AMerican Veteran 11

Richard H. "Dick" Zeiler

August 19, 1935 ~ August 28, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old


HAMILTON - Richard H. “Dick” Zeiler passed away August 28th at BRH Hospital with his kids by his side after suffering a TIA on Saturday.  Whether you knew him as an ornery SOB of a logging boss, one of the old guys having early morning coffee at the counter at the Coffee Cup, or just as “Uncle Dick” in the Bitterroot Zeiler clan – you knew he was one of the toughest, hardest-working, most honest people you ever met. 

Dick was born in Stevensville to George & Mary (Goodman) Zeiler.  He was the 9th of 10 children and is survived only by his younger sister, Marlene Zeiler of Missoula.  Dick loved horses as a kid and anything with wheels as he got older. After deciding high school wasn’t his passion, his oldest brother put him to work driving trucks at a logging camp by Drummond. 

Dick served in the U.S. Army from 1958-1960 and enjoyed his time in Germany rebuilding a bridge on the Rhine River; he then did 4 years in the Reserves.  He met his wife, Patricia “Pat” Cunningham, when she was delivering eggs for her family’s farm in Victor.  Dick and Pat eloped to Salmon, Idaho, in September 1960, and were later blessed with two children, Kelly and Kathy. 

Dick followed his brothers back to the woods and spent his working life as a logger and heavy equipment operator well into his 60s.  There wasn’t any job in the woods he couldn’t do, no piece of equipment he couldn’t run or fix, and you better believe any stories you’ve ever heard about him running Cats or dozers down ravines and through forest fires.  Despite 12+ hour workdays, he still took the family back out to the woods for countless Summer weekends of camping with his siblings and their families.  He instilled a love and respect of nature in his kids that has led them on many adventures in their lives. 

Dick was preceded in death by his wife, Pat Zeiler, and by his parents and older siblings:  Robert, Elmer, Phil, Adolph, Irene, Lillian, Maybelle, and June.  He is survived by his children Kelly Zeiler & Wendy Woods and Kathy Zeiler & Gary Ellis, and his spoiled cats, Abby & Shea.  He was a favorite uncle to several generations of nieces and nephews and enjoyed his time as step-grandparent and as “Papa Dick” the last few years to the great-grands. 

The Zeilers would like to thank the medical staff at BRH Hospice and Hospital for their care and compassion.  Arrangements are under the care of Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Bitterroot Public Library.  The family will wait until next Summer to celebrate Dick’s life with family and friends.  Condolences may be left for the family at 


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