07/14/2018 - Great Falls, MT, USA
Ronald Peter Tihista, 83, beloved father and grandfather, passed away on July 14th, 2018 after a brief illness.
On a beautiful Spring day, May 18th, 1935, Ron came into this world, the third child of Basque immigrants Peter and Mae Tihista, joining sister Helen and brother Mitch on the family farm in Nashua, Montana. He spent much time being the typical little brother, pulling pranks and causing trouble...but he was the beloved baby of the family. Growing up in Glasgow provided many hilarious stories for his children and grandchildren over the years.
Ronald spent two years in the Army, then returned home for a brief stint, where he reconnected with fellow Scottie, Mary Dazell, the cheerleader he'd been smitten with in high school. They married on September 6, 1956 and promptly moved to Helena, where Ron would go on to attend Carroll College, graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree.
Eventually their family grew over the years, welcoming 6 daughters, Michele, Jeanette, Jacqueline, Monique, Yvette and Colette. After graduating from Carroll, Ron went to work for Union Oil in Arizona, then took a job with Lederle pharmaceutical company for 25 years, where he excelled as a top salesman, winning many accolades and enjoying a fruitful career!
He loved being on the road but when he retired knew that he needed something else to keep him busy using his amazing people and sales skills. He went into business for himself in downtown Great Falls, buying B and B Pawn, where he thrived on building relationships with customers as a Pawnbroker, eventually branching into retail. He built it into a very successful business and after 16 years, sold it to family and settled into retired life!
He loved his cabin in Lincoln for many years. He enjoyed a good cigar, a glass of good red wine or a cold gin and tonic on the porch. He loved attending his grandchildren's various activities, but especially the baseball games, where he could view the game from the comfort of his pick-up, enjoying a cigar!
Ron was a man who valued his Catholic faith. As an active member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church for over 45 years, he was instrumental in establishing the church community, enjoying daily Mass and building lasting relationships. He will be greatly missed in his usual spot in the second pew at Mass!
He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Mae, and his sister, Helen. He leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Mary, his six daughters, six son-in-laws, 28 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, brother Mitch Tihista of Sidney, Montana, 4 nieces, 2 nephews, and a large, extended Basque family. He was loved and will be greatly missed by us.
Viewing will be at Schnider Funeral Home on Monday, July 23rd, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Recitation of the Most Holy Rosary will be held at 5:00 p.m. in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Black Eagle, MT. A private Solemn High Requiem Mass will take place on Tuesday morning for family and parishioners, followed by a celebration of Ron's life from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Great Falls Airport Banquet facility, to which all are invited.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church or The Saint Joseph's building fund in care of The Daughters of Mary Convent located in Round Top, New York.
(published in Great Falls Tribune, Legacy.com on July 22, 2018)