Our beloved grandpa Clifton “Ray” Cheek Sr., age 82 passed away on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 at Trinity Hospital in Wolf Point, Montana. He was born to Robert and Elizabeth Downey Cheek in Bailey Switch, Kentucky on March 24th, 1937.
Grandpa proudly served in the U.S. Navy during 1958 to 1963. After his years in the Navy he moved to Montana where he met and married our grandma, Susan Beverly Melbourne. From this union they had three children; Charlene Cheek, Clifton (Angela) Cheek Jr. and Donna (Errol) Yellow Hammer. He also raised his stepdaughter Linda Melbourne as his own.
Upon grandpa’s arrival in Montana he had various ranch jobs. But he never gave up his love of art. He was a self-taught artist and won his first award when he was only 12 years old. Throughout his life his artwork has continued to be held in high regard and successfully participated in many art shows. His early works of art consisted of pen and ink drawings, followed by watercolors and oil paintings. During the mid-1970’s he developed an interest in sculpting. His sculpting media consisted of clay, wax, wood and polyform. These models form the basis for limited edition figures cast in bronze. Grandpa Ray’s artwork has been awarded both national and international acclaim and can be viewed in many corporate and small business offices in England, Canada, the Orient as well as across the U.S.
Grandpa is survived by his brother Don (Irene) Cheek of Kentucky, his daughters Charlene Cheek and Linda Melbourne, daughter-in-law Angela Snell-Cheek, son-in-law Errol Yellow Hammer. His nieces; Deaidra Cheek-Douglas, Bonnie (Vince) Gundlock, Joyce (Russ) Parker, Beverly Bird, Doris Bird, Thelma Bird, Cheryl Melbourne, Theresa Sun Rhodes. His nephews; Randall Cheek, James (Alice) Melbourne, John (Gwen) Clark, William Clark Sr., Robin Clark, Lyle and Richard Melbourne. Grandchildren; Angeline, Casey and Laurel Cheek, Misty, Myron and Traci Yellow Hammer, Martha Kearns, Marlene Failing, Michael Failing, Tolly McClammy, Erick & Andrew Sherman, Alexis & Jahn Charboneau, Cameron Cheek and Cullen Douglas.
Grandpa was preceded in death by his parents Robert & Elizabeth Downey Cheek, wife Susan Beverly Melbourne, daughter Donna Cheek-Yellow Hammer, son Clifton Cheek Jr., sister Joyce Cheek-Otto, sisters-in-law Rebecca Clark, Peggy & Faye Melbourne, brothers-in-law Thomas Otto, Calvin, Thomas & Samson Melbourne and his grandchildren; Thomas Jerome, Johnnie McClammy and Bronson Charboneau.
The mass of Christian burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Poplar. Interment will follow at Riverside Catholic Cemetery. Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel has been entrusted with the arrangements and condolences for the family can be left by using the form below.