Thomas Joseph Breitbach, 86, of Circle, died Sunday, March 30, 2014, in the Eastern Montana Veterans Home in Glendive.
Mr. Breitbach was born Feb. 11, 1928, the second son of John and Mary Hoeser Breitbach, in Circle. He grew up on the family farm with his brothers, Fabian and William Breitbach. Following graduation from Circle High School, Mr. Breitbach helped his parents on the farm.
In 1952, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served between the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War, and worked as a radio repair man. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and returned home to work on the farm with his brothers.
In 1993, he retired, but continued to do odd jobs and help his nephews for as long as he was able.
Mr. Breitbach was a creative and inventive farmer, and he experimented endlessly to find better, more efficient ways of doing things.
He was passionate about protecting and preserving the agriculture industry in eastern Montana. To this end, he became involved in the Northern Plains Resource Council, serving as chair of the organization from 1993 to 1995 and winning the Bob Tully Spirit Award in 1997 for his many years of service.
Mr. Breitbach also was a member of the Co-op Board and the Circle Airport Board, and he had a real love of flying.
Faith was the backbone of Mr. Breitbach’s life. He was a lifelong member at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Circle and served as an eucharistic minister and reader for many years.
Although Mr. Breitbach never married or had children himself, he was very involved in the lives of his nieces and nephews, as well as his grandnieces and grandnephews. Mr. Breitbach lived with his brother, Fabian Breitbach, for much of his life and lovingly cared for him in his final years.
He is survived by one brother, William (Marjorie) Breitbach of Glendive; his nephews, Paul Breitbach of Lincoln, Patrick Breitbach of Circle and Perry (Audrey) Breitbach of Circle; his nieces, Mariann (Andy) Mikes of Billings, Roseann (Gary) Knowles of Monmouth, Ore., and DeeAnn (Chad) Sutter of Miles City; and many grandnieces and grandnephews.
Mr. Breitbach was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, John Jr., who died at birth, and Fabian.
Visitation will be Monday, April 7, 2014, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Circle, followed by a vigil service at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Circle. Rite of committal will be at a later date in Riverview Cemetery in Circle.
Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.