Robert Walter "Bob" Gruel, 84, of Great Falls, a Smith River area rancher and WWII Army veteran, died of pancreatic cancer Monday, March 29, 2010, at his home.
Visitation will be held from 5:00-8:00 Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home. His funeral service will be at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, April 1, 2010, at First United Methodist Church. A private family burial will take place in the Gruel Family Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Survivors include his wife, Elsie Gruel; daughters, Robin Jean (Chuck) Niswanger and Gail Arleen (Paul) Wages; son, Steven George (Monica Fuller) Gruel; one "adopted son", nephew, David Calvin (Linda Toivonen) Graft; sister, Laurel Deane Holman all of Great Falls; and six grandchildren, Kingston Stark, Ryan, Brodie and Kirbie Wages and Coulter and Clay Gruel. He was preceded in death by his son, Wesley (Kathi Hill) Gruel in 1982.
Robert Walter Gruel was born August 15, 1915, in Great Falls to Walter W. and Sylvia E. (Smith) Gruel. He attended schools in Portage and Great Falls, graduating in 1943.
Bob lived and worked on the family farm north of Portage until he was drafted at age 20. He served 18 months, 12 of which were in Hawaii.
He married Edith Elsie Kneeland in 1953 and purchased the Smith River ranch that same year.
Bob's life passion and work was the farm and ranch, always trying to improve production and product. He never considered himself a "self-made" man but one who was blessed to have good family and friends who helped make his dreams possible. He always felt family was the best "crew."
Bob enjoyed ranch work and never gave up his job as night man for the heifers, salting the cattle, and fencing.
He loved the camaraderie of hunting and the solitude of fishing, always bringing home quarry and catch.
They opened their home to many children over the years, hoping to inspire the ranch work ethic and an honest life.
Memorials are suggested to Peace Hospice.
Condolences may be posted online at www.chapelofchimesfunerals.com.