Shawn Pilster

Shawn Edward Pilster, 46, of Alzada, MT, passed away Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 at his home on the family ranch. He was born April 6, 1967 in Belle Fourche, SD to Larry and Madge (Marcott) Pilster.

Shawn attended elementary school in Alzada and high school in Belle Fourche. He later received his GED.

Shawn served in the US Army for three years. He completed his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ and then served in Germany before being honorably discharged.

He went on to receive his Diesel Mechanic certification from the Wyoming Technical Institute in Laramie, WY. After school, he moved to Washington State where he worked in the timber business with his Army buddy Mike Keller.

After the timber business went down, he moved to Texas to work for Caterpillar. He then returned to the family ranch.

Shawn was active in 4-H growing up. He won numerous awards for his tractor driving and photography skills at the Carter County Fair. His love of tractors and photography continued to grow throughout his life. He was an excellent mechanic and would bale beautiful round bales each summer with a John Deere tractor and Hesston baler.

Shawn had truly found his niche as a scenic photographer. He won a national award for his photo titled “Looking Back” from the American Sheep Industry in 2012 and he was one of the featured artists for the 2013 Alzada Poetry and Art Show. He was a member of the Black Hills Photography Club and had several of his prints hanging in various locations throughout the Black Hills.

His photos of the Aurora Borealis and lightning strikes were incredible.

Shawn also loved animals and frequently made pets of numerous sheep and cows each year on the ranch. He spent countless hours in the lambing shed each spring and could easily identify the pets from a distance as they would come running to see if he had any cake or hay cubes in his pocket.

One of Shawn’s true passions was firefighting. He was a dedicated member of the Alzada Volunteer Fire Department and served as the Secretary/Treasurer for several years. He would often sit up all night on a ridge in the summer during lightning storms watching for fires and would usually be one of the first on scene. Shawn served as the Secretary/ Treasurer of the Carter County Sheep and Cattle Growers Association. He was also involved with the Montana Stockgrowers Association and was a member of the Montana Public Lands Council.

Survivors include his parents, Larry and Madge of Alzada; brother and sister-in-law, Lane and Dawn Pilster of Alzada; sister and brother-in-law, Misti and Del Richardson of Gallatin Gateway, MT; grandmother Helen Pilster of Spearfish, SD; nieces, Emily Muhlbeier of Shepherd, MT, Laci Pilster of Alzada, and Caitlyn Richardson of Gallatin Gateway, MT; nephews, Max Richardson of Gallatin Gateway, MT and John Pilster of Alzada; uncle and aunt Larry and Margie Marcott of Thermopolis, WY; uncle Bob Pilster of Blackfoot, ID; two cousins, Nathan Pilster of Blackfoot, ID and Brady Pilster of Ogden, UT, and very special friend, Tea Backstrom of Absarokee, MT.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ed Pilster of Alzada, and Max and Jackie Marcott of Thermopolis, WY and his “adopted” grandmother, Lydia Capra.

Visitation was held on January 2 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Belle Fourche, SD. Funeral services were held at 2 the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Belle Fourche, SD. Burial followed with full military honors in the Pine Slope Cemetery.

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