Jase Owen Norsworthy died peacefully on December 8, 2020, surrounded by his children, just two months shy of his 95th birthday. He died from kidney and respiratory failure. Though his most cherished titles were familial, Jase was a visionary, philanthropist and civic and business leader.
Born in Shubuta, Mississippi on February 21, 1926 to a family of meager means, Jase was the third of four children. Immediately after high school graduation in 1944 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving as an airplane mechanic. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with degrees in Business Administration and Law.
He met Margaret Ann Bowen playing bridge in the student union and they began their endearing love story in Tupelo, Mississippi on June 10, 1950. Their devotion to one another was unmatched, and they became role models for marriage partners and parental wisdom. Margaret Ann died in 2018, 68 years and 5 days after they were married.
They moved from Mississippi to Circle, Montana in 1952, where Jase entered the oil and gas business with his father. After moving to Billings in late 1953, Jase and Margaret Ann embedded themselves in the community. Jase immersed himself in his entrepreneurial career, quite literally until the day before his death.
Alongside community leaders of his generation, Jase re-imagined a better Billings for its citizens and devoted years supporting that vision. His decades-long philanthropic and community contributions include: President of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Trustee and Chairman of the Boards at Rocky Mountain College and Deaconess Medical Center (Billings Clinic), and Chairman of Forward Billings. Jase also served on the Boards of Directors at the Northern Rockies Cancer Center and First Bank Billings, was a significant supporter of the Alberta Bair Theatre, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Rocky Mountain College after being elected to its Hall of Fame. He was a long-time member of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen and served in numerous leadership capacities at Billings First Congregational Church.
Jase gave his time and talents to the state of Montana by serving on the Boards of Directors for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve and US WEST Communications and was one of four founding members of Big Sky Airlines.
He will be remembered for his lifelong love of learning, his resolute ethical standards, intellectual brilliance, his generosity, kindness and his respect for others. A true southern gentleman, he was the best of men and represented the best of mankind.
Jase was preceded in death by his parents, his three siblings, and his beloved wife Margaret Ann. He is survived by his children, Lynn Norsworthy of Boston, Sally Roberts (Harold) of Cherry Hills Village, CO, Amy Norsworthy (Jim Moreland) of Billings, and Jase Norsworthy, Jr. (Karen) of Billings. Also surviving are ten grandchildren, Amy, Megan, Katie, Jase, Molly, Emily, Maggie, Owen, Charlie and Addison. Jase had six great-grandchildren, Nassif, Aidan, Fiona, Caroline, Blake and Rowan. His nieces and nephews considered him a second father.
A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for June 10, 2021, which would have been Margaret Ann and Jase’s 71st wedding anniversary. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be made to the Billings Clinic Foundation, 2917 10th Ave. N., Billings, MT 59101, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.