James Bruce “Jim” Kalbfleisch, 87, a beloved, good-natured, and kind lifelong Shelby farmer passed on June 25, 2021, surrounded by loved ones.
Jim is survived by his wife, Virginia; sons, Bill (Stacy) Schlepp and Larry (Donna) Schlepp of Billings; daughter LuAnn (Stuart) Julian of Missoula;
grandchildren, Brian (Kara) Schlepp, Amanda (Andrew) Amosa, Willie (Kellie) Schlepp, Mike (Kari) Schlepp, Carrie (Andy) Etcheberry, Traci (Colby) Fitzgerald, Andy (Leila) Bowers, Tony (Dani) Bowers, Rebecca (Keither) Nelson, Brandon Julian, Amber (Curtis) Breuker, Travis (Hannah) Schlepp, and Alex Schlepp; many loved nieces, nephews, and great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents; son, Alan Schlepp; brothers, Bobby and Rae Kalbfleisch; and sisters, Genore McNamer, Sally Peters, and Mary Kay Murphy.
Jim was born December 30, 1933 in Shelby to Norman and Virginia Kalbfleisch. He graduated from Shelby High School in 1953. He then joined the US Army in 1953 serving four years. He attended Gonzaga University for 3 years. In 1960 Jim began farming near Dunkirk.
On December 30, 1976 he married the love of his life, Virginia Schlepp. Together they farmed until 2021. Jim was an active member of St. Williams Catholic Church and loved interacting with all kids while coaching several youth basketball teams. He worked at the Horse Racing Commission and followed the horses with his dad.
Jim’s greatest enjoyment was following athletes from area schools in the Golden Triangle, most especially his beloved Grizzlies and Zags. Jim never met a person he didn’t develop a relationship with, and everyone enjoyed his stories.
Jim’s smiling and cheerful personality won over most people he met. He was loved by all and will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and community.
A Celebration of life for Jim will be held on Friday, July 9, at 10:30am at St. Williams Catholic Church.
Memorials can be made to St. Williams Catholic Church, 531 Main St, Shelby, MT 59474 or St Jude’s Children Hospital, or any worthwhile charity to benefit kids.
A special thank you to Jim’s nieces, Lauri Tokerud and family and Jeanne McDonough and family for their loving care.
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