- Your Town
Henry Joseph Bratsky
Henry Joseph Bratsky passed away at age 86 on Oct. 23, 2013, and was welcomed into Heaven by his beautiful & smiling daughter, Shirley. He is now in the arms of the angels for all eternity. Henry (known by all as Hank) was born July 23, 1927, in Dry Creek, Montana to Frances Rosecky and Leopold Bratrosovsky, both emigrants from Czechoslovakia. Hank spent his entire life in the Clarks Fork Valley and loved the land from which he came. As a young man, Hank rough-necked in the oil fields of Wyoming, Montana, and Texas. He also spent several winters working on the railroad at Greybull, Wyo., Missoula and Laurel, Mont. In 1965, Hank worked for the Bureau of Land Management mapping, building roads and counting wild horses. He enjoyed this job immensely and was happiest outdoors. Hank also served in Carbon County as Undersheriff & Deputy Sheriff for 13 years. During his time in the Sheriff Department he watched over all the teenagers of the Clarks Fork Valley in the 1960’s and 70’s ~ making sure they didn’t harm anyone, but also giving them the opportunity to “sow their oats”. Hank was an icon in the Valley and all those that knew him, respected, admired and looked up to him. They continue to tell Hank Bratsky stories to this day. After leaving the sheriff department, he served an additional 12 years as the County Road Foreman, retiring from community service in 1992. Hank lived and farmed on the banks of the Clarks Fork River at East Bridger for 53 years, in addition to working the above listed jobs. After selling the family farm, he moved into the town of Bridger and continued to pursue woodworking, making sheds, benches, stools, children’s chairs and numerous other wooden items that he generously donated to every charity he could. He was very proud of his “sturdy” work and knew that each unique piece would last a long time. You could always find him working in his woodshop, unless he was down at the local café enjoying a cup of coffee and chatting with his buddies. Hank was a friendly man, he always had a smile for everyone. He never met a stranger. He loved playing pinochle and got a kick out of taking away 300 pinochle from anyone & rubbing it in every chance he got. In 2008, he moved to Billings. Hank was a “King of a Man/Father”, his gentle, kind and loving nature will be remembered forever. Hank was married to Betty Kelsey in 1951. They had four children: Joseph of San Diego, Calif., Dale, known as Butch (wife-Shannon) of Billings, and Donna (husband-John) Rollman of Butte. Hanks’s baby daughter, Shirley Stroud, sadly preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife Betty of 62 years; five grand children: Gentry Teesdale, Darci Teesdale, Jared Bratsky, Jaime (husband-Doug) Stocker, and Tanner Stroud; with five great grandchildren, Jackson Klee, Devin Teesdale, Calee Stroud, Everson Stroud, and Kase Schraudner. Hank is also preceded in death by both of his parents; his brothers, Joseph (infant), Charles and Leo; and sisters, Lillian Salo, Francis Bratsky Kelsey and Mary Bratsky Joy. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation, PO Box 80807, Billings, MT 59108; in Henry Bratsky's name. There was a memorial service for Hank at 11 AM, Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Faith Chapel in Billings. Cremation has taken place and a private internment will take place at a later date.