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Kenneth Arnold Torgerson

July 27, 1933 April 4, 2023
Kenneth Arnold Torgerson
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Obituary for Kenneth Arnold Torgerson

Kenneth Arnold Torgerson was born on July 27, 1933, to Anna and Martin Torgerson. He was the youngest of their three sons. He grew up on the family homestead four miles northwest of Lambert, Montana. After he married Patricia (Witt) Torgerson, they stayed on the farm, raising their two children, Beth and Lewis.

Ken was an active integral member of the Lambert community. He farmed and ranched almost his entire life. As a teen, he helped build the two-story red barn with his father and two brothers in 1947. The barn still has his brand, Lazy KT -, painted on the door to the hayloft. Ken believed in land stewardship, so he made efforts to take care of the land, working with the Farm Service Agency and the Soil Conservation office on contour farming, putting in a dike, using the savory grazing method, creating an extensive shelterbelt, and other conservationist farm projects. He was honored for his conservation efforts throughout his years as a farmer, starting by receiving the 1964 Outstanding Young Farmer Award given by the Sidney Junior Chamber of Commerce and ending by receiving the 2000 Outstanding Conservationist Award for the Richland County Conservation District. He also worked with AGSCO, becoming their salesman of the month in June of 1977. He was active in the Farmers Union and other farm groups. He supported local co-ops. He was a substitute bus driver for the Lambert School District. He was active in the local Lutheran church. He supported his children’s 4-H projects, including when Lewis decided to raise pigs and when Beth bottle-fed multiple bum lambs and ended up with a herd of sheep. He helped them both with their 4-H steers, which they showed and sold at the Richland County Fair. He loved to tell jokes, and he loved to laugh. He cared deeply for his family, his farm, and his community.

In January of 1955, at age 21, Ken joined the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia until 1957, when he joined the Army Reserve, which he served until his honorable discharge in December of 1962. He loved to share stories of his time in the army, and he kept in touch with many of his army buddies through the years.

He married Patricia Hope Witt in 1960. They had a loving, caring relationship. They celebrated 61 years of marriage together before Pat passed away on April 1, 2022.

In 1976, together with Pat, he bonded the farm and built an alcohol still in order to make ethanol from his wheat crop. They used this ethanol to fuel the Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) Ethanol Convoy that started in Lewistown, Montana and went to Washington, D.C. in 1977, educating senators and representatives about farm issues as well as people along the route.

Ken retired in 2003, the year he had a huge farm auction. Even after retirement, for many years, Ken and Pat would visit the farm to spend time working in the shelterbelt, starting new seedlings and taking care of the more established trees. For ten years, they went to Chandler, Arizona as “snowbirds” for the winter, where he enjoyed spending time with their friends there. Even with his dementia, Ken was always a great table pool player. He was also an ace at playing cards, whatever the game. He played Rummy daily with his daughter almost until the end.

Ken Torgerson passed away in his sleep on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at South Hill Village Memory Care in Spokane, Washington. He was 89 years old. He is preceded in death by his father Martin, his mother Anna, his brothers Mervin and Burton, and his wife Patricia. Family members who survive him include his daughter Beth (Bob Steinauer) and his son Lewis (Teresa), and his four grandchildren: Grant (Emily), Randi, Nicole, and Kendra--who was named in his honor. Kenneth Torgerson was kind and loving, a gentle soul, who will be missed by everyone who knew him.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at Pella Lutheran Church (418 W. Main) in Sidney, Montana, with a short graveside service to follow at the Lambert Community Cemetery under the care of Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Sidney. The reception at Lambert’s Fox Lake Community Center (200 W. Main) will start at noon.

Remembrances, condolences, and pictures may be shared with the family at In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Ken’s honor to Lambert’s Fox Lake Community Center or to the Lambert Historical Society (addresses for both: 200 W. Main, Lambert, MT 59243).

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