Cover photo for Benjamin  Matthew Lukes 's Obituary
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1934 Benjamin 2023

Benjamin Matthew Lukes

September 15, 1934 — May 26, 2023

Benjamin Matthew Lukes, “Ben”, age 88, passed away in Bozeman on May 26, 2023, of congestive heart failure. He was born September 15, 1934 in Reynolds Township, Long Prairie, MN, the fourth son of Anton J. and Sylvia E. (Brooks) Lukes. He attended district 15 grade school in Gutches Grove and graduated from Long Prairie High School in 1952. He served in the US Army from 1954 to 1956 and was stationed in Germany. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Forest Management. In September of 1960, Ben married Judy Perkins in Long Prairie.

Ben’s career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took him and his family to various locations including Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Alaska. Wetlands acquisition was the major part of his career. In Alaska he was involved in the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA) signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. ANILCA was considered the most significant conservation legislation of the USA as it more than doubled the area of land in conservation programs.

In 1986 Ben and four companions were hunting mountain goats in Alaska. While returning, at night, aboard a 46’ fishing boat, the boat struck a rock. The men immediately donned life suits and paddled 3.5 miles to shore in a 10’ inflatable raft. With no food, two knives and a cigarette lighter, they survived until the Coast Guard rescued them five days later. The five-day period was an interesting experience in psychology, sampling kelp, nettles and mussels.

Taking early retirement from the government, Ben began a second career as an entrepreneur. For the next 25 years he was a biologist, chemist, botanist, agronomist, and researcher that developed and marketed a high-tech fertilizer additive on a global scale. Marketing was focused primarily in Asia. Ben traveled extensively to develop international markets. His son, Kyle, took over the business in 2010. Ben continued to be active in the company, working 8-1:30pm, Monday-Friday, until April 2023.

Ben’s passion was the outdoors. He was an avid hunter with hunting trips to Alaska, Canada, and Argentina. The ocean was especially enjoyable, and Ben spent many hours walking the seashore or watching birds and mammals. Hunting also took him to Africa chasing both birds and big game. Gardening, camping and solitary walks enjoying God’s marvels of creation, were of prime enjoyment to Ben.

Ben is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judy, daughter Kathryn (Dale) Schladetsch of Belgrade, MT and son Kyle (Shari) also of Belgrade, and four granddaughters. He was preceded in death by three brothers and daughter Janet. Per Ben’s wishes, he has been cremated and his ashes will be distributed over Lake McCarrahan in Minnesota by his son Kyle. A memorial service will be held at Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service on Friday, June 2, 2023 at 11am with Fr. Leo Proxell officiating.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ben followed this advice especially during his second career. His life was lived to the fullest and he traveled over much of he earth always marveling at how God put everything together and the beauty of wildness.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Benjamin Matthew Lukes , please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, June 2, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service

300 Highland Boulevard, Bozeman, MT 59715

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