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Robert M. Rudio

2006-08-16T00:00:00Z Robert M. RudioBy Helena Independent Record Helena Independent Record
August 16, 2006 12:00 am  • 

Robert M. Rudio, 68, longtime resident of Helena and Clancy passed away at his home on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006, in the presence of his loving family.

Bob was born March 12, 1938, in Helena to Lester and Margaret Rudio. He attended and graduated from Helena High School and Montana State University with a bachelor's degree in engineering geology. Bob married the former Myrna Ohnstad nearly 50 years ago, and together they had three wonderful children: Karen, Mark, and Pam.

He attended Helena High School from 1952 through 1956 and was a versatile four-sport athlete.

On the gridiron, he ran for touchdowns of 30, 58, 7 and 45 yards in 1956, helping the Bengals to a 5-4 record, the school's first winning season since 1943. During his four years at HHS Bob scored 21 touchdowns, rushed for 1,183 yards or 6.3 yards per carry, and scored 8 extra points after touchdowns for an accumulated total of 134 points during his varsity high school football career.

As a basketball guard, he was part of two state hoops crowns. In 1956, at the state high school track meet, Bob captured the broad jump championship with a leap of 20 feet, 10 1/2 inches. He was an outfielder/pitcher for the Helena Legion Baseball Clubs that won the Central Division in 1955 with a perfect 12-0 mark (the only team to go undefeated in conference play). His other sports interests included hunting and skiing.

During Bob's elementary, high school, and college years, he established a remarkable legacy as an athlete. He was awarded a football scholarship to Montana State University in 1956. As a 5-foot, 7-inch, 165-pound halfback, Bob started all four seasons for the Montana State Bobcats, setting school rushing records his junior and senior years, averaging 8 yards per carry. From 1958-59, the Bobcats went 33-4-1 and beat the University of Montana Grizzlies all four years.

In 1956, he was a freshman halfback on Montana State's unbeaten Rocky Mountain Conference Title Football Team. During the years Bob played for the MSU Bobcats, they beat the Grizzlies of the University of Montana for the first time in 54 years. Further, the Bobcats traveled to Little Rock, Ark., and met Indiana of St. Joseph's College in the Aluminum Bowl for the NAIA national championship. Despite the fact the two teams battled to a 0 to 0 draw in the rain and mud, Bob broke away for two long runs in the second half of this nationally televised game.

At Montana State University, Bob was elected to the Wendy's MSU Athletic's Hall of Fame as a member of Montana State's 1956 National Championship squad. He remains prominent in the Bobcat record book nearly a half-century after his career ended, standing first in career average per rush at 6.3 yards per carry, 10th in career rushing touchdowns, 10th in longest kick-off returns (90 yards against Omaha University) and 20th in career rushing yards. He was described in the Bobcat Football Media Guide as "a low-slung, stubby offensive projectile."

Upon graduation from Montana State University, Bob was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army and his first active duty assignment was commander of a Nike/Hercules missile site in Orland Park, Ill., during the United States Cuban Missile Crisis. He continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserve for 20 years, achieving the rank of major.

At the conclusion of Bob's active military service, he was a project supervisor for Morrison-Maierle Consulting Engineers in Helena, Montana from 1963 through 1969. Bob followed this employment with an appointment as Bureau Chief with the Department of State Lands Hardrock Mining Bureau from 1970 to 1973. Bob was also an exploration geologist for January Mining Corporation. Later in 1973, he was instrumental in forming WESTECH, an environmental consulting firm. He served as president until 1980 and supervised the design of four major surface mining operations and facilities. From 1980 until his retirement in 2000, Bob worked first as a self-employed engineering and geological consultant and then for the State Department of Natural Resources, Water Resources Division, as well as for the Board of Water Well Contractors.

In his later years, Bob developed a passion for golf and recorded two hole-in-one scores; he also won the Bill Roberts Senior Golf Championship.

He was an avid lifetime Bobcat fan and sports enthusiast and especially enjoyed attending his grandchildren's sports activities. He loved Montana's beautiful mountains, lakes and streams and spent many happy hours with his family at their cabin near Marysville.

He is survived by his wife, Myrna; daughters Karen (Tom) Ditchey and Pam (Ron) Novak; and son, Mark, all of Clancy; six grandchildren, Tyser Ditchey, Randi (Ben) Edwards, Rourke Ditchey, Kristyna Rudio, Karson and Brenden Novak; and two great-grandchildren, Madison and Ethan Edwards; brothers Jack (Twila) Rudio of Flathead Lake, Mont., and Ken (Barb) Rudio of Helena; sister, Char (Dan) Culver of Eclectic, Ala.; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his parents Lester and Margaret Rudio.

Cremation has taken place and private family services with military honors will be conducted at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison.

Bob's family invites friends and family to share remembrances in a celebration of his life on Friday, Aug. 18, from 2-6 p.m., at the home of Tom and Karen Ditchey, 226 Warm Springs Creek Road, Clancy. Directions will be posted en route.

The family suggests memorials in Bob's memory to Hospice of St. Peter's, 2475 Broadway St., Helena, MT 59601, Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, or MSU Athletic Scholarship Association, #1 Bobcat Circle, Brick Breeden Field House, Bozeman, MT, 59717. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Hagler-Anderson Funeral Home.

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