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James “Jim” Lennox Nelson, 72, died March 12, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident while riding with friends.
Jim was born in Conrad on June 24, 1946 to Esta (McMillin) Nelson and Lawrence Nelson. He was raised on the family farm and ranch. He graduated from Valier High School in 1964. He was involved in Demolay and Boy’s State. Jim played football, basketball, and was a successful pitcher in Junior Legion and Minor League Baseball for the Great Falls Electrics. He attended Western Montana College in Dillon. He played football, rodeoed, and earned his Teaching Degree at WMC. Jim married Diana Rowling in 1968 and they moved to Moses Lake, WA where he taught high school for 3 years, as well as coached baseball, football, and wrestling. He also was a volunteer fireman. They later moved to Pullman, WA, where Jim continued his education at Washington State, welded professionally, and coached rodeo. Diana and Jim moved back to Conrad where Jim taught and coached at the high school for 2 years before going back to the family farm to work with his Dad and Uncle Ronald. Jim started buying the “Nelson Farm and Ranch” in 1975 ad continued farming with his son along with running cattle with his son and daughter up to present time. Diane and Jim had two children, Janelle in 1974 and Justin in 1976. They later divorced and Jim married Shelley (Hyland) Moes in 2000. He helped raise his two youngest stepchildren.
Jim was active on several community boards over the years, including the Methodist Church and Valier School Board. He was proud to have served over 20 years on the Pondera Medical Center Board, many of those years as chairman.
Jim had numerous activities that he enjoyed. He was a big sports fan as you can see, and continued to watch and support his own children, stepchildren, grandkids, and great grandkids as they participated in various sports and activities. He was a MOA Wrestling Official for many years and mentored others. Jim was instrumental in starting the Valier Little Kids Wrestling Club. He rodeoed with the Cowboy’s Turtle Association; known today as the PRCA. He outfitted for many years in the Bob Marshall and was active in Valier Jaycees.
Jim enjoyed riding his horses, fishing, camping, boating, skiing, reading, listening to all types of music, going to car shows, working, traveling with his wife, spending time with his friends, and riding his Harley. He especially loved his time with his family; including his beloved dogs.
Survivors include his wife, Shelley; children, Janelle Nelson and Justin (Stephanie) Nelson; grandchildren, Tyler (Erica), Payton, Brayden, and Dylan; great grandchildren, Kinsley and Shance Nelson; all of the Valier/Conrad area; stepchildren, Paige (Carl-Erich) Kruse and grandchildren, Lila and Elliot Kruse of Seattle; Raquel Moes of Seattle; and Kendra Moes of MT; Jim’s brother, Laurie (Judy) Nelson of Hardin; sister, Penny (Max) Klopcich of Billings; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Jim will be remembered for his work ethic, love of the land, quick smile, and ability to tell a good story.
A Celebration of Life will be held April 13th, 2019 at Noon at the Pondera Shooting Sports Club in Conrad. Food will be served following the service.
There's still time to send flowers to the Celebration of Life at the Pondera Shooting Sports Building at 12:00 PM on April 13, 2019.
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