James Joseph Walrath
We will forever miss the man with the wonderful smile, great sense of humor, kind heart, ever present enthusiasm, and an abundant amount of thoughtfulness. His name was James Joseph Walrath, born February 19, 1951. On that day he joined a family with parents Gilbert and Arlene Walrath and brother Jack in Shelby, Montana. Jim died February 2, 2022 in Missoula from complications of 56 years of diabetes.
After graduating in 1969 Missoula Sentinel High School, he attended the University of Montana. During college at University of Montana he met Christine Elliott. In 1973 they were married and the adventures began. Jim graduated with a degree in computer science. He worked until 1978 for Boeing in Seattle WA, and was able to bring his young family back to Montana in 1978 to work until retirement for Montana Power and later NorthWestern Energy. Soon a daughter, Jessie, appeared and became the focus of the pictures, then their second daughter Natalie Frances (“Fransie”) joined the happy group.
To our joy, Jason Dennee joined the family when he married Fransie in 2009. Jim became a Grandpa in 2010 and his face lit up when he held his granddaughter , Paige, for the first time. He became a Grandpa again in 2015 with the birth of Clay and the joy in his life doubled. He had such a wonderful time playing with his grandkids, finding neat toys and sharing his love of hot wheels and always willing to get on the floor to play. Lots more pictures!!
While in high school, Jim was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes, also known as type I diabetes. He was very proactive. Jim was often sought out as a mentor for diabetics. He emphasized that children need to be in charge of their diabetes as much as possible. He felt that camps that taught this for young diabetics were wonderful. This helped him decide to join the Lions Club in Deer Lodge and was a member for over 25 years.
Through the years there were many projects Jim would tackle with the enthused mind of an engineer. He could fix things, rig things, and make things. He loved golf, skiing, hiking, travel, yard work, woodwork and trips to the dump. For some reason he would rescue ironing boards from the dump in the days one was allowed a good rummage.
Jim is survived by his wife, Christine Walrath of Deer Lodge; his daughters Jessica Walrath of Missoula, and Natalie Frances Walrath Dennee and son-in-law Jason Dennee and two grandchildren Paige Dennee and Clay Dennee all of Bozeman; his brother Jack Walrath of Missoula and nephew Patrick Walrath of Missoula. He has numerous cousins who he loved as well and happily counted his friends as family.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Gilbert and Arlene Walrath, his father in law (William Elliott), mother-in-law (Corinne Elliott) and his wife’s Grandmother, Frances Elliott with whom he shared a wicked sense of humor.
We thank all the friends, family members, and medical staff that contributed to his happiness and efforts to stay with us as long as he did. A graveside service will be held in the spring.
Jim’s favorite charities were Juvenile Diabetes Camp: to donate to a Montana Camp go to www.mydiabetesalliance.org/donate, Habitat for Humanity, and Lions or any charity of your choice.
His favorite saying at times like this: “Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened!” We are so happy that this life happened.