William J. "Bill" Court was born on July 5, 1927, to parents Nick and Olga Court, on the family farm south of Hinsdale, Mont. He died from cancer on, Nov. 21, 2013, in Billings, at the age of 86.
Cremation has taken place. A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Inurnment of ashes will be at a later date in the Hinsdale Hillview Cemetery.
Most of his life was lived in the Hinsdale area. After graduation from Hinsdale High School in 1944, he lived in Great Falls for part of 1944 and 1945 while employed as a civilian aircraft mechanic at the East Base (now Malmstrom Air Force Base).
Returning home to Hinsdale, he became involved in production agriculture, which became his primary profession as a steward of the soil. He had also studied accounting through LaSalle University, but determined that he really wanted to do something more soul satisfying with his life by tilling the soil, growing crops and raising livestock.
On Aug. 20, 1953, he and Donna Jean Jensen were married in Glasgow. Together, they operated the farm and ranch business continuously until 1996, when they sold their property and moved to Billings to be closer to family. Bill and Donna are the parents of two daughters born to them: Susan Jean and Debra Kay.
Having experienced his first airplane flight at the age of 5, aviation coursed through his veins and heart like blood. He became a pilot and, over the years, owned several aircraft. Many people have flown with him and he enjoyed promoting aviation while showing them "their earth" from a vantage point in the sky while soaring with the eagles.
His many varied interests in life led to many years of service on community, regional and national boards and commissions. He was an active member of St. Albert's Catholic Church in Hinsdale, the Knights of Columbus and an Elks member in Glasgow. He was also a member of several farm organizations and aviation groups.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Donna Jean; and two daughters, Susan Jean Court of Helena and Debra Kay Court of Billings; one sister, Betty Jane Sullivan of Roeland Park, Kan.; and a number of nieces, nephews and cousins.
It is Bill's hope that he fulfilled his purpose on earth honorably and satisfactorily. He was very appreciative of the many visits, support, cards and phone calls from friends and family during the past few months of his life.
Remembrances to the family may be made online at www.mitchelottisawyers.com.
Michelotti-Sawyers will be assisting with arrangements.