Arie Ernest Stam, age 71, left us on February 27, 2019 due to end stage renal failure. In 1995, while living in Anchorage, AK, he travelled to Seattle, WA to receive a kidney, generously donated by his brother, Smylie.
Arie, the oldest of five children, was born to Johan and Philivene (Schlicht) Stam in Rapid City, South Dakota on November 24, 1947. He graduated from Hartford High School in 1965 and attended Dakota State College for two years. Two years later he moved to Bridger, Montana to work for the bank of Bridger and for Bill and Mary Schwend on their ranch. Although he loved motorcycles and sporty cars, Arie was a cowboy at heart. For many years he drove a mail route between Billings and Rapid City, SD with his uncle, Harold Speck.
In 1972 Arie met Vona Sundberg of Bridger and they were married in 1973. A daughter, Andrea, the joy of his life, was born in 1981. Following a divorce, Arie met Judy Warg of Billings. For 35 years they enjoyed sharing Andrea with her mother while Judy’s four children presented them with eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In 2011 Andrea made him a grandfather when Archer arrived, adding a very special sparkle to his eyes!
We are going to miss his special brand of wit and keen sense of acceptance and understanding. One of his most satisfying experiences was working for Hill-Rom in Billings, Ft. Smith, AR, Anchorage, AK and Helena placing patients on specialized hospital beds. Anchorage was, by far, his favorite and he often wished he could return to land one more salmon and, hopefully, a halibut! While living in Helena, Arie’s hobby was creating beautiful hand –thrown pottery. He happily shared that love with family, teaching us all to throw or hand-build our own creations. He was instrumental in developing the Clay Arts Guild of Helena. Always an excellent salesman, the RV business, most recently, gave him a great deal of joy and sense of accomplishment.
Arie is survived by his daughter, Andrea Sundberg, Rollins, MT, sister Kathy Ruff, Sturgis, SD, brother Smylie (Sylvia) of Liverpool, NY, sister Michelle (Craig) Collins of Douglas, WY, brother Jeffrey of Texarkana, TX, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and his loving companion, Judy. Lydia (Robert) Malis and Mary (Doran) Cerovski, Judy’s daughters of Billings, were with their mother at his side when he passed away. He is preceded in death by his parents, Johan and Philivene and his brother Jeffrey’s two sons.
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 18th in the back yard Arie and Judy created and maintained.