Robert C. “Bob” Wendt

Robert (Bob) Wendt passed away Oct. 15, 2017 early in the morning. We are sure he is busy baking cookies and organizing heaven with his usual wit as he did as principal, college professor, motel owner, and community volunteer.

Born April 12, 1926 in Los Angeles, his wee years were spent in Whittier, California as the only child of Chris and Ruth Way Wendt. Bob’s family moved to Cave Junction, Oregon as he began his teens. After graduating from high school as student body president and valedictorian, Bob matriculated at Southern Oregon University. More importantly, he met Ruth Walker, the younger sister of his landlord, and they embarked on an adventure that lasted almost 70 years of marriage.

Bob served in the Army Air Force during WWII and then in the reserves for several years afterward. Grants Pass needed an elementary teacher and Bob started a career in education before he had finished college. A school principal in his mid-twenties, he earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Oregon. For at least one term, he was president of the Oregon Elementary Principals’ Association. In 1965, the family moved to Caldwell, Idaho where Bob embarked on a career in higher education at The College of Idaho. Serving first as professor of elementary education, he filled positions as dean of extended education, the graduate school, and then as the interim academic dean. By the early 1970s, virtually every school administrator in southern Idaho had been mentored by Bob. Multiple trips toMicronesia occurred as the college considered establishing a branch campus. As Micronesia had sent dozens of students to The College of Idaho; Bob and Ruth became second parents to many of the students from that area..

The veteran educator turned a new chapter in the spring of 1981 moving to Red Lodge and serving the traveling public at the Valli Hi Motor Lodge. In Red Lodge, Bob and Ruth found their home and friends. Despite an interlude as Co-owner managers of Moses Lake Washington Travelodge, they never really left Red Lodge other than multiple adventures across the country and the world. Piloting their pickup and trailer, they camped their way from Arkansas to Alaska.

Bob could not escape being involved in the community and a life of service. Bob, with Ruth always a partner with him, served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Club, the hospital, and the RL Community Church plus other groups.
Bob is survived by Ruth in Red Lodge, daughter Rebecca (Ibe), son Bruce (Claire Oakley) in Billings and four grandchildren, Sarah in Greeley, Colorado, Eric (Hannah) in Billings, Kate Cole (Jesse Smith) and Stephen in Moscow, Idaho.

The family is grateful for the many helpers such as the caring staff at Cedar Wood and friends in Red Lodge who helped make the last few weeks more bearable.

A celebration of a life well lived will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Red Lodge Community Church. Smith-Olcott Funeral Chapel has assisted with arrangements.

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Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 8:00am
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 10:00am
    An Overeaters Anonymous group will meet every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Grace Fellowship Church, Absarokee.
  • Monday, November 27, 2017 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 8:00am
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.