Lee Rinderknecht, 77, of Bozeman passed away unexpectedly on October 17, 2023.
Lee was born February 13, 1946, in Missoula, MT, the first son of Leonard and Lillian (Hanson) Rinderknecht. At age six he moved to Portland, OR with his family which by this time included a brother and sister. He graduated from Cleveland High School, enlisted in the US Air Force in 1964 and served in Viet Nam from November 1966 to December 1967. After discharge from the Air Force, he attended Portland State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice.
Upon returning home, he was briefly married and had one daughter, Kara Marie.
Throughout his employment years, Lee worked as a HVAC salesman and designing layouts for industrial air and power conditioning equipment. He eventually started his own company and provided design work for various architects and plumbing companies in Oregon and Montana.
Lee was an accomplished musician and entertainer. Along with his music partner, Chuck, Lee played various bars and taverns in Portland. Even after Lee moved to Montana, they made the time to get together to play music when possible, a partnership of over 50 years. Later in life, Lee added karaoke to his talents, and enjoyed hitting the karaoke bars in Portland with his daughter Kara.
Lee was active in several clubs in the Portland area including the Plaza Ski Club where he met his second wife, Bonnie, in 1982. Together they stayed active with skiing, whitewater rafting, golfing, and city league volleyball. Lee enjoyed playing cards with friends including poker and pinochle, with the occasional bridge game thrown in.
In 1999, Lee and Bonnie moved to Bozeman, MT for a quieter pace of life. There they enjoyed hiking in the mountains and the annual visit to Yellowstone National Park. Lee pursued a solo career as a traveling musician and provided music and singing to the various retirement homes in Bozeman and throughout Montana. He especially enjoyed providing music to those in memory care units and seeing the joy his music brought to the residents.
During his time in Bozeman, Lee thought he would try his hand at the theater and was a member of the cast of several plays in Bozeman and Livingston. He was involved with the Blue Slipper Theatre, Open Door Theatre, Montana Theatre Works and the Last Best Geri-Actors. He just loved the limelight!
Lee is survived by his wife of 35 years, Bonnie Holden of Bozeman, MT; sister, Jill Bateman (Randy) of Indio, CA; son-in-law, Charles Muir of Portland, OR; nephews, Chris Bateman (Janelle) of Divide, CO.; Scott Bateman (Kym) of Gales Creek, OR and niece, Brynn Lewis (Whalen) of Park City, UT; and several great nieces and nephews.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Gary Rinderknecht; and daughter, Kara Marie Muir.
At Lee’s request, cremation has taken place, and no memorial service is planned. Instead, he would want you to take a moment and enjoy the memories you have of him.