Brendan ‘Rusty’ Wilder

On June 9, 2019, the world lost one of its greatest men when Brendan “Rusty” Wilder died in Belgrade, Mont., due to a sudden heart attack. He was 59.
Rusty was born June 12, 1959 in Da Queen, Ark., to Mary Gwendolyn and David Wilder. He married his best friend, soul mate and love of his life Denise Osborne Aug. 25, 1978, in Humboldt, Tenn. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1982.  He served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1983-92. During that time, he earned his Master’s Degree in Astronautical Engineering and celebrated the birth of his three children – Megan, Alicia and Brent. 
After leaving the Air Force, Rusty landed his dream job of working with the U.S. Forest Service.  His career with the Forest Service brought the Wilders to Custer, S.D., where they raised their family and spent 17 years. Rusty and Denise then moved to Lolo, Mont., where they retired in June 2015. During retirement, Rusty and Denise lived life to the fullest, wintering in Arizona, fishing from their boat, traveling, visiting their kids and grandkids and making memories with their treasured friends.  
If you knew Rusty, you loved Rusty. He enjoyed good beer, good music, sharing stories and entertaining crowds with jokes at which he laughed the hardest.  He was an avid reader and a lifelong learner with an inquisitive mind, adventurous spirit, listening ear and a loving heart. Rusty was an amazing father and such a proud Grandpa, prioritizing family above anything else.  He never missed an opportunity to spend time with his family—watching a game, cheering at events with his distinct booming voice and working on projects.  
Rusty and Denise’s life together was the stuff of fairy tales. They set an example for all who knew them of what true love and happiness should be. They cherished each day together. Never before have two souls been so perfectly paired as one. 
Rusty is survived by his wife of 40 years, Denise,   his daughters and son-in-laws Megan Wilder and Ray Lee, and Alicia and Dan Jupka, his son and daughter-in-law Brent and Kelsey Wilder, his mother Mary Gwendolyn, nine siblings – Cathy, Steve, Barb, Bill, Gretch, Tim, Mike, Jim, Amy, and three grandchildren – Keira, Nora and Ryland.
He is preceded in death by his father, David Wilder.
A private ceremony was held for family in Bozeman, Mont., following his death.  
Donations in his name can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


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