Cover photo for Milton "Milt" Datsopoulos's Obituary
Milton "Milt" Datsopoulos Profile Photo
1940 Milton 2022

Milton "Milt" Datsopoulos

May 4, 1940 — March 12, 2022

Milt was born and raised in Missoula, Montana, the proud son of Greek immigrants. Following his graduation from Sentinel High School, he attended the University of Montana, graduating with high honors in 1962. Milt then attended the University of Montana Law School where he was the recipient of multiple awards and graduated with honors in 1965.

Milt married Joan Watts in 1966 and they happily spent more than 50 years navigating the world together. They had three children: Dino, Melina and Andreas. Dino tragically passed away in a skiing accident in 1981. Milt used this tragedy to increase his empathy and compassion for others faced with similar losses. Milt is survived by Joan, Melina and Andreas, as well as his siblings: John Datsopoulos (Kathy), Demetra Avgeris (George), and Diamond Dufenhorst (Dennis). He was preceded in death by his son, Dino, his mother Angelaki, and his father, Constantine.

Milt formed his own law firm in 1974, now the firm of Datsopoulos, MacDonald and Lind, P.C. Most important in forming his firm was Milt's strong belief that every person deserves good representation. He took cases other attorneys refused to take and achieved results other attorneys could not. At the heart of his practice was his fierce advocacy. He insisted that his office remain open 6 days a week so that working people could meet with an attorney on Saturday. He demanded excellence from himself and those who worked with him.

Milt represented billionaires and indigents and was equally proud of both. He could often be found after work at Stockman’s Bar, buying a beer for a client. In fact, Milt was the only person to have his own button on the Stockman’s Bar cash register.

Milt was a lifelong Montanan and proud to be part of many seminal projects in the history of the State of Montana. He was lead counsel on Dennis Washington’s purchase of the Anaconda Copper Mine, which became the largest producer of copper in the world. He was especially excited that this purchase revived a failing industry in Montana. He was also key to Washington’s subsequent purchase of the Montana line of the Burlington Northern Railroad, which became Montana Rail Link, the largest privately owned railroad in the world. Milt was extremely gratified that both the Anaconda Copper Mine and Montana Rail Link created many new jobs for Montanans.

It is impossible to estimate the number of lives Milt impacted through his 56 years of practice. Milt’s generosity with his time and his talent knew no bounds. When he was not at work, he was thinking about work. Often, he came to work in the morning with case notes scribbled on a dinner napkin.

He implicitly believed that sometimes all a person needed was a boost in the world and was happy to be the person to do that. To that end, he paid for cars, dental work, wheelchairs, daycare expenses, groceries, rent, college educations and medical expenses for many people. He never told anyone more about these contributions because preserving the dignity of those he interacted with was more important than any type of recognition.

Milt remained a proud Democrat. He spent decades supporting politicians and causes close to his heart. The common denominator was his support of causes helping working people, disenfranchised people, and those not able to advocate for themselves.

Milt was President (1977 – 1978) and Director (1971 -1987) of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association He was a Director of Montana Rail Link and numerous other publicly traded companies and has served on multiple private and public corporate boards. Milt served as Chairman of the Montana State Commission on Public Officials Salaries, as the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Montana (2002-2003), and chaired the Montana Salary Commission (1973-1985). He achieved the highest legal rating “AV” from Martindale-Hubbell. Milt received the Lifetime Trial Lawyers Achievement Award, was selected as one of the nation’s top 100 trial lawyers, was awarded fellowship in the Litigation Counsel of America’s Trial Lawyer Honorary Society and chosen as a Mountain States Super Lawyer. Milt remains one of the most talented lawyers to ever practice law in the State of Montana.

Milt loved travel and hated wasting time. One of his favorite hotels was the Penisula in Los Angeles because he could simultaneously eat a fabulous lunch by the pool while sunning himself (he was a staunch believer in a good tan) and making business calls on the house phone (he lost and misplaced his phone on a daily basis) and watching the Lakers on TV (he relished the thrill of competition.)

He was a lover of authentic Greek feta cheese, great Scotch, Frank Sinatra and a loather of all things pretentious. All his life, he drove Jaguars, but he never minded if they were stolen, which they were more often than you can count on your fingers. Milt had a brilliant but distracted mind and was more given to impulsivity than any person we’ve ever known. He was regularly unable to find his car, his keys, his briefcase, his wallet or his phone. His parking skills, or lack thereof, were legendary. The University of Montana gave him his own designated parking spot at the Grizzly football games, to stop him from parking on the sidewalks and in the crosswalks. It didn’t work.

Milt loved sports, all kind of sports at any level He was particularly fond of racquetball and tennis. He was well read and insisted on reading the Wall Street Journal every day. He was an avid Grizzly fan, and strongly supported the University of Montana. Despite loving sports, he didn’t have a favorite team, but could often be found rooting for the underdog.

He truly treasured his various, varied and very, very many friends. He was fiercely loyal and protected them, whether they were new or old, deserving or not. While his professional accomplishments are great, Milt’s true legacy is kindness and inclusion.

Milt had a wicked sense of humor, and was a consummate story teller. While he had a great sense of humor, he didn’t realize how unintentionally and inadvertently hilarious he was on a daily basis. He appreciated a practical joke, and played many of them.

Milt is the finest individual we have ever known. He was a larger-than-life character. The world is smaller without him, and much less interesting.

Our favorite Milt quotes are many, but we’ll leave you with this one.

“I don’t collect things because I don’t care about things, I collect people.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Milt’s name to the Grizzly Scholarship Association. Milt’s service will be held at 2:00 p.m., March 26th, 2022 at St. Anthony Catholic Church (217 Tremont St., Missoula, MT 59801). A reception will follow in the Florence Building (112 W. Front St., Missoula, MT 59802). Online condolences may be left at gardencityfh.com.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Service

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

St. Anthony Catholic Church

217 Tremont St, Missoula, MT 59801

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Interment

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