On October 29, 2020, after a short battle with kidney failure, John David Lee left this earth and began the journey to meet his Heavenly Father.
John was a cowboy, rancher, farmer, private pilot, commercial fisherman, and 18-wheeler OTR owner/operator for 52 years. He drove over 4 million accident free miles, so along with Hank Snow "he'd been everywhere" in the U.S. and Canada.
Born in Denver, Colorado on July 8, 1939 to Aubrey M. and Margaret (Guffy) Lee, the family later moved to Thermopolis, Wyoming and at age 7 he and his family moved to Helena.
At age 8 or 9 he began a life-long love affair with tractors and haying when he began working for neighbors in their hay field and chicken farm. He also raised a small herd of sheep to supplement the family income.
John spent summer days fishing, fall days hunting, and winter days ice skating at the local rink.
He attended Bryant School and Helena High. Bored with school at 17, he joined the Navy after researching which service had the best food! He reached the rank of QM2 (Wheels) and was helmsman for the 1st helicopter ship CVHA-1 Thetis Bay. He was amazed a "teenager from Montana, far from the ocean, was guiding a ship". After discharge he returned to Helena to haul hay and ranch.
John had a vast knowledge of tractors and how they worked; ranging from 1920 models to modern ones. He enjoyed sharing this knowledge with anyone who would listen!
John and Sandy were married in June 1994, under a pine tree in the front yard in Evaro. There, they raised sheep and cattle while John continued trucking.
John always wanted a small herd of goats and a few chickens. When he retired from trucking in 2012, he built a great chicken house and goat barn with a milking room. He sold eggs from free range chickens and supplied his nieces and nephews with goat milk to fatten their award winning pigs.
He enjoyed haying, plowing, planting and harvesting both hay and grain. He planted wheat this spring and although he was too ill to combine, his friends Herb Ducharme and David Overbaugh got the crop in, 6 1/2 ton from 4 acres.
Every morning in retirement he would arise at 4:00 AM, make coffee and read his Bible.
John was a member of American Legion Post 113 in Arlee, where he was the Service Officer, Evaro Community Center, and Western Montana Wool Growers.
He is survived by his wife Sandy, brother Aubrey, 5 brothers-in-law, 5 sisters-in-law, 20 nieces and nephews, 18 great nieces and nephews, many good friends, 5 children, and numerous grandchildren.
He is also survived by Fanny Steele, his faithful Aussie Shepherd, who went everywhere with him. As one neighbor said "If you see John, you see Fanny".
John worked hard his whole life and said if you didn't work you shouldn't eat. He loved God, the USA, and the flag. He was so proud that he was a Veteran who had served his country.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Viewing on November 3rd at 5-7 PM at Garden City Funeral Home. Graveside services on November 4th at 1:00 PM at Missoula City Cemetery. Military honors will be presented by American Legion Arlee Post 113. If attending, please remember to wear a mask and social distance.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the summer.
Memorials may be made to the Evaro Community Center; 19380 Sidesaddle Trail; Missoula, MT 59808
Sandy wishes to thank her family, especially Bob Matoon and Patrick Williams, as well as friends Herb Ducharme and the David Overbaugh family for all their support and help.
Live streaming available at www.gardencityfh.com