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Ronald Thomas Dundas

June 11, 1929 December 25, 2018
Ronald Thomas Dundas
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Obituary for Ronald Thomas Dundas

Ronald Thomas Dundas went to be with his Lord Jesus suddenly but peacefully on Christmas Day, while visiting his son in Seattle. Tom was born on June 11, 1929 in Great Falls, MT to Ronald and Alpha Dundas. Tom’s grandfather, Lewis H. Bartolucci-Dundas, had emigrated from Scotland to Wibaux, MT in 1883.

Tom’s early years were defined by The Depression, and he and his brother Bob worked in the family business, Dundas Office Supply, cleaning and delivering orders. During his high school years Tom was a Red Cross Lifeguard, State Junior Handball Champion and tennis champion. In 1945 at the age of 15 he spent the summer alone at End Butte Lookout in the Lochsa National Forest, 100 miles from the nearest town and an 18-mile hike in.

Tom graduated from Great Falls High School in 1947 and attended Great Falls College of Education, and then Montana State College in Bozeman, as well as one year at the University of Arizona. While in college he broke his wrist and was in a cast for nine months, so he traveled to Europe for the semester. While in Scotland he discovered that his ancestors of the Dundas Clan were some of the most historically important families in Scotland. He met relatives he never knew existed and ended up staying in Feddal Castle with his father’s second cousin and learning all about the Dundas side of the family.

In college at MSC Tom was a proud Kappa Sig, he was a member of a dance group, and sang with the MSC Madrigal singers. He loved to ski, and once rode a slab avalanche down the slope about 100 yds, standing up, in the Bridger mountains. His love of adventure led him on countless explorations from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the top of Granite Peak, the highest peak in Montana, and he once backpacked alone through the Bob Marshall for a week after being sat on and bitten by a bear his first night out! He graduated from MSC in 1954 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

Since he’d been in ROTC he was called to duty as 2nd Lieutenant at the secret Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico where he worked on high altitude research balloons relating to the development of supersonic aircraft, researching the effects of high altitude on the human body. At one point he retrieved a balloon from the Trinity site where the first atomic bomb had been exploded. The sandy ground had been completely melted to glass, which broke under his footsteps. Tom eventually became a Captain in the Air Force Reserves.

In 1956 Tom met the love of his life Edith Krueger (Dundas) while working at ALCOA in Detroit, Michigan. Edith and her sisters had recently immigrated from Germany after an amazing and traumatic journey through wartime Europe. Tom spent a year in graduate school in Graz, Austria before he and Edith were married in 1958 in Celle, Germany, in the small church that Edith’s father had started after the war. They settled in Los Angeles where Tom worked for North American Aviation and McDonald Douglas, on the manufacture of X-B70 supersonic aircraft and the Apollo Spacecraft program. They also welcomed their 3 children to the world during their time in CA.

He always had a soft spot for his home state of Montana and in 1968 Tom moved his family to Helena and took a job in State Government where he became Director of Information Systems training others on a new tool called the “computer”. Tom took the family backpacking in the summer and skiing in the winter, and they spent many lovely summer vacations at the family cabin on Flathead Lake.

After 20 years as a government employee, Tom retired and joined with his daughters and son in the travel business when they opened Vagabond Travel in Helena. This provided the opportunity to travel around the world and Tom and Edith began traveling back to Germany regularly to visit family and friends. They were able to finally visit Edith’s childhood home in Danzig for the first time since she had fled the Russians at the end of the war. They especially loved the Holy Land, making several trips to Israel, Turkey and Jordan.

The church communities that Tom and Edith were associated with were major anchors in their lives. The Evangelical Covenant Church in Helena was their home church for years and they felt very blessed with the many relationships that were grown there. They later moved to Bozeman and joined Grace Bible Church where they were regular attendees. Tom was a proud Gideon for much of his life.

Tom and Edith had a love and interest in other peoples and cultures and always helped anyone in need, often hosting travelers and folks down on their luck. Tom would pick up hitch-hikers or foreign travelers he met and bring them home for a meal and ask about their travels before sending them on their way. In 1980 Tom and Edith, along with another family in Helena, sponsored eight refugees from Vietnam to help them start a new life in Helena. Those families became lifelong friends of the Dundases. Tom and Edith also participated in a few exchange programs and hosted many visitors from other countries, particularly S. Korea and Japan.

Tom was very interested in genealogy and put together a worldwide Dundas Family Clan reunion in Big Sky. Shortly after, he organized a Dundas reunion in Scotland that brought together 130 family members with visits to the five Dundas castles.

When all the kids moved away from Helena, Tom and Edith sold the travel agency and began traveling more frequently around the US, Canada and abroad. When their daughter Tina moved to Germany in 1988, they began spending more time there, making an annual trip to Europe to spend time with their first grandchildren. Even as Edith began showing signs of dementia, they were still traveling the world visiting friends and family. As long as Edith had Tom by her side, she remained happy and content.

In 2003 Tom and Edith moved to Bozeman to be closer to Gigi and her family, which now included grandchildren, and which also provided some help with Edith. They spent six wonderful years in Bozeman before Edith passed away in 2009. Tom continued to live on his own in their house in Bozeman, still traveling to Germany, and taking trips in his RV around the western US always on the search for unique places and interesting food.

Tom was a wonderful, sensitive, caring, hardworking husband, father and friend. We will miss you deeply Dad and thank you for all you’ve done for us and the life you modeled for us. Tom is survived by his daughter Gigi (Chuck) Swenson of Bozeman with children Hans and Lenka; daughter Christine/Tina (David) Harper of Berchtesgaden, Germany with children Tara and Sashell and son Doug (Pam) Dundas of Seattle, WA with children Kiefer (Holly) and Sarah.

A Visitation will be held Friday from 12:00-1:00pm with a Service at 1:00pm at Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service Tribute Center. A Graveside Service with Military Honors will follow at Sunset Hills Cemetery.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

4

Jan

12:00 PM 1/4/2019 12:00:00 PM - 1:00 PM 1/4/2019 1:00:00 PM
Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service Tribute Center

300 Highland Blvd
Bozeman, MT 59715

Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service Tribute Center
300 Highland Blvd Bozeman 59715 MT
United States

Service

Friday

4

Jan

1:00 PM 1/4/2019 1:00:00 PM
Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service Tribute Center

300 Highland Blvd
Bozeman, MT 59715

A Graveside Service with Military Honors will follow at Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service Tribute Center
300 Highland Blvd Bozeman 59715 MT
United States
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