May 14, 1950-Nov. 26, 2017
Patrick Joseph Darby passed from this life on Nov. 26, 2017 at Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman after a brief illness. He was 67.
Patrick, “Darbs”, “Little D”, “Rosebud” was born on Mother's Day, May 14, 1950 in Sheridan, Montana to Ted and Donna (Wright) Darby, joining brother James Michael. Pat attended Sheridan Schools, played baseball, learned to hunt and to fish at an early age, and honed his artistic skills as well. He graduated from Sheridan High School in 1968 and attended Montana State University in Bozeman that fall, majoring in art. With the likelihood of the draft looming, Pat joined the U.S. Army in the fall of 1970 and served actively until 1973. He trained at the Engineering Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and was fortunate to be stationed stateside for the remainder of his enlistment. He fell in love with Alaska while stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks. Several years after he was discharged he returned to Fairbanks to work as a carpenter there.
But, Pat was a Montanan through and through -- a fifth generation Madisonian - and spent the vast majority of his life in the Ruby Valley doing what he loved best: hunting, hiking, camping and, most of all, fishing. He spent early years of adulthood, trapping and loved the adventure of working on Hot Shot crews in the summer and spending time riding his chopper. He was a true artist in any medium, from ink to film, wood to rod. He was a master fly fisherman and fly-tier. He also made his way back to MSU for a time to study photography. A carpenter by trade, Pat enjoyed the creativity of building, but loved the challenges of crafting furniture and carving -- just for the fun of it -- even more. His love of the outdoors was matched only by his love of the Atlanta Braves and the Green Bay Packers. He took opportunities to see both teams with friends and family. His favorite place in the world was Noble Lake.
Pat worked for Benedict Builders for many years and finished his career as a carpenter with over 20 years at JDL Construction of Sheridan. He was a member of the American Legion Anderson-Simpson Post 89 in Sheridan.
Pat is survived by his parents, Donna and Ted of Sheridan; his son, Matt Vesco of Twin Bridges; brother, Jim (Bernie) of Bozeman; sisters, Jo Anne (Tracy) Stephen, and Kathleen (Chris) Mumme, all of Sheridan; nephews, Scott Munk and Ted Darby and nieces Erin Leonard, Teresa Darby and Kathryn Colado. He was preceded in death by his nephew, Patrick Mumme. Other survivors include dear friends, Karen Decker, Bob and Jody Lovejoy, Mark Shackleton, the Sump Crew, loving friends and family too numerous to list.
Pat lived his life his way, always, and on his own terms. He will be forever remembered for his stubborn determination to do just that.
Cremation has taken place. The family plans a celebration of Pat's life sometime this summer, “with the sun on our shoulders and the wind at our backs”, somewhere in the Tobacco Root Mountains that Pat loved so much. In the meantime, raise a toast to “Darbs” and remember him well.
The family asks that any donations be made to the Public Land/Water Access Association, on-line or at P.O. Box 80987 Billings 59108, or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on-line or at P.O. Box 8249, Missoula 59807.