Jay Freeman Atwell

May 15, 1941


August 25, 2020

Jay Freeman Atwell

May 15, 1941


August 25, 2020

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.

Watch the livestream

Services will be live streamed Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 12:00 noon

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10 thoughts on “Jay Freeman Atwell”

  1. Katie, my dear friend. My heart is heavy for you with the passing of Jay. You gave him so much joy during the last segment of his life and what a gift! He was a beloved friend. My prayers, thoughts and love are with you both. Lottie Blades

  2. Katie. my deepest sympathy. You two were proof that love heals all wounds.
    My prayers are with you and your family at this time.

  3. Marni Edmiston (Tooley)

    Katie, Shane, family – my heart is with you as you honor and mourn Jay. He was such a good person. I loved getting to know him, having a chance to visit with him when we’d see each other around town – and telling him how much I enjoyed being his friend. He is beloved by so many people…a testament to his lifelong kindness. My love to you all.

  4. Nancy Baker Grandgenett

    My dad and Jay’s dad were in the same grade at Little Sioux school in 1912. I rode the same school bus as Dwayne Atwell to Blencoe school when I was in 2nd and 3rd grades. I knew Jay when he came to Little Sioux high school. His mom put on a graduation party for our class, at a time when no one had ever heard of graduation parties. My sincere sympathy to those he left behind.

  5. I worked seasonally for Summers McNea for several years and I always looked forward to seeing Jay! He was always so kind and friendly and he made the time so enjoyable. I still have some of his jokes on my computer!!! I liked and respected him immensely. I will miss him.

  6. My heart goes out to the family. I have a vivid memory of going to Jay’s house when his father died, and jay was 15. He was in same school at Little sioux, but our paths did not cross very often. I was in basketball, baseball, band,i dont remember Jay in those events. I am glad he had a long and fulfilling life, peace to all the family. Al Caldwell, Little Sioux High school, 1960

  7. Katie, My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. My Dad, Grant Raitt, thought highly of Jay. We know you enjoyed the Red Lodge retreat Dad and my brother, Gary, built. Sincere sympathies. Melina Raitt Hawkins

  8. Carol and Sean Garvey

    Our hearts are with you Katie and all the family. Our most sincere sympathies and blessings and peace to all of you.

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