Former US Senator Burns Chief of Staff, US Marshal of Montana, Dies in Bahrain – Daily Montanan

Leo Giacometto once drove a Smurf-colored Ford Mustang convertible through Glacier National Park, but he preferred the vast expanses of his ranch in Alzada, Aurelia Skipwith Giacometto said.

“He was like, ‘It’s so much better. Over there, the mountains block the view. The prairie is so much better,'” Aurelia Giacometto, his wife, said in a phone call.

Leo Giacometto and Aurelia Skipwith Giacometto traveled the world together. (Provided by Aurelia Giacometto for the Daily Montanan)

Last month, Leo Giacometto, once an integral part of Republican politics in Montana and former chief of staff to the late US Senator Conrad Burns, died in the Kingdom of Bahrain, according to his obituary published with Kline Funeral Chapel in South Dakota.

He died of cardiorespiratory arrest, said Aurelia Giacometto. He was 60, but his wife has a different account of her time on Earth.

“He always said he wanted to live to be 120, so in my mind I think he did just that, the amount of stuff he accomplished in his 60s takes many lifetimes to do,” Aurelia said. “And he did.”

He traveled to over 120 countries, befriended people all over the world, ran a ranch that had seven generations in his family (he fought with a cash cow; see below ), and Aurelia said he knows everything from how to run a blockchain business to keeping counterfeit drugs out of a country.

“He might be talking with the rancher next door, but a week later he might be sitting at the table with a country’s princess,” Aurelia said.

Giacometto, who had two children, swept the Midwest conservative in part thanks to his wit. He inspired her to dive the Great Blue Hole in Belize, even though she couldn’t swim, she said. (She was wearing a life jacket and it took 10 minutes, she said, but she jumped because he promised to catch her.)

“Leo was truly larger than life,” the obituary said. “He worked hard, played hard and loved deeply.”

Giacometto with US Senator Jon Tester, left; Aurélia Giacometto, his wife; Governor Greg Gianforte, center; and US Senator Steve Daines, right. (Provided by Aurélia Giacometto)

In 1990, Giacometto was nominated by President George HW Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as U.S. Marshal for the District of Montana. The obituary listed him as one of the youngest U.S. Marshals in Marshal Service history.

Rancher Alzada “turned international entrepreneur” served under two Republican governors in Montana, as director of agriculture for Gov. Marc Racicot and as a member of the Northwest Power Planning Council for Gov. Judy Martz.

According to his obituary, Giacometto served two terms in the Montana House of Representatives, from 1987 to 1990, after his tenure as Carter County magistrate.

Aurelia Giacometto said he enjoyed his time working for Senator Burns to improve the lives of Montanans. In the Treasure State, she said one of her proudest accomplishments was to pave the road from Ekalaka to Alzada.

“He fought, and he fought, and he fought, and it finally happened,” Aurelia said.

In a tribute published with his obituary, Butte’s Chris Gallus said he was grateful for his friendship with Giacometto, which began in 1987 in the Montana Legislative Assembly.

“Leo defined gregarious in every sense of the word and in everything he did,” Gallus wrote.

Giacometto served his country for a total of 23 years after enlisting in the US Army at the age of 17, according to the obituary. He said he graduated from the US Army Military Police Academy, Airborne School, Jungle Warfare School and US Army Command, and was “Graduate of Honor” from the Montana Military Academy.

“He came in as an enlisted and came out as a lieutenant colonel,” Aurelia said. “That’s because Leo was always looking for solutions and thinking outside the box.”

Giacometto spent his last eight years of service as a U.S. Army Reservist with the U.S. State Department’s Counterterrorism Task Force, according to the obituary. He has also served as a business consultant, including to Fortune 500 companies.

“From Africa to the Middle East and Eurasia to Mongolia, Bahrain and Azerbaijan, Leo has found himself involved in everything from telecommunications and oil and gas exploration to aviation and to blockchain management,” the obituary reads.

In Montana in 2001, Giacometto was a key figure in a high-profile investigation into a drunk driving accident that killed House Majority Leader Paul Sliter, according to media reports at the time.

Witnesses told investigators that Giacometto, first on the scene after a Republican dinner at a Marysville steakhouse, tried to cover up the fact that Martz’s political adviser, Shane Hedges, was involved in the wreckage of a single car.

Giacometto denied wrongdoing and was never charged; Driver Hedges pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the incident.

Giacometto was born in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, and the chapel has received tributes about him from Montana to California, from Virginia to Bahrain. Friends mourned Giacometto’s untimely passing and praised his political acumen, tenacity, mentorship and dynamic personality.

“You couldn’t have more fun in a bar in Montana or anywhere else than with Leo,” wrote Bozeman’s Roger Fleming, who said Giacometto was loyal to his friends and down to earth.

In another tribute, Jon Maunders of Arizona said he was sorry to learn of the loss.

“Leo was just a great person,” Maunders wrote. “Funny, smart, real!” He left his mark on all of us who knew him. Prayers and condolences to all his family and loved ones. »

Aurelia and Leo Giacometto legally married last September after being a couple for many years. (Provided by Aurélia Giacometto)

Aurelia said her husband would help anyone and could turn “anything into anything”. He encouraged her in her quest to become a lawyer, she said, and she credits his support for her appointment as head of the US Fish and Wildlife Service with its nearly $3 billion budget and $8,500. employees.

Aurelia said she found her soul mate in Leo. They had been together for years, but officially got married just over a year ago on Sunday.

“Leo loved Montana, it was his home and his heart,” Aurelia said in an email after the phone interview. “Where he is – he sees the sunrise every morning and the sun never sets.”

Compressed Hell’s Cash Cow

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