Cover photo for John "Jack" David Thompson's Obituary
John "Jack" David Thompson Profile Photo
1931 John 2022

John "Jack" David Thompson

June 24, 1931 — June 24, 2022

There is a reason Montanans call our home Big Sky Country. The beauty and grandeur leave few words worthy of adequate description. And so it is with John D. (Jack) Thompson, a third generation Montanan (born to Art and Gertrude Thompson), a great and beloved man from the tiny hamlet of Gold Creek, Montana. John D. (Jack) Thompson was born on June 24, 1931 and died June 24, 2022. He was exactly 91 years old. Jack died at home in Hospice care here in Missoula surrounded by his loving daughters and the dogs. He made it to his last birthday on his own terms with an occasional “Jackism” when asked too many questions. His wit couldn’t always be repeated because it was short, colorful, and unapologetically blunt, leaving many wondering if he’d hurled a compliment or an insult with either being fitting.

We talk a lot today about living an authentic life. Jack lived authenticity. He didn’t talk about it or go looking for it. He just did it. Jack started working on the CD Dutton ranch in Gold Creek when he was 12 years old and began his career as a cowboy. He was born to ride a horse, short in stature, muscular and strong, he could break the toughest horse. No fear. No glory. Be in the moment, work harder and longer than anyone else and you’d have a chance to ride next to Jack. Oldest daughter Barb has a memory of Jack losing his hat while running his horse in the field; he circled back and picked up his hat without getting off the horse.

Jack graduated from Powell County High School in 1949. On October 7, 1950, 19-year-old Jack married the love of his life, 17-year-old Julie Hollowell from Drummond. They were married for 68 years before Julie passed away in 2018. Jack and Julie raised five children always working harder and longer to better their life and give their children a good home. They moved from Drummond to Missoula in 1973 supporting the desire to begin Julie’s career as an elementary school teacher at MCPS. When Jack wasn’t working, he was remodeling the house, chopping wood for his parents, and lending a hand for branding, hauling, digging, all while putting in a big annual garden and helping Julie with her beautiful flowers. Jack’s greatest legacy was loving and providing for his family.

Jack was a proud lifetime member of the Local 400 Union. He worked as a miner at Master Mine in the early days. However, his true passion was operating heavy equipment. He helped build many Montana and Idaho highways though the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s working for Washington Corp. as well as Janney Construction and Western Excavating. Jack’s boss and friend, Ted Boyd, said that “Jack was a treasure.” He noted that Jack’s expertise on heavy equipment could be summed up by “no wasted moves…Jack could complete a job in one hour that would take others four hours.”

His knowledge of equipment and love of working made him a highly regarded operator. He was particularly skilled at operating a Scraper but could jump on any other piece of equipment and make it hum…Backhoes, Excavators, Road Graders, Loaders, and Skid steers. Jack was considered a diplomat when encountering glitches on the job, negotiating any misunderstanding with calmness and respect for all involved, along with a chuckle or two. His sense of humor was legendary and funny as hell, always ahead of the conversation. He was mentally alert and sharp to his last days.

Jack retired in 1993 remaining very active through life with outdoor work, house maintenance and spending time with his Julie. He made lawn mowing an art and was happiest outside on his mower soaking up the sun with a cold beer next to him. Some of Jack’s fondest memories were the road trips that he and Julie took to Jackpot, Nevada to do a little gambling.

Jack was preceded in death by his beloved wife Julie (August 2018) only son John Thompson (September 2006, Palm Springs, CA) and older brother Art Thompson (October 2001, Laurel, MT). He leaves behind four daughters: Barbara Millwood (Scott Kelsh), Linden, TN; Mary Thompson, Missoula, MT; Patty Kayoshi, CA (Kai) Connie Thompson, Missoula, MT; granddaughters Jennette Zarko Lake Oswego, OR (Tim Howard, Patrick and Tori); Leah Schlag Pleasanton, CA (Peter, Denver, Libby; Kenzi Stockton, CA (Brandon Nunes, Raelynn, Faith); sister Ann Marie Larson, Missoula MT; brothers Tom Thompson, Newcastle WA; Jim Thompson (Megan) Deer Lodge, MT. Special love to Jack’s twenty nieces and nephews, and thanks to the boys for being good natured when Jack won every arm wrestling challenge at each family gathering.

We will miss you Jack, loving father, husband, brother, son and friend to all.

No services will be held.
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