Obituary: Rich Needham

Posted at 10:31 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 12:31:38-04

Rich Needham, 40, of Belgrade, MT died suddenly on March 19, 2021. He was born in Minnesota on May 16, 1980, and fell in love with Montana as a teen. He chose Montana State University for college and earned an M.A. degree in Education/School Counseling. Rich was a school counselor at Belgrade Middle School.

Easy to talk to and fun to be around, Rich was the person kids sought out for help when things were tough. In addition to counseling, he delivered food, raised money, and helped students and families who were in need. He gave generously of himself to others and was a first responder for students, staff, and community losses. Rich was also a wonderful parent of two young daughters.

Rich enjoyed playing hockey as a kid and as a grownup. He taught beginners how to skate, was a youth hockey coach, and was on the Board of Directors of Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association. He also loved fly fishing, boating, sailing, and scuba diving - all kinds of water, liquid or frozen – and time “off-grid” on MT/Canada border. Environmental health, equal access to education and healthcare, and social justice were important to Rich.

Rich is survived by his daughters, Eva and Haylee Needham; brother, Lance Needham; parents, Penelope Needham (Dale Dramstad) and Thomas Needham, Jr. (Susan); mother of his daughters, Kristin Schunke, plus other relatives, colleagues, and many friends.

A Service of Remembrance for Rich will be held at 1 pm, Sat. March 27 at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, 113 S Willson, Bozeman. Limited in-person seating (with masks) will be available as well as live-streaming at time of service at: []

If you would like to make a memorial donation in Rich’s name to organizations that support children and families in the community, here are some choices: HRDC, YMCA, Thrive, Casa Bozeman, Big Sisters/Brothers, Big Sky Youth Empowerment, Greater Gallatin United Way youth programs, Eagle Mount. Undesignated donations will go to Rich’s daughters and their mother.