John Bracy Love, nationally known numismatist, went to meet his Lord on December 19, 2023. He was at his home in Whitefish, Montana surrounded by all his loved ones. In his last years, John was blind and had many health problems, but he stayed positive and strong, seldom complaining unless you interrupted his Grizzly game.
John was born to Virgil and Florence Bracy Love on June 6, 1936, in Carbondale, Illinois. As a small child the family moved to Burbank, California where Virgil went to work for Columbia movie studios. John graduated from John Burroughs High School in Burbank, and then went to Los Angeles Valley Junior College on a football scholarship. His team was successful, and they went on to win the championship for their football league in 1955. After graduating, John was offered a football scholarship to the University of Montana. He only played football one year, but his senior year he played and coached tennis for the U of M. John was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He graduated from the University in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in education. While at the U of M, John met his wife of 63 years, Karla Kay Kluth. The couple were married in 1960. Shortly after they married, they moved to Cut Bank, MT where John managed the Orpheum Theater Company for his mother-in-law. They lived in Cut Bank for over 50 years and raised their daughter, Lisette Lee Love, and son, John Byron Love, there.
During the time John worked at the theater, silver was the currency people used and he soon got interested in silver dollars. That was the beginning of his career in the coin business. He started Record Coin in 1962. At the same time, he hired Diane Biegler as his secretary and she is still there today. Throughout his career he was a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a lifetime member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), honored with the National Silver Dollar Roundtable Lifetime Achievement award in 1990, and inducted into the Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) Coin Dealer Hall of Fame in 2011. He loved to go to work and was still working up until the time of his death. In addition to his coin business, he and Roy Roper of Twin Falls, Idaho, along with Theo Bartschi and Byron Kluth started Interstate Amusement in 1967 in Twin Falls, which grew to 25 movie screens. They sold the theaters in 2014.
John loved animals, horses in particular, and soon he started running racehorses. His horse trainer was Tommy Roberts, and they raced up and down the West coast, using jockeys such as Gary Stevens, Johnny Longden, and Will Shoemaker. In the 1980’s, John was the leading owner in races won in the nation. He also had a horse named Blue Rimrock, which was voted best claiming horse nationwide in 1985.
John’s greatest love, however, was his family. He was a great father, amazing grandfather, and a doting great-grandfather. He was supportive and encouraging in all their accomplishments, and always so proud of all of them. Besides his two children, Lisette (Bill) Pickens and JB (Kim) Love, he had 3 grandchildren, Kalee (Derek) New, Noah Love, and Jonah Love, and one great-grandson, Donovan John New. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Byron (Rose) Kluth, and nephews Brice (Diana) Kluth, and Coby Kluth.
At John’s request, there will be no funeral, but a viewing and small service will be held at Asper Funeral Home in Shelby, MT on December 28, 2023 at 1pm. A private burial will be in Mountain View Cemetery in Shelby, MT.
In his memory, we ask you to tune in and listen to Louis Armstrong singing “It’s a Wonderful World” or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole. John loved those songs and would always get a smile on his face whenever he heard them.