James Evan Rhodes passed away on July 13, 2014, at age 93. James, son of Ray and Ruth (Palmer) Rhodes, was born in Eureka on Friday, April 13, 1921, and resided under the “Big Sky” the majority of his life.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and honorably served as a flight instructor in WWII. Upon his discharge, he had attained the rank of First Lieutenant. He married the love of his life, Audrie Mae Nansel, in June 1950, in Spokane, Wash., and, to that union, four children were born.
Dad worked hard to provide for his family and started his career with the Burlington Northern Railroad in northern Montana. From there, he managed grain elevators in Chinook and Devon, Mont., for several years. We moved to Hysham in 1963, when Mom and Dad purchased the N&R Grocery Store. They later purchased the Hitching Post Motel in Red Lodge, which they owned and operated for several years. Dad also worked at Red Lodge Mountain Ski Resort. When they sold the motel, they moved to Billings, where Dad worked for Montgomery Ward until his retirement.
Dad was an avid outdoorsman. He loved fishing, hunting, backpacking and the mountains. He had a story for every adventure and loved sharing his stories with family and friends. The fish grew bigger with each retelling.
James is survived by four children, DeeLea (Darrell) Hert and two sons, Todd and David; Teresa (Ron) Foos, and two daughters, Tricia Justice and Alicia (Dawson) Olfert and four great-grandchildren, Diek, Hadden, Josef and Evie; Joe (Susan) Rhodes and two sons, Brian (Dawn) Rhodes and Dustin (JoAnn) Rhodes; and Jim Rhodes and two children, Michelle Rhodes and Christopher Rhodes, and two great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Katelyn.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings, Eva, Effie and Robert. Mom passed away in April 2002.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 2110 Overland Ave., #111, Billings, MT 59102; Rancher Cemetery, c/o Kevin Kimball, 99 Muri Road, Hysham, MT 59038; or the charity of your choice.
Dad will be laid to rest beside Mom at the Rancher Cemetery in Pease Bottom, Myers, Mont. Graveside services with military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 19.
Rest in peace, Dad, we are going to miss you. Give Mom a hug.
“Enjoyed Every Moment.”
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of arrangements. Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com.