Written by The Wolf Point Herald
Jean Pierre Bidegaray, 83, of south Brockton, died at Sidney Health Center on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.
He was born Sept. 28, 1929, to Jean and Gracianne Bidegaray in Mendive, France, in the Pyrenees Atlantiques.
After joining the French Army, he trained as a paratrooper in the Brevet Militaire Parachute Bataillion
in 1950. He loved the thrill of parachuting from an airplane. He received a Certificate of Good Conduct. For this, he got two weeks of leave to visit Lourdes, France.
In 1951, with his older brother Bert Bidegaray, he was invited by his Montana uncle, Bert Salaberry, to come to Montana. Both Bidegaray brothers worked as sheep-herders and farmhands for their cousins David and Calvin Steppler in the Elmdale area.
In 1957, he became a United States citizen. With assistance from his uncles Bert and John, he became a farmer and rancher in the Yellowstone Valley in Sidney.
He went back to Mendive, France, to marry Marie Louise Poutcou in 1964. While in the valley, three children were born. In 1967, he and his young family moved to south of Brockton to farm and ranch in the Charley Creek area. He was a hard working farmer and rancher irrigating silage corn, wheat, alfalfa and raising beef cattle — along with six children.
He loved to fish and his generosity in giving fish to friends and family became a Christmas Eve tradition. He was probably most proud of teaching his grandsons to become excellent Pinochle players.
He was preceded in death by siblings, Francois, Marie Gracie, Bertrand and Lucie; and first cousins, Frances and Jane Steppler, who were like sisters to him when he came to America.
He is survived by his wife, Marie Lou; daughters, Josy of Great Falls, Jeanine of the family farm and Gabriele of South Carolina; and sons, Patrick of Culbertson, Claude and Remi of the family farm in Charley Creek.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Thursday, Dec. 27, at the St. Bernard Catholic Church in Charlie Creek. Interment was at the St. Bernard Catholic Cemetery. Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel of Wolf Point was entrusted with the arrangements.