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Sally Van Delinder
May 17, 1962 ~
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Richard 'Dick' Walker
April 9, 1927 ~
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March 31, 1940 ~
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James L. Goehrung

March 24, 1953 ~ January 19, 2019

Service: June 21, 2019 1:00 PM
   Location: Pilgrim Congregational Church

An artist, civil servant and family man passed away on January 19, 2019.  James Leroy Goehrung was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1953 to Gene and JoAnn (Gragg) Goehrung.  Even before high school he was attending concerts of artists such as Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and many more. He missed the Beatles because he was too young to drive. He loved a wide variety of music and would often quiz our young sons about who the musician was on the CD he was playing as he worked in his home studio, creating fine jewelry. In H.S. he worked at Boy Scout camp teaching swimming. There he was introduced to Native American jewelry. He took jewelry classes in H.S. and at a community college and became a bench jeweler in KC in 1972.

James followed a friend to Missoula to attend U of M in an environmental program called Round River with visiting professors Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.  Snyder taught a few students how to tie a Hopi Butterfly Knot in their hair.  James had very long hair at the time, which he kept in a shoebox after he cut it.  Part of the program was camping. When a member got lost, James borrowed a horse and rode to locate her.  Our hero. Also, he wrote for the Borrowed Times, an underground newspaper in Missoula with a democratic socialist lean.  In the spring of 1973 James traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation to cover the Wounded Knee protest standoff. He snuck across the blockade to better report on it.  He was a quiet rebel and a most conservative liberal.

Next he moved to Billings to get his bachelors degree in Art Ed., where he worked for Montague’s Jewelry store. In 1979 James moved to Bozeman, bought a house and dug out a basement. He attended MSU earning his Masters Degree in Metals and Jewelry studying with Professor Rich Helzer. At that time he created his jewelry studio in the basement and began custom jewelry design and restoration. His work has been represented in galleries throughout Montana and the Northwest as well as in Kansas City, Houston and Philadelphia. His work has been in juried exhibits in 6 states. 

James met Karen Grigry and they married in 1983 outside at Ross Peak. During the next three years, they were delighted to welcome their sons, Chris and Ryan, born two years apart. James stood at the ready and gave each baby his first bath, as the midwife handed them to their dad. They were able to share childcare as they both attended MSU.  James continued to expand their home with his artistic carpentry. 

He facilitated the Community Food Co-op board meetings for many years. He became Scout Master to local Pack 676, encouraging his sons and others to complete their Eagle Scout journeys, as he done many years before.

James also earned a Masters in Public Administration and worked with the M.S.U. Local Government Center.  He moved through his career at the City of Bozeman wearing many hats. He began as a City Commissioner. Then he was hired as Grant Writer, became head of Parks and Recreation Department, Cemetery, Forestry and finally Facility Coordinator. He led the city’s early recycling efforts. He was proud of overseeing the construction of the downtown Parking Garage, the Bozeman Public Library (a Leeds building), Fire Station 3 and the 911 Center as well as other projects. Whatever job James was asked to do, he did with skill, intelligence and a strong work ethic. 

James also kept a wedding promise, albeit 12 years later, to learn to dance. James and Karen took Ballroom Dancing for years and enjoyed dressing up and dancing with their many friends in the Bozeman dance community. The family enjoyed skiing and camping and travels to Mexico and Canada. James also enjoyed fishing, hiking and riding his motorcycle and barbequing Kansas City style ribs. He loved the Butte Folk Festival and attended it each year. When the boys left home, Karen and James began to travel. They visited Italy, Peru, The Philippines, Costa Rica, Taiwan, France and Croatia. The last two were painting classes abroad.

In 2014 James was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia, which was to slowly take his memory. We are grateful for the friends and family who contributed photos and anecdotes of James for a book we made for him.  Still he was able to take joy in spending time with family and close friends. He loved swimming in the warm salt water of the Eagle Mount pool and did so twice a week. He also joyfully participated in their horsebackriding program.  He stayed physically active until January 4th when he was diagnosed with systemic terminal cancer. Our family is very grateful to Eagle Mount and to wonderful caretakers and friends. He was able to stay home and even to ski a week before he was diagnosed with cancer. Hospice of Bozeman Health was kind and helpful. As were the dear friends who were amazing as they took turns staying with us and bringing us food the last 2 weeks of his life. We were very warmly held. He was a loving partner, dad and loyal friend.  James’ gentle smile and fine artistry live on for us. We miss him.

James is survived by his wife Karen, his sons Chris and Ryan, grandchildren Evan, Callie, and Charleigh, and by his brother John (Julie), and sister-in-law Anne Mazel (Dennis), as well as by his nieces and nephew and grandnieces.

In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Bozeman Public Library at 626 E Main Street, 59715, to Eagle Mount swimming and equestrian programs at 6901 Goldenstein Ln, 59715, or to a social justice charity of your choice.

A green burial was held in January. We will have a memorial service on Friday, June 21st at Pilgrim Congregational church in Bozeman at 1:00. Please join us in celebrating his life. Thank you all for being part of our lives together.

 

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"Thank you for the wonderful care you took of my mother, father, and the whole family throughout her funeral process.  The service was beautiful, as was the video.  Thank you for allowing us to hold the reception there.  It was very comfortable and warm.  We so appreciate your caring, concern, and respect."

 
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