The world became a better place on April 10, 1950, with the birth of Rodney T. Hartman to Harold and Ramona “Mona” Hartman. Rod excelled in sports, from Little League baseball to wrestling and football at Billings West High School. He later played softball and then on to his passion: golf, getting a hole in one in 2009 at TPC Canyons. He was a gifted student, had a photographic memory and attended Tulane University and the prestigious University of Chicago Law School.
He was a brilliant and accomplished attorney, earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues, and he represented the Lodge Grass School District at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985. He was generous and kindhearted, and represented countless clients, including a dog, pro bono. He married Pam Patterson but they later divorced. Together they had two beautiful daughters, Melissa Hartman Becker and Alyson Olungura.
He was a past member of the Yellowstone Country Club, BWHS Class of ’68 Reunion Committee, Mustang Boosters, Monday Night Tavern Association, Yellowstone Bar Association, was a voracious crossword and crostics puzzle solver, challenged the Facebook status quo as a FB conservative debater, loved watching all sports, and was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. To know Rod was to love him. He was a people person and treated everyone he knew and met with dignity and respect. He had a quick wit, exceptional sense of humor, and unconditionally loved his family, friends and cats, Trouble and Rizzo. He had hundreds of friends, all of whom he treasured dearly.
In 2018, at the suggestion of Dr. Cacares of Billings Clinic, he was given a second chance at life and underwent a double lung transplant at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix. He was always grateful to the anonymous donor family. Most unfortunately, he was diagnosed with skin cancer, but throughout it all, he handled the diagnosis fearlessly, maintaining his sense of humor to the very end. Whenever faced with adversity, he said he had been a middle line-backer and could handle almost anything — and he did.
Rod passed away on May 15, 2020, at his home.
Rod is survived by his wife of 19 years, Michelle; sister Sue (Tim Schield); and brother, Todd Hartman; daughter Melissa, grandsons Dylan and Zachary; daughter Alyson, grandchildren, Angelica, Tra, Xavier, Dominic, Faith and Isaac (Boo Boo); brother-in-law George Hefenieder; sister/ brother-in-law Kay (Ryan, Ross, Rory and Brittany) and Harold Gold; and his mother-in-law, Ailene Kennedy. He was predeceased by his parents, Harold and Mona Hartman; sister, Lorrie Hefenieder; grandparents, Glen and Helen Hartman, Leon and Hazel Briscoe; and father-in-law, Mike Kennedy.
All our lives will never be the same without our bright shining star, and our hearts will remain forever broken. Rod lived life to the fullest, and left it with the utmost courage, grace and dignity. He never ever complained or felt sorry for himself — my hero!
Celebration of life — TBD.
Memorials: RiverStone Hospice, 123 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101, or the charity of your choice.