Kurtis HIGGINS Stutz October 8, 1965 to March 19, 2021

“By God Woodrow, it’s been one hell of a party.” Gus to Woodrow, Lonesome Dove
Thursday, April 1, 2021
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Welcome to a good old hat tippin’, boot-stompin', glass raising gathering, and celebration of life for our brother and friend, Kurtis Higgins Stutz.  All of us are connected through this kindhearted man who with a fierce mind and a brave spirit chased down dreams and took us all along with him.    

Kurtis, the all-season mountain man, with the knowledge, passion, patience to teach, and endless chatter about a new area to explore, drew most of us into more than a few butt-busting 12-hour trail rides’ and all-day backcountry ski expeditions.  These planned adventures to places unknown and re-visits to other favorite spots of his were incredible experiences with sights to see that will never be forgotten.  The ‘remember when’ stories will be endless, so many and so classic Kurtis they’ll be told by many of us over and over for years to come.  

We miss him and he’ll always be a big part of our world even though gone from it.  Through laughter, tears, and time, the hole in our hearts will be able to recover.  Looking to the stars we’ll know he’s okay and sending messages to each of us to ‘keep your nose to the wind and your eyes on the skyline’ and to stay curious and be helpful to others.   We know he’s found that fresh, horse or Mule with a good fitting saddle, and with Sky-Dog by his side he’ll soon be checking out all of the new ridges and mountain tops.  

Not to leave out the endless cribbage games from Idaho to Red Lodge and anywhere in between.  We’ll see if his unsuspecting opponents will buy into his ‘new rules’ whereby Kurtis ends up winning every single time.  

When the time comes to exchange smiles, handshakes, and hugs again, we’ll look for him near the campfire to share stories over Dutch oven delights (stuffed mushrooms please) and some Pendleton Whiskey.  I’m sure we’ll be glad to see one another again, on the other hand, I can hear him say, “Dude, what the f**k took you so long!” 

Ride the good trail, my friend, until we meet again.  

Kurtis was born in Red Lodge, Montana, Oct. 8, 1965, to Grove and Elaine Higgins of Piney Dell Lodge. He joined his sister Julia. 

He was raised in an eclectic Ranching, Mining, Ski Town, filled with characters of all sorts, that nestled at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains, a Gateway to Yellowstone Park. The Park became Kurt’s playground of choice as a child.   

He was educated at the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, and graduated from  Sierra Nevada College, Incline, Nevada.

Kurtis was employed from High School forward, giving him a skill set he would use throughout life, most fondly at the Diamond D Ranch, out of Stanley, Idaho, near Loon Creek, nestled in the Saw Tooth’s. His experiences there kept him in Idaho for the duration of his life.  

Kurtis joined Idaho Power in 1996 as an Apprentice Lineman working his way up through Journeyman, Troubleman, and lastly, Regional System Operator. He worked there for 25 years. 

In 2006, Kurtis married Andrea Roche and helped raise Andrea’s daughter, Olivia.  They divorced in 2016 but Kurtis and Andrea remained committed to raising a strong, independent woman.   

“Brush your own horse, and carry your skis” they’d say to Olivia.

Kurtis’s “Off Time” was hardly ever dull.  In winters he enjoyed Ski Resorts in the west, Heli-skiing, and the steep Couloir’s of Idaho, Montana, Utah, British Columbia, among others. 

He spent his summers on horseback, with a pack mule, traveling deep in mountains where a good ride, was a week-long and included never seeing another soul.   

In the Autumn of 2018 Kurtis was blessed to meet Susan Swift Hobbs and on a  Leap of Faith, Wing and A Cowboy Prayer, Jumpin’ in and Building a Life, they planned to marry this Spring.   

They built a home near Star, Idaho, and included the herd of Kurtis’s steady and ornery equine.

Kurtis leaves behind so many friends, from backcountry to towns in the West, and the World. He was a man who never met a stranger. 

His friends in Idaho celebrated his life on March 24 near Boise, Idaho. A later Celebration of Life is to be held in Red Lodge, August 2021.

Kurtis Leaves Us Strong and Of Faith.  

We request memorial donations be made in Kurtis’s name to: 

Friends of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, 206 Sun Valley Rd, Sun Valley, ID. 83353.  Phone (208) 622-0095   Info@Sawtoothavalanche.com 

and/or Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 5705 Grant Creek Road, Missoula, MT 59808. Phone (800) 225-5355 RMEF.org  

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