Francis William Kirschten, born May 26, 1931, was the third son of Michel ‘Mike’ and Lorene Kirschten, raised on a farm and ranch four miles east of Baker, MT. Frank’s love of land, and knowledge of grasses and range management began during his years growing up on the family farm.
Prior to graduating high school in 1950, he played the tuba in the marching band and center position on the basketball team. He was also an Air Scout and Salutatorian of his graduating class. In 1955, Frank graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Range Management from the School of Forestry. During his college years, he earned money to pay for school by running trap-lines, delivering newspapers, performed in bars as a solo singer and guitarist, and worked for the Forest service at Sula and Ennis during the summer. His first two years out of college, he was Assistant Supervisor of Grazing and Cultivation for the Northern Pacific Railroad from St. Paul to Seattle.
A yearning to return to the land brought him to Circle, MT where he took up grain farming and met his wife Betty Jo Huseby. They dated for over a year while Betty finished college whereupon Frank promptly proposed to Betty and married her weeks later on July 22, 1961 in Circle, MT. Following several years of Frank farming and Betty teaching, and the birth of their son Jason, they purchased a dairy farm in Wallowa, OR and had their daughter Deanna. Following an injury, Frank applied for employment with the US Department of Agriculture where he was hired on with the Soil Conservation Service at Great Falls, MT as a Range Conservationist. After working in Great Falls for a year and having a second son, Kevin, Frank worked for three years in Glendive, MT as a Range Conservationist and then six years in Deer Lodge, MT as District Range Conservationists. For his final eighteen years with the SCS, Frank worked in Missoula, MT as both an Area Range Conservationist and then Area Resource Conservationist for Western, MT. During his years with the SCS, Frank enjoyed working with farmers and ranchers; speaking at conferences; running training camps; mentoring many in the field; writing articles published in various magazines; and much more.
After retiring, Frank and Betty enjoyed trips to Mexico, Alaska, Florida, and the Western coastline and Southwestern states. Frank enjoyed geo-cashing to stay fit, and also picked up wood carving and helped carve wooden horses for the downtown Missoula carousel. Several years following retirement, Frank and Betty moved to Ellensburg, WA to live closer to their three children, and four grandchildren. They lived here for over ten years, where he spent his few days surrounded by family passing away peacefully on Aug. 14, 2019 at the age of 88.
Frank is survived by wife Betty Jo Kirschten (Huseby); brother Elmer Joseph ‘Joe’ (Nadia Zin); sister-in-law Miriam (Crawford) Kirschten, wife of James; son Jason (Dana Eacret) Kirschten; daughter Deanna (Mays Patrick ‘Pat’) Brenner; son Kevin (Kristin Wuerch) Kirschten; granddaughters Haley Kirschten and Michaela Kirschten daughters of Kevin and Kristin; and grandsons Michael Kirschten and Jacob Kirschten, sons of Jason and Dana.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother James Douglas Kirschten; and brother Michael Eugene ‘Gene’ and wife Isabelle (Ihli) Kirschten. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.brooksidefhc.com.
Brookside Funeral Home is caring for the family.