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James Townsend

August 31, 1925 ~ January 19, 2019

Service: February 02, 2019 1:00 P.M.
   Location: Grand Avenue Christian Church

James (Jim) Lee Townsend, a true Montana native, passed away at the age of 93 on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at his home in Bozeman, Montana.

Jim was born August 31, 1925, at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, the son of Olga Hawks and William Lee Townsend. He graduated from Belgrade High School in 1943 and helped to run the family farm in Belgrade.

Jim worked as a mechanic for most of his life, first for the Ford Tractor Company in Bozeman from 1948 to 1962, and then for the Montana Highway Department from 1962 to his retirement in April of 1988. Before his retirement from MDT he had switched from mechanic to building and equipment maintenance. Jim was also a skilled carpenter and built four homes for his family as well as houses for speculation and rentals.

He enjoyed outdoor activities his entire life including hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and camping. He enjoyed trips with the Senior Center, trips in his motorhome to the Southwestern United States, local camping trips with the Good Sam’s group and church friends. Jim looked forward to holiday gatherings with family and friends, weekly coffee gatherings with friends he made throughout his life, and church gatherings near and far.

Jim first entered the Grand Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Bozeman in the arms of his parents when he was two weeks old and was, from that point on, a true lifelong member of the same church. Throughout his life he served as a deacon, elder, and trustee emeritus, and could also be found making the coffee and helping during many a church function. He loved his church, the church family, and was a true and faithful servant of the Lord.

He was married to Bonnie Jean Best Townsend on June 22, 1947, at the Grand Avenue Christian Church, and they made their home in Bozeman. Jim and Bonnie enjoyed many good times camping, fishing, and huckleberry picking with their friends the Freeman family as their boys, Bill and David, grew up. The family was involved with their community, church, and Boy Scout activities. There were many fun snowmobiling trips, particularly in the Yellowstone and Cooke City areas. After son Bill and wife Barbara moved to Alaska, they frequently visited and enjoyed halibut fishing, glacier hiking, canoeing, and spending time with the grandkids. Their time spent with David, Deb, and grandson Adam in South Dakota and Idaho also gave them many opportunities for the outdoor life they loved. After 55 years of marriage, Bonnie passed away on November 27, 2002.

On January 1, 2006, Jim married Charlene Niebel Townsend in Belgrade and they made their home in Bozeman. These last 13 years were filled with travels close to home, throughout the United States, and as far away as Australia and New Zealand. In the summer you could find them fishing on Canyon Ferry, camping at various spots throughout Montana, and enjoying family gatherings. Many winters they spent their time in Arizona soaking in the sunshine with family and friends.

Jim is survived by his wife, Charlene; two sons, William Townsend and his wife Barbara in Helena and Fairbanks, Alaska; David Townsend and his wife Debora in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; his brothers, Donald Townsend in Bozeman, and Herb Townsend and his wife Connie in White Sulphur Springs; grandchildren, Alyssa Townsend, Ben Townsend and his wife Hina, and Adam Townsend; great-grandchildren, Alexander and Elizabeth Hudders, and Viann Pant Townsend; many nieces and nephews; Charlene’s son, Kim Callantine and his wife Leanne in Missoula; and daughter, Kendra Callantine in Bozeman and her sons Adam and Aidan White.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at his church home, Grand Avenue Christian Church, on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 1:00 P.M. with a reception and graveside service to follow.

Should friends desire in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grand Avenue Christian Church or to a charity of your choice.

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