Joseph Thomas Kurkowski

Thursday, January 13, 2022
Joseph Thomas Kurkowski

Joseph Kurkowski

Joseph Thomas Kurkowski of Forsyth left this earth peacefully on Wednesday, January 5th at the age of 94.

He was born on September 26, 1927 at 2:30 am to Matthew and Gladys (Palmer) Kurkowski in rural Rosebud County. After graduating from Forsyth High School at the top of the class in 1946, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1946. Joe was one of four personal bodyguards guarding General MacArthur and his family during the Occupation of Japan immediately after the war. Joe was a perfect fit for the Honor Guard as the selection criteria stated that “members must have outstanding physique, high moral standards and a perfect service record.” Joe was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, Army of Occupation - Japan, and Honor Guard for General MacArthur.

When Joe returned from the service in 1948, he took agricultural courses from the GI Bill from home and worked for the City of Forsyth for quite a few years. He then ran the U.S. mail route covering Southern Rosebud County for many years. He enjoyed the route and the many people he met and got to visit with during those years.

In 1973 he purchased a ranch in the Hammond Valley. He continued the mail route while raising cattle and hay on the Hammond Valley place and wheat on the home place on Slaughterhouse Creek with the help of family. In March of 1990 he purchased the 20 Ranch south of Rosebud.

Joe loved guns and managed to collect a few over his lifetime. He especially loved his original Henrys and Sharps and enjoyed shooting competitively at the annual Quigley Shoot. He attended any gun show he could and seemed to enjoy learning and sharing his knowledge more than purchasing a new gun, but he always carried a fat wallet just in case he found that one he couldn’t live without. He thoroughly enjoyed sharing the history of each gun he owned with anyone that showed an interest and had many interested visitors over the years. He was a lifetime member of the Forsyth Gun Club and enjoyed shooting his guns.

Joe remained a bachelor with no children, yet somehow managed to be a second father to many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews. He taught them husbandry and the fine art of farming and fixing machinery with more patience and tenderness than you would ever expect from a man who cringed at the occasional hug he couldn’t avoid.

He ranched and tended his cows until he physically wasn’t able, which remarkably was about six months before his death.

He is survived by Margaret (Peggy) Kurkowski, sister-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews from his sister Dorothy (Warren) Becker and brother George (Peggy) Kurkowski.

He was preceded in death by parents Matthew and Gladys, his sister Dorothy Becker and her husband Warren, and his brother George Kurkowski.

Family to Receive friends will be held on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 4-6 PM at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Forsyth. Mass of Christian burial will be at 1:00 PM at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Thursday, January 13, 2022. Rite of Committal will follow in the Forsyth Cemetery. Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home have been entrusted with arrangements. To leave condolences for the family, visit our website at www.