Odell “Buzz” Allen Aldrich, 88 years old, of Joliet, passed away fittingly on our Nation’s birthday, July 4, 2019, at the Richardson Cottage in Laurel, MT, where he had been a resident for the past 17 months.
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He was born November 5, 1930, in Doland, South Dakota to Dorothy (Coopersmith) and Ira Aldrich. He married Evelyn Heer on November 19, 1951, in Doland, SD and together they raised five children, moving several times before settling in Joliet, Montana in the early 70’s. Dad always said his favorite places to live were Hot Springs, SD and Joliet, MT.
Buzz was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, serving on a survey crew in Germany. He utilized his GI Bill and graduated from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, with a degree in Civil Engineering. He was also part of their college wrestling team, Go Jackrabbits!
Dad worked for the U.S. Government, transferring many times before retiring from the Soil Conservation Service in Joliet in 1985. He was instrumental in completing the Cooney Dam spillway; the Metra Park upper parking lot and many bridges and dams in the area. After retirement, he started Buzz’s Turf, designing and installing many, many underground sprinkler systems throughout Carbon County and Laurel. It was a family affair and everyone has a humorous “Buzz” sprinkler story.
He was passionate about community service and was a long time member of the Joliet Lions Club, starting the flag program to raise money for college scholarships; a proud board member of the Beartooth RC&D, helping to create the Joliet Community Center; served on Joliet Town Council; National Weather Service volunteer; Boys and Girls Club, and Sacred Heart church council. He was a faithful member of St John’s Catholic Church. He supported youth sports and activities and rarely missed watching his grandkids compete. He also never missed an opportunity to drive to the post office, store, and bank; often several times a day!
He leaves behind his children; Marlowe (Peg) Aldrich of Billings, Renee (Ben) Carlson of Roundup, Arlin (Patty) Aldrich of Lynwood, WA, Rich (Donna) Aldrich of Colorado Springs, CO and Monica (Russ) Salo of Joliet. Grandchildren Sam (Becky) Carlson, Brand (Cheyenne) Aldrich, Parker (Jae) Aldrich, Kate Aldrich, Jake Salo, Hayley Aldrich, Colton (Deveney) Salo, Ashleigh Aldrich and Noah Salo, along with 10 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Evelyn.
Because Dad never wanted anyone to have to “hitchhike home on the weekends”, as college is “no cake-walk”, memorials may be given to the Buzz & Evelyn Aldrich Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Joliet Public Schools, Box 590, Joliet, MT 59041, to continue to promote higher education, which he was so passionate about.
Graveside services, with military honors, will be Saturday, August 17th, at 10:30 a.m. at the Rockvale Cemetery with a luncheon to follow at the Joliet Community Center. In honor of Buzz’s patriotic and community spirit, please wear red, white and blue, or his favorite, John Deere green.