Ralph Bond Jr., 84, who helped build the Conoco refinery and worked many years there, died April 27, 2013.
He was born in LaCrosse, Wis., on Feb. 28, 1929, the only son of Merle Bandle and Ralph Bond Sr. The family moved to Billings, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, William Durham, and spent some years in Colstrip and on their farm in Absarokee, before moving back to Billings.
He attended school in Billings and Colstrip before graduating in 1947 from Absarokee High School, where he played basketball. He attended Rocky Mountain College from 1947 until 1949. He began working at Continental Oil Co. in 1949 as a member of the original “49ers” and helped with construction of the Billings refinery.
He served in the Navy during the Korean War, from 1950 until May 1954. He was aboard the USS Bataan aircraft carrier and attained the rank of electrician’s mate second class.
After military service, he returned to Continental Oil Refinery, where he worked until 1985 as a pump mechanic, pump mechanic foreman, and later as craft supervisor.
He served as president of the Local 2-470 Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers union for many years. He also served as chairman of the Yellowstone Democratic Party. In 1968, he ran unsuccessfully for the Montana Legislature.
He married Patricia Ann Hould on Sept. 4, 1954, in Pasadena, Calif. She died in 1973. In 1990 Mr. Bond married Gail Gullard Fritz in West Yellowstone. She died in November 2010.
During his young adult years, he was a member of the Billings Mounted Quadrille and performed routines on horseback at rodeos and parades.
Survivors include children, Michael Bond of Casper, Wyo., Richard Bond of Billings, Margaret of Corvallis, Ore., and Brian of Buffalo, Wyo.; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and stepchildren, Kerry, Cassidy and Shadd.
Visitation was May 1 and services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Interment with military honors will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 35200, Billings, MT 59107-5200.