Kind, loving, gentle, patient, humble, precise and devoted are some of the many words given by friends and family to describe Jay Freeman Atwell. On Aug. 25, 2020, Jay passed away suddenly, after two great days of fishing while in Alaska with friends.
Jay was born in his grandfather’s home in Little Sioux, Iowa, on May 15, in 1941, to Doris Marion (Hall) and Jesse Fain Atwell. Jay grew up with brothers Dwayne and Brian on the family farm just north of River Sioux. His father died when Jay was 15. Jay attended a two-room school in River Sioux and later graduated from Little Sioux High School in 1959. While in school and for the following year, he worked on the family farm. Jay then worked for the Iowa Highway Commission on a construction survey crew before entering college in 1962. He graduated from Omaha University in 1966 with honors as Top Male Student in Accounting.
In 1963, he married Janice Lou Krummen and had three children whom he adored: Shane, Trevor and Janna. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1968 and worked for Haskins and Sells Accounting. Having seen Montana as a boy, Jay wanted to return and moved his family to Billings in 1969 to work for Rousch, Good, Nevin, and Murray. He raised his family there and taught all his children to hunt. Jay established two partnerships and then his own firm, Atwell and Associates. Jay and Jan divorced in 1990.
Jay married Katie Link and was a devoted husband for 20 years. He loved and doted on all of his family: son Shane Atwell, wife Vero and daughter Morgane of Carlsbad, California; son Trevor; daughter Janna; son-in-law John (Beth) Link of Red Lodge; daughter-in-law Lisa (Larry) Green and their daughters Jeni (Aaron), Kearla (Chris), and Shelby of Billings; and daughter-in-law Amy (Tyler) Winter and their sons, Kyle (Audrey) and Kevin (Briana) of Wisconsin; dear friend Stephanie (Paul) Morup of Billings, who called Jay “dad”; and special nieces and nephews, Rochelle, Aaron, Brent and Shaylene.
Jay loved Montana and was an outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, hunting, sport shooting and golf. He was a determined reader and liked biographic and historical nonfiction. As a devout Christian, he appreciated conversations regarding faith, love of country and conservative values. Jay and Katie traveled extensively with friends and family highlighted by an African safari, Mediterranean cruises, Asian and Scandinavian countries and warm winters in southern California. They also made many trips to Wisconsin and California to see grandchildren’s sporting events and share family holiday gatherings and celebrations.
Jay was predeceased by son Trevor Atwell; daughter Janna Atwell; and daughter-in-law Shelly Hjelvik Link.
At the end of a day on the golf course or helping a neighbor, it was time for him to have a scotch and reflect … on family, friends and life … bless you, Jay, for all you gave.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. The Funeral Mass will be 12 noon Wednesday, Sept. 2, at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, 215 N. 31st St. A livestream of Jay’s funeral mass may be viewed at stpatrickcocathedral.org/livestream. You do not need at Facebook account to view the stream. A reception will follow at Yellowstone Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jay’s honor may be made to Beartooth Industries (for the disabled, in memory of Trevor Atwell) PO Box 925, Red Lodge, MT 59068; or St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, 215 N. 31st St., Billings, MT 59101.