James Mitchell Long age 81 of Kalispell Montana died March 23, 2019 at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
He was born November 5, 1937 in Red Lodge Montana, the eldest son of Charley and Frances O’Shea Long.
His early years were spent on ranches in the Luther-Roscoe-Fishtail area of Carbon County where he learned the finer arts and sciences of fishing, hunting, and horseback riding, including – at one point – learning responsibility by guiding - quite alone - hunters as a sophomore in high school.
When he was 15, the family moved to Big Timber, Montana where he attended and graduated from Sweet Grass County High School in 1955.
After high school, he found employment with Citizen’s Bank and Trust Company where he worked for 23 years.
Among other exploits in his post-high school years, he tried his hand as a rodeo cowboy, with some degree of success. However, his banker’s mentality soon convinced him that rodeo payouts and x-ray bills don’t usually add up to a positive balance sheet.
In 1961 he married Linda Hammersmark in Big Timber Their only child, Pamela Ann Long, was born in 1962.
Jim believed in – and lived – the unwritten social contract wherein one contributes positively to one’s community, the results being a better commonality for all. He was deeply involved in the Big Timber community, serving in the Volunteer Fire Department, the Jaycees, the Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s posse and other organizations.
In 1978, Jim, Linda and Pam moved to Hysham Montana where he became an owner of the First National Bank. They left Hysham in 1987 to move to Kalispell Montana where they owned and operated Long’s Conoco west of Kalispell.
Jim lost his beloved Linda in 1999 after lovingly caring for her throughout her long, tragic illness.
After selling the store, Jim lived a quiet life of retirement, enjoying his granddaughter.
Throughout his life he carried on the family tradition of positive extroversion. He had never met a stranger. Whether bowling, golfing, running a string of pack animals, making a bank loan on a handshake (as it was done back in the day), racing snowmobiles or simply spending time with friends, Jim always found the way to a laugh, always lived with alacrity, always tried to find the fun in life. He would want that to be his legacy.
He faced his own protracted ailments with a philosophy of acceptance and optimism which added years to his life and a bit of life to his years.
He was proceeded in death by his mother, his father and his wife Linda.
He is survived by brothers Jerry Long of Big Timber (sister-in-law Betty) and Mike Long of Bozeman (brother-in-law Rich Parker), daughter Pam Long of Kalispell and granddaughter Delani Long of Kalispell. Also numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Cremation has taken place. The remains will be buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Big Timber Montana, including a graveside service on Saturday June 8, 2019 at 10:00 AM.
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