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David Pruitt Obituary

Brought to you by Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service & Crematory

David Pruitt

Bozeman, Montana

August 21, 1930 - May 10, 2024

David Pruitt Obituary

David Pruitt, age 93, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on May 10, 2024 with family by his side at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.


Allen David Pruitt is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Patricia Lynn (Anderson) Pruitt; and their sons, Aaron David (Rachel) Pruitt of Bozeman and Derek Lee (Jocelyn) Pruitt of Pilot, Virginia; and grandchildren Ruby and Cora Pruitt.

David was born on August 21, 1930 in Bozeman to A.D. Pruitt and Essie Lillian (Breeden) Pruitt. David was the youngest of five children, and is preceded in death by his siblings Lauretta Gossack, Marguerite Fulker, Charlie “Chuck” Pruitt, and Betty Jo Hoppin.


David’s earliest days with his farming family were largely during the Depression years when money was scarce and rental farms hard to find, and keep. They raised a bit of everything, and if you wanted or needed something, you scavenged for it or you built it by hand. In high school David’s favorite class was Ag Shop and he joined FFA in 1947 in Farm Mechanics and Dairy Heifer projects. He had a series of dogs and horses, but his two best companions were a collie named Rover and his horse, Darkie.


David attended the two-room Monforton grade school from 1937 to 1945 and in 1949 he graduated from Gallatin County High School. He would come back to both as a school board trustee, serving for 16 years between the Monforton and Bozeman High School Districts.


He learned early to keep long hours on the farm, and working stage crew on theater productions in high school. He later re-visited theater life as a projectionist at the Ellen Theater.

David was always a hard worker, starting at 10 years of age operating a horse-drawn iron-wheeled mower on the family farm, when they lowered the seat on the mower so he could reach the pedals. By age 13 he was working summers on a hay crew for the Michel brothers. Later he loaded peas at the Pea Cannery with a Farmall tractor, and set rachets at Miller Lumber Company Sawmill. He also worked on Dr. Siegler’s farm from 1950-54.


At 18 years of age, in 1948, David enlisted in the 163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment of the MT Army National Guard, retiring in 1971 as a Master Sergeant (E8). While in the Guard, he attended and excelled at several military service schools including: Armored Track Vehicle Mechanics, Field Radio Maintenance, Advanced Field Radio Repair, and a Projectionist School. David built on his work ethic in the Guard where he made life-long friends. One of those friends was Grover Anderson, with whom he spent many hours bouncing in a 1948 Willy’s Jeep at the foot of the Spanish Peaks on hunting trips, long before a buffalo ranch was imagined.

When asked by his young sons later in life why he was up building a fire and reading at 5 a.m., he would muse that he learned early to make the most of each day. Later in his community service life, there were many school board issues or Gallatin County Commission concerns settled by David reading the Montana State Statutes, procedure, and precedence at 5 a.m. beside the fireplace.


Following his military career, David built and ran his own repair shop for six years working with his close friend Darrell Randall on automobiles and farm equipment. After closing his shop, he was a mechanic for Karst Stage and later the MSU Motor Pool into the mid ‘80s.


In 1988, David’s years of school board service and reputation in the ag community helped him win a Gallatin County Commission race. From 1989 to 1994, David enjoyed a successful term on the Commission, where he made friends across political lines. David was a voice for agriculture and instrumental in returning the landfill committee to financial stability. In 1994, though encouraged to run for another term, David opted to retire from public service to focus on the many home farm improvement projects he so enjoyed.


The Pruitt and Anderson families had lived two miles apart for decades, but it was only after Patricia brought her 1956 Plymouth Fury to David’s mechanic shop for transmission repair that they ultimately “saw” each other, and it quickly led to marriage on August 28, 1964. David asked Patricia where she wanted to go for their honeymoon; she said Mexico, because she had all kinds of shopping in mind. They returned from Mexico in their Rambler station wagon full of mementos that still adorn their home.


Road trips crisscrossing the country became a theme of their marriage. Patricia looking for antiques and family gifts, while David went exploring, always keeping an eye out for Minneapolis Moline tractors. In retirement, they also tried to wear out their truck and RV trailer in exploring the Southwest, West and two trips east to New England chasing kids.

David was supportive of his sons’ 4-H careers, volunteering as a small engines project leader, aiding his sons in car restoration projects involving an MG, a Cadillac Eldorado and a Jaguar XJ-12. He also supported Derek’s Galloway cattle herd for 20 years.


David had an entrepreneurial streak, and over the years he and Patricia launched several small businesses, including dealerships for Merhow horse trailers and later, Zetor tractors, both of which they exhibited at the Montana Winter Fair. David and Patricia loved antique cars, and they worked to restore two Chrysler Imperials and a couple of Mercedes while developing friendships in the Bozeman Antique Auto Club.


David’s retirement from public service gave him more time for his farm projects. His irrigation technology upgrades transformed the marginal ground of his family farm into a productive hay and pasture operation. David restored his brother-in-law’s 1962 Minneapolis Moline Jet Star tractor, launching yet another passion. He couldn’t pass up a good farm auction if there was a Minneapolis Moline there that nobody else could make run.


David spent his entire life on their Norris Road family farm near the West Gallatin River. The river ran through his life from “ditch riding” with his own father, to becoming the Chief Water Commissioner, appointed by the Montana Water Court. David found this avenue for serving agriculture in the valley fit him to a tee, as he came to know the location of every headgate, irrigation canal and ditch in the Gallatin Watershed. He had a gift for mediating often-contentious arguments surrounding water rights, and long after his retirement from the position, he was regularly invited to share his expertise on the conservation of agriculture water.


In 2011, David received the Service to Agriculture Award from the Ag Committee of the Belgrade and Bozeman Chambers of Commerce.


David also showed great perseverance, patience, and trust in battling bouts of depression starting in early years when little was known about the affliction. David trusted in his Lord, his doctors, and found projects he loved to work on to weather the storms.

David was a patient, loving husband and father, who showed his love through his commitment to whatever project or passion that Patricia or his sons had, as well as others in the farming neighborhood. All anyone needed was a problem to solve or project to be engineered, and David, with a good night’s sleep and early morning planning time, would have the solution mapped out in his head and sketched out on paper the next day.


David was a long-time and active member of his church, serving in the early years in roles from usher to electrician, plumber, carpenter, and eventually on to financial secretary and later providing support for the growing congregation’s new 2016 church building.


All are welcome to attend a funeral worship service in David’s memory, scheduled for May 23, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. at Shining Mountains Lutheran Church, Bozeman. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Shining Mountains Lutheran Church, 1710 Vaquero Parkway, Bozeman, MT 59718 or to the Gallatin County 4-H Foundation, 903 North Black, Bozeman, MT 59715.


To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of David Pruitt hosted by Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service & Crematory.

David Pruitt, age 93, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on May 10, 2024 with family by his side at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.


Allen David Pruitt is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Patricia Lynn (Anderson) Pruitt; and their sons, Aaron David (Rachel) Pruitt of Bozeman and Derek Lee (Jocelyn) Pruitt of Pilot, Virginia; and grandchildren Ruby and Cora Pruitt.

David was born on August 21, 1930 in Bozeman to A.D. Pruitt and Essie Lillian (Breeden) Pruitt. David was the youngest of five children, and is preceded in death by his siblings Lauretta Gossack, Marguerite Fulker, Charlie “Chuck” Pruitt, and Betty Jo Hoppin.


David’s earliest days with his farming family were largely during the Depression years when money was scarce and rental farms hard to find, and keep. They raised a bit of everything, and if you wanted or needed something, you scavenged for it or you built it by hand. In high school David’s favorite class was Ag Shop and he joined FFA in 1947 in Farm Mechanics and Dairy Heifer projects. He had a series of dogs and horses, but his two best companions were a collie named Rover and his horse, Darkie.


David attended the two-room Monforton grade school from 1937 to 1945 and in 1949 he graduated from Gallatin County High School. He would come back to both as a school board trustee, serving for 16 years between the Monforton and Bozeman High School Districts.


He learned early to keep long hours on the farm, and working stage crew on theater productions in high school. He later re-visited theater life as a projectionist at the Ellen Theater.

David was always a hard worker, starting at 10 years of age operating a horse-drawn iron-wheeled mower on the family farm, when they lowered the seat on the mower so he could reach the pedals. By age 13 he was working summers on a hay crew for the Michel brothers. Later he loaded peas at the Pea Cannery with a Farmall tractor, and set rachets at Miller Lumber Company Sawmill. He also worked on Dr. Siegler’s farm from 1950-54.


At 18 years of age, in 1948, David enlisted in the 163rd Armored Cavalry Regiment of the MT Army National Guard, retiring in 1971 as a Master Sergeant (E8). While in the Guard, he attended and excelled at several military service schools including: Armored Track Vehicle Mechanics, Field Radio Maintenance, Advanced Field Radio Repair, and a Projectionist School. David built on his work ethic in the Guard where he made life-long friends. One of those friends was Grover Anderson, with whom he spent many hours bouncing in a 1948 Willy’s Jeep at the foot of the Spanish Peaks on hunting trips, long before a buffalo ranch was imagined.

When asked by his young sons later in life why he was up building a fire and reading at 5 a.m., he would muse that he learned early to make the most of each day. Later in his community service life, there were many school board issues or Gallatin County Commission concerns settled by David reading the Montana State Statutes, procedure, and precedence at 5 a.m. beside the fireplace.


Following his military career, David built and ran his own repair shop for six years working with his close friend Darrell Randall on automobiles and farm equipment. After closing his shop, he was a mechanic for Karst Stage and later the MSU Motor Pool into the mid ‘80s.


In 1988, David’s years of school board service and reputation in the ag community helped him win a Gallatin County Commission race. From 1989 to 1994, David enjoyed a successful term on the Commission, where he made friends across political lines. David was a voice for agriculture and instrumental in returning the landfill committee to financial stability. In 1994, though encouraged to run for another term, David opted to retire from public service to focus on the many home farm improvement projects he so enjoyed.


The Pruitt and Anderson families had lived two miles apart for decades, but it was only after Patricia brought her 1956 Plymouth Fury to David’s mechanic shop for transmission repair that they ultimately “saw” each other, and it quickly led to marriage on August 28, 1964. David asked Patricia where she wanted to go for their honeymoon; she said Mexico, because she had all kinds of shopping in mind. They returned from Mexico in their Rambler station wagon full of mementos that still adorn their home.


Road trips crisscrossing the country became a theme of their marriage. Patricia looking for antiques and family gifts, while David went exploring, always keeping an eye out for Minneapolis Moline tractors. In retirement, they also tried to wear out their truck and RV trailer in exploring the Southwest, West and two trips east to New England chasing kids.

David was supportive of his sons’ 4-H careers, volunteering as a small engines project leader, aiding his sons in car restoration projects involving an MG, a Cadillac Eldorado and a Jaguar XJ-12. He also supported Derek’s Galloway cattle herd for 20 years.


David had an entrepreneurial streak, and over the years he and Patricia launched several small businesses, including dealerships for Merhow horse trailers and later, Zetor tractors, both of which they exhibited at the Montana Winter Fair. David and Patricia loved antique cars, and they worked to restore two Chrysler Imperials and a couple of Mercedes while developing friendships in the Bozeman Antique Auto Club.


David’s retirement from public service gave him more time for his farm projects. His irrigation technology upgrades transformed the marginal ground of his family farm into a productive hay and pasture operation. David restored his brother-in-law’s 1962 Minneapolis Moline Jet Star tractor, launching yet another passion. He couldn’t pass up a good farm auction if there was a Minneapolis Moline there that nobody else could make run.


David spent his entire life on their Norris Road family farm near the West Gallatin River. The river ran through his life from “ditch riding” with his own father, to becoming the Chief Water Commissioner, appointed by the Montana Water Court. David found this avenue for serving agriculture in the valley fit him to a tee, as he came to know the location of every headgate, irrigation canal and ditch in the Gallatin Watershed. He had a gift for mediating often-contentious arguments surrounding water rights, and long after his retirement from the position, he was regularly invited to share his expertise on the conservation of agriculture water.


In 2011, David received the Service to Agriculture Award from the Ag Committee of the Belgrade and Bozeman Chambers of Commerce.


David also showed great perseverance, patience, and trust in battling bouts of depression starting in early years when little was known about the affliction. David trusted in his Lord, his doctors, and found projects he loved to work on to weather the storms.

David was a patient, loving husband and father, who showed his love through his commitment to whatever project or passion that Patricia or his sons had, as well as others in the farming neighborhood. All anyone needed was a problem to solve or project to be engineered, and David, with a good night’s sleep and early morning planning time, would have the solution mapped out in his head and sketched out on paper the next day.


David was a long-time and active member of his church, serving in the early years in roles from usher to electrician, plumber, carpenter, and eventually on to financial secretary and later providing support for the growing congregation’s new 2016 church building.


All are welcome to attend a funeral worship service in David’s memory, scheduled for May 23, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. at Shining Mountains Lutheran Church, Bozeman. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Shining Mountains Lutheran Church, 1710 Vaquero Parkway, Bozeman, MT 59718 or to the Gallatin County 4-H Foundation, 903 North Black, Bozeman, MT 59715.


To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of David Pruitt hosted by Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service & Crematory.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of David Pruitt.