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BELGRADE — Zachary R. Picking, 32, of Belgrade, passed away on July 4, 2018.

A memorial service will be Tuesday, July 10, 2018, at 2 p.m. at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Zachary was born on Sept. 24, 1985, to Mike and Kaye in Great Falls at MAFB, their fourth son and if Zack was asked "the best of the bunch!" He attended local schools — Morningside, East, and GFHS. An early grad in Jan. 2004, and already a restless soul, ready for a new adventure, he attended MSU that Jan. Spring found him enlisting in the Montana Conservation Corps. He loved the opportunity to explore our state while improving her beauty and earning a school scholarship. The following summer he enlisted in the Alaskan Conservation Corp where his love of adventure grew. While free from his duties, he hitchhiked, fished, partied on his brother's ID (darn older brothers). He was quick-witted and a quick study, learning the use of tools and life in general. Next, much to Mom's dismay, he was off to California to work Mammoth Ski Hill. His first duty was to be a valet until the boss learned he could not drive a clutch. Unscathed, "I would have figured it out." From there he was off to southern California, living out of his car if necessary, picking up work as he went. Sleeping, (sneaking) on a game reserve at night until he moved on to Nevada to stay with brother, Joshua, much to the relief of Mom and Dad, having someone to looking out for him. There he became a miner, but he always had the need to serve his country, which led to his enlistment in the Marines. Our first hint of this was a phone call while on a bus to boot camp. His explanation, "I want to see the world."

He served in Afghanistan on a forward operating base in the Nowzad, Helmund Providence. He was a combat engineer-mine sweeping. There was much pressure to keep everyone alive but war is not fair. The toll of any human loss weighed heavily on him. Next he was assigned to Iraq where the duty was not so intense. Once discharged, he enrolled at the U of M in forestry management. There he met his loving friend, Tanya. While they did not succeed in a long term romantic relationship, she stood by his side to the end, and for that we are thankful. She has the second love of his life with her, his beloved dog, Kiya.

His restless nature found him looking for the next chapter, something new, the need to work with his mind and body. Welding it would be. He graduated from the Great Falls College Montana State University and was picked up by the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union. He worked Holter Dam, GFH, the new Blue Cross building in Helena, as well as Boeing. He transferred to the Yellowstone Club at Big Sky where he was employed at the time of his passing.

He loved this work, but the demons from the war never left him alone. While he asked for help from the VA, they did not see his need. He just wanted the pain to end, the battle over. While we all struggle with your early death, we pray we will someday grow to understand your action and will always love you. Through his death someone will see, burns will be covered, health for others will be made easier as he was a tissue donor. He would want something good to come from our tragedy.

He is survived by his parents, Mike and Kaye; brothers Michael, Joshua, and Matthew (Mariah); nephews Halas and Staley; nieces Berelle and Sienna; grandparents Richard and Norma Saltzman; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins.

Zachary, you gave us a hell of a ride! Your humor and wit was unmatched. We miss you so much and love you with all our hearts. We pray you have the peace you so badly deserved and needed. Til we meet again, your loving family.

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the life of: Zachary Ross Picking
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