James "Jim" Edward McCleery
On the morning of Wednesday, June 8, 2016, James “Jim” Edward McCleery, 90, passed away peacefully of natural causes at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Mont.
He was born in Glasgow, Mont., in Valley County, on June 10, 1925. He was the fourth child and first son of Oral and Myrtle McCleery.
He learned his hard-work ethic as a young boy and teenager while helping on the family farm. He liked sharing stories of milking the cows, mending fences and bailing hay in all kinds of weather. He began his military service at the age of 17 when he joined the Navy Sea-bees. He proudly served in World War II, visiting many countries including Scotland, France, Japan and others.
Upon returning from his military service, he married Dorothy DeLay. They were blessed with a daughter, Gail, in Glasgow. He and Dorothy divorced and remained close friends. In fact, one afternoon while out together, Dorothy pointed to Myrtle Sergent and said, “That’s the girl for you.” He and Myrt began dating and married Sept. 28, 1957. He was once again blessed with two additional daughters, Diane and Kathy. When asked if he wished he had a son, he would always reply with how lucky he was to be surrounded by all his “blonde girls.”
He had a long and fulfilling career with the Federal Government in many capacities. He worked at the airbase in Glasgow and the airbase in Great Falls and then returned to Fort Peck where he worked as the town policeman, keeping his teenage daughter and her friends in check. In 1976 the family relocated to Canyon Ferry, Mont., where he worked at the Canyon Ferry Dam until retirement in 1985. During that time, he made many wonderful friends, remaining close throughout his retirement years.
He enjoyed panning for gold, hunting, hiking and fast-draw shooting. In his retirement years, he and Myrt traveled to Alaska and the Panama Canal taking cruises with friends. They also traveled often to Arizona, Nevada and New York to visit Kathy and Diane. As well as traveling home to Glasgow as often as possible to visit with Gail, their friends and other relatives.
Survivors include his wife, Myrt McCleery; three daughters, Gail Guenther and her husband, Glenn, Diane Althans and her husband, Bill, and Kathy Janus and her husband, Paul; grandchildren, Cara Llyod and her husband, Larry, Evan Guenther and his wife, Stacie, BJ Althans and Carl Althans and his wife, Kate; four great-grandchildren, Avery Althans, Reegan Althans, Brinley Althans and Declan Althans.
A celebration of his life was held at 11 a.m. Friday, June 10, at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Avenue, Helena, followed by a reception in the social hall of the funeral home. Burial with Military Honors followed the reception at Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Fort Harrison.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Rocky Mountain Care Center, 30 South Rodney Street, Helena.
Please visit http://www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family condolences or to share a memory of Jim.