Ernest C. Strum, Lt.Col., US Army, Retired, passed away peacefully surrounded by family Dec. 19, 2013 at his home in Red Lodge. He was born Jan. 31, 1931 in Seattle, Wash, graduating from the University of Washington College of Forestry in 1954. The son of Charles and Erna Strum, he was the oldest of 3 siblings. On Dec. 18, 1954, he married Marjorie Moyer, whom he met at a Seattle Mountaineers ski lodge. Ernie had a strong passion for the outdoors. During his college years he worked summers as a fire lookout for the U.S. Forest Service. He enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing, horse-packing and backpacking. He especially loved spending time horse-packing with Marge in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. During his retirement Ernie and Marge explored Alaska on three extended trips with their trusty van “Basecamp”. Ernie was a decorated US Army veteran, completing two tours in Vietnam, and serving at posts in Panama, Venezuela, Germany, and various locations around the continental US. Ernie was a Senior Aviator awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Air Medal with 19 Oak Leaf Clusters. Following retirement from the Army, Ernie enjoyed a successful career in real estate, opening the Red Lodge office of C-Mor Real Estate. After 20 years with C-Mor, Ernie followed his true passion and founded Rocky Fork Guide Service, becoming a licensed outfitter and fly fishing guide, and a Federation of Fly Fishermen Certified Fly Casting Instructor. Ernie was happiest teaching. He loved to introduce newcomers to the outdoors and the pursuit of fishing and hunting. His teaching included over 30 years of volunteer work as a Hunter’s Education Chief Instructor for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Carbon County. He was deeply rooted in the Red Lodge community, involved with the Chamber of Commerce, Inquiry Club, Rotary, and helped establish the Beartooth Nature Center, the Silver Run Wildlife Management Area, and the Lily Pad Lake Trail. Ernie was also an active member of the Beartooth Back Country Horsemen, enjoying his love of horses and the back country. Ernie was very proud of his family and their accomplishments. They know that he wants us to keep his memory in our hearts, but not to mourn his passing. He is survived by his bride of 59 years, Marjorie, the love of his life. He is also survived by his children David (Kathy) Strum and Charles (Lois) Strum of Billings, and Karen Bertek (fiancé Steve Hoover) of Fargo, N.D.; grandchildren Jolene Strum, Jillian (Andy) Miller, Nathan Strum, Amy Strum, Brian (Beka) Strum, and Taylor Bertek; sister Charlotte (Jerry) Garrison; niece Jaylynn Mossman and nephew Chris Mossman. Ernie was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Erna, brother Raymond and grandson Adam Bertek. A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 at the Twin Elk building at Rock Creek Resort south of Red Lodge. Cremation has taken place. Smith-Olcott Funeral Chapel is assisting with arrangements. Memorials may be given to the Disabled American Veterans in Ernie’s name.