Born: Nov 30, 1938
Died: Mar 27, 2017
Ronald A. Bitz, 78, of Box Elder passed away on March 27, 2017 at the Big Sandy Medical Center due to natural causes. He was surrounded by family during his last days and hours. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, April 1st at 11:00 A.M. at the Big Sandy Community Church of God with Pastor Erik Sietsema officiating. Cremation has taken place and Ron’s ashes will be scattered on the family farm.
Ron was born on November 30, 1938 in Havre, Montana to Albert and Esther (Weber) Bitz - the first of three children raised on the farm northwest of Box Elder. He attended school in Box Elder and was Salutatorian of his 1957 graduating class. Ron married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth “Betty” Dyer on September 22, 1957. He immediately went to work in Havre for the Ruby brothers of the Montana Banking Corporation, where he started his 18 year career as a banker. Banking took him to Big Sandy, Chester, Rudyard, and Chinook. As president of the last two banks, Ron was dedicated to the company and the clients that he served. During these years, he was a member of the Methodist Church and was active in the Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Like many Montanans, Ron liked to hunt. He was especially good with a shotgun and enjoyed trap shooting and hunting geese while in Rudyard. He also enjoyed many pheasant hunting trips in the Chinook area, especially in the Bears Paw Mountains. Ron was a skilled card player when the challenge presented itself. He was a talented carpenter and wood worker - never boasting of such, but the evidence speaks for its self. A good portion of his banking vacation time each year was spent returning to the farm to help with harvest. It came as no surprise that after retiring from banking in February of 1975, he moved back to Box Elder and took over the family farm. There he and Betty settled into farm life with their four kids, where he stayed until the final few months of his life.
After moving back home, Ron became active in the Big Sandy Community Church of God. He served as a deacon and taught Sunday school to the preschoolers for several years until he just couldn’t hear their little voices anymore. Several grandkids were in his classes, which was a blessing to him and to them. Ron also served on the board for the Hill County ASCS. An avid and wonderful guitar player, he taught his kids, several grandkids, and others to play. His love for music rubbed off on many. Mixing up the words to songs would make his kids laugh and then made him laugh. He was quite the entertainer. Spending time with his family was important and enjoyable to him – making homemade German sausage, cooking, boating, camping, hunting, and fishing. Ron was truly content after coming back home to the farm. Whether he was tilling the soil, planting crops, harvesting, or tending to his little herd of cattle, Ron felt close to his Savior there. His pride, love, and patience with his grandkids, and great grandkids was a blessing to watch and witness.
He is survived by his wife, Betty; children, Sharla (Jon) Tester, Larry (Ann) Bitz, Sherri (David) Heppner, and Karen (Shawn) Murray; two granddaughters and six grandsons; thirteen great grandchildren with the fourteenth on the way; two siblings, Vern (Sharon) Bitz and Linda (Bob) Lanning; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents.
Memorials in Ron’s name may be made to Big Sandy Medical Center, Box 530, Big Sandy, MT 59520, or Peace Hospice of Montana - Chouteau County, Box 459, Fort Benton, MT 59442. Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook has been entrusted with the services and arrangements. Condolences for the family may be left at edwardsfunealhomemt.com.