Cover photo for Dennis Riley Neuman's Obituary
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1947 Dennis 2022

Dennis Riley Neuman

January 31, 1947 — September 3, 2022

Dennis Riley Neuman passed peacefully at home surrounded by family on Saturday, September 3rd. He faced his three year battle with cancer with diligence, bravery, and humor. Dennis was born the third son of Dr. Edward and Kathleen (Riley) Neuman on January 31, 1947, in Helena, Montana. He attended local schools including Saint Helena Grade School, Cathedral High School, and graduated from Carroll College (BA in Chemistry/Mathematics), in 1969.

He pursued graduate studies at Montana State University concurrently with joining the U.S. Army Reserves, completing basic training at Fort Ord California and advanced training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He served with the 396th Station Hospital in Helena. It was there he met his future wife, Capt. Bernadette Rose Kuntz. After six years of military service Neuman was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1976.

Dennis earned an MS degree in Analytical Chemistry from Montana State University studying new analytical techniques and defining lead levels in fish collected from locations on the Gallatin River. He began his 33 year career as an environmental chemist as a Research Scientist at MSU’s Reclamation Research Unit.  His research focused on the restoration of lands adversely impacted by coal, oil, and mineral extractions. He published his work in numerous scientific journals, proceedings of conferences, and in book chapters. He worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on all the large Superfund sites in Montana including the Clark Fork River, Anaconda and East Helena Smelters, Silver Bow Creek, and Butte, as well as sites in Colorado, Idaho, and California. He acted as the Research Unit’s director from 1996 until his retirement from MSU in 2006. In addition to research, he taught classes in land reclamation and restoration ecology and mentored many graduate students, serving on nearly fifty MS Thesis committees. As an MSU outreach activity, Neuman convened the biannual Billings Land Reclamation Symposia bringing over three hundred participants from government, academia, consultants, vendors, and land reclamation practitioners. He retired from MSU’s Land Resources and Environmental Sciences Department in 2006.

Neuman along with three colleagues founded the Reclamation Research Group, LLC as a spin off from their work at MSU. This small company provided research, policy advising, and data analyses in relation to land reclamation issues for the U.S. EPA, U.S. Forest Service, Yellowstone Park, and the Bureau of Land Management. In 2012 the company was acquired by KC Harvey Environmental Consulting, LLC headquartered in Bozeman. Neuman was a principal in this firm until 2014. Neuman was an active member of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation serving on the National Executive Committee and as president and associate editor of the Society’s scientific journal. For his efforts he was awarded the Society’s highest award in 2019.

Dennis and Bernadette married in 1977 in Great Falls, Montana and made their home in Bozeman. They had four children, Paul, Elizabeth, Kathleen, and Jonathan. Growing up in small town Bozeman they had numerous companions for bike riding, exploring the fields south of town, and other outside activities. The family enjoyed skiing at Bridger Bowl, camping at Hyalite Lake, and fishing Montana rivers and streams. Dennis was Cub Scout Master for the Irving School pack, participating on the school district bussing committees and the Irving School PAC.

He and Bernadette also enjoyed following their children’s academic, music, sports, and school careers. They all turned out to be solid thoughtful community members. Dennis was proud of all of his children and enthralled by his two granddaughters, Isabel and Abigail. The Neuman family are lifelong members of the Catholic Churches in Bozeman. Dennis and Bernadette were supporters and season ticket holders of MSU Bobcat football and MSU Women’s Basketball teams.

Dennis was an enthusiastic fly fisher spending many days on SW Montana’s rivers for over 50 years. He mentored many people on the river, imparting a love of the natural environment and fly fishing skills. He always enjoyed watching others fish as he rowed the drift boat or raft. He was also an avid skier, spending many days with the family on the slopes of Bridger Bowl and Big Sky, and enjoyed ski trips to Wyoming and Colorado. In retirement, Bernadette and Dennis traveled in Europe to Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, and Morocco.

In 2014 Neuman joined the Docent Corps at the Museum of the Rockies and greatly enjoyed teaching grade schoolers about dinosaurs and Montana history. He was elected president of the Docent Board in 2017-18. Through his long career at MSU in research, teaching and outreach he was given MSU’s Pure Gold award by President Waded Cruzado in 2019.

In retirement he researched his family’s Irish ancestry and wrote a small book about the first generation of his American-born Irish relatives in Butte, Montana. Always a writer, Neuman wrote a series of humorous short stories about a young fishing guide’s toil with his clients. In addition, he wrote a book recalling his memories growing up in a Catholic grade school staffed by Nuns. These books he shared with family and friends.

Dennis will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings John, Edward, Mary Helen, and Michael and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by his spouse of 43 years, Bernadette, sons Paul (Ashley Quande) and Jonathan of Bozeman, daughters Elizabeth (Ryan Goodman) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kathleen of Bozeman and granddaughters Isabel and Abigail. Also surviving are his nephew Matt Neuman and family of Bozeman, Deborah Neuman, niece Alicia Tweet and family of Wasilla, Alaska, and special cousin Marilyn Connolly and family in the Midwest. Dennis is also survived by Bernadette’s siblings and his many nieces and nephews of the Kuntz family.

A Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Monday, September 12th at Noon; livestreamed at with a graveside service and reception at the church to follow. In lieu of flowers the family encourages donations to the Dr. Edward W. Neuman scholarship at Carroll College.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, September 12, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

220 West Main Street, Bozeman, MT 59715


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