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 passed away on Nov. 21, 2013, in Billings, at the age of 86, from cancer.
Most of Bill’s 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, Bill 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, Bill 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 Bill’s 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.
Bill’s 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.
Bill is survived by his wife of 60 years, Donna Jean; and their daughters, Susan Jean Court of Helena and Debra Kay Court of Billings. Also surviving him is 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. Bill was very appreciative of the many visits, support, cards and phone calls from friends and family during the past few months of his life.
Cremation has taken place. 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.