Butch Forsyth was born in Billings, MT on April 9, 1952, the only son of Marjorie Lacey Forsyth and Eugene Francis Forsyth, Sr. Though named Eugene Jr, after his father, he was known as “Butch” his entire life. When he introduced himself, he’d say, “If ya call me Francis… I’d have to kill ya”. Butch had a quick wit and was a story-teller! He had a life-long love for hunting, fishing, exploring and hiking. He respected God’s creations, and experiencing His outdoor world became what Butch called his “church”.
The family lived in the Bull Mountains, south of Roundup MT, and worked in the multi-generational Gildroy Coal Mine. Butch referred to himself as a ‘challenging child’… (which was probably an understatement). A young Butch would tag along with his older uncle, Bob Lacey, on explorations that would encompass the entire day, without telling his mother where he was going. At 6, and with his first rifle, he hunted rabbits and sold them to the cooks on the railroad’s passenger train at Cushman MT for $0.25 each. He’d tell the story of playing with his Tonka trucks alone inside the family car at age 8, and of lighting ‘smoke weed’…. which caught the car’s upholstery on fire. The smoke from the car brought the men down from the coal mine to see if a house was on fire. Butch had vacated the burning car by then, and scampered up the log corners of his family’s house to sit on the roof…. hoping to escape the inevitable spanking. Meanwhile, their prized 1929 Plymouth Coupe burned beyond repair, with all his Tonka trucks inside.
Butch moved to Miles City MT with his family when he was in 8th grade, and assisted his father in loading dynamite for Roundup Powder Co there. Later, he worked at the Red Rock, McDonalds Shoe Dept and also assembled and serviced motorcycles at Miles & Ulmer’s Cycle Shop. In his teens, Butch owned a 1951 Studebaker pickup, aptly named “The Green Toad”. That Studebaker was periodically chained to a tree by his father, especially when Butch’s grade would fail in Typing Class, due to his large fingers being unable to strike only one typing key at a time. Oh, how he hated typing class! He was also a tuba player in the high school & marching band, where he met his future wife, Kolleen. Butch was on the Custer County Cowboy’s football team.
After high school, Butch served as a squadron leader in the Montana Army National Guard for 6 years during the Vietnam war. He was a skilled marksman and was recruited to be a sniper. Butch became a father while he was in the Army, and he was not able to meet his newly born daughter, Buffy, until she was 2 ½ months old.
Butch graduated from Miles City Custer County High School in 1970. He married his high school sweetheart, Kolleen Waldo, on May 8, 1971. To this union, two daughters were born: Buffy and Chantelle. The Forsyth’s lived in Billings, Laurel, Forsyth and Lakeside, MT while raising their daughters. Butch was an Administrator/Operator for Public Works, having graduated from Northern Montana College. He worked with the EPA on a multi-million dollar project to bring sanitary sewer along the west shore of Flathead Lake. Its because of this project that Flathead Lake is clear and crystal blue to this day. Butch retired from 25 yrs of Public Works in the Little Snake River Valley of Wyoming and turned his work direction to the oil fields there as a construction supervisor and a pumper. He continued to hunt elk, deer, caribou and coyotes at every opportunity, and was also able to hunt a Colorado 2000 lb rogue buffalo…. an adventure every hunter dreams of! One shot from his 50 caliber black powder rifle and the buffalo was down. Butch held an FFL license for over 20 years, and named his firearms business “Bulldog Arms”. He was a knowledgeable resource to many people on firearms, ammunitions and hunting tactics.
Butch loved how his family had grown, adding son-in-laws, Rick and Tyson, 3 grandaughters and 2 grandsons. Some of our favorite times with them were spent 4-wheeling on BLM ground in Wyoming, fishing in the creek by the campfire in Lakeside, MT, and traveling to Hawaii. He was very proud of the young adults his grandchildren had become. He even became adept at instagram and texting them! Quite an accomplishment for a man who hated cellphones.
On their last retirement, Butch and Kolleen moved from southern Wyoming to Iowa to experience a new part of the U.S, with its whitetail hunting, bass and walleye fishing for Butch … and clean, green & not so remote for Kolleen. Butch was diagnosed with severe COPD in 2016 and soon realized that Midwest humidity was not his friend. His wishes were to return to our home state for Montana’s drier climate and to live close to family and our 5 grandchildren again. The beginning of that move was underway … his ‘famous’ Hawaiian shirts, Cowboy boots, and straw hat were packed… and we arrived back in Montana Friday evening!! His last day was spent in Montana with family celebrating his return. It was a good day. That evening, Riverstone Hospice visited and helped Butch transition his needed services and O2 to begin in Montana. He passed away 6 hours later …. peacefully during sleep on Sunday, May 27, 2018 at the age of 66. He had come full circle … back to the place where he was born.
Butch was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Kolleen, his daughters and son-in-laws: Buffy & Rick Stiles, and Chantelle & Tyson Buhre; his 5 grandchildren – Madison, Krueger, Brooklyn, Konnor and Kiara; his sister, Sharlene & Larry Anderson, plus a large extended family and dear friends across the country. Also in his Fan Club are English Bulldogs, Griz and Maizee, who constantly shadowed his every move.
In lieu of flowers, please support Riverstone Hospice in Billings, who met us for the 1st time on May 26th, yet gave comfort, guidance and assistance for both Butch and our family without any of us knowing it would be the last 6 hours of his life. RIP Francois.