MISSOULA — Richard "Rick" Michael Bardwell passed away Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, of natural causes. Rick was born March 14, 1953, to Lawrence "Larry" and Phyllis Bardwell in Honolulu, Hawaii, where Larry was stationed at Pearl Harbor Naval Base. The family then resided in the Great Falls area for most of the next 15 years, during which time they were blessed with three more children: Rodney, Debra, and Dean.
The family moved to Missoula in 1968, during Rick's freshman year. He attended Hellgate High School for the duration of his high school years, spending summers working with his grandfather Lawrence Sr. on the Strand Ranch in Geyser. Many happy times were also spent with family on the Gerhart Ranch in Belt. He graduated from Hellgate in 1971, with what would prove to be many life-long friends.
After high school, Rick put his insane work ethic to use in the construction industry, working around the state until starting his own Missoula-based company, now known as Big Sky Windows and Siding, in 1981. When not working, he was an avid outdoorsman, spending as much time as possible hunting or fishing with family and friends. He was also a talented pool player, and could generally be found at a pool table after work. He played on pool leagues for Larry's Six Mile Tavern, which his parents bought in 1979, and for The Trails End Bar in Missoula, for many years, where he made many friends and won numerous awards and trophies over the years. He gave up alcohol around 1987, but never his love of pool or socializing with his friends. Rick maintained his reputation as a topnotch pool player up until his death, most recently shooting with "The Henpecked," out of Double Front Chicken in Missoula.
His love of pool lead to the most important chapter of his life, when he began dating Patricia "Patty" Evans, also an avid pool player, in 1989. Rick, Patty and her son Jesse became a family in 1990, and their daughter Katherine followed in 1991. The couple divorced in 1996, but their children remained his top priority until the very end.
Rick was a hard worker, who loved even harder. He leaves behind too many friends-turned-family to even count, and two children who will forever know just how unconditional love can be, thanks to him. He left his mark on all of us lucky enough to know him, and our community as a whole. He, and the light he brought to so many lives, will be sorely missed.
He is proceeded in death by his father, Lawrence "Larry" Bardwell, and brother Rodney Bardwell. He is survived by his mother, Phyllis; his sister Debra and her husband Larry Palmer, plus nephews Robert Palmer, Adam Isaly, and Brian Atwell; his brother, Dean Bardwell, Dean's partner Connie Humes and her two daughters; the Mother of his children, Patricia "Patty" Evans, son Jesse Evans and wife Samira, and his daughter, Katherine "Katie" Bardwell.
Please join us in celebrating Rick's life, on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the River Edge Steakhouse in Alberton from 1 to 4 p.m. This will be an outdoor, and picnic-style potluck event, with the family providing tri tip. Please bring a blanket/chair, dress for the weather, and bring a side dish to share. Beverages can be purchased at the bar. Address: 168 I-90 Frontage Rd, Alberton, MT 59820