John Joseph Michelotti


John Joseph Michelotti


John Joseph Michelotti, 64, of Billings, passed away Monday afternoon, Nov. 18, 2019, surrounded by his family.

John was born on Feb. 4, 1955, in Billings. He attended military high school at Marmion Academy outside of Chicago. Following his graduation from high school, he attended the University of San Diego and obtained his Mortuary Science degree in Los Angeles. In 1976, John returned to Billings to continue the legacy of the funeral home started by his father and John Sawyers.

In 1998, John served as President of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. He played a vital role in opening the door for funeral directors of all races, nationalities and countries. Later that year, he opened Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park. A statue and kidney-shaped pond were built to commemorate his father, who passed away from kidney disease shortly after opening.

From Kamchatka, Russia, to Nunavut, Canada, John immersed himself in local cultures and religions while pursuing his true passion of hunting. His motto was: “Don’t surround yourself with yourself.” John cherished time spent with family and friends at his cabin just outside of Glacier National Park. He enjoyed photography, golf, playing pool, classic rock and cheering on the Boston Bruins. And he was always down for a good banter!

John was preceded in death by his father, Bob. He is survived by his mother, Helen; brother, Jock (Connie); children, Ali and Seve, and Alida and Ceci; the love of his life, Alison; and his dog, Lucca.

The vigil will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Funeral mass will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at St. Pius X Church, 717 18th St. West, followed by a burial at Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park.

Condolences may be made at

Leave a Memory or Condolence

24 thoughts on “John Joseph Michelotti”

  1. John and I were in the same class at the California College of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles. Boy did we have fun. We would run into each other over the years at different NSM functions. I’m glad I had the opportunity to know John. May he Rest In Peace. Hank Adair

  2. Our condolences to Alison and all John’s family. We remember fondly meeting up with John and Alison at various NSM functions and conventions. Both being in the old group 8 our paths crossed quite often. He was always so open, friendly. positive and a real visionary. We have lost a great friend and leader. You are in our thoughts and prayers Bill and Eleanor Edwards Saskatoon Funeral Home.

  3. My deepest sympathies to johns family, I met John through my dad who was also in the funeral business in Billings John was always kind and caring man and helped countless families in and around the area in their time of need he will be missed. Rest In Peace In to the next explorations say hello to Duke for me.

  4. From my earliest days as a consultant to Selected, I have seen in John a bulwark of faith under pressure. From disease through transplant, recovery, and illness again, he has inspired us all. Thank you Alison and family for sharing John with all of us.

  5. Back in 1976, John and I served our apprenticeship at Michelotti-Sawyers. I was a couple of years older than he was and we established a good friendship. I took him on his first Elk hunt over by Dillon and we put John on an easy trail by a road. The stars were lined up for him that day because a herd of about 50 cows and a bull came right in front of him. I was about 400 yards away and I heard a couple of shots. I laid down in the grass and the cows came running over the hills, but no bull. Here John shot a nice 5 point about 15 yards from a road,. He had Helen’s dad’s gun, which he shot for the first time. He had it mounted and wanted to put it at his house, but after a short visit with his wife, it moved to the coffee lounge. To his family, my sympathy and my prayers are with you as he has succumbed to the same disease as his father and his uncle. Rest in peace, John!

  6. Shea Roth-Nelson (Cole)

    John was such a kind and caring man. He and my parents go way back and their friendship was always special. I will always be so thankful for all he did for my family and for me after my son, Callan, passed away from PKD. He was so generous and I’ll never forget the talk we had at my moms. He answered so many hard questions for me about death and dying and it brought me a lot of peace. My heart goes out to you all. I’m so sorry. know your Dad loved you so incredibly much and was so proud of you! John, may you have the peace you deserve. Sending you my love!

  7. Saddened to learn of John’s passing. John and I met through his service at the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. He was a dedicated professional who always had a kind word and a smile for everyone he met. Deepest sympathies to John’s family; you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Alie and Seve We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers!! May God Bless you with peace in your heart!!

  9. John Michelotti was a great, kind and peaceful man. I have known him for many years as I sang at many funerals around town and served as a cantor at St. Pius X and St. Bernard’s. I love his motto: “Don’t surround yourself with yourself.” What a far better world this would be if everyone lived that way! John certainly seemed to live that way! My sympathy to his family for losing him so early in this life. Fortunately, we will see him again!! God’s blessings to you! Brad Brown

  10. Seve and Ali,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May you find solace in each and every treasured moment you had with your Father as he will live in your hearts forever!
    All our love,
    Joe and Kim Caffery and Family

  11. Niles Nelson - Libby, MT

    I arrived in Los Angeles in late December of 1974 to enroll at The California College of Mortuary Science…..on January 2, 1975 I began my first day of class thinking I was the only person from Montana when shortly thereafter discovered that John was there too. It was good to see someone from home there! My wife and I began our friendship with John then and, although we did not see him often after graduation, still enjoyed our times when we did get to see each other. I later served with John on the State of Montana Board of Funeral Service and always appreciated John’s intelligence and reasoning as we dealt with matters both small to the very complicated which he handled with a very high degree of competence, especially as board chair. He also served in leadership in NSM and also on the International Board of Funeral Service Education and Examining Boards …..his contributions to our profession were many and far-reaching. Thank you John for your friendship and your outstanding service to all of us. Rest in peace.

  12. Our deepest condolences to John’s family and friends from all of us at the Montana Funeral Directors Association. May God bless you.

  13. Suzanne & Jon Graeve

    We met the Michelotti’s when we first moved here 20 years ago from Athens, Georgia. Our daughters became friends and are still friends. I know Raquel has many fond memories of time spent with the Michelotti’s! Thankfully I got to spend time with John last week, he was at peace and was surrounded by family and friends. During John’s lengthy illnesses he and his family supported one another and I really admired that about them. John was a source of strength through it all. Rest In Peace dear friend. Our condolences to his whole family. Big hugs to Ali, Seve and Alison. Much love, Jon & Suzanne Graeve
    Raquel & Julio Harp

  14. The Michelotti family had been friends with my mom and dad (Chuck and Mary Norick). They were a comfort to talk with when my sister, mom, and dad passed. I’m not sure how my folks knew Bob and John but we were always welcomed by both with friendship and warm thoughts. God bless them both.

  15. John and I were roommates at USD and always enjoyed our time together. He was a blast to hang out with. I love John’s favorite saying to the YES reference of “Don’t Surround Yourself With Yourself”. You’ll be missed brother.

  16. Jonathan Stevenson

    Deepest sympathy to all of John’s family. I took John hunting south of Miles City, on my brother-in-laws ranch many years ago, He got his buck and always mentioned it whenever we saw each other. Great Guy always enjoyed his visits.

  17. I met John at the Boys and Girls club he was a great supporter and a great guy we would visit when ever I paid respects at the mortuary for others that had gone on. My prayers are with the family.

  18. Barbara Kazmierczak

    Since I met John with my late husband Jack in 1999, I have had nothing less than admiration for a man who has fought his way through the trials and tribulations of life. John and Jack served “The Conference” together and I have many fond memories of antics of 3 John’s … My thoughts are with you as you celebrate his life and treasure his memories.

  19. I met John in the early 80s golfing at Pryor Creek we forged a long-standing friendship he was always there for me and my family what a great sense of humor and caring friend. One of his wishes Was in my final Destiination he would take care of me with one stipulation that he put a clown nose on me,that was left us way too soon and I will never forget all our good times Sandi and myself condolences go out to the family

  20. Deepest condolences and sympathies to the Michelotti family upon hearing of the passing of John. I did not know John, but from the professional and personal relationship I’ve developed with his son Seve, its clear to see what a great man he was. Loved, respected, and raised a great family. No more perfect a legacy any of us can ask for than that.

    All the best and prayers for John and your family.

  21. I have fond memories of talking with John at Selected meetings. We’ve lost a very good man. Prayers for Alison and your entire family.

  22. I recall many an adventure or should I say, misadventure, involving John! One that comes to mind…When planning a Surprise 40th birthday party for my husband Dennis, I was counting on John to get him to the house at the appointed time for the party, and of course they’d been out hunting, ( for bear?,elk? can’t remember) and running late. I was beside myself worrying if Dennis would make his own party, and it was touch and go for a while; Dennis was NOT interested in joining John for ‘dinner’, just wanted to go home, but John came through, dragging an unshaven Dennis through the door!
    Dennis will never forget the Kamchatka, Russia brown bear hunt with John and eleven year old Seve, a truly memorable and remarkable experience. John was inspirational in facing all his health trials, and we admired his attitude of gratefulness for every day, despite such serious disease. We will miss John, a great friend, but send him with love and blessings into the next journey. Our love to Alison, Ali and Seve and family,
    Karen and Dennis Schreffler

  23. Dear friends Alison, Seve and Ali, my heartfelt sympathy in the loss of John and Dad go out to you. I pray that your good memories of good times will heal your hearts and bring a smile to your face, always! May John rest in peace. Blessing to you, Tenley Slayton

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *