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. Jim continued his education at Washington State in Pullman where he 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. He became a member of the Valier Jaycees and had many good times with them. Jim started buying the “Nelson Farm and Ranch” in 1975. Diane and Jim had two children, Janelle and Justin. They later divorced and Jim continued farming with his son along with running cattle with his son and daughter up to present time.
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 married Shelley (Hyland) Moes in 2000 and they had a strong and happy marriage for 19 years. He helped raise his two youngest stepchildren, Kendra and Raquel.
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 several wrestlers and coaches as the years passed. Jim was instrumental in starting the Valier Little Kids Wrestling Club. In addition, he rodeoed with the Cowboy’s Turtle Association; known today as the PRCA. He outfitted for many years in the Bob Marshall; he loved nothing more than to be in the mountains, riding his horse, fishing, cooking, and hunting.
Jim always looked forward to the yearly Harley trip in Arizona with his friends. As well as riding to the Sturgis Bike Rally many times. He and Shelley spent a lot of time riding the Harley and driving through our beautiful state together. They camped, boated, skied, attended car shows, concerts, and laughed at the many comedians they watched. They were lucky to have explored unique places, including other countries. Each time knowing that they were blessed to live in the United States and decided there was definitely no place like home.
Jim especially loved his time with his family-whether it was working or playing, a family dinner, or any kind of celebration with them. He adored his beloved dogs; throughout the years they were great company.
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) Nelsonof 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 and make it even better.
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.