Obituary – Robert Henry Rhinehart - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Obituary – Robert Henry Rhinehart

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The end of a life provides those of us left behind with a time for reflection, for seeking to understand the common thread that links a lifetime of endeavors and accomplishments.   For some, that underlying theme is a choice to be of service, to focus on the well-being of others, and to pursue a vocation that attempts to give direction and comfort to your community.  Robert Henry Rhinehart decided early in adulthood to serve his community as a minister and remained steadfast in the pursuit of that objective for his entire working life.

Robert Henry Rhinehart passed from this earthly life on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at the age of 91 years.  He was surrounded, at his home in Bozeman, Montana, by family and caregivers.  After a lifetime in which he sought to care for others, including countless hours spent at the bedsides of terminally ill patients, his final days were eased by the love and caring of others.  Consistent with how he had led his life, even during his final weeks, he made it a point to know each of his caregivers as individuals – their names, details about their families and their lives.

He was born in Eureka, California, on September 17, 1925.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, as a medical corpsman on hospital ships that made multiple trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific voyages.  He graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane, attended San Anselmo Theological Seminary and graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles.  It was during his studies in Los Angeles that he met Florence Fritzen in a Hollywood Presbyterian Church young adult group.  They married in 1955 and spent the next 60 years together.

He served as a Presbyterian minister in Crestline, CA, and in Garden Grove, CA, before joining the Veterans Administration as a chaplain, working at hospital facilities in Palo Alto, CA, and Boise, ID, until his retirement.  Even after his official retirement, he chose to serve as an interim pastor for several years, before finally settling in Bozeman to be close to family.

His beloved wife, Florence Fritzen Rhinehart, passed away last year.  He is survived by Marily and Tim McWilliams of Bozeman, Montana, by Ron and Sherry Rhinehart of Oak Harbor, Washington, by seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

His family extends heartfelt thanks to the many caregivers who shared their time, energy and talents with him over the years, including those from Brookdale Spring Meadows and many other Bozeman health organizations.

Robert’s life spanned not just decades but multiple communities, from the churches he served, to the patients he counseled and consoled, to the friends he and Florence accumulated everywhere they moved.  Throughout these communities, the common thread was his interest in the lives and well-being of those around him.  His family and friends will miss him, as they have missed Florence this past year, but will carry with them fond memories and the knowledge that he lived the life he chose.

A memorial reception will be held at Brookdale Spring Meadows on Friday, February 10, 2017, at 3:00 p.m.   It will be an informal gathering of friends and family, and all are welcome to participate.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Robert’s name to Gallatin County Love INC., a network of local churches addressing the needs of residents in Gallatin County, P.O. Box 7117, Bozeman, MT 59771, or to the Bozeman United Methodist Church, 121 S. Willson Ave., Bozeman, MT 59715.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.  www.dokkennelson.com

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