John (Jack) R. Stevenson passed away on July 23, 2021 age 94.
Jack was born on October 26, 1926 to Arthur Stevenson and Jean Dargavel Stevenson in Great Falls, Montana. Jack was the youngest of seven children in his close-knit family, growing up in Great Falls and doted on by four older sisters, and tried to tag along with his two older brothers. After high school, Jack joined the US Army Air Guard, hoping to learn to fly, though his orders were for the European theater in World War II, and they were no longer training new pilots due to the war’s near ending. He served in Germany during the occupation of Germany, having an opportunity to see some of the war trials and to then see how the animosities there impacted the way the countries were divided post-war.
After his honorable service, Jack used his GI Bill to attend first Montana State, and then the University of Montana in Missoula where he graduated with a degree in accounting and also met Mary Stermitz. They were married in Helena in 1951 and started their lives together in Lincoln, Montana, soon moving to Missoula where they raised their family of five children. Jack had a very successful career in the lumber industry, including being the president of the Intermountain Lumber Company with lumber mills in Missoula, Darby, and Salmon, Idaho. He also made sure he learned to fly.
Mary learned to fly shortly after Jack did, and they shared their love of flying together and with friends for many years. Jack and Mary flew their private airplanes to Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and South America. In retirement for a few years they had summer jobs flying fire patrols for state and federal lands. Jack was an accomplished mountain pilot, flying in and out of Montana’s many mountain and wilderness air strips to fish.
Jack was an avid fisherman and hunter. He fished year-round for most of his life and loved hunting with his many devoted bird dogs. Hunting, fishing, and flying formed the center of many deep and lasting friendships, and one especially close one with his dear friend Jack Roemer. The two Jacks shared much in life and were best friends for over 60 years. He also made many trips with his sons, a son-in-law, and grandsons fishing in Canada and off the Washington coast.
Jack’s greatest love was Mary, with whom he shared 70 years of his happy life. They were true partners in life, loving and supporting each other always. Jack is survived by children Mike (Karen Aspevig) of Miles City, Gwen (Dennis) Schneiter of Florence, Jim (Lee Barkmann) of Silesia, Judy (Hal) Hay of Helena, and Laurie of Wanaka, New Zealand, grandchildren Alika Skaggs, Matt Schneiter, Chad Schneiter, Greta de la Pedraja, Ann Stevenson, Vince Stevenson, Max Hay, Blakely Hay, Ramsay Ballew, Luke Stevenson, Rita Stevenson, Callum Scurr and Hayley Scurr, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary, parents Arthur and Jean, brothers Art (Cynthia), and Fred (Kathy), and sisters Pearl (Earl) Duncan, Rose (Ray) Johnson, June (Harold Bennyhoff, Larry Kuney) Bennyhoff Kuney, and Shirley (Ken) Enge.
A memorial gathering for Mary and Jack is being planned for a later date. Memorials can be made to your local Humane Society or the charity of your choice.