Dad always said he lived in the best era of history. Richard “Dick” Rohde was born in the winter of 1927 in Glasgow, Mont., to Frank and Mabel Rohde. That was the time of the Model T, and in time, dad would watch it change from the first of the gas-powered tractors to computerized GPS in air-conditioned cabs; threshing machines would evolve into diesel-powered combines; airplane travel across the country would lead to flights to the moon and beyond. He sure enjoyed watching all the changes, especially the change in farming.
Dad’s ties to farming remained strong throughout his life. His life started and ended in Glasgow, with detours at age 8 to Big Fork where he graduated from high school, then on to Bozeman where he received a degree in agriculture from Montana State College, as it was called in 1950. When he did his student teaching, amazingly, it was in Glasgow. After graduation, his first teaching job was in Bainville where he met and married Agatha “Aggie” Harmon in 1951. They farmed and ranched for Aggie’s dad, Bill Harmon for five years. In 1956, they ended up back in Glasgow where they farmed, ranched and raised five children, Colleen Pankratz of Opheim (her husband, Larry); Glenn of Glasgow (his wife, Lori), Alan of Absarokee (his wife, Nancy), Nola Howell of Billings (her husband Jeff), and Echo of Billings.
During the 60 years in Glasgow, Dad was partners with Leonard Langen and as Langen-Rohde Livestock, they ranched in Valley County with a spread of 63 sections, 800 cattle and 3,200 sheep for 12 years.
Then in 1978, Dick and Aggie changed to operating Rohde Seed House for the next 22 years, cleaning and treating grains for the farmers. Dad finally “retired” and then he continued his love for agriculture with spraying for weeds in Glasgow, Wolf Point and Fort Peck at cemeteries, ball fields, parks and lagoons.
Dad pursued a new passion and started restoring antique tractors. He would find them abandoned or at farm auctions and he would get them running again, then he and Mom would power wash and paint them. They were sold across the northern states all the way to the east coast and Canada.
This June, he and Aggie celebrated 65 years of marriage. Aggie is currently a resident in the Alzheimer’s Sunshine Unit at the nursing home in Glasgow. This winter, Dad finally stopped farming and on Dec. 14, his 89th birthday, he traveled on to heaven. He lived long enough to see his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and share his many life stories with them.
Dick Rohde will be missed, but his legacy of hard work and love of family lives on through all of us. His memorial service will be in Glasgow on June 9, 2017.