Celebrating the life of Barrett Clifton Spek
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Barrett Clifton Spek passed away on March 24, 2023 after a long battle with heart disease. He was born to Jack Spek and Doris Colburn on January 24, 1942 in Billings, Montana. He grew up as an only child in Melstone, Montana, played basketball and baseball, and graduated as valedictorian of his high school class.
In 1960, Barrett attended Gonzaga University with the dream of becoming a physician. After nearly blowing up the chemistry lab his freshman year, he decided to focus his interests on business. While at Gonzaga University, he played basketball and continued to follow and cheer for the Zags until his final days. Barrett graduated from Gonzaga University in 1964 with a bachelor’s in business administration. He later obtained a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in marketing.
Barrett married Nancy Fleming in 1963 and welcomed four children: Christopher, Michael (Sharon), Elizabeth (Bill) Dunston and Benjamin (Sabrina). They later divorced.
Barrett married Vickie Therrien (nee Riley) on October 24, 1981, and welcomed one child together, Amelinda (Benjamin) Porter. Vickie also brought a daughter into the marriage, Brenda (Scott) Carey, who Barrett welcomed and helped raise as his own.
Barrett’s 50-year career in healthcare administration took him all over the United States. He owned and operated several successful skilled nursing facilities in Washington, Kansas, California, and Utah. Some of Barrett’s more notable achievements included developing and implementing the first Medicare program for Washington State skilled nursing facilities. In 1974, Barrett was named one of the “Outstanding Young Men of America.” He prided himself on treating his employees fairly and with respect and great appreciation for all their hard work.
Barrett’s sense of humor would best be described as quick witted and dry. One his final day, Barrett decided to take off all his clothes and surprise his caregiver. When the caregiver stated, “Hey Barrett, let’s get your clothes on,” his response was, “Why don’t you just call me bare-butt from now on?” The caregiver appropriately responded, “Let’s keep this professional. I’m going to call you Barrett.” Even in his last days, he always had an impish smile and a funny remark for those around him. He loved to laugh and make others laugh too.
Barrett enjoyed spending time travelling with his family. One of the most memorable trips was a family cruise through the Mediterranean in 2004. Barrett’s favorite places included Dubrovnik, Croatia, Rome, Italy and Carmel, California, where he loved to play golf at Pebble Beach. Barrett enjoyed playing poker and blackjack and was always up for a trip to Las Vegas. He was really good at counting cards and was escorted out of a few different casinos over the years. Such a source of pride!
Barrett enjoyed the musical stylings of Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Vince Gill and others. He could be found watching his favorite show, Seinfeld, or his favorite movie, Tombstone, always with a tall glass of ice-cold milk or Cherry Coke and cookies or carrot cake by his side. He was eccentric and ahead of his time, wore mock turtlenecks and track pants every day and carried a European travel bag (i.e. man purse) before it was “cool.” He paid no attention to the pretenses of others and marched to the beat of his own drum.
He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Vickie, children and grandchildren, Jacob (Avery) Spek, Alexis Dunston, Sarah (Dean) Spek, Samantha Dunston, Brandon Carey, Quinlan Rothey, Savannah Carey, and Finnegan Porter. Barrett is dearly loved by his family and will be missed.
He is proceeded in death by his parents, many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
The family would like to thank Covington Senior Living and Renew Hospice for the compassionate and loving care provided to Barrett during his final days.
A viewing will be held on Friday, March 31, 2023 at Wier Funeral Home, 208 1st St. W, Roundup, Montana, from 5 PM-7PM. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at Melstone Cemetery in Melstone, Montana, at 11 AM. Please feel free to come in comfortable clothes. Barrett would not want it any other way.
Pallbearers will include Christopher Spek, Michael Spek, Benjamin Spek, Benjamin Porter, Jacob Spek and Quinlan Rothey. Honorary pallbearers will include Brandon Carey and Finnegan Porter.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Barrett’s favorite charity, St. Jude’s Hospital, or another charity of your choice.
“I’m your huckleberry.”
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208 1st Street West
Roundup, MT 59072
20543 Hwy. 12 East
Melstone, MT 59054