Robert Preston (Bob) Painter – a “Talking History”

In Rob Painter’s words . . . . .

I would like to start by relating a journal that explains a part of, or what makes Dad, or (Bob) as you know him, Who he is.  A good part of what makes a man is of course Mother.  In this case that is Marion Cranston Painter.  She had already lost her first boy in infancy, James, and was waiting for the birth of her second child Bob when she made the journal entry that I will relate to you. Marion brought 10 children to Preston Painter.

I will read from a diary where Marion reflects on her and Preston and their parents and ultimately on a part of who we Painter’s are…how we work together… this is what helped to make us: The diary is called Dear One.

In this journal story we see how the Painters as a family have always worked close together and how they are still tied together.

Lewis Levi Bob’s grandfather who homesteaded in Harding County was called Jingo Bill.  Dad would call me Jingo Bob or Jingle Bob.  Dad had nicknames for some of us and would always have a story to relate on many people.  Much of what Dad would speak was stories and his nephews and nieces that knew him came for the stories or training on how to work. He taught them to work whether it took him longer or not.

Bob was born in Belle Fourche SD, Butte county on February 6, 1938.

He grew up in Harding county on the ranch started by his grandfather Lewis Levi Painter.  He attended the Painter school until Junior High and high school when he went to Belle Fourche.  He and his sister Cathy stayed with their Grandmother Painter in Belle and were away from their parents most of the school year.  Dad told me it was hard as he missed his parents so much and longed for summer with them.  His grandmother was not easy to live with in that she was very commanding or requiring.  Now dad said his favorite subject was literature which makes since if you new him.  He was always reading and always liked to relate stories of his family history. Stories that his family played a role in, many before he was born.  He always liked to be where the adults were telling stories and he soaked them up and spit them out the rest of his life.  I forget the name of the book but his grandmother May rewarded him in his efforts and took him to the movie. May remarked on his detailed memory as he narrated and gave the back story as the movie progressed.

Around the time Bob graduated from high school his parents and the Preston Painter Family moved to Belle Fourche.  Among other things that happened there was the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints visited the Preston Painter family and taught them for a time.  When the missionaries asked them to commit to baptism Preston sent them on there way.  Dad told me he knew what they taught was true but was set to go to Colorado A&M now CSU.  He didn’t want them to send him on a mission.  Bob was going on another mission.  He worked at the college equine department stables to pay his way at college. He also learned to shoe horses during this period to supplement his income.

Bob met his wife Jan whose horse was boarded in those stables. That story he helped me to write out for her funeral and is a story of its own.


After graduation Bob and Jan moved to Albuquerque NM and there his daughter Heidi and I were born.  Bob worked for the state of New Mexico I believe the agriculture department and he would inspect milk and dairies.  He moved back to the Black Hills near Rochford SD in 1963 to ranch with his father.  His house burned down shortly thereafter but they moved another house in so they moved back after living near the redwater river near spearfish SD.  When that 2nd house at Rochford burned down he moved near Rapid City in 1968 where he had already begun to work for production credit assoc or PCA in ag lending.  He then began to ranch with his Father and brother Dan North of Rapid city on a ranch they leased for 5 years.  Howeverwhen they refused to buy the ranch at the price offered their lease was not honored and they split up and Dad moved to Newell SD and Preston moved to Crawford NE.  Before they moved though, the Painter family was revisited by the missionaries at the request of Bob and his sister Ruth who had already joined and was staying at the ranch.  In august of 1971 Bob, Jan, Heidi, and Robert Lee along with Bob’s Brother Dan were baptized members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A week later Bob’s youngest brother Dick followed and a short time later Bob’s parents and then Bob’s brother Ned.  In total 9 of us were baptized that year. This seemed to free us to move on and they lost the lease. Before moving my brother Nathan was born in 1972 in Sturgis.

After living at Newell for 4 years including running a small dairy and running cattle on permits in the Black Hills Dad moved to a place south of Crawford Ne in Sioux county in 1977. He has been there for the most part since. Many nephews and nieces and grandchildren have learned from him visiting that place near Crawford. Dad served as a branch president for the church at Oglala SD on the reservation for 2 years which Mom and Dad both enjoyed. They would drive there from the ranch each Sunday. Dad for a time about 2 years went and drove a truck in the oil fields in Utah to supplement income. Bob and Jan raised Morgan horses and for a time he served on the board of directors for the Morgan horse association.  Horses were prized by Dad a love he gained from his grandfather Lewis Levi. Lewis Levi had retained a large heard of horses that Dad said could not be sold until after his grandfather’s death. Dad told about his own horse, called buzz-wagon, that he had when he was seven to 9 or so. He had needed to use the horse for an errand and a horse knows it doesn’t have to let a youngster catch it. Especially a rank horse that would be called Buzz wagon, Lewis Levi walked with a cane but saw the situation and came out to help.  Lewis placed the cane on the fence and had Bob go fetch the throw rope. Dad then was instructed to run the horses past his grandfather and with an easy for him, flip of the rope buzz-wagon was looped on the way by. They then had to take the horse to the bronc stall to bridle and saddle it. This is just one small window into Bob’s toughness and persistence he retained and gained from this Father and Grandfather.  Dad had to get buzz-wagon to the bronc stall himself after that.

When I think where is dad now?  I think back to January 1986 when Bob and Jan were sealed in the temple in Provo UT.  That means they were married by an ordinance that ties them together in the life to come.

Dad’s last year was tough as his mind went.  But now I picture dad’s spirit being greeted by his mother who had waited for his arrival.. that  of dear one. I picture mom there and all those people he has educated us about. Uncle bill, lewis Levi grandma Bess, Ole melby, his brothers Dan and James and others.  Bob gave us a foundation. He has told us who we come from. The stories of who we are and why we must take our place, in our family, in our families history.

In closing I would like to thank Dad for my knowledge of Jesus Christ. He taught me this through his persistent prayers and by the choice he made to bring us to Christ by being willing to demonstrate it by being baptized. That short time we spent on that ranch north of Rapid city to then be forced to move seemed to be a waste,  but the events there changed the life course of the family.  When you think of Bob, smile and know that we are not here by chance.  God has a plan for families and Dad is enjoying the rest of his family right now.


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