Brian Bulger, an incredible wit and special and unique person, died on May 16, 2023, after an 18-month battle with prostate cancer. Brian was born in Great Falls on a wintry November 14, 1952, to Dr. James and Betty Bulger. He was the fifth of what would be seven children. His childhood was idyllic, playing all manner of sports in his parents’ side yard with Richie Ulring, his siblings, and other kids in the neighborhood, basketball on the driveway, golfing and swimming at Meadow Lark Country Club, and heading to Kilmorey Lodge in Waterton Lakes National Park every summer.
After high school, he attended and graduated from The University of Montana and the UM Law School. While an undergraduate, he met his wife-to-be, Anne Hauptman. Between graduating from UM and beginning law school, Brian worked for a year at the Boulder River School and Hospital.
Upon graduation from law school in 1979, Anne and Brian were married in her hometown of Billings. Anne and Brian moved to Helena, where he was legal counsel for Governor Tom Judge. In 1980, he was invited to join the law firm of James, Gray and McCafferty in Great Falls and was made partner a year later. After many years of private practice, Brian was appointed as the first Standing Master for Cascade County and later worked for the Department of Justice until just before his death. His role with the DOJ as legal counsel for children in need of care brought him particular satisfaction. Throughout his career, Brian took great pride in his work and believed being a lawyer was a respectable profession, continually helping clients free-of-charge. He believed in the core values of justice, integrity, and loyalty in all aspects of his life.
Anne and Brian welcomed their three exceptional children, Emily, Connor, and Kathleen, after moving to Great Falls. He enjoyed attending their various school and sporting events and coached each in one sport or another. Brian was so proud of them and their successes. He taught his children many lessons: the pleasure of going out to lunch, to never go anywhere without a coat (you don’t have to wear it), the thrill of a $1 bet, the power of a well-executed bounce pass, to close a drawer (or a door) if you open it, to always do the right thing (especially if no one is watching), and that onions are your friend. Nothing brought him more joy than taking them each year to Waterton growing up, their visits back home to Great Falls, and seeing them grow into the amazing adults they are today.
He was a Trustee for the State Bar of Montana for 12 years and was a charter member of the Montana Geophysical Society and the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. He loved being the assistant coach, Mr. Frau, for the CMR tennis team.
He is survived by his wife, Anne; children, Emily, Connor (Rachel), and Kathleen (Brady); as well as his six siblings, John (Tiffany), Gerry (Bridget), Carol (Fred), Sally (Tim), Tom, and Chris (Mary Ann); many nieces and nephews; and cousins Judy (Michael) and Jane (Bobby).
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, click here to visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.
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