James T. ‘Jim’ Paugh

James T. “Jim” Paugh, age 89, of Coffee Creek, Montana passed peacefully on Monday, May 22, 2017 at the CMMC Hospice House in Lewistown, Montana.

Jim was born July 27, 1927 in Fort Benton, Montana to John Charles Paugh and Dorothy Marion Reed Paugh. The family moved to a farm northwest of Bozeman when he was two years old. He attended the Waterman Rural School through the sixth grade, where he rode to school in a pony cart pulled by “Skip.” He continued his education at the Bozeman City Schools, graduating from Gallatin County High School in 1945.

He enlisted in the Navy one month before graduation at the age of 17 and went to Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Base. He was sent to Michigan City, Indiana, for radio technician training and storekeeper training. During this time of his life, he enjoyed city life and remembered it as a fun time filled with adventures; big bands playing, going to roller-skating rinks and the Shrine Circus. Upon his honorable discharge in August 1946, Jim embarked on a hitchhiking tour of the United States, visiting friends and relatives along the way.

Realizing city life was not for him, Jim returned to a more rural lifestyle in Montana, where he attended Montana State College from 1946–1950. He was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, and was the manager of the Little International Livestock Show during his senior year. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.

In June 1952, Jim’s brother, John, married Donna Matson, who was a sorority sister and friend of Marlys Ishmael. Both Jim and Marlys were attendants in the wedding, and long story short, they were married four months later on Oct. 26, 1952.

In 1948, Jim began his lifelong interest in agricultural land ownership. He purchased the Hulbert Place, 160 acres of irrigated farmland across the road from the family farm in the Gallatin Valley. It only took 30 years to get it paid for. Jim and Marlys started construction on a new house on the Hulbert place. They were able to move into the basement in March of 1953, and became parents six months later, when Jaclyn Kay was born in Bozeman.

In 1954, Jim and Marlys expanded their real estate holdings when they purchased the Ping Farm from Jim’s father. Their second daughter, Cynthia Joan was born in 1956, and their third daughter, Karen Marie joined the family in 1957.

In 1958, Jim traded the Ping Farm to Jake Marx for the Doane Place – which meant that all of Jim’s farmland was in Section 30. Shirley Gay was born in 1960.

The house on the Hulbert place, started in 1953, was finally finished in 1962 and Jim, Marlys, and their four daughters moved upstairs from the basement. Daughter number five – Rebecca Lee – was born in 1966, and daughter number six, Kathleen Joy – arrived on in 1968.

Jim formed agricultural partnerships with his brothers Bob and Bud who lived on nearby ranches and the Brackett Creek Grazing Association with community members.

In May 2006, at the age of 78, Jim relocated his ranch, cattle and family to Coffee Creek, Montana. He truly enjoyed his 11 years on his Central Montana ranch and being a member of the Coffee Creek, Stanford and Denton communities.

Jim was an active leader of Bozeman Masonic Lodge No. 18, Eastern Star, and York Rite Masons. He later joined Western Star Masonic Lodge No. 104 in Denton, Montana. Jim was a 4-H leader, a director of the Beck and Border Ditch and the Middle Creek Supply Ditch, and involved in the Gallatin County Farm Bureau. He served as director of the Gallatin County Mutual Fire Insurance Co., and was involved with Gallatin Beef Producers and the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Jim was Chairman of the Gallatin County Central Committee and active in the Republican Party. Jim was a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).

Jim Paugh was passionate about many things including politics, water rights, fireworks, wind-up toys, children, family history, horses, his dogs and his large extended family. Whether it was adding selenium to his cattle’s diet or paddling a kayak for the first time at age 89, he was open to trying new things. He had an opinion about everything and was always happy to share it. One of his accomplishments was publishing a family history “Always Moving West” using information his mother had gathered over many years. This book is available at many local libraries and the Library of Congress. Of all the pleasures in his life, few brought him more contentment than checking the grass and his cattle from the back of a horse.

Jim is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marlys Yvonne Ishmael Paugh, and his six daughters: Jaclyn (Lynn) Mavencamp, Cynthia Paugh St. Charles, Karen Paugh (Butch Nelson), Shirley (Bill) Kengla, Rebecca Paugh, Kathy (Pat) Ward; 16 grandchildren; and seven great-grandsons. Also surviving are sisters-in-law Barbara (Robert) Paugh, Donna (John, Jr. “Bud”) Paugh, Ellene (Dale) Brandt and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents John and Dorothy Paugh, his brothers Robert, John Jr., George, infant David, and brother-in-law Dale Brandt. During his life he mourned the loss of many favorite horses and dogs.

Services will be held on Saturday, May 27 at 11 a.m. at the Denton Community United Methodist Church followed by a lunch reception at the Denton Town Hall. Inurnment with Masonic Rites will take place at the Benchland Cemetery at 3 p.m.

Memorials can be made in his name to Montana 4-H Foundation, CMMC Hospice House, or Salvation Army.

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



Where is your favorite place to go camping in Central Montana?