William “Blackie” Kogolshak

William (Bill/Blackie) Kogolshak died at his home on April 8, 2021 on his own terms, after a painful and brief bout with pancreatic cancer.  Born in 1942, he grew up in Hardin where his parents owned/operated the Stockman Bar & Cafe.  He graduated high school from Hardin and attended Eastern Montana College as an art major for a short time before joining the Army.  He served four years with the Army Corp of Engineers while being stationed in Germany and was honorably discharged.  He had a big heart and lived a long, full life and got to enjoy/experience many things.  He was a problem solver and always made the best of the hands he was dealt in life.  

Dad wore a variety of hats during his time including, but not limited to businessman, artist, carpenter, mechanic, soldier, musician, gearhead, promoter, biker, father, grandfather and just a lover of life and nature in general.  He had an eye for taking pictures, loved feeding birds/rabbits and collecting rocks/artifacts of all sorts.  

He was a self taught musician and played guitar/bass for numerous bands, beginning in Germany and then in and around the Montana area for many years, most notably with The Frantics.  

He loved anything and everything with an engine – especially motorcycles, cars and planes.  He had his first Harley at 15 and owned several Corvettes throughout his life.  He frequently attended air shows, motorcycle races and loved fixing up cars.  He was a regular at the Sturgis Bike Rally over the years – meeting and visiting with new people was something he really enjoyed.  He put on the Hardin Half Mile flat track races for a couple summers, bringing in pro riders from all over.  During his tenure in the bar business, his promoting turned Hardin into a destination for bikers traveling to and from the Sturgis Rally.  I can remember downtown being lined with nothing but bikes numerous times growing up, which brought lots of business to the community.  

He loved remodeling and developing businesses.  He ran The Cave and Melody Supper Club in Livingston with his dad for a time and later owned/operated the Big Horn Saloon in Hardin, with Marge Madler (his wife at the time), until it burned in the early 80’s.  He was involved with other bar operations after that, most notably, the Mint Bar.  He and his son Billy developed businesses BJ’s Fireworks, Road Agent Video and most recently Blacky’s Pawn, all in Hardin.

Dad was proceeded in death by his folks Jack and Alice (Colstad) Kogolshak and brother Ralph Kogolshak.  

He is survived by sons Darren Zent (Dee Dee) and Billy Kogolshak;  grandchildren Josh Zent (Toree), Alexis McClain (Kyle), Lydia Zent and Rylee Kogolshak;  great grandchildren Myla, Gideon and Anthym.

Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.  A Veteran’s Marker will be placed in the Veterans Section of the Fairview Cemetery in Hardin, in his memory.  

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with love, hugs, thoughts/prayers and kind words – it means a lot.  

“God saw he was getting tired and a cure was not to be, so He put his arms around him and said come with me.”  

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