Charles “Chuck” Skorupa, 86, of East Conrad, passed away peacefully of natural causes the afternoon of Sept. 8 at Pondera Medical Center with family at his side.
Chuck, sixth of nine children, was born June 6, 1927 to John and Anna Cisak Skorupa in Bridger. Chuck grew up working on the Skorupa family farm in Bridger where he began shaping his strong work ethic. Growing up in his time required a lot of hard work and was usually done by hand and often by lantern or candle. Horses were the technology and he began riding at an early age. Many broken bones were acquired over the years by breaking and training his horses, some for others and the occasional mishap on a hunting trip.
Chuck graduated from Bridger High School in 1947. He was a good student and very sports minded, participating and winning awards in football, basketball and track. He was the only student his junior year to letter in track. Chuck was heavily involved in Future Farmers of America (FFA), enhancing his skills for his future. In FFA he won many awards, often for his animals even though his sisters did much of the grooming.
Chuck began farming and ranching on his own in 1950, beginning with leasing a farm in Bridger. In 1955 he sold his farming equipment and livestock and moved to Conrad, initially leasing the Berland farm in 1955 that he would later purchase and raise his family on. In 1963 he purchased a dry land farm west of Conrad which he later sold in 1971 to purchase another farm closer to his farmstead. In 1971 he began erecting grain bins across his land ending with nearly fifty.
In 1963 he married Valda Jean (Summer) Hicks. They lived on the farm east of Conrad where they raised their son, Robert Charles Skorupa (Brady). His son, Robert, worked with him on the farm beginning at an early age. His step-children, Dennis Hicks (Conrad) and Diana Childers (Ventura, Calif.) brought great enjoyment to his life.
The skills Chuck developed as a young child was well polished and apparent by his pronounced stewardship on his farm. No weed stood a chance. If a weed was within his line of sight you could consider it pulled. Many hours of many days passed with Chuck working diligently to do his best. Preferring not to be known as a hard worker, he enjoyed the benefits of his labors, to him it was not work but simply the necessity of what needed to be done. Strong body and mind are two characteristics he embodied and relied upon throughout each day.
Chuck “lived to dance”. He loved a variety of music with big band being his passion. It wasn’t surprising to see him dancing in the kitchen while cooking breakfast or even out in the field while working. No radio needed to be on; he would whistle and hum songs aloud.
Chuck was an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting and pack trips. He also enjoyed protecting his crops and animals from local predators. These hunting adventures around the farm usually involved his faithful four-legged companion who would retrieve on command. A special enjoyment of his was his early 1900s Yellowstone Park tour bus that was converted to a grain truck. Giving family and friends a “bus ride” around the farm or driving it in a parade brought a big smile to his face.
Chuck found pleasure in many things in life. He was involved with the East Slope Back Country Horseman, Montana Draft Horse and Mule Pulling Association, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, MOOSE and ELKS. A great passion was his membership and involvement with the National Farmer’s Organization (NFO). The NFO taught him several respectable farming practices and broadened his philosophy of agriculture. Chuck held a strong bond with the people in the NFO who helped him over the years. He valued his relationship with them, looking upon each person as a friend.
In his later years, Chuck never stopped moving. He enjoyed several trips around the world, one finding him in Japan drinking Saki, another leading him to kissing the Blarney Stone, another to bungee jumping in California in his 70s, one to the beaches of Hawaii and another taking him on a two week cruise where he danced every night. Turning back to the importance of his heritage and to his heart, Chuck purchased the Skorupa family farm in Bridger in 1998 when his brother retired from farming it to ensure it would stay in the family.
Chuck was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; and three brothers, Walter, John, and Albert.
He is survived by his son, Robert; step-son, Dennis; step-daughter, Diana; brother, Bill Skorupa (Marion) of Bridger; and sisters, Helen Thompson (Archie) of Silverdale, Wash., Alice Peterson (Richard) of Casper, Wyo., Mary Bond (Allen) of Billings and Florence Vacura (Joe) of Kalispell; many cousins, nieces, nephews and their families.
The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the extremely skilled and compassionate care Chuck received from the nurses, hospital staff, hospice and his physician, Dr. Grena. The family also wishes to thank all of the friends for their support, visits, and prayers.
Chuck touched the lives of many people over the years and he will be forever in our hearts. At his request, a celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Memorials can be made to an association of your choice. Pondera Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com .