MISSOULA – Joseph L. Rickett of Missoula, passed away Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Thermopolis County, Wyo., thus ending a 65-year career in the logging industry. He had worked in Wyoming for the past 2 1/2 years.
Joe was born in Sidney on Jan. 25, 1932. When he was 3 months old, his parents and sister ventured through a winter snowstorm to the Lewiston, Idaho, area. He graduated from Kooskia (Idaho) High School. From the time Joe was 14 or 15 years old he worked weekends and summers in the woods. After graduation from high school, he continued being a logger. Always loving the mountains to work, hike, lakes and streams to fish. Many weekends found him with his family and friends doing just that. He never tired of working or recreating in the mountains.
Joe married Loretta Hill and from that union were born Ron and Deanna. He and Loretta later divorced and he married Barbara Lycan. She had two children, Carol “DeeDee” and Donald “Radar.” To Joe and Barbara, Jeannine was born.
Joe moved his family to Superior in 1962, where he worked as a sawyer for several logging companies until he and Norman Vaughan created VARCO Logging Co. in the early 1970s. After 25 years and Vaughan’s retiring, VARCO Logging ceased operations.
Joe wore many hats. Husband, father, grandfather, great- and great-great-grandfather and friend. He was president of the Montana Loggers Association and chairman of Superior High School board for nearly 10 years. He also played basketball on Superior’s town team in his mid-50s. But his family always came first. He taught his children and grandchildren honesty, hard work, responsibility and to stand up for what was right.
In 1995, Joe began working for Bill Jones of Jones Equipment as a diesel mechanic. A few years later he was Salmon River Wood mechanic. Joe was happy when he was greasy from head to toe.
In late 1994, Joe married Wanda Sverdsten. She survives him at their home in Missoula. He also is survived by his children, DeAnna (George), Carol, Donald (Karen) and Jeannine (Larry). His son, Ron, preceded Joe in death and he recently lost a granddaughter, Gerri Lynn Goldsby. Also surviving him are 13 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter. Also surviving are stepsons, Mark Sverdsten and Eric (Crystal); and stepdaughters, Nina Sverdsten and Rika Botzet.
Memorial services will be held in mid-May in Superior. A date will be announced later.
Anyone wishing to make a donation in Joe’s name to one of the following will be much appreciated. The Joe Rickett Memorial Scholarship Fund, Superior High School, Superior, MT 59872; Steven Cyr Scholarship Fund, Frenchtown High School, Frenchtown, MT 59834; or Watson Children’s Shelter, 2901 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804.
Thank you everyone who sent flowers and cards, or came by, and for keeping Joe and his family in your thoughts and prayers. God bless you.