August 4, 1945 ~ March 25, 2017
April 29, 2017 2:00 PM
Lifelong Bozeman resident, Robert “Bob” David Brenden, 71, passed away peacefully on March 25, 2017. An incomparable father, friend, and storyteller, Bob was surrounded by family and friends after a two-and-a-half-year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Bob was born on August 4, 1945, the youngest of seven children born to Olie Andrew “O.A.” Brenden and Harriet (Gamble) Brenden, farmers and ranchers since 1931 along Huffine Lane, where the original homestead still stands.
Bob was a 1963 graduate of Bozeman High and entered Montana National Guard basic training at Fort Ord in 1964, continuing service with his unit based out of Townsend, MT.
Bob eventually took over the family farm raising cattle and growing grain on the homestead just west of Bozeman. Over the years and up until very recently, visitors to Bob’s shop could always depend on an expert hand with any mechanical issue, a cold beer, and the use of a tool (or a pickup or tractor).
A self-described “professional tourist”, Bob drove for Watkins Shepard Trucking for several years and then for TMC Sand & Gravel of Belgrade until his retirement in 2015. Favorite leisure road trips with his wife, Jill, included Arizona, Mexico, the annual Charlie Russell Art Show in Great Falls, and many a car show and rodeo. Tales of his numerous adventures were retold at Stacey’s and frequent visits to dear friend, Jerry Ritter’s Korner Klub. Additionally, he was the Bozeman representative for his longtime family friend, Laurence Obie’s “Uncle Obie” billboard business.
Bob greatly admired the artwork of Charlie Russell and Ace Powell, was an enthusiast/collector of all things MOPAR, avid reader, and regular concert-goer . . . rarely missing a local appearance of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, Ian Tyson, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and Corb Lund. Bob was proud to be a Montanan and possessed an enviable knowledge of Treasure State geography, history, and wildlife. Inseparable from Bob’s history and daily life was his profound love of dogs, about which he once remarked “a dog is alive long enough to teach you how to love.” He has been reunited with his dog pack, and is obviously missed by his Shelties, Sam and Suzie.
Bob and Lenita Krueger were married in 1969; together they had two sons, Scott and Rod, with whom Bob enjoyed countless fishing, hunting, coaching, and bike racing events. Bob was extremely proud of his boys’ resiliency and accomplishments: Rod founded Current Electrical Contractors, and Scott served in the US Army during Desert Storm and is a heavy equipment operator for Sime Construction.
On December 24, 2010, Bob married Jill McKechnie, his partner since 2000. Together they embarked on many road trips, played with their dogs, attended music festivals, cruises around Mexico and the Caribbean, and sightseeing Bob’s favorite places in Montana. These moments were peppered with treatments and surgeries related to his rheumatoid arthritis. This was followed by ongoing chemotherapy treatments starting in December 2014, including a bone marrow transplant in Seattle during the summer of 2015. Bob put up a valiant fight and never gave up on his recovery, even through his last day on the earth.
Bob is survived by his wife, Jill (McKechnie); beloved “favorite ex-wife” and devoted friend, Lenita Hough, mother of his sons, Scott (Jennifer) Brenden and Rod (Crystal) Brenden; bonus daughter, Hannah Newman (all of Bozeman); grandchildren, Skylar, Brody, and Drae; sisters, Ruth (Jim) Kraenzel of Bozeman, Betty (Fritz) Wolfrum of Spokane, WA, Barbara Jensen of Bozeman, Pat Allen of Spokane, WA; and brother, Jim (Bug) Brenden of Canyon Creek, MT; Joyce Saghatelian to whom he was married in 1992; and many wonderful nieces, nephews, and stepchildren.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, O.A. and Harriet Brenden; and his older brother, Richard Brenden.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 29th at 2:00 p.m. at The Auction Barn, 25 Wheeler Mountain Way near Gallatin Gateway.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to Bob’s longtime friends, Pete Hendrickson, Wes St. John, and Bob “Stretch” Stredwick for their continuing devotion to Bob’s 1955 Chrysler C300 dream project, soon to become a reality.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the Vietnam Veterans of America, Southwest Montana Chapter 788, PO Box 7226, Bozeman, MT 59771 or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
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