In the evening of June 3, 2022, Rodney Erick Stedje of Ronan, Montana died at the age of 70 surrounded by loved ones. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer in September. Rod was born to Ruth and Norman Stedje in Kalispell, Montana in 1952 at Kalispell General Hospital located only two blocks from their home. In 1963, the Stedje family moved to Ronan to open Stedje Brothers, Inc. selling Ford and New Holland implements.
Rod graduated from Ronan High School in 1970 and received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University in 1974. There he met his wife Michal Ann. They were married along the Oregon coast on June 14, 1975. He returned to Ronan with his wife and continued working at Stedje Brothers. Together they raised three children, Emily, Melanie, and Erick.
Rod had a mind for numbers and for the rest of his life he could tell you the model numbers of the farm equipment whether he saw them in a lot or out in a field. Rod stayed within the Ford family and worked at Don Aadsen for 27 years in the parts department. Most recently he worked nights at Rocky Mountain Twist.
Rod had a love of soccer. Besides playing soccer, he also was a referee at many YMCA, high school, and Mission Valley Christian Academy games. He was recently recognized by the Montana Referee Program with a commemorative plaque for 30 years of service. He was proud to have run every year in the Mission Mountain Classic. He enjoyed working in the forested land near their home, keeping tabs on all the trees. He could tell you about the recently fallen, those ready to be chopped for firewood, and the ones ready to fall.
Rod lived a life of service to family and community. He was an active and devoted member of Faith Lutheran Church, serving over the years as liturgist, musician, council president, council member, and head lefse roller, as well as an active member on many other committees over the years. He was a devoted family man, going the extra mile to create special memories for his children and grandchildren. He was always loyal to the people and the things he loved, and he especially loved following his favorite sports teams. His dry sense of humor remained to the end.
Rod is preceded in death by parents Ruth and Norman and stepmother Mirth. He is survived by his wife, Michal Ann; his three children Emily (Brandon) Hoffman of Houghton, NY, Melanie (Andrew) Restad of King of Prussia, PA, Erick (Lorelei) Stedje of Paradise Valley, MT; grandchildren Kadee, Joseph, and Tess Hoffman, Estelle and Hazel Restad; sisters Barbara (Skip) Chapin of Minneapolis, MN, Kristine Stedje of Sioux City, IA; niece Rebecca Chapin of New York City, NY; nephew Craig (Michelle) Engel; great-niece Taylor (Alex) Engel of Hillsboro, OR; and niece Margaret Engel of Portland, OR.
Services will be held Tuesday August 16, 2022 at 11:00 am at Faith Lutheran Church in Ronan, Montana. The service will also be live-streamed: Youtube Faith Lutheran Church, Ronan, Montana
Memorials can be made to Faith Lutheran Church for the music ministry which Rod dearly loved.