OBIT: Elwyn “Speed” Kingrey (1930-2022)
Born in Twin Bridges in 1930 – one year into the Great Depression, he would live
his entire life within 150 miles of there.
5th born of nine - a Middle child who would outlive all his siblings. He was always
in the middle of things and would stick around till the job was done. Whether it
was milking the goats on the family ranch or loading it on his grandfather’s horse
drawn freight wagon headed for Butte or mowing a neighbor’s lawn or flooding
the town’s ice rink.
“You just keep moving, and do what needs done”
Picture an 8-year-old Elwyn – on his way to school in Virgina City, notice he’s
smoking his tobacco pipe!
The subject of teasing as a child, the name Elwyn didn’t help, he traded a speech
impediment, for a pair of fists, then concurred the impediment, and shared his
pent-up witty humor with all of us.
As an older boy, Elwyn was a ladies’ man, he’d go to town with one girl, come
home with another- thus he earned the moniker, “Speed”. A nickname that he’d
carry for the rest of his life
That girl chasing ended when he met Donna, his wife and the love of his life, who
was lost to him far too soon, and whom he would miss, admired, and celebrate, in
memories shared for the rest of his years! He would tell me:
“Marriage is the full-time job you come home to after work”
What was important to Speed in his life, was Family, For the rest of us, he was the
best friend one could ask for in life. Being one of nine, he had plenty of in laws,
nieces and nephews he enjoyed keeping track of.
For years, every Memorial Day, he would load up the family, and head to Virginia
City, Big Timber, up to Townsend, and back, tending graves, and visiting family
along the way.
He loved and cherished his children and their spouses:
Oliver and Patsy, Cindy and Ed, and son Kenny (who was lost to him much too
early in life)
His grand children were the pride of his life:
Sam, Bridgett, and Corey, who brought spouses, Megan, Zack and Stephanie into
his family. He was always full of news about your endeavors, he was so proud of
each of you! And he boasted about you, lots. His sun rose and set with you.
You brought him his grandchildren, who were the joy of his life:
Emerson, Huntley, Fisher, Greyson, Elexis, Katelin, Cordell, and Blair
He was enamored, humored, and inspired by your innocent mischief. And he
loved watching you grow and telling your stories.
His great, great grandchild, Carter, born to Lexi just days before his passing, was
his last gift of his life.
We were sitting in his living room, he was silhouetted against the snow-covered
Antelopes across the valley, a sweet Montana scene.
I saw Speed, for the first time, as an old man. His toothless smile spread wide
across his face, his bright eyes opened wide, leaning forward with great interest
as he listened to his daughter, on the phone with his grandson, getting updates
on the birth of his great, great, grandchild.
I saw a man who had lived a complete, successful, and accomplished life, as much
on his terms as any man I’ve ever known. Speed Kingrey died with dignity in his
Philipsburg, MT home, surrounded by pictures of his family, within a few feet of
where his beloved Donna, wife of 58 years passed only a few years before.
The thing about bigger than life, is none of us are – it is hard to let go of a hero!
Speed would tell us:
“Ain’t nothing you can do about it”
“It’ll feel better, once it stops hurting”
RIP dear friend.
Dennis Cox 12/03/22
NOTE - This story was updated with additional information as request from the family and the author, Dennis Cox.