Brent L. Brock, 61, of Bozeman, Mont., died Monday, October 2. He died at home with his wife, his dog, and a dear friend near him. He had spent his last waking hours surrounded by friends/colleagues who were talking about science and conservation.
Brent was born August 1, 1962, to Richard and Shirley Brock (Simpson) in Topeka, Kans. He grew up in Topeka but always sought wild places. One of his earliest memories was searching for toads, tadpoles, and frogs on his Uncle L.M.’s driveway that was part of a dairy farm. His early education was highlighted by his science classes and rummaging through the Topeka Public Library for scientific books and journal articles.
His passions led him to Kansas State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology and a master’s in Rangeland Ecology. After building a rewarding career as a research scientist, he moved to Bozeman, Mont., to work for non-profit organizations. This move fulfilled his dream to live where wild animals still roam. He easily formed friendships with colleagues. His closest ties were with people at Craighead Institute, Future West, Madison Valley Ranchlands Group, Wildlife Conservation Society, and, most recently, INDIGENOUS LED. He also formed ties with wildlife professionals working for Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks, people living in rural counties, and those holding county-government positions, especially those tasked with land planning.
Over his 38-year career, Brent applied GIS and spatial analytics in ecology and conservation science to species ranging from cockroaches and cicada to grizzly bear and wolverine. One highlight of his last week was hearing that grizzly bears have reached the plains of Montana. In June, he ached from his inability to see the Blackfeet Nation release a herd of buffalo (bison) near Ninaistako (Chief Mountain) on Blackfeet Nation’s homeland.
Brent is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Gudenkauf); his dog Kalluq; his mother, Shirley K. Brock; brothers Mike (Rhonda) and Kyle (Vonda); precious nieces and nephews; and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his dad, Richard D. Brock.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 6:00 PM on Thursday, November 2nd, at Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service, Bozeman. Another Celebration of Life will be held in Kansas in spring of 2024.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Cuts Wood School in Browning, Mont., or Madison Valley Ranchlands Group in Ennis, Mont. In tribute to Brent, nurture, curate, propagate, and generously share joy from nature and your loved ones.