Gordon Hurley, 93, longtime Liberty County rancher, passed away of cancer at his home on the ranch on Dec. 18, 2013. After a brief illness in October and a two week stay in the hospital, he learned of his diagnosis. His final request was to come home to the ranch to live the remainder of his life before leaving this world to join his beloved wife, Jean, in heaven. He passed away peacefully that morning with his son, Bob, by his side.
Gordon was born May 6, 1920, to Thomas and Marie Hurley in Brady. He grew up on the ranch that his father homesteaded in the Knees community east of Brady. His love for horses and cattle started with him learning to ride at age five and continued throughout his lifetime. At the age of 93, he continued to be an active part of the day-to-day operation on the ranch alongside his son, Bob, who lives on the ranch and continues Gordon’s legacy.
If you couldn’t find Gordon on the ranch, he could be found at a rodeo, Western Livestock’s cattle sale or Browning’s “Indian Days”. Gordon loved rodeos and tried not to miss any during the summer months (after his own cattle were attended to). He said he never went to a rodeo he didn’t like, and he lived long enough to see the National Finals Rodeo on TV.
Gordon served in the U.S. Army during WWII from Nov. 4, 1941 to Dec. 22, 1945. He was stationed at Fort Robinson, Neb. His duties included breaking horses and mules, and he used the same saddle working on the ranch that he used breaking horses during the war. Fort Robinson was a remount station for the Army, and there were more than 20,000 head of horses and mules located there. Gordon said trainloads of 700 head were sent out at a time to the Calvary units and pack strings overseas.
During leave from the Army, Gordon married the “love of his life” Jean Allen on Sept. 14, 1945. To this union four children were born: Jack, Glenna, Bob and Jim.
Gordon purchased the family ranch, 30 miles east of Conrad, in 1946. When he moved onto the place, all he owned was an old car, a horse and his saddle. He borrowed an old tractor from his father and $700 from the bank and went to work. He started with 75 head of cattle. Over the years, Gordon and Bob have expanded the cattle herd and grown the farming operation.
Gordon also was given the Heritage Award for the Cowboy of the Year in 2006 from the Montana Cowboys Association.
Gordon is survived by his children, Jack (Cheri) Hurley of Polson, Glenna (Lynn) Schweigert of Mesa, Ariz., Bob (Debbie) Hurley of Ledger, and Jim (Judy) Hurley of Gilbert, Ariz.; and his grandchildren, Lisa Snowden, Terry Hurley, Tami Weisgram, Jennifer Buchanan, Jessene Hurley and Cassie Hurley. He is also survived by great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Gordon was preceded in death in 1975 by the “love of his life” for almost 30 years, Jean Hurley. He told Bob in the last days of his life that “I never remarried because I married the best, and I wasn’t going to settle for less.” He also was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Marie; and brothers, Gerald and Billy.
His granddaughter, Jennifer, said it best when she wrote, “The dear Lord received a special angel this morning. Though it breaks my heart and pains me to know he is no longer with us, I know deep down inside he is now in heaven with his one and only true love. I wanted so badly for my boys to meet him and know what a hard-working, well-respected man he was. As my eyes fill with tears, I can hear him in the background telling me to “suck it up and know that he was never ever cheated out of life.” Love him more than he will ever know.”
Services were held on Dec. 28, 2013 at Pondera Valley Lutheran Church.
Memorials can be made to Benefis Peace Hospice at 1101 26 St. S., Great Falls, 59405.
Condolences can be made to www.misermortuaries.com .