Roger Ivan Stradley
Roger – a kind, gentle, funny, intelligent soul - passed away February 20, 2023. He lived an extraordinary life. Last of what was known in the wildlife biologist community as the Flying Stradleys, Roger was born to Jim and Margaret Stradley on April 7th, 1938, in Sandpoint, Idaho. During his early years Roger lived in a lumber camp tar paper shanty along with his pet wolf and bear.
Roger moved to Belgrade, Montana with his parents in the early 1940s when Jim was stationed there to train fighter pilots for WWII. Gallatin Flying Service was born.
Roger received his pilot’s license at 16 after being put through his paces by Jim. And so began a storied career. Roger was a bush pilot for 61 years logging about 80,000 hours. He held all the flying ratings except sea planes and airline transport. He was a commercial flight Instructor, instrument flight instructor, advanced ground instructor, Airframe & Engine mechanic with inspection authorization, and certified in single engine/multi engine – helicopter – glider.
His 61 year career included:
· 55 years - Wildlife surveys
· 26 years - Flight instructor
· 33 years - Ag pilot
· 25 years - Charter and air ambulance pilot
· 15 years - Fire patrol
· 10 years - Atmospheric research (cloud seeding)
· 20 years - Helicopter and glider pilot
Roger served a tour in Vietnam with the U.S. Army as a Green Beret and was a helicopter mechanic. The mission of his unit was to retrieve downed aircraft and occupants. He told stories of being the only soldier in the field with a downed helicopter trying to get it flying again.
On July 27th, 1968 (727 like the airplane), Roger married Ann Chalmers and had two girls, Anna (Steve Roberts) and Lora. He has four step-grandchildren, Grant (Stephanie), Emery, Thomas, and James Roberts. His great loves were his family/friends, food, flying, fishing, wildlife, playing cards, music, dogs, God, and the Bible. We are sure he is flying his beloved yellow Super Cub, 4593A, over the country he loved, keeping a watchful eye out for wildlife.
If you wish, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Warriors & Quiet Waters, https://warriorsandquietwaters.org/
A Visitation will be held Friday, March 3, from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.
A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, March 4 at 2:00 P.M. at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 Graf St, Bozeman, MT 59718.
The Graveside Service will be held Monday, March 6, at 10:30 A.M. at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery near Farmington, MT.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.