat shop where he became ill.

Mr. Willson was an avid cook as can be attested by his many friends and relatives.

His survivors include his wife: Dolores; three daughters: Jennifer (Tristan) Henke, Jody (Andrew) Palmer and Jolene (Clay) Dunlap; grandsons: Logan Henke and Jameson Palmer; granddaughter: Taylor Henke; and a grandson on the way. 

He also is survived by two brothers: Norman (Laura Jane) and Jim (Annalise) of Miles City; two step-brothers: Mike (Yvonne) Niles of Billings and Dave (Chelle) Willson of Miles City; two aunts: Onalee Willson of Casper, Wyo., and Geri (Norman) McKeen of Columbus;  many cousins, nieces and nephews; his close friends: Cole Waldo and Kolleen Forsyth; and his spiritual family all over the world.

Mr. Willson was preceded in death by his mother and father; his brothers: Lee and Jack; a sister: Barb Hardy; nephews: Wade Hardy and Robby Willson; father-in-law: Elmer Meidinger; and best friend, Rose Waldo. 

Visitation will be Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home with family receiving friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Funeral services will be Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Interment will follow in the Custer County Cemetery. 

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com. 

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Engineering Department at Montana State University in Bozeman or the Custer County Food Bank in Miles City.