Robert J. Sam' Bass


(April 6, 1943 - Nov. 7, 2010)Robert J. “Sam” Bass died Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 at St. Vincent's Healthcare in Billings. He was 67.

A graveside memorial service is planned by the Belfry American Legion Post 84 to take place at the Clark cemetery at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 19.

He was born on April 6, 1943 to Marvelin and Nellie (Carter) Bass in Wilmington, N.C. He grew up in North Carolina around Rocky Mount, where he had relatives who thought very highly of him, especially his Granny Bass, who lived in Hopkins.

He joined the U.S. Navy in May of 1960 at the age of 17 and received his GED there. He served on the USS Forrestal, a large aircraft carrier, and he talked with pride about his duty there. He received an honorable discharge from the Navy in April 1964 at the rank of E-3. Sam was proud of his military service and served as commander of the Belfry American Legion Post No. 84 in Belfry, Mont., from 2004 through 2008 and vice-commander from 2008 until his death.

He was married twice while he was in North Carolina. First to Diane M. Bass on June 18, 1963, and later to Penny Jane (Summerel) Bass on March 19, 1971. Both marriages ended in divorce.

After leaving the service, he entered the restaurant business and pursued that endeavor for a number of years in the South. Later he worked his way north and lived around Rawlins and Hanna, Wyo., working mostly as a carpenter.

Plagued with chronic back pain, he worked with various Veteran's Administrations in Wyoming and surrounding states and underwent various surgeries. He attended college at Bismarck State College in North Dakota, and Northwest College in Powell, training to be a laboratory technician.

He worked for ranches around the Cody, Clark, and Powell area, and lived on the Tolman ranch at Clark when he became too disabled to work.

Cremation has take place. Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.