MISSOULA — It seems that Ren Cleveland has been a fixture in the valley from the very beginning. Born at the family ranch home in Hamilton on July 25, 1931, he was welcomed into the Cleveland household by his father Lyle and mother Lillian, joining older sister Lila and brother Carr. A few years later little brother Herb rounded out the family.

Ren graduated from Hamilton High School before spending time at MSU and then enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. After four years of service, he was honorably discharged and returned home to the valley where he was determined to remain — and remain he did.

In 1964, Ren married Betty Reissing in Hamilton. While also working loyally for others, he ran a small family ranch on Ricketts Road, where he and Betty raised cattle, hay and the fifth-generation of their family — sons Klint, Neal and Chris.

A man of many trades and talents, Ren held a variety of jobs ranging from milk equipment installation for dairy farms across the northwest, carpentry, project supervision at the missile base, cement work, 2 years of road crew and facility maintenance for the forest service, maintenance for Hamilton School District, and maybe one of his favorite jobs, being one of the coolest school bus drivers in the valley.

Never an idle man or hand, Ren loved to work with his hands crafting and carving his own wood working creations and learning new hobbies like stained glass. A constant tinkerer, he could be found happily losing time in his wood shop.

A spirited independent, he was never shy about speaking his mind — but always ready to lend a hand. He will be fondly remembered for his warm smile, familiar knowing grunt and great stories.

On Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, Ren passed away peacefully, surrounded and loved by family at St. Patrick Hospital. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, sister Lila and brother Herb. He is survived and celebrated by his brother Carr, wife Betty, sons Klint (wife Joanne), Neal (wife Karen), Chris (wife Susan), eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Condolences may be left for the family at dalyleachchapel.com.

the life of: Ren Lewis Cleveland
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