Stephen John Hutton, 63, died Oct. 22, 2017.
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 28 at 2:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Conrad.
Steve was born on Feb. 2, 1954, in Christiansburg, Va., the youngest of four brothers. He was proud of his upbringing in the mountains – raising livestock, hunting, eating from his mother’s garden all year, using whatever was available to fix whatever needed fixing. His father, Andrew, traded horses and mules, among other things. Steve learned his powers of observation and love of clever language from his father and nearby colorful neighbors.
Steve attended Virginia Tech, earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in crop and soil environmental science. He believed education is the great equalizer.
Steve married Priscilla Metcalf. His eldest daughter, Alexandra Leigh, was born from this union. After that divorce, he married Rose Marie Deming. Together, they had Stephanie Marie.
Steve worked as a county extension agent and then as a sales and service manager for Dandridge Equipment, a John Deere dealership in Tennessee. During his stint as a research associate at Virginia Tech, he spent two weeks on a ranch in Colorado. That trip fortified his determination to ranch in the West. A few years later, he made his way to Montana, first as a county extension agent for Rosebud-Treasure Counties and then as the Pondera County ag extension agent.
There, he met and married Lisa Schmidt. Together they bought the Graham Ranch, had a daughter, Abigail Nelle, and raised cattle and sheep.
Steve was a voracious reader. He was passionate about respecting his heritage, both the people who came before him and the land. He distained pretentiousness to the point of resoling old boots until the leather was worn out and wearing old socks on his arms when his shirts developed holes in the elbows.
Steve admired the beauty, craftsmanship and functionality of pre-64 Winchesters and every other wooden-stock rifle except Remington. He taught Hunter Education in the classroom for several years, but every day was a firearm safety day at the Graham Ranch. He knew that if he could prevent a single firearm accident all of his effort would be worth it. Steve was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and bought lifetime memberships for all of his daughters.
Steve loved athletic horses, especially foundation quarter horses. He was a fantastic trainer and always rode as one with his horse. To Steve, good horses represented honesty, integrity, effort and teamwork.
Steve loved ethical hunting, enjoying the skill of the chase far more than the kill. His trophies were symbols of the experience on that hunt, a reminder of the story. Once, he spent autumn 29 days in the Bob Marshall Wilderness between completing ranch work. He hoped to break that personal best next year.
Steve valued friendships and worked to stay in touch with those he respected. With friends across the country, he could start calling people on the east coast early in the morning and work his way west as the sun rose. Texting was a dream come true for Steve, except when his thick fingers hit the wrong letter.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Willie (Absher) Hutton.
He is survived by his brothers; Charlie, Lance and Rodney; His daughters Alexandra, Stephanie and Abby; his step-son Will Early; his grandson, Miller Oglesby; several nieces and nephews and his wife, Lisa Schmidt.
He rode good horses.
In lieu of flowers please donate to East Slopeback Country Horseman or American Heart Association.
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas TX 75231
East Slopeback Country Horseman
307 No Main, Conrad MT 59425