Tribune publisher passes

William Richard “Dick” Crockford 1952 – 2018
William Richard “Dick” Crockford, of Dillon, Montana, 65, passed away from a heart attack early Thursday, February 8. He was born May 2, 1952, in Los Angeles to William “Bill” Crockford and Doris Driscoll Crockford. He married Deborah Westby on August 17, 1974, in Missoula. Together, they have three daughters: Heather, Rebecca and Theresa.

Many know Dick from his newspaper work. He loved small-town Montana life and believed firmly in the importance of local newspapers in supporting the communities in which they served.

He graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Journalism in 1975 and began his career with the Ronan Pioneer as the editor. Dick then worked in the news department for KEIN Radio in Great Falls. He edited books for many counties for Montana State’s Centennial. He, Debbie, and eldest daughter Heather, born in 1978, moved to Rupert, Idaho, where he became the farm editor of the Minidoka County News. While living in Rupert, his second daughter, Rebecca, was born in 1979. In 1982, the family moved to Shelby, where Dick was the editor of the Shelby Promoter. Their youngest daughter, Theresa, was born in 1983.

In 1990, Dick was offered the position of editor at the Anaconda Leader. He continued in that capacity until 1999, when he served as editor for the A.W.A.R.E. Inc. newsletter. After legislative budget cuts, he returned to the hectic journalism world, working for the Boulder Monitor and then as the publisher/editor of the Big Horn County News in Hardin with Yellowstone Newspapers.

In 2007, he and Debbie had the opportunity to return to their beloved southwest Montana to the position as publisher of the Dillon Tribune, where he most recently shepherded their move from the original Tribune offices to their new home on Idaho Street.

To say Dick was an active member of his community would be an understatement. He and his wife, Debbie, lived a life of service to their many hometowns, their family, and their church. Over the years, he was active in: the Knights of Columbus; Kiwanis; the MISTER (Males In Service To Encourage Reading) Reader Program at Head Start and various elementary schools; annual trips to Tijuana, Mexico, to build houses; Montana Catholic youth formation; Montana Newspaper Association; United Way; and the Beaverhead County Museum Board; and he also volunteered as assistant cross-country coach in Anaconda, among so many other organizations. The loss of his presence will be deeply felt.

Dick adored his wife, Debbie, and they could often be seen together attending local cultural events, ranging from Pow Wows in Eastern Montana to Butte’s own Irish Festival, An Ri Ra. He loved cooking elaborate meals for his soulmate that often featured beer as an ingredient. Whenever sons-in-law or other out-of-town visitors were in Dillon, he loved to visit “the park” as he jokingly referred to the many wonderful Montana breweries. He was a man who loved to laugh and doted on his daughters. He went so far as to take his youngest on a service trip to Tijuana, Mexico, when she was 16 to build houses with the Esperanza Program. While there he fell in love with the communities and families he encountered and continued to go south, sometimes with his youngest, sometimes with his eldest, sometimes by himself as the pull on his heart was so strong.

Dick was preceded in death by: his parents; grandparents; many aunts and uncles; and his younger brother, Thomas Crockford. He is survived by: his wife, Debbie Crockford; daughters Heather (Chauncey) Boese, Rebecca (Jeremy) Combs, and Theresa (Andrew) Unbehend; sisters Maryellen Crockford, Theresa (Matthew) Norman, and Mary Pat Crockford; brothers Paul (Shirley) Crockford, Patrick (Veronica) Crockford, and Christopher Crockford; as well as by grandchildren Sydney, Lauryn and Cayden Combs, and Liam and Quincey Boese.

A visitation will be held 5–7 p.m. Monday, February 12, followed by a Rosary at 7 p.m. at Brundage Funeral Home, 300 S. Atlantic St., Dillon. The Funeral Mass will be on Tuesday, February 13, at 12:10 p.m. at St. Rose of Lima Parish, 226 S. Atlantic St., Dillon. In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorials be made to Esperanza International, one of Dick's favorite organizations at http://esperanzaint.org/.