Richard “Dick” Allgood
May 20, 1944 – Feb. 22, 2020
By Joseph T. O’Connor EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
BIG SKY – On Feb. 22 at 4:44 p.m. the Big Sky community lost one of its own. Richard “Dick” Allgood died at his home in the Legion Villa apartments in Bozeman after a brave battle with stage four lung cancer. He was 75.
The time of day was a fitting one, said Allgood’s daughter Alisa. “That’s called ‘Angel time’ when the numbers line up,” she said.
A former Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War and then a helicopter rescue pilot, Allgood has been a staple of the Big Sky community since the late 1970s when he and Alisa began vacationing here.
Allgood lived in Florida after his service in the Air Force but decided to leave Miami and a career in commercial real estate to move to Big Sky in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew struck, leaving the seaside town—and the Allgood’s home—devastated.
“He called me up at college and said, ‘I have a U-Haul packed and I’m moving to Montana,’” Alisa said. “He was a really good teacher. He was a really good father. He was unshakable and unwavering, loyal, confidant, friend, teacher. He was always there to help you make good choices and help you learn to make better ones.”
In 1993, a few months after arriving in Big Sky, Dick Allgood opened Allgood’s Bar and Grill, which he ran for the next 18 years. After selling the business, now Broken Spoke Bar and Grill, in 2011, Allgood had planned to retire. He visited various businesses during that time, a hobby that earned him the nickname “Drive-around Dick.”
“He would drive to the bank on free cookie day, go hang out at the Conoco to talk with people,” Alisa said. And he would repeat his favorite sayings: “He had ‘The multiple p’s’: Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance. He would say, ‘Kid, you gotta stay five miles ahead of the airplane.’”
After earning the nickname, Dick began shouldering administrative work for Lynne Anderson, owner of The Country Market in Big Sky Meadow Village. While he had a sincere smile and is described as kind and generous by many community members, he wouldn’t suffer fools, according to Alisa.
“He could come across as kind of gruff, and he didn’t put up with putzes,” she said. “But if you needed a hand or someone to talk to, he was there. It would be his wish to not let the glitz and the glamor overrun everybody’s human nature.”
Allgood, a proud member of the University if Alabama’s Class of ’66, was active with Big Sky’s local American Legion post since he moving to the area—he helped raise a significant amount of money to help fund a veterans’ cemetery at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman. The two-acre plot is near the Vietnam memorial on the grounds.
For nearly 30 years on Armed Forces Day—the third Saturday in May—the American Legion Big Sky Post 99 installs and refurbishes white crosses at all vehicle fatality sites on Lone Mountain Trail and Highway 191, from the Yellowstone National Park boundary north to the mouth of Gallatin Canyon. Allgood, the former adjutant for Post 99, participated in the annual white cross program, a national initiative for the American Legion, which was founded in 1919 and has 2.2 million members. He will be remembered for his altruistic nature, his toughness and his love for this community.
“The first thing that comes to me is he was someone who stood up for the community—whether at Allgood’s or the American Legion or work for the Country Market—he seemed to give back,” said Jeremy Harder, sixth through twelfth-grade technology teacher at Big Sky School District who served with Allgood at Post 99. “On a personal level he was a tough dude. I think it’s that kind-hearted, selfless thing though [that I’ll remember].”
But the community was what embodied Dick Allgood and Dick Allgood embraced that sense of community.
“I think it always makes you appreciate different things, people,” Allgood told EBS in 2018 after undergoing emergency open-heart surgery. “I’m very thankful to the community for the support given, granted, thoughts, wishes and prayers along the way.”
From Alisa Allgood’s perspective, the Big Sky community has lost a longtime member and one who was a daily reminder that we all must support one another.
“The community lost … somebody who understood the undercurrent of Big Sky; how people have to work together,” she said. “He is a constant reminder—take care of each other: If your brother has a problem let’s figure it out together. It was his hope that people would continue to take care of each other and not get lost … Without that [sense] of community, there is no Big Sky.”
Dick Allgood is survived by his daughter, Alisa, her son Wylie Allgood Tollefson, and her husband Tyler Tollefson. A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, Feb. 28, 4 p.m. at Big Sky Chapel, followed by a gathering at Buck’s T-4 Lodge.