James W. Bateman passed away peacefully at RiverStone Hospice House at 5:30 p.m., on Nov. 18, 2017, at the age of 97. Jim was born on July 19, 1920, in Schenectady, NY, the son of Wilbert and Ada (Linsenberg) Bateman.
On Oct. 2, 1943, the “tall drink of water” married his sweetheart Joan McClelland in Elizabeth, NJ. This marriage spanned 71 years and included the adoption of their two children in Montana. Jim attended the University of Pittsburg (PIT), receiving his BS in chemical engineering and later his master’s in industrial management at MIT through the Sloan Program.
He tried to enlist in the Navy, but at 6’6”, he was too tall for the submarines. Esso Oil Company secured a deferment for him anyway, because he was needed stateside to make sure each refinery produced just the right amount of fuel that the military would use.
His career started with Humble Oil, which brought him to Billings in 1946. This is how Jim and Joan discovered the West! They bought a cabin in Silver Gate, which they cherished for 36 years. He and Joan donated four acres known as “The Willows” as moose habitat on the Soda Butte in Silver Gate. Later in his career, Jim began working for Conoco Oil Company. This took them to various places in the United States and around the world where Jim was the World Director of Manufacturing and Refining. He was also the head of the team that designed the first Liquid Natural Gas Project, which included a liquefying plant in Tunisia and designed special refrigerated tankers to carry the LNG to London for revaporization. This was the beginning of a new industry. He was a very intelligent man and wonderful leader.
Jim and Joan retired to Florida, Arkansas, and finally to Billings in the mid-90’s, where they lived the remainder of their years. Jim was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Golden K Kiwanis, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Community Chest, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Christian Ministry in the National Parks of America, KiwanaChords, and as a Key Club Advisor. He received many awards and recognition over the years for his work in the Oil and Gas Industry. Dad was the oldest volunteer at Billings Clinic, in the chart room.
Jim was a pleasant chap, always with a smile on his face. He will be missed by his daughter Pamela Bateman Gore of Billings; son Robert Bateman of Las Vegas; three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, all of Florida.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Joan in 2015.
Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at First Presbyterian Church (13th and Poly Drive).
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church or the Golden K Kiwanis Club.