FROMBERG — Every so often, the Lord takes a person to Heaven which makes you wonder if the good folks on the other side needed a soul with strong leadership skills and a high fun factor to shake things up a bit. That's certainly the case of Jim Kansala, 68, a wonderful husband, brother and father who began sharing his eternal reward on Jan. 24, 2012, after a second bout with cancer.
The eldest of Ted and Verna Kansala's three children, he was born on Oct. 6, 1943, where love of family was instilled in him at an early age by his parents and also his grandmother Jennie just down the road.
Jim grew up on the farm west of Roberts. He especially loved the summer when his Cody Cousins - the Corder and Boggio kids - would come to the farm. Graduating from Roberts High School in 1961, Jim has always missed his best friend and Roberts Rockets team mate, Tom Tavegia. He then attended Eastern Montana College in Billings.
Jim married his soul mate and the love of his life, Brenda Polesky, Sept. 14, 1974. Jim's spirit will live on in his children, Shawna (Jim) Lippert of Estacada, Ore.; Jeff (Kelly) Kansala of Eagle Creek, Ore.; and Jason (DeArley) Kansala of Belle Fourche, S.D. He leaves behind a sister, Karen Kansala of Red Lodge, brother and best friend Hal (Dixie) Kansala of Sheridan, Wyo. His beloved grandchildren, Jeffrey, Kolby, Skyler, Madison, Grayson and Isabella Kansala also survive him. Jim is also survived by numerous first cousins on both sides of the family as well as his niece, Krystal Kansala and nephews, Kent and Kyle Kansala and Keith and Craig Rukavina.
Jim's strong leadership skills were put to use during his working career with Montana Dakota Utilities in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. He started as a laborer in 1964. He was quickly promoted to District Manager, District Operations Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Coordinator throughout his career, retiring in 1997. Since moving to Fromberg, Jim had been working part time for Independent Inspection Company through NorthWestern Energy.
Jim was a member of the Billings Al Bedoo Shrine, North Star Lodge #46, A.F. & A.M. of Glasgow, past President of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors Nemont Manor, member of B.P.O. Elks of Powell, Wyoming, Kiwanis International, JSEC, member of Glasgow Golf Club and Spearfish Canyon Golf Club.
In summer you could find Jim tending the most beautiful lawn or spending countless hours on the golf course with his brother Hal. A masterful "Finnish" carpenter, Jim's woodworking creations will forever be cherished. Jim was a die-hard NASCAR and Lakers fan. The fall elk hunt in the Bighorns with his brother and countless friends rounded out his love of sports.
His parents preceded him in death, as did his grandparents, Helmi and Felix Kujala, Jennie and Vic Rauma, Matt Kansala, and special friend and cousin, Larry Marshall.
The family wishes to thank the ICU and ICC staff, doctors, and co-workers at Billings Clinic Hospital along with the support from family and friends.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Roberts Methodist Church in Roberts, Mont. Cremation has taken place with the spreading of ashes in the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Roberts Community Foundation or the Roberts Methodist Church.