James Ernest Dick was born Jan. 24, 1941, to Ernest Abram and Lydia Cleo Gossen Dick in Glendive County Hospital. He passed away Nov. 27, 2020, in Billings, surrounded by family. Although he was born into the Mennonite religion, he later joined with the 7th Day Adventist.
As a little boy, Jim loved horses and cowboy boots. His dad wore engineer boots with walked-over heels. Every night, his dad would put his boots by the old cook stove. So Jim had his mother get him a pair of cowboy boots too. The right boot was a cheerios breakfast food box, and the left one was corn flakes. Just one trip to the milk barn, and they were shot!
One morning, Jim was late getting up. Although he loved horses, he hated chickens. His dad had already fed the chickens screaming in the yard. Between the house and the barn, Jim got in the middle of them and started kicking the heck of them! The rooster came after Jim, he started to scream and his dad came to the rescue .. kicked that rooster high up in the air, and Jim got in trouble for messin’ with the chickens he was told “Not to do that!” Needless to say, Jim had a lot of adventures on the farm, as well as with friends like Gary, Larry and Willard.
Raised on the family farm in Wolf Point, Jim attended a one-room school from first through eighth grade. After grade school, he attended the Lustre Bible Academy. He graduated in 1959.
Jim had a knack for fixing and building things. He could build things to perfection all by himself.
STARTS A FAMILY:
Jim married Shirley Mae Han on July 11, 1964, in Inverness. Together, they raised three kids: Gail, Bruce and Darlene. They later divorced but remained close friends.
Jim had several occupations. He grew up farming and ranching with his dad and brother on the family farm north of Lustre. Jim continued to farm in the Lustre area until 1963. One of his favorite memories was farming a piece of ground in Wolf Creek in 1963. In 1964, Jim started to farm south of Inverness with his father-in-law. In 1970, Jim moved his family to Billings and started his career as a Heavy Equipment Operator. He could run about any piece of equipment, but spent most of his time running the rock crusher. Jim worked a variety of other jobs over the years, including dump truck owner/operator ranch hand, mechanic and general handyman.
In the spring of the year or anytime, Jim liked to see a pasture full of pretty mares and colts running and playing, as well as baby calves.
Jim loved to plant a summer fallow crop of spring or winter wheat. He also loved to plant a garden of flowers with snapdragons or petunias, or a regular garden of tomatoes and cucumbers. I also remember him planting a blue spruce evergreen by his house in the spring. He loved gardens, and loved to look for wildflowers. The yellow sweet peas and wild bluebells were some of his favorites.
Some of Jim’s other favorite things included a brisk ride on a honky horse, owning or driving a vintage car, reading a good book, whether it was political, drama or history. He loved history and had a great memory of things of the past and was especially sharp with politics.
He loved spending time with family and friends, and all his children, grandchildren and his new great-grandson, as well as two special girls, Jenny, Misty and their families that he considered family.
Jim loved to host when he had one of his home-cooked meals. He also loved to go can shooting with his brother Willard. Those two were best of friends and have shared many a story about their “adventures!” Jim thought the world of Willard as he continued to be a true friend even through the toughest of times. He also enjoyed doin’ the boat floats down the river with friends.
Some of the happiest days of Jim’s life were when his children were born (1965, 1968, 1977). Jim loved to play poker. He was a regular at the Crystal for years. Also, the Poker Parlor. He was a great storyteller and practical joker. Heaven has gained an angel and a comedian.
The family would like to thank RiverStone Hospice and Lavon and MaryAnn for the support and care of Jim.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his brother, Chuck Dick of Hardin; his sister, Elaine Suderman of Hillsboro, Kansas; his daughters, Gail Flemming (Pat) and Darlene Morris (John) and his son, Bruce Dick (Lori) of Billings; 10 grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, two step-great-grandchildren and one great-grandson; as well as two stepdaughters he considered family, Jenny Small (Brandon), and their four children and Misty (Hoke) and their six children.
There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at 2620 54th St. West in Billings.