Kurt Matthew Kautz, “Cubby” to those who knew and loved him, was unexpectedly taken from our lives on October 14, 2017. A light in our lives has forever been dimmed as the loss of our Cubby has shattered our hearts.
Cubby was born on December 7, 1984 to Daniel and Susan Kautz of Huntley, Montana, joining his older siblings: Brent, Dustin, and Amanda. To his parents, Cubby was the apple of their eye. Cubby was a big, baby boy and had a heart of gold from the beginning. His adolescence was spent playing with older brothers Brent and Dusty, and constantly being cared and tended to by sister Mandy. The love his brothers and sister had for this sweet, baby boy was unparalleled.
Born and raised by a hard-working farm family, Kurt was taught early in life the lessons that only life on a farm can teach a young kid. Never a child to complain, Kurt took on each task asked of him with his full might and made sure that the job was done and done right. Whether the time late or early, the weather good or bad, or the task easy or hard, Kurt pulled his weight and completed the task. These lessons Kurt learned at such a tender age helped mold the young man that Kurt became later in his life.
As a young child, Kurt’s competitive fire was stoked by the game of basketball. Whether rain or shine, sleet or snow, hot or cold, for hours on end Kurt could be found on the family basketball court shooting hoops. Kurt’s tenacity to be the best at each thing he did shone through in these moments and it was clear to Kurt’s family how determined he was to make his mark in this world.
As Kurt grew older, he began to excel in football, basketball, and track. Whether it was throwing a touchdown, scoring a basket, or running on the relay, Kurt was a leader and a teammate that others looked up to. Kurt developed lifelong friendships through his involvement in sports and to the date of his passing, he loved his friends and would want each of them to know how special they were to him. Josh, you were always there for Kurt, no matter the circumstances, and Kurt loved you with all of his heart.
Kurt graduated from Huntley Project High School in 2003, making the decision to attend college at Montana State University-Billings. Kurt was a young man that worked hard to get the best grades he possibly could. One of Kurt’s professors at college told his family after Kurt’s recent passing that Kurt was her favorite collegiate student, always attending class with a positive attitude, a big smile, and always trying. Kurt’s family takes great solace in hearing these kind words and thanks you, Mrs. Colton. During his entire time in college, Kurt continued to work to support himself and to help his parents pay for his school. Kurt graduated from Montana State University-Billings in 2008 with a B.S. in Elementary Education.
As Kurt entered into adulthood, he chose the path that would forever change his life, coaching. Kurt was provided the opportunity to coach his three favorite sports: football, basketball and track. Coaches Jim Stanton, Jay Santy, Jim Benn, Mark Branger, and Steve McMorris, allowed Kurt the opportunity to begin his coaching career and we know that Cubby is eternally grateful for these opportunities. Our family enthusiastically followed Kurt’s coaching career at both schools, Huntley Project and Billings Central, and the memories of Kurt from the sidelines, bench, or grandstands will be forever etched into our memories. Kurt was a part of many championship teams as a coach, including coaching Huntley Project’s state track championship and Billings Central’s football state championship. The countless lives that Coach Kautz helped mold and shape into not only student-athletes, but also kind citizens, speaks volumes as to the lessons Coach Kautz instilled in his pupils.
Upon graduation from college, Kurt began employment with Hanser’s Automotive. Kurt became close to the entire Hanser family, especially Scott Hanser. Scott and Kurt immediately bonded as both recognized the strong work ethic that the other possessed. Scott and Kurt could routinely be found working 6 to 7 days a week together, enjoying each other’s company despite the arduous tasks they faced. While at Hanser’s, Kurt also became extremely close with Brett Wilson. Kurt would want both Scott and Brett to know how much they meant to him.
The one constant in Cubby’s life was farming. Cubby and his father shared a special bond that only a father and son can when working the land, tending to livestock, and producing crops. Long days spent toiling in summer heat and winter cold cemented their bond. The laughter and love shared together between these two will forever be cherished. Cubby, your father wants you to know that he would do anything to spend one more day with you in the swather, talking about life, sharing stories, and telling you how much he loves you.
Cubby’s mother, Susan, who doted on her baby boy, wants Cubby to know how sorry she is that she cannot be there to hold and love her son. Cubby, there was never one day during your short time in this world that your mother did not thank God that she was blessed with having you as her son. You made your mother proud and happy to share with others your many accomplishments. Most of all Cubby, your mother was proud that you were such a sweet boy and she cannot wait for that day to reach out and touch your hand again, pulling you close to her, and telling you how much she loves you.
Although the words written here hope to convey to those reading this memorial to Kurt the true essence of his life, his family feels that words alone fall short in honoring their Cubby. Cubby please know that without you our lives will never truly be full and our hearts will never be healed. When the day finally comes that we can all see you again, only then will we be healed in our sadness, our despair, our grief. We love you more than words could ever explain and ask God to take care of you and welcome you into his eternal resting place with open arms and a gentle hand.
Kurt was preceded in death by his nephew Cy Kincheloe, Uncle James Kautz, Uncle Jon Hardesty, Grandpa Joel Hardesty, Grandpa James and Grandma Marge Kautz.
Kurt’s absence in this world will forever be felt by his loving family and our hearts break knowing that our Cubby Bear is gone. Kurt leaves behind his two loving parents, Daniel and Susan Kautz; brother Brent Kautz; brother Dustin (Shae) Kautz; and sister Amanda (Clay) Kincheloe. Kurt also leaves behind his nieces and nephews that Uncle Cubby loved dearly: Hadley Kautz, Kane Kautz, Hayes Kautz, and Cleo Kincheloe. Katy, Jessica, Tucker, Hunter, and Neva, Kurt loved and cared for each of you and would want you to know that as well. Kurt would also want the family to mention his beautiful significant other, Cierra Muscha, whom recently brought a joy and peace to Kurt’s life. Kurt also leaves behind Grandma Lila, Aunt Margaret Maddock (Don), Aunt Mary Stewart (Shawn), Aunt Beth Huck (Arvin), Aunt Susan Sherman (Pat), Aunt Bonnie Kautz and Aunt Sherrie Kautz. Kurt leaves behind the following cousins: Stacey Smiedala, Annette Julian, Tim Smiedala, Mark Sherman, Ryan Sherman, Tricia Montgomery, Christopher Kautz, Bryan Kautz, Jessica Kautz, Randy Maddock, Jesse Offt, Casey Offt, Tia Dunn, Joelyn Sieb, Jon Hardesty, and Sydney Huck.
Kurt also leaves behind countless family, friends, and loved ones which are too numerous to mention on these pages but Kurt would want each of his family, friends and loved ones to know that although he may be gone physically from this world, his love for them will never cease.
A memorial service for Kurt is planned at the Huntley Project High School on Friday, October 20, 2017, beginning at 11 a.m. Doors for the service will open around 10 a.m. and those attending the service are asked to arrive early and wear the color “Red” in honor of Kurt. The Red symbolized Kurt’s love of his alma mater, Huntley Project High School, where Kurt was the head coach of the Huntley Project High School Girls Basketball team, a passion Kurt held near and dear to his heart.
A scholarship fund, called The Kurt “Cubby” Kautz Memorial Scholarship, has been setup at Wells Fargo Bank in Kurt’s honor. The family would also ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Kurt’s name to “Blankets and Bears”.
“We are remembered not for what we acquire, but for what we give.”O