Cover photo for Bill Rettig's Obituary
Bill Rettig Profile Photo

Bill Rettig

d. May 14, 2011

Bill Rettig, 66, formerly of Union County, died May 14 of an apparent heart attack at his ranch near Bridger, Mont. Funeral services will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church, 400 Seventh Ave. in Laurel, Mont. Burial will be at Rockvale Cemetery with military honors. Smith Funeral Chapel in Laurel, Mont., is in charge of arrangements.

Bill was born in Ontario to Charles and Evelyn Rettig and grew up near Willow Creek. Bill clearly remembered the change that occurred in their home when his parents became Christians and he also made the decision to be a Christian.

Bill graduated from Vale Union High School, attended Simpson Bible College in San Francisco, Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario and received his bachelor of science in history at Eastern Oregon College in La Grande. He met Patsy Rayburn at college when they were attending a college and career class at First Baptist Church.

He served in the U.S. Army in Germany. After completing his service, he and Patsy were married in 1969. She wore a wedding dress made by her mother from lace Bill purchased in Germany.

Bill worked at the La Grande Airport servicing Forest Service planes during the fire season while completing the requirements for a master's of teaching degree from Eastern Oregon College. Bill and Patsy used their summer vacations to take youth from their church to summer camps and trips into the Eagle Cap Wilderness near Lostine.

Bill taught social science classes at Unity and then sold liquid feed supplements to ranchers in the Dillon, Mont., area. He later became an employee of Standard Lumber in Dillon, sold property for Mooney Real Estate and was a federal crop insurance field supervisor. He taught a young couples class at the Dillon First Baptist Church, developing friendships still treasured today.

Bill wanted his son to have the experience of growing up on a ranch so when Sam was born, Bill literally found and purchased a ranch near Bridger while Patsy was still in the hospital.

Bill was active in the First Baptist Church in Laurel as a Sunday school superintendent and taught in the Yellowstone Christian School. Struggling to survive on their small ranch, Bill worked at Western Sugar and became employed full-time at Northwest Pipe Fittings in 1992. He "retired" to full-time farming in 2009 shortly after his brother Terry died from a heart attack. As a farmer, he was doing what he had always dreamed of doing.

Survivors are his wife, Patsy; son, Samuel; brother, Lynn and his wife, Joanie, of Musselshell, Mont., and their children; Patsy's mother; brother, Sam and his son; and sisters, Nancylee Hudson and her husband, Jim, and Sheri and her partner, Bud.


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