Farm Animals 19

Gregory Merton Gould

October 4, 1956 ~ January 27, 2024 (age 67) 67 Years Old

Gregory Gould Obituary

The Lord gained a good cowman and grass manager and the world lost a pioneer in the field of regenerative agriculture with the passing of Gregory Merton Gould to the green pastures of Heaven on January 27, 2024. Greg left this world on his own terms, at home, surrounded by his wife and sons, after a courageous several year battle with cancer and multiple other medical issues. He was a true Renaissance man who made his mark in many fields of endeavor. As a fourth generation Montana agriculturalist, he grew up on a grain farm in Ulm, Montana. Greg spent as much time as possible with his paternal grandparents, Merton and Hazel Gould, while growing up, and was happiest when he could be in the thick of farming with them. Before the age of 6, he was driving a grain truck alone during harvest and took over the haying operation by the age of 11. He attended Ulm Elementary School and Cascade High School, excelling in both sports and academics. Some of his records in the Presidential Fitness Challenge still stand at the Ulm School and he was a starter on the varsity football, basketball, and track teams at Cascade. As a thespian, Greg participated in many theater productions while in high school and was awarded a full ride scholarship to Eastern Montana College in the Dramatic Arts. He was proud to be part of the cast of the musical, “1776, ” that toured the Pacific Northwest under the auspices of the Masons during the Bicentennial year of the United States and was also the prop manager and prop truck driver for that production. After graduating from EMC with his Associate of Arts degree and a Diesel Mechanics certificate, Greg made the difficult decision to return to the family farm when his father became ill, giving up his plan for a career in the theater. He often joked the decision was made a little easier by the fact that he couldn’t carry a tune and had two left feet as a dancer!

Upon his return, Greg began transitioning the farm to an organic certified, regenerative operation. This transition kept the farm moving forward through the 1985 farm crisis. Greg was one of a small group of innovative Montanans who began bringing organic and sustainable practices to agriculture on a large scale in the 1980’s, including the use of pulse and other alternative cropping systems. Part of his role in this movement is recounted in the book, Lentil Underground, by Liz Carlisle. At the time, it seemed like a constant, uphill battle, and he was initially shunned by many in the local agricultural establishment. However, Greg and his cohorts have since been vindicated and many of the once radical practices that they adopted are now considered mainstream. He had an innate knowledge of plants, soils, livestock, wildlife, and their environmental interactions on both a micro and macro level. Greg worked closely with many organizations, including Montana FWP, to assist in monitoring multiple wildlife species on the ranch and with the Merriam turkey reintroduction into the local Missouri River corridor. The ranch has several conservation easements in place. His environmental efforts were recognized by the Land Stewardship Awards of the American Angus Association, Farm Journal, and Alternative Energy Resources Organization. Greg was also named a Cascade County Conservation Cooperator of the Year, a Goodyear Conservation Award recipient, a multiple overall winner of the Montana State Milling and Baking Contest, and winner of many Farm Crop Sweepstakes Awards at the Montana State Fair.

Greg met his best friend and soulmate, Aimee Hachigian-Gould, on a blind date in 1986. He was not sure he wanted to date again after his divorce and only agreed to meet her after being assured by the intermediary that the orthopaedic surgeon from Detroit could already handle cattle, ride, shoot, and fix fence. They were inseparable after their second date, when he took her to watch the deer and elk in the moonlight. For more than thirty-seven years, they shared many adventures that involved Angus cattle, riding, hunting, fishing, camping, wildlife watching, exploring Montana, fixing fence, haying, seeding, and the many ups and downs that go along with ranching. Greg and Aimee married in 1991 and he was adopted into her big, boisterous Armenian family as a son. He gave Aimee an Angus bull instead of an engagement ring, one of many “practical, but sentimental,” gifts she would receive over the years from her loving, eccentric rancher. Their twin sons, Andrew and Brandon, arrived a year later. The newlyweds combined their separate ranching operations into 7 Bar Heart Registered Angus, which they continued to build with their sons. He split from his parents’ grain farm in 1997 to focus his energies on raising efficient Angus cattle and optimizing grass production with his wife and sons, continuing a certified organic operation to this day. Greg spent countless hours with his “boys” on a horse, in a tractor, a pickup, at the shop, or on foot, teaching them about life, family, livestock, range management, and the foundations of sustainable ranching. Greg was proud of the men his sons became and their many accomplishments. He was thrilled to welcome them and their wonderful wives back to the ranch after completing their college degrees, becoming the fifth generation of Goulds in agriculture. He considered himself fortunate to have lived to meet his four grandchildren, who are the hope for the future.

Mentoring and teaching people of all ages were an important part of Greg’s life, and he was generous about sharing his knowledge and/or applying a firm wakeup call, as needed. He coached the Ulm School boys’ basketball team and gave many young people their first jobs on the ranch, teaching them about the pride to be gained from working hard toward a common goal. Greg instilled an outstanding work ethic in his sons by his own hard working example and helped home school them until college. He was a dedicated supporter of 4-H and Montana Range Days, helping coach Andrew, Brandon, and their teammates to represent Montana 4-H at state, national and international competitions in environmental studies, range judging, meats identification, mechanics, and public speaking. The family covered 17 states and 4 Canadian provinces in the family pickup, and logged countless miles in Montana, travelling to those contests. Greg and his family welcomed many American and International visitors to the ranch for tours and competitions sponsored by the Montana Angus Association, MSU Extension, FFA, 4-H, the Great Falls International Committee, AERO, and the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce. He fed the cattle for the participants in the MSU Extension Beefability Program and the O Bar M Organic Beef Co-op, and was a featured speaker at many agricultural symposia. Greg gave many disabled hunters and first time youth hunters the opportunity to hunt on the ranch.

Greg loved and was devoted to his family, his ranch, the range, and his livestock. He was a friend to all and never hesitated to extend a helping hand to anyone in need. His storytelling and sense of humor were legendary, and he delighted in spinning a tale before springing a ”Gotcha!” punchline. He enjoyed the theater, anything to do with the outdoors, music, rooting for the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Reds, following local high school sports teams, quizzing people on various sports statistics, Montana history, exploring new places, a cold beer with friends, and Aimee’s cooking. Greg was a Mason, member of the American Angus Association, Montana Angus Association, Montana Cattlemen’s Association, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and Walleyes Unlimited, and served on many organic certification committees.

Greg is survived by his wife and partner in all things, Aimee Hachigian-Gould, sons Andrew (Ashley)

Gould and Brandon (Katelyn) Gould, daughter, Amber Gould, grandchildren Clayton, Oneida, Quinton, and Kaycee Gould, parents-in-law, Garo and Louise Hachigian, brothers/sisters-in-law, Michael Hachigian, Ron and Lynne (Hachigian) Hinrichsen, and Siggi and Lisa (Hachigian) Hetz, many nieces and nephews, and “adopted family,” Brock Hofer, Michael Stavely, and Justin Taylor. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Merton and Hazel Gould, parents, Donald and Beverly Gould, sister-in-law, Lori Hachigian, his brother from another mother, Jack Sanders, his horse, Shadow, and his Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Bear.

He was a Christian man in every sense of the word and believed God and Church were everywhere in the Great Outdoors. At Greg’s request, no services were held and he was cremated after a private visitation for the immediate family. A Celebration of Life will be held on September 2, 2024 (Labor Day) at the ranch, beginning at 3 PM. Memorials are suggested to the Cascade 4-H Foundation for the support of Cascade County youth.

The family wishes to thank Drs. Craig Treptow, Bryan Martin, Carolyn Rutter, Mel Margaris, Kimberly Floyd, Ryan Luoma, Brett Williams, and Mark Seal; the nursing and ancillary staff at Benefis Hospital, the Great Falls Clinic, and the Sletten Cancer institute; and everyone at the Peace Hospice for the excellent care that was extended to Greg by all of you over the years.

The Armenians say, “Asdvadz Hokin Lousavoreh”-May God Illuminate Greg’s Soul. And to those who knew and loved him, Greg would say, “May you always have cows around!”

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