James “Jim” E. Lewis

Saturday, December 18, 2021
James “Jim” E. Lewis

James Emmett Lewis, 88, died Dec. 11, 2021 in his home with his family present after a short illness. He was born May 15, 1933 near Valentine to Ronald and Helen (Housel) Lewis. The family moved later to Fergus County where he was educated in the Lewistown schools, graduating from Fergus County High School in 1952.

He went to MSC (now MSU) where he majored in Agriculture Education graduating in 1957. He was in Fangs, a service club, Kappa Sigma fraternity and Little International Livestock Show, where he was the beef champion in 1956. He learned to fly with Flying Bobcats, getting his license in 1953.

Jim taught agriculture, FFA and science for four years at Clyde Park High School. He taught ag, FFA, math and science for seven years at Cascade High School where he had one of the first girls in the state in ag and FFA. While there he was president of the Montana Vocational Ag teachers and attended the National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

He married Marilyn McCollum in 1954 and had two children, Roxie and Ron. He moved to Helena in 1968 where he taught agriculture diesel and welding at the Helena VoTech Center. He earned a Master’s Degree in Ag Ed in 1972. He bought a Cessna-182 so he was able to help his dad on the farm at Ware. He started farming at Ware, mostly in the summer. He retired as a teacher in 1987.

Jim was president of the Helena Snowdrifters; belonged to Helena Masonic Lodge #3; Order of the Eastern Star in Cascade and Hobson; Montana Flying Farmers president for three years and newsletter editor. He was Man-of-the-Year. He also belonged to Montana Pilots Association. He served as president of the local hangar group. Jim was chairman of the Lewistown Airport Board for five years.

He was a teacher, a farmer, a mechanic, a nurse at Girl Scout Camp, and loved snowmobiling, camping in the bus, dancing, being Santa Claus, auction sales, his family and his dogs and cats. He and Marilyn traveled to Canada, London, Hawaii, Alaska, the Bahamas, Italy and around the U.S.A.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; daughter, Roxie Stella of Lewistown; son, Ronald (Leanne) Lewis of Denver, Colo.; seven grandchildren, Amanda (Tony) Pietrzak, Nikki Read, Casey Read, all of Minnesota, Missy (Patrick) Scanlon of Lewistown and Taylor, Nathan and Zachary Lewis of Denver, Colo.; sister, Ruth (Bill) Lindstrand; brother-in-law, Foy (Judy) McCollum; sister-in-law, Jean Reiter, all of Lewistown, and Doris (Jim) Chandler of Utah; 12 great-grandchildren; 12 nieces and nephews; many cousins; and great-grand nieces and nephews.

Preceding Jim in death were his parents, Ronald and Helen Lewis; brother, Keith Lewis; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Raymond and Martha McCollum; son-in-law, Jim Stella; brothers-in-law, Harley Hoagland and Herman Reiter.

A Celebration of Jim’s life will be held at the Fergus Trade Center in Lewistown on Monday, Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. Memorial donations can be made to Central Montana Hospice, scholarships with the Central Montana Foundation, or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Jim’s family and friends can share memories and condolences at www.creelfuneralhome.com.