Charles P. “Chuck” Rightmire, 76, of Billings, a longtime journalist and writer, died Jan. 29, 2012, from complications of multiple myeloma.
He was born Aug. 13, 1935, in Glasgow to Ward and Mary Pattee Rightmire while his father was working on the Fort Peck Dam. He was a fourth generation Montanan on his mother’s side.
He started school in New York City and attended schools in Canton, Ohio, and Bozeman before his family settled in Huntley Project in Worden where he played on the district championship football team.
After graduating from high school in 1952, he attended the University of Montana until 1955 when he enlisted in the Air Force. He served three years as an electronics instructor at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi.
He returned to Montana in 1959, joining The Billings Gazette as a reporter. He later became city editor, editorial page editor and Sunday editor. He was the first to sectionalize the paper.
He married Barbara Thompson in 1966, and became an instant father to her three children. He and Barbara had one more child, Michael, in 1968.
After leaving the Gazette, he became a freelance writer and editor, working for Kampgrounds of America as editor of the KOA Times and spending eight years editing two agricultural newspapers. He taught writing for Billings Business College, and both writing and English for Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University Billings.
Also at MSU Billings, he worked as a public relations specialist. He was a tax preparer for H&R Block for 10 years and became an enrolled agent at the age of 70.
He spent his life reading and writing poems, stories and novels, with a special affinity for science fiction. At the end of his life, he was working on a novel called “Roadside Tables,” about a small town in Montana.
Survivors include his wife; brothers, William and Robert of Billings; a sister, Jean Harris of Rapid City, S.D.; children, Ken of Dana Point, Calif., Randy of Santa Barbara, Calif., Kathy Lear of Great Falls and Mike of Germany; and five grandchildren.
Services were held Feb. 4 at Billings Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. A reception followed at Bonaventure Senior Living. Arrangements were by Smith Funeral Chapels & Crematory.