Remembering Montana Rangeland Legend Sam Short

by Colter Brown

Sam Lee Short, a long-time resident of Lewistown, Montana, passed away on Sunday, July 10th, at the age of 87. Sam was known across the intermountain west for his proficiency and knowledge in range management and helped countless ranchers and youth understand the importance of Montana’s largest natural resource, rangeland.

Born at Mud Butte, SD on May 19, 1935. Sam went to grade school, at one-room country schools, at Mud Butte, Sturgis, and Piedmont, SD, and attended high school in Rapid City. Sam’s first year of college was at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings. He then enlisted in the army and served mostly in Korea. After being honorably discharged, Sam attended California State University, Fresno and later transferring back to SDSU, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Range Management.

He was very active in 4-H through his high school and college years and won many awards. Sam was honored with a national award in Chicago for the “Best 4-H Record Keeping” in the United States. While attending college he was one of the nation’s premier collegiate judges for livestock and plant identification, which gave him the opportunity to travel to contests with judging teams around the country.

After he graduated from college, he started his career with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Dillion, Montana. After several years Sam transferred to the Rock Springs, Wyoming, District Office. After three years, his love for the State of Montana drew him to Great Falls where he worked for the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). After a very successful career, he happily retired in Lewistown.

During his career, he made many rancher friends with his proficiency in Range Management on both public and private lands. Sam was also deeply involved with teaching Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H youth, identifying plants, management of rangelands, and taking youth teams to National contests.

In Sam’s later years, ranchers throughout central and eastern Montana reached out to him for his expertise on range management plans and identifying quality characteristics of livestock; also, he took up running in his cowboy hat, boots, and Wranglers. He loved his flowers and took great pride in receiving countless ribbons and prizes at both local and state fairs. Every morning began with his friends at the coffee club; it was the highlight of his day.

To those who knew him, he was caring, encouraging, and had a witty sense of humor. He will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts. His family finds joy in knowing he is now “running in his boots” with the Lord.

Preceded in death by parents; Joseph Leo and Novice Leotta (Titus) Short; and brothers: Leo, Lloyd, and Denny Short; sister Mary Ann Boe; two nieces: Sally Boe and Serena (Short) Stewart; and great nephew Randy Nankivel. Survived by brother, Darrel and wife Marcia Short of St. George, UT, sister-in-law Coleen Short of Piedmont, SD and 13 nieces and nephews: Dean Boe, Nisland, SD; Susan Obermoller (Douglas) of Sioux Falls, SD; Michael (Roberta) Boe of Torrington, CT; Sharon Boe of Rapid City; and Patrick Boe of Worthington, MN; Charles Short of Cordova, TN; Michael Short of Spearfish, SD; Marty Short of Franklyn, ID; Kerry Short of Rexburg, ID; Jodi Short of Saratoga Springs, UT; Russell Short of Salt Lake City, UT, Shawna Short of Great Falls, MT; and Kristy Short of Midvale, UT.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in the Cloyd Chapel. An additional memorial service will be held in South Dakota at a later date with internment at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.


Cloyd Funeral Home

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x