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Donnie Harpster


A funeral service for Donnie Harpster, 75, of Ekalaka, MT was held June 11, at Stevenson Funeral Home in Ekalaka with Pastor Scott Kiehn officiating. Visitation took place one hour prior to the service. Burial followed in Beaver Lodge Cemetery.

Donnie passed away Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Don Harpster was born July 3, 1942 in Ekalaka, at the Trabert birthing house, to Roscoe and Christina (Martens) Harpster. He joined an older brother Gary. He grew up on Beaver Flat on the Harpster Ranch west of Ekalaka that was homesteaded in 1909 by grandad Charlie. Don attended Schofield School through the sixth-grade and then went to Ekalaka, graduating from Carter County High School in 1959.

After graduating, Don and his brother and friends started a band. Later he, Gary and Roscoe were known as the Travelers. After Gary's death in 1968, and hours of practice, Linda became part of the dance band. They played dances from Belle Fourche to Broadus, Ashland to Miles City, and in Ekalaka, where live music was at its best.

Don was a truck driver for many years. He spent a lot of miles on the road driving for Lee Moline, Dell Dague, Merle Hayden, Frances Strait and Bart Burdick.

In 1963, Don married Gayle Major and later divorced. To this union Christy and Charley were born. Don later married Linda (Johnson) Harpster on November 1, 1984. He added two more daughters to the family, Cindy and Diana. Don and Linda took over the ranching operation, working side by side in the grain field, him with the combine and her with the grain truck. Hay was put up with the 800 John Deere open air swather, a wheel rake and a round baler. They then hauled the hay to the stack yard, him with the "sewer special" truck hauling 24 bales, and her with the 56 Gimmy hauling 16 bales, learning to double clutch. They were hay haulers. Their life was cattle: on horseback in the pasture or working in the corral. Calving could be a little scary when you were chased by a new mom while bringing chilled calves to the porch to warm up by the wood stove.

Don was a mechanic and did a lot of fixing of old pickups and 4020 John Deere tractors. When something went wrong with the 6330 John Deere front wheel assist and he had to call a mechanic with a computer, there were a few "choice" words.

Don was proud of the 1919 Model T "freight truck" of Uncle Roland's. He drove it in the Day's of '85 parade with "Old Glory" and the Montana state flag flying, taking first place in the class.

Don barbequed hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers for the annual Fourth of July picnic they held for over 40 years. Don looked forward to hunting season coming around so he could help the Woodstockers, Vogels and other out-of-staters find the "big one." For several years at Christmas time, the ranch looked like a little village with all the lights that were put on the barn, windmill, overhead cake bin, 60 John Deere tractor, jeep, truck, houses and fences.

Many stories started with "remember when?" or "you know what's his/her name." This is how they were entertained at the table at the local Beaverflat Coffee Shop.

Don is survived by his wife, Linda, of 33 years; children, Christy (Matt) Zimmerman of Billings, MT, and Charley (Lisa) Harpster of Prairie City, SD; step-daughters, Cindy (Wil) O'Brien of Elma, WA, and Diana Roby of Casper, WY; grandchildren, Gary (Ada) Harpster, Marcus Cline, Devin, Lucas, Megan, and Cassidy Zimmerman, Ethan and Eli Harpster; great-grandchildren, Joshua and Samantha Harpster, Gabby, Nevaeh, and Rhys Cline; brother-in-law, Mark (Rhonda) Johnson; sisters-in-law, Sharon (Brice) Barrere, Pat (Greg) Waldie, and Lynette (Dave) Donahey; numerous relatives and a host of neighbors and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Roscoe and Christina Harpster; and brother Gary Harpster.

This closes a chapter and book on Don Harpster – gone but not forgotten. Remember, life is short, precious and fragile. Live each day as there is no tomorrow.

Thanks and God's blessing to everyone for your condolences and/or attending the services.

The family suggests memorials be made to Beaver Lodge Cemetery, Carter County Museum, Ekalaka Ambulance or charity of your choice.

Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at

- Stevenson Funeral Home, Ekalaka, MT


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