Richard Hobart Spalding (“Dick” or “Buzz”) died at age 87 at the Billings Clinic on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. A memorial party will be held in August 2021.
Above all else, Dick loved his wife, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren with all his heart. Those who had the privilege of knowing Dick understand why his loss is felt so deeply among those who loved him most.
Dick was born April 11, 1933, in Fargo, North Dakota, during the height of the Depression. A lady who saw him in his baby buggy said, “How can you bring a child into the world at a time like this?” Dorothy, his 7-year-old sister, called him “Buzz” from the beginning, and the name stuck.
Dick’s family moved to Billings when he was 6, where he attended Billings schools and graduated from Billings High School in 1951. He had a happy childhood, wandering up on the Rims and growing up in a neighborhood full of kids.
From 1951 to ’55, he attended University of Montana, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), graduating in 1955 with a degree in business administration.
From 1955 to ’58, he served in the U.S. Army as a payroll clerk in Fort Riley, Kansas, with the 1st Infantry Division. In 1958, Dick attended graduate school at New York University, returning to Billings in 1959.
He began his banking career at Midland National Bank as a trainee, eventually moving to the trust department as a Trust Officer. He also worked at First National Bank and Montana Bank. In 1976, he started his career at Merrill Lynch when the Billings office opened and retired in 1999. He took a personal interest in his clients, their lives and their families, sometimes serving several generations of a family.
In 1960, while working for Midland National Bank, he met the love of his life, Marcia Redmond. They married in 1961. Their family expanded with the birth of their three daughters: Alison in 1964, Paige in 1967 and Leslie in 1969.
Humble, kind and compassionate, he was the best of men — the best husband, father and grandfather to his family. He embodied the finest values of his generation, including a strong work ethic, care and compassion for others, honesty and humility, love of community and charity. He was quick with a sincere compliment or a weird witty remark, respecting all others regardless of their position in society. He was a big reader and had many talents and interests.
Second only to his love of his family, he loved Montana. He also loved Billings (where he volunteered for the Chamber of Commerce, recommending famous and obscure sites and attractions depending on the interests of the visitors). He was very involved with Yellowstone River Parks Association and Billings TrailNet; he was always a big booster of trail and river access for all and recreation in and enjoyment of the local natural landscape. He was a lifelong outdoorsman — hiking annually “over the top” (from Cooke City to East Rosebud Lake) in the Beartooths with an ever-evolving and -expanding group of family and friends (an estimated 34 times!). He floated the Smith River nine or 10 times with friends and his girls. He skied in Red Lodge when he was young and canoed and boated the Yellowstone River for many years. Yellowstone Park was a favorite place, having worked there for three summers, fighting forest fires; he knew every creek (“crick”), stream, lake, campground and many geysers and secret hotpot locations. He was a big fan of Lewis and Clark (his favorite book was “The Journals of Lewis & Clark” edited by Bernard DeVoto). He taught his daughters and grandsons, as well as many others, to love nature, the outdoors and the West.
He had a love of adventure and was fearless; he traveled the world with his wife, Marcia, visiting 55 countries in total; some of those trips with the whole family, including his grandsons. He traveled the U.S. and the world, including Thailand, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Scandinavia, South America, and South Africa. He and his wife spent 25 years visiting Hawaii every year. He loved spending time with friends, microbrews (especially Billings-made), working in the yard, cutting Christmas trees in the Little Snowies, and above all, spending time with his family.
Dick is survived by his wife of 59 years, Marcia Spalding; three daughters, Alison Spalding Evans (Mark) of Denver, Paige Spalding (Jim Hummel) of Billings, and Leslie Spalding (Larry Simon) of San Diego, California; two grandsons, Matthew Spalding Evans (Kristen Laws) of Richmond, Indiana; and Andrew Redmond Evans of Denver, Colorado; his niece, Tracey Kerr Alaniz (Pete); nephews Brad Kerr (Mina); and Matthew Kerr (Laurel); brother- and sister-in-law Jim Redmond (Diana) of Polson; and many other family members.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Yellowstone River Parks Association (yrpa.org) which supports access and use along the Yellowstone River by improving parks and trails. Dick was involved with and was a supporter of YRPA since 1996.
In remembrance of Dick, please taken an extra moment to live in the moment, to have a local beer with a friend, to do something for others, and above all, to appreciate beautiful sunsets and to enjoy the beauty of his beloved Montana.