My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Bernard Eugene “Butch” Hein was a well-known rancher is Forsyth, Montana. He was born June 28, 1945, in Miles City, Montana, to Walt and Vina Hein of Forsyth, Montana. Butch was the youngest of his mother’s five children (two of them, Marion and Walt Schulenberg) from a previous marriage. He also had a sister, Esther Hein and a brother, Eddie Hein. The family lived on a ranch outside of Forsyth. It was there that Butch first learned about ranching and knew that this would be his life’s work. While Butch would spend his childhood years helping on the ranch, there would be other life events that would have to take place before he finally settled into ranching. Butch graduated from Forsyth high school in 1964. The Vietnam war was in full swing, and Butch was drafted to the Navy in 1966. In all the years I have known Butch, he, like most other veterans never talked about his time during that war. I don’t know where he spent his service years, but I know that he was one of the men blessed to have made it home.
After returning home for his time in the service, Butch married Bonnie Wertz on April 13, 1968. Bonnie was the love of his life, and they began to build a life together. Their son, Scott Michael was born on November 5, 1969, and they were happy with their little family. Unfortunately, while they were preparing to expand their family, Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer. She delayed treatment in order to give their daughter a chance at life. Crista Dawn was born on October 26, 1973, but passed away on November 2, 1973. Bonnie continued to weaken and passed away on April 27, 1974. Butch was devastated. He felt like his life was over, but he had a son who needed him, so Butch pulled himself together, and raised his son as a single dad. Scott was his greatest achievement, and they were not only father and son, but later business partners and best friends. That friendship continued right up to Butch’s passing.
On October 13, 2023, a 78-year-old Butch, who was still very vibrant and full of life, got in his car and entered the interstate at his life-long hometown, Forsyth, Montana. Much of the rest is unknown at this time, but in the end, Butch was hit broadside by a semi-truck, and killed instantly. For his family, and all who knew him, this was a devastating loss. Butch was a friend to many, and certainly most of the town of Forsyth. He was also Grandpa to Scott’s three children with his wife Terri (née Wiederrick) Hein…Laura (Sean) Dailey, Carson Hein, and Lindsey Hein. Butch was so proud of his family, and one of the recent highlights of his life was being able to attend his granddaughter, Laura’s wedding on September 30, 2023. His grandchildren were his pride and joy. Laura is a junior high school teacher in Chester, Montana; Carson works at the ranch with his dad and grandpa; and Lindsey is in college at Montana State University, having received a basketball scholarship. Butch was an amazing dad to Scott, and a blessing to Terri and the kids as well. His life’s work might have been ranching, but his family was his legacy. He will be forever loved and missed very much.