Dave Rivenes
Posted by Bart Freese (+932) 20 years ago
David Rivenes died yesterday morning. I don't know his age -- somewhere between 70 and 100. I was going to put the subject as "The Passing of Legend", but there are those who might think that is a bit much. It wouldn't be. Dave really is a legend. More I don't think there is anyone in recent and not so recent Miles City history that has had the same attention as Dave. His obit. should be pretty interesting reading. He was a pioneer in cable television -- Miles City had one of the nation's first cable hook-ups, an experiment with the studio located downtown. Dave then got out of the cable end and moved into broadcast -- KYUS television. Whether you liked KYUS or not, no one can argue that it didn't make a splash. The attention KYUS received was national -- NBC news, the show "Real People", and other national broadcast and print outlets featured Dave, Ella and the station. I worked on the hill one summer and got to be part of a German news documentary on KYUS. That wasn't the only international attention Dave made -- as president of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Dave and Ella traveled the world doing AAU business. I remember watching a movie on the AAU and up came a shot of Dave and Ella since he was the acting president. And how about Dave's start in grabbing attention? I'm talking about the most famous yearbook to come out of Montana State University. The famous book that got Dave kicked out of school, and years later made him famous on campus. What did he do (for those who may have never heard of this annual)? Well, first he made two full copies -- one to show the University and the other to take to the printers. Instead of a team photo of the basketball players, they had a circle of candy bars pictured -- Butterfingers. The track team had posed for a "joke" photo of them all tangled up in the hurdles -- well, that was the actual photo used. And, the famous Clarence Mjork (sp?)) a goofy looking character shows up throughout the annual in class and group photos. I really wonder what Dave would have cooked up had he had the computer digital capabilities back then. The fact that he didn't makes it all the more remarkable. Even after retirement, Dave organized the re-forestation project for the Rock Springs National Forest -- which I'm not going to go into details here.

Remember Dave well and with fondness. Also, never forget his surving wife Ella -- she helped keep that station going and has always been the solid ground for Dave's flashy footwork. And, don't read this as if he stepped on her, just the opposite.

What a guy. Most liked him, he might have annoyed others, some of us flat out loved the guy. I hope that all will remember him as a fun loving man. David should have held on one more day -- April 1st might have been a more fitting day to go.

[This message has been edited by Bart Freese (edited 4/1/2003).]
Posted by Kevin Connors (+4) 20 years ago
A true original. Everyone my age would have to remember going to the station for the spelling bee. I loved the newscasts...I remember as a kid we would call the station so we could hear the phone ring in the background. He was a kind generous man.
Posted by Amorette Allison (+12615) 20 years ago
David's funeral will be eleven am at the First Lutheran Church on Friday, April 4. I will be going and I assume half of Miles City.

Dave was one of a kind. I plan to put up a memorial display in my office window tomorrow, since he was the founding father of the preservation movement in Miles City. Some agate pieces. Couple of pictures. An Olympic souvenir straw boater he gave my older brother.

Rumor is the Star is planning an expanded article on Dave later on, when they can get more information. What they had to day was skimpy and had some errors in it. (It said he died at age 90 and was born in 1909. Um. . .Denise, check your math.)

Anyway, they broke the mold when they made David Rivenes, one of the last connections to the early years of Miles City. There will never be another one like him. We'll miss him at Mom's Christmas eve party.

Posted by Beth (Petro) Oswald (+5) 20 years ago
I definitely have a lot of fond memories of the quirky t.v.station and definitely remember going there for spelling bees. I also remember Dave's kid feature called "A Visit With Henry" every afternoon during the news. It was Dave behind a puppet screen doing a goofy voice and character. You could see Dave behind the screen. Then he would always have contests for kids to call in during that time. I won a lot of stuff on that show!
Posted by JEANNE M BOLE (+38) 20 years ago
I can remember playing hide & go seek with the Rivenes
kids when I lived at 1617 Main st.
Imagine my surprise when some 27 years later I picked up
my copy of Newsweek I was living in Pittsburgh at the
time and lo and behold there was an article about Big Sky
The article told all about David & Ella Rivenes and the
charm of KYUS.
I also have another article about the man who brought
surfing to Montana. I don't know what magazine that was in.
Then there was in Sports Illustrated I think about the
luge races he was training some kids for that and that
was the winter there was no snow in Miles City.
What a wonderful dynamic man and family. I am sure he will be missed.
Jeanne Bole
Posted by Bart Freese (+932) 20 years ago
Oh, I forgot all about that crazy surfing thing. I'm pretty sure that the article was in Sports Illustrated. I well remember the picture of Dave showing the proper arm techinue as the kids ride surf boards across the flat, flat, flat water.
Posted by Chris Choate-Raible (+13) 20 years ago
I also have great memories of going to KYUS and participating in the Spelling Bee. One fateful year I came down with chicken pox and I couldn't participate so I laid on the couch and watched my Sacred Heart classmates in their 15 minutes of fame. It was a fun time and seems like a lifetime ago! We are lucky to have had Dave and Ella.. and Henry

Chris Choate-Raible

[This message has been edited by Chris Choate-Raible (edited 4/3/2003).]
Posted by Ragna Bartholomew (+2) 20 years ago
Dear Bart,
I just wanted to thank you for the nice write up you did on Papa. It was also fun to read the other peoples memories about him. Keep up the good work!!!
Ragna Bartholomew
Posted by Jen Rivenes Jensen (+13) 20 years ago
Hi Jeanne,
Thank you for the nice words about my father.
I am the youngest Rivenes daughter - Jen. What is your maiden name? Forgive me - I don't remember you. But I do remember playing hide and seek in the neighborhood!
Jen Rivenes Jensen
Posted by Jen Rivenes Jensen (+13) 20 years ago
Dear Bart - and all,
What a tribute you all have written to my father! Our sister, Sue, has a computer and we printed out the messages you all sent for Mama and Sigrid to read - we really appreciate the kind words and memories you all have for Dad. Gary (my husband) and I have returned to our home in St. Louis and we are still so overwhelmed with the support and love that the good friends in Miles City and all over the country showed our whole family. I am so thankful I am from Miles City, Montana!
I'll be back in May for two weeks during the Bucking Horse Sale. Hope to see you then.
Thanks again for all your good thoughts and memories.
Love and Kisses,
Jen Rivenes Jensen
Posted by Andy Hanson (+152) 20 years ago
I am sick, I never got to tell Dave about my trip to Norway this past Sept. And I did not get to tell him how much he influenced my life. Why I still wear cords because Dave wore cords. I am still interested to find the forts of the Yellowstone, because Dave wanted to find them. I still watch swimming on tv with more than passing interst because Dave gave me the interest. I am still into athletics (skiing and biking) because Dave made me an athlete. I still want to go to the Olympics because Dave gave me the spirit of the Olympics many years ago. My favorite times, growing up, were swimming trips all over the map in Dave's car. My favorite pool in the world is an old swimming hole in Miles City that a guy named Dave helped develop. We were lucky to grow up in the Dave era, he gave us so much that we took for granted. My lifetime involved with sports was enhanced by a guy named Dave. He was always a terrific father figure for me because my own father was way to busy. Here in Aspen we know that the world up there in Montana saw a life that was full and giving. Just think how much he gave to swimming, to wrestling, to luge, to small town tv, to his church, to his family and to all the people he touched. Miles City witnessed a life and did not always know how to deal with it. Those of us close to him knew how he affected thousands of people through his dreams. There went a great guy and we will all miss him tremendously.

Andy Hanson
Posted by Clark Davis (+14) 20 years ago
Hi Jen:

Was so sorry to hear about David. He did have a wonderful life, but I'm sure he would have wanted to stay around a bit longer. Ella did a terrific job of taking care of him when he was unable to do a lot for himself anymore. A friend in Miles City wrote and told me about his passing and she said in a way he was Mr. Miles City. It was so nice when we moved to Miles City for awhile and discovered that David and Ella were still around. Hope to visit her again one of these days. Bestest, Clark
Posted by Erika Hanson Brown (+2) 20 years ago
Hi, Jen, Sigrid, Sue and Ella--
..and Jeanie, Sally, Ann, Cathy, Skip, Bruce, etc. etc.

A giant passed our way and through our lives, and we are all so very lucky to have known and been loved by him. I last saw David a few years ago; he was still giving me heck for having quit swimming when I did ( at 14--boys were very interesting then). This morning--like every morning--I was able to swim some lovely laps in water that felt like velvet---all because of Dave and Ella and their utter devotion to us kids of Miles City (and everywhere). We always liked swimming (who doesn't remember the Rivenes, Lemires, Pratts, Hansons and others who were--with their little kids--always 'down at the pool'?), but it was with Dave's urging that I started to take swimming more seriously. We used to swim every afternoon after school out at the old Industrial School in winter and, of course, down at the pool during summer. In fact, our lives really revolved around swimming.
Today swimming keeps me sane and healthy. (I'm swimming while going through 6 months of chemotherapy!) And I wouldn't feel this way (nor be as healthy) if it were not for Dave and Ella's total and absolute support for us young athletes.
Dave was a wonderful trickster, though. I remember so clearly the swimming meet during which Dave announced to the assembled crowd, "Ladies and Gentlemen--we have a surprise for you. There is a little girl here who will dive off of the high dive. There she is--little Erika Hanson." Well, I was about 5 years of age, had never even CONSIDERED diving off that 3 meter board, but there was Dave--telling people that I would do it. I remember walking (waddling) out on the pier, climbing....s.l..o..w...ly up those 13 steps, walking out to the end of that wiggling board up there in the air, and--not stopping--diving off head first! Don't ask why I didn't remonstrate with our Announcer--he said I would do it, so I did!
And I never did it again.
But I sure still swim.
Thanks, Dave--having you in my life dictated the direction of my life, for the better. I always said that I learned more about life and business from swimming--much more than I ever learned in college. We'll all miss you and your fun terribly---until, of course, we all meet again.
We love you, Dave.
Erika Hanson Brown
Denver, CO
Posted by mitch brown (+4) 20 years ago
Wow! I just found this sight after being away from MC for about 18 years in the Navy and just returning from the war but what a bummer to see that Dave has passed away.
My family used to live right up on Yellowstone Hill by the KYUS station and my oldest brother even worked there for a little while.
What I remember about Dave the most, I have to share with you all. I was riding my 10 speed down Yellowstone Hill when I was in about the 6th grade and tried to be a show off and wrecked really bad going as fast as I could down the hill.
The only thing I can remember of the situation is several cars passing me by as I lay there with bloody knees, hands, and face except one car stopped and picked me up and put me in his "convertable" car. You guessed it, that was Dave on his way up to the station. From what I can recall I messed up the inside of his car but him, not a care in the world for his convertable, took me up to the house and gave me to my mom as I was crying my eyes out...
That is something I will NEVER forget about that great Man.
May he rest in peace. Thanks Dave.
Posted by Nick Krumenacker (+12) 20 years ago
Dave was a wonderful person. He gave so much to the community of Miles City. I remember how much he and his wife loved the kids of Miles City. Not only with the swim team. but also as chaperons for the Harmony Hangout, and that had to be a challenge!

My wife and I ran into Dave coming out of the Stockman bank a couple years ago. We really enjoyed our visit, and it gave us an opportunity to thank him for all he had done for the youth of Miles City and how much we appreciated him. Then he bestowed us with a gift, worry stones, which we still have.

My wife Janice used to host the spelling bee on the television station, when she was in high school. She has great memories of the program. She said she used to always run over the time allotment, because she would give the kids to many chances to spell the word correctly.

I also, love the old Buick convertible he would drive. He will truly be missed.

God bless the family..

Nick Krumenacker
Posted by Heather McCracken (+16) 20 years ago
I just want to say to Ella and the family how deeply sorry I am for their loss. I didn't know Dave that well persnally but I knew he touched many lives.............Who could forget the famous spelling bees! I loved those even though I always went into "shell shock" when it was my turn in front of the camara!!

Mitch - you mentioned his convertible and I can picture almost every T-Bird that man drove! I loved those cars. By the way Mitch, your family used to live next door to mine on Orr St. You were pretty young but your older brothers would probably remeber me, the only kids on the block and they're stuck with a girl to play with! LOL

King Henry, I always thought you were right up there with Mister Rogers. With the two of you, Heaven's got to be a better place!!
Posted by Mark Huffington (+12) 19 years ago
I was saddened to hear of Dave's death. Dave gave me my first job in television back in 1977. Newly married, my wife and I packed our belongings and moved to Miles City, a town we had never been to before. Dave and Ella took good care of us and I learned many valuable lessons, both in TV and in life. 26 years later, I am still in the business, working in Minneapolis. I owe Dave for helping me get my start. By the way, I also remember his T-Birds. While I worked for him, he drove a blue one with a white top and Ella drove a white one with a white top. Both were 1965 convertibles (I never saw them put the tops down). As a "spare" they also had a red 1966 hardtop. I think their granddaughter drove that one.

Dave, you were a class act. God bless all of us left behind who mourn your passing.

Mark Huffington
Posted by Jen Rivenes Jensen (+13) 19 years ago
Hi all,
Yesterday was my Dad's 91st birthday. I understand it was a beautiful day in Miles City and he would have been enjoying it sitting on the swing on their front porch watching people pass by, seeing the American flag fluttering in the breeze just down the street, and having a cup of coffee with Mama and Sue.
You may not have been there in person, Papa - but you will always be with us in our hearts.
Number 3 daughter,

[This message has been edited by Jen Rivenes Jensen (edited 7/10/2003).]
Posted by William B. Hubbard (+10) 19 years ago
Just received a note (Email) from Jen, number 3 daughter of Dave. I was stationed at the 902nd AC&W Squadron from 1957-1960. While there, I had the pleasure of meeting Dave and his family. They were so hospitable to the Airmen and Officers from that Radar Site. I remember Dave having barbecues and picnics at his house. It was always good family type-fun with Dave explaining something like his brandng iron collection, or sharing the pleasure of his newly bought red car (De Soto, I think).

I once had dinner with Dave in San Antonio in 1978 while he was on a business trip and I was in a military school at Medina AFS (Lackland Annex). He still had that great smile and humor!

It was sad to learn of his passing, but I know that he will be long remembered by all of us servicemen who were stationed there at the 902nd. A great citizen!!

Regards to all of his kin and friends,

Bill Hubbard
Posted by Paul Wallick (+25) 19 years ago
I remember being in the third grade spelling bee, the year must have been about 1970. I actually won my class! I think I spelled friend for the victory, then lost in the school championship...I missed gaurd...or I mean guard.

I also remember calling the station the night of election returns and Dave answering the phone and no one would be there. He became quite upset because he was expecting election results.
Posted by Dan Mowry (+1431) 19 years ago
I have very fond memories of David.

I was a young boy scout (well, cub scout, actually in Den 4 Pack 245) and we were guests on his evening news television program. We were interviewed by one of his puppets. ; ) That was great. Well, that and the fact that Louie Watt almost discombobulated himself when he yanked a lighting stand down on top of himself (on air). : )

My grandmother (Anna Mowry) lived next door to the families - right there in front of Washington Middle School. David was such a gentleman and caring man... he would even be out bright and early trying to beat my grandmother in a race to shovel snow in the winter! He knew she'd be out early trying to shovel the walks and that she was just physically not up to it. So - he did it for her with no mention.

Blessings to all the family. : )

-Dan Mowry
Posted by Angela Setera (+97) 18 years ago
I've been reading through old posts and came upon this one for Dave. Dave was my swimteam coach when I was younger. Well, actually I remember Patty and Ragna doing most of the coaching, but when Dave was able, he was down there everyday! The proper protocal for us kids on the swimteam was to walk up to Dave FIRST thing and shake his hand and say "Good morning, Coach!" (remember, a nice firm handshake cause if you didn't, he'd make sure to tell you to shake harder, and Don't mumble your words, say them nice and clear!) I loved Dave. I started swimming on the AAU swimteam when I was 4 I believe. Of course, I had the help of an older more experienced swimmer at this age but I always got green participant ribbons! Through the years of competing, Dave always seemed to take a special interest in my swimming. Dave always made me feel incredibly special. I think he made alot of people feel special. He seemed to care so much about people.
I remember when both of my bros and my sis were on the swimteam and we always got these AAU patches to sew on our towels or...well, wherever we wanted. I distinctly remember getting my first patch. I was the only one in my family that got one. Dave was standing there on my right side, his arm around my shoulders, handing me my very own patch! It was so exciting! Even when I was older, like 15-16, Dave would come down to the pool and tell me my butterfly was looking pretty good. Awww...good old Dave. Swimteam wasn't the same last summer when he wasn't there to shake our hands and say "Good Race."
Maybe I just missed it when reading through old posts, but I don't think anyone mentioned Dave's worry stones! I think he gave me my first worry stone when I was about 6 or 7. I don't remember exactly what he said, but the just of it was that a person shouldn't get caught up in worrying. That everytime I found myself worrying about something, I should just rub the stone. I remember him showing me just how to rub my new worrystone too. I'll never forget the worrystone he took out of his pocket and showed me. I rubbed and rubbed my stone trying to get mine to have the impression like his did. It was a sad day when I dropped my worrystone and it broke in half. I glued it back together. Dave gave me a new worry stone a few years later. And at his funeral last year, I picked up another.
Dave left a big impression on alot of people, kind of like the impressions on those worrystones of his. I've enjoyed reading through all the comments here and the several articles I saw in papers after his passing. I'd never realized Dave had done so much in his life. I just knew him as "Coach Dave."
Posted by Jen Rivenes Jensen (+13) 18 years ago
Dear Angela,
Thank you for your beautiful letter about my Dad. All your thoughts that you put down are what my sisters and I have felt and loved about him - but it was especially heartwarming to know that his "other kids" were feeling and thinking those thoughts too.
I'm still swimming workouts several days a week and every lap I swim I can hear Dad telling me to kick a little harder, pull with the off hand first, snap breathe, etc. He will never be far from us.
Angela, don't forget that if your worry stone wears out you can go over to Mama's house and she'll give you another. Your letter touched her more than you will know.
Thank you,
Jen Rivenes Jensen
Dave's daughter #3
Posted by Harlan Bridenbaugh (+13) 18 years ago
Jen, pretty amazing that I found you, and the sad fact that your Dad has recently passed away. I typed your name into "Google" and sure enough you are famous enough to show up there. The reason I'm thinking about Montana/Miles City/Orchesta--->Harlan and Jen, is that we're coming to Billings this coming week for our 40th wedding anniversary. Anyway, this is a hello. Perhaps sometime in the future we might visit. Regards, Harlan 503-274-8347
[email protected]
Posted by Nancy Ugrin Bond (+14) 18 years ago
What a life! Like all of those listed, I recall Ella asking me to spell on TV-and that cat....walking across the top of the monitor while I gave it my all.....

I recall my dad flying Dave to some of his AAU events. I wonder if anyone really ever realized the enormous respect the AAU as a national organization had for Dave? Sig would come home with great stories about their flights together- trapped at 15,000 feet they would share thoughts about home, kids, work, life and as always, sports, sports, sports. Sig loved Dave. He was one of the last people he connected with before moving away from Miles City, always compasionate, always a friend who was willing to help or offer a kind word. I will be forever grateful for the friendship he offered my father over 57 years he was in Miles City.

Again, what a life. His contributions will be remembered by many people in many places.
Posted by Harri A. Sundell (+11) 18 years ago
Would like to add my greeting from Finland, Europe.
I was visiting Miles City, Montana in September 1980, and was interwieved by Dave Rivenes.
My friend Steve Hamann called KYUS, and an hour later we were there.
After reading the letters here, I see that my first impression of Dave was right, I had met a big man. He was so friendly, he was joking with me, and he knew lot of things.
My visit to the KYUS Station and meeting with Dave was one of high the points of my month long travel through the U.S.A. I met a lot of nice people in America, Dave I remember was one of the best, even if my visit with him was only about half an hour long.
Annother thing I remember from MC, was the huge rib eye steak I got in one of the Main Str. restaurangs.
Best wishes to all Dave Rivenes' relatives and friends
Harri A. Sundell (that time Saajanlehto)
Posted by Jay Johnson (+47) 18 years ago
Hi Jen! I'm an ex-Miles Citian and have just recently discoverd this Web site. I knew your folks and always enjoyed talking with them. My wife Pat, worked with Ardis Jensen at the County Court House back in the early fifties. We lost touch with her after she moved to St. Louis. As I recall, she was on oxygen at the time. Pat bacame a victim of Alzheimer's about six years ago and and couple of years ago I could no longer care for her so she is in a nursing home about five minutes from where I am living. She does not walk or talk, but at least she still recognizes me. Would appreciate hearing from you and would like to know if Ardis is still alive.

My e-mail is: [email protected]
Posted by Harlan Bridenbaugh (+13) 18 years ago
Jen, I can't believe I somehow lost your e-mail message....please confirm you've gotten this, and then I'll have your new e-mail address so I can write more info.
Regards, Harlan