James Charles Severson joined Chester, Stanley, Bruce, and Doris on August 24, 1927, the baby of the family of Charlie and Ida Severson. They lived in Oilmont, until making the “long journey” to Shelby, where Jim graduated from high school. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force in August 1946, and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan until he was honorably discharged in 1948.
Jim was taught to fly by his brother, Chet – turning that love of flying into a lifelong profession. For 45 years, he was a cropduster in Shelby and surrounding communities, spraying cotton in Arizona in the winter, and later in life spraying potatoes and mint in the Flathead Valley. He and his brothers, Chet and Bruce, formed Severson Air Activities in Great Falls in the early 1960’s, together with their friend, Bob Lohof. He also flew for Watkins Distributors out of Shelby; and for American Bridge, a division of US Steel, during the construction of the Minute Man missile project.
Jim wore many hats during his life – in addition to spraying crops, he and Jacky owned the Star Motel in Shelby, he was an iron worker, and he built several homes in Lion Mountain and Grouse Mountain. AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY…
Jim was introduced to Jacky Jones by his sister, Doris. They were quite the couple - as those who knew them could attest. They loved to dance, golf, play cards, and socialize with the many friends they had during their 60+ years together. So many great memories of holidays spent playing pitch or whist with good friends, drinking beer, and eating ham or turkey until the wee hours of the morning. They would sleep a few hours, then get up and start all over again! Even at 90, Dad could beat most everyone playing pitch or gin rummy!
Jacky passed in December 2011, and for a few years Jim tried it on his own. He became a resident of the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls in 2013. The family is grateful to the loving and caring staff he spent so many years with.
Jim passed on October 25, 2020, and is survived by his son, Bruce Severson (Mary) and family (granddaughter Rebecca Ginn (Doug) and great-granddaughters Christina and Loren) and (granddaughter Jennifer Severson and great-grandson Taylor); his daughter, Jayne Martinson (Jim) and family (grandson Matt Martinson (Marissa) and great grandson Duke), and (grandson Cody Martinson (Karie) and great-granddaughters Harlow and Rowyn).
No services are planned at this time, but the family will have a gathering next summer so that we can all get together to share laughs, tears, and crazy stories of Jim (and there are MANY)!
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