LaRue B Melton, 86

| July 27, 2020 10:35 AM

LaRue B Melton, 86, passed away at his home on July 14, 2020 of natural causes.

Born on December 29, 1933, he was delivered by Ellen “Ma” Melton, over in the Sloans-Big Bend area. His parents were William Jennings Bryan “Ike” and Villa Melton.

First, he went to the Big Bend School, then Round Butte, then finishing in Ronan where he graduated in 1953.

Uncle Sam drafted him in 1955 and he served his time in the US and Germany.

Dad was a Medic and Paratrooper. He loved to jump, it was “fun” he said. Germany was a placed he wished he would have gone back to, but never did.

He came home in 1957 and started ranching, later buying the homestead ranch from his dad. He liked improving the land and was always farming up something to plant, whether it was hay, grain, or grass! He sold out in 2007 and moved out to a little place in Camas Prairie, where he built a huge shop and hangar for his plane. He could always be found tinkering with his Uncle Sam tractor and always had numerous projects.

Dad had a pretty incredible life; he was a rancher, pilot, teamster, mechanic, fabricator, and much more.

Our cattle drives to Lake Mary Ronan were well known. It was 60 miles up in the spring and back in the fall. It started in the early 1900’s and ended in 2000. He started helping at 5 and never missed one. That was almost 7,500 miles. No wonder he went through 3 saddles!

Dad also helped his dad with the Whiskey Trail Buffalo; and the stories about that are endless!

Being a teamster, he loved his work horses; they were used every day for feeding. He enjoyed breaking the colts to pull also. He had several teams. He enjoyed taking them to the Ronan Parade for his class reunion float.

He also enjoyed the Back Country Horsemen group, he got to pack his mules and horses and they did a lot of improvements in the back country; which was right up his alley.

Then! He got his pilot’s license and bought a J5 Piper Cub. He loved to fly! The stories of him landing anywhere to give someone a ride are endless. Some say he flew like he was chasing buffalo.

There are two parting thoughts of Rancher Dad- Don’t shut off your pipe when it rains because that’s the only time you’ll get 100% and when I was young I asked him, “what would you do with a million dollars?” he replied, “ranch till it’s gone”

He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother Clarence Melton, sister-in-law-Yvonne, and brother-in-law- John Malinak.

LaRue is survived by his wife, Marlene; Buddy- the smartest dog ever, his kids, Randy (Kaylene), Renee (John Wall), Martin Ralston (Laurie Happ), his sister, Nora Jean Malinak, brother Terry (Jean) Melton, 3 Grandkids- Jamie Strowbridge, Sydney J Arneson, Jesse Melton, and 4 Great Grandkids- Kooper, Paisley, Garret and Stetson Strowbridge.

Services are planned for August 1, 2020 at 3 p.m. at his home in Camas Prairie. Rainbow Lake Road, first place on the right on Pelley Lane. Please bring a chair with you!