MISSOULA — Talented and legendary Lewis and Clark expert Richard Norman Doyle Jr., known as Ritchie to all of his friends and family, passed away on November 5. Born in Anaconda in 1961, Ritchie lived in the Missoula area most of his life. He attended Rattlesnake School and Hellgate High, where he was a star athlete and enjoyed being part of the choir and theatrical programs. He attended the University of Oregon and the University of Montana.
One of Ritchie’s greatest passions was studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and bringing William Clark to life through reenactment. He frequently gave speeches and led tours on the topic, and was chosen to attend the expedition’s 200-year celebration in St. Louis. His enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge of local history, nature, arts, songwriting and various musical instruments was infectious. People gravitated to Ritchie’s caring nature; he was one of the kindest people on earth. He made time for everyone, young or old, effortlessly transforming history lessons into adventures.
Ritchie was involved in numerous community enhancement activities including First Night, the Wildlife Film Festival and the Lolo Community Center. You would often find him as one of the tour guides at the Missoula “Stories and Stones”. He served as Chairman of Lolo’s Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association, driven by his passion for their mission. Ritchie also worked for Lewis and Clark Adventures, helping guide raft trips all around Montana and Idaho. He loved sharing his knowledge and love of Montana with people who were visiting for the first time.
For the last several years, Ritchie lovingly cared for his parents, Beverly and Dick Doyle.
Ritchie is survived by his parents, sister Deborah McWhinney (New York City), sister and brother-in-law Cynthia and Gary Gaussoin (Vancouver, Washington), and his brother and sister-in-law Dan and Ann Doyle (San Francisco), as well as his great- aunt and uncle. He had seven nieces and nephews. His family loved him dearly.
A celebration of his life will be held at a future time. Memorials may be sent to Travelers' Rest Preservation and Heritage Association, Box 995 Lolo, MT 59847.