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Robert “Lee” Hestekin, 91, of Vaughn, MT passed away Saturday, April 14, 2018 of natural causes. He went home to be with the Lord to join his wife Faith, daughter Sandy and son Randy. A Visitation will be held Thursday, April 19th from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at Croxford Funeral Home with a Funeral to follow on Friday the 20th at 11:00 AM at Central Assembly of God. Pastor Alan Warneke will officiate and Burial will follow at Manchester Cemetery.
Lee, son of Norman and Myrtle Hestekin, was born November 11, 1926 on the family farm near Buffalo Springs, ND. He attended grade school at Buffalo Springs and started his freshman year at Bowman , ND. He had to quit a short time later due to his dad’s illness.
He farmed his dad’s land until 1945 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC for his field artillery training and served as a military guard at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Following his discharge, he attended auctioneer school in Mason City, Iowa.
On June 5, 1946 Lee married Faith Wick of Bowman, ND in Miles City, MT. Three children were born to this union: Randy, Sandy and Butch. The family moved to Coeur d’Alene, ID in 1952 where Lee auctioneered, later buying into the business, rebuilding and remodeling it. He auctioneered at Lewiston, Spokane, Kalispell and Sand Point, ID. Lee won many plaques and trophies for having some of the best horses at Miles City bucking horse sale. He also sold a lot of horses and bulls to PRCA contractors, with quite a few going to the PCRA finals.
The family moved to Kalispell, MT in 1965 and shortly after built the Kalispell Livestock Yards, as they were always involved in business ventures there. Wanting to move to bigger cattle country and liking more wide-open spaces, they moved to Great Falls where he leased the Great Falls Livestock Yards. They later moved to their ranch in Vaughn and purchased Western Livestock Auction in Manchester. In 1999 he sold the business but continued to buy and trade cattle out of his ranch in Vaughn.
Lee and Faith enjoyed raising and racing horses as a hobby for 30 plus years, with Snowdeer Dear winning the Rio Terrace Stakes race in Edmonton, Canada and Midnight Mackie setting a world record while racing in Calgary. Lee worked at the CMR Art Auction for many years. He also judged the World Auctioneering Contest in Calgary.
Lee was one of the last great cowboys of his time when he could purchase a herd of cattle with a smile and a hand shake rather than a contract. He was a tough man who could survive a kidnapping when left to die a slow and painful death. Lee genuinely loved the people he dealt with, both the business and the cattle. He had cattle all his life up until the last two months when his health got the best of him. He put up a courageous battle till the end.
He lived a very fulfilling life with his wife, Faith, whom he missed dearly. He was a very generous, kind and considerate husband and father, always wanting the best for his family. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Survivors include his son, Butch of Great Falls; sister, Judy (Gary) Rouse of Hamilton; brother, Brian (Pat) Hestekin of White Sulfur Springs; granddaughter, Levi Rabel of Great Falls; grandsons, Dusty Chrisman and Hunter Hestekin of Great Falls; three great-grandchildren, Lane, Cassie and Lacy Rabel; and his faithful companion, Bella.
Lee was preceded in death by his loving wife, Faith; daughter, Sandy Chrisman; son, Randy, Hestekin; his parents, Norman and Myrtle; sister, Doris Greff and brother-in-law, Harvey Greff.