Posted 12/11/19 (Wed)
Malcolm Eugene Roffler’s spirit returned peacefully to his Heavenly Father on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Ranch.
Malcolm was born to Adolph and Maude (Rehm) Roffler on Dec. 31, 1931, 15 minutes before midnight at his grandparent’s farmstead north of Hebron, N.D. In April of 1932, they moved to the ranch five miles southwest of Grassy Butte, N.D., where he resided and ranched his entire life.
Malcolm began grade school in Grassy Butte, after two nearby country schools were moved into town. Travel to school was difficult due to no roads and bad snows, when unable to make it to Grassy Butte School he was home schooled by his mother. During his school years he acquired an interest in mechanics and electricity. He completed 9th grade by correspondence at Grassy Butte then finished High School at Killdeer, N.D., residing in the dorm, graduating in 1950. Following high school, he became more involved in the ranch operation so his siblings could further their educations.
Malcolm often shared fond memories of numerous cattle drives from Grassy Butte to Killdeer to ship cattle by train to South St. Paul Stock Yards. He enjoyed sharing his beautiful badlands and the local history with visitors either by horseback or with his (ATV) a Willy’s Jeep. Many still recall riding the ‘rollercoaster’ badlands in the Jeep as they exclaimed, “Are you sure we can go there?” Friends and family would come visit for a Grassy Butte history lesson, he loved sharing his memories of those ‘days gone by.’ Reading books of railroads, antique tractors, geography and regional history were an enjoyable pastime in recent years. “You learn something new everyday” he’d say, with a book in hand, eager to share a new subject with any person willing to take an interest. The wisdom and experience of this 87-year-old badlands rancher will be missed.
Exercising his mechanical mind, Malcolm enjoyed the challenge of understanding how machines worked. Even from an early age, he was always prepared, with a toolbox at hand, whether serving the Delco 32V electric light generator, his trusted Jeep, or an IHC ‘M’ tractor. Red was a favorite color especially if it was an International Harvester or Farmall Tractor. Ford model A’s and T’s were another favorite interest in later years. He loved going to threshing shows, experiencing the ‘early days’ machinery. Often he would reminisce about the many changes which had taken place in the ranching activities throughout his lifetime.
Malcolm was born with the love of music which he enjoyed through singing in his rich tenor voice, playing guitar, harmonica or the piano by ear. He and Billie Rase blended their voices singing duets at many funerals. He was active in the Grassy Butte Methodist Church until its closure. Since then he continued to enrich his faith in the Lord by reading his Bible and listening to sermons on Christian radio.
In 1958, he was instrumental in organizing the Sagebrush Ranglers 4-H Club of which he was a leader for 35 years. He inspired and helped direct life skills of many youth. After retiring from leadership he continued to pass knowledge and advice to youth and grandchildren in their projects.
On June 27, 1965, Malcom and Gwen (Clark) were married at her farm home near Froid, Mont. To this union 2 children, Jeff and Teresa, were born and raised in the ranching lifestyle.
From the day of their births his four grandchildren were held close to his heart. Watching them grow, play and learn about tractors, horses, cattle and ranch life was a loveable grandfather experience. They remember him crawling on knees on the hardwood floor driving toy tractors; later watching them pedal tractors, tricycles and bicycles. Up until the last couple of years he rode bicycle with them.
Malcolm is survived by his wife of 54 years, Gwen of Grassy Butte; one son, Jeffrey (Nikki) Roffler and their sons Colter and Ethan of Grassy Butte; daughter Teresa (Gary) Bessler and their children, Colby and Cassidy of Buffalo, Wyo; and two brothers, Alan (Debbie) Roffler of Bismarck, N.D., and Kim (Laurie) Roffler of Parma, Mich; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by grandparents; parents; parents-in-law; sister, Janice Danielson; brother, Richard; three brothers-in-law; one sister-in-law; aunts; uncles and cousins.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held in the summer celebrating his life. Arrangements are with Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson, www.ladburyfuneralservice.com