Jay Arthur Peterson May 20, 1964 - September 12, 2023
The world has lost an amazing man. Jay Arthur Peterson, 59, of Anaconda, passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 12, with his family by his side. Jay was born in Butte on May 20, 1964, to William and Shirley (Williams) Peterson. Jay attended Ramsay School, West Junior High and graduated from Butte High School in 1982. Jay grew up on the Peterson Ranch with his loving mom, dad, Uncle Art and 12 siblings. Even though Bill and Shirley had a full house, they often opened their home to extended family and neighbors. Jay was raised with a strong foundation of love, which he passed on so freely to others during his lifetime. As soon as Jay could, he started learning the ropes of the western lifestyle on the ranch. He could often be seen with a rope in hand, bottling sheep, feeding cows, taking out trail rides at the horse corral, guiding elk hunts, herding cattle, working in the hay fields and changing pipes. Jay dedicated his life to the Peterson Fairmont ranch and took great pride in his daily work. At a young age, Jay and his brother Hank worked with their dad and uncle to run the ranch. Shortly after graduating high school, Jay and his life-long friend Elizabeth “Beth” (Seymour) Peterson started dating. They were meant for each other and enjoyed many years doing the things they loved together. Jay and Beth were married on Dec. 20, 1987, and together raised three wonderful children, daughter Hailey and sons Justin and Ty. They were later blessed with three beautiful grandchildren, Reid, Clayton and Briar. Jay was the best husband, father and “Papa” ever. His children and grandchildren were his pride and joy, and he loved spending time with them. Jay was incredibly giving and selfless. Even though he was busy with all he had to get done each day on the ranch, you could often see him catching frogs at the pond, teaching the grandkids how to throw a loop or bringing them on motor bike rides. Jay was a devoted family man with unwavering support for his children in whatever they wanted to pursue; but he was the happiest teaching and working with them on the ranch. He always took time to show them how much the ranch meant to him and make them feel like they were a part of it. Jay had hopes of keeping his legacy a working ranch that would continue for generations to come. Jay was not only a role model to his children and grandchildren but many of his nephews and nieces looked to him as a father figure. He loved them all as much as they loved him and could make anyone feel special and welcome. Jay had the ability to turn bad situations into positive ones and was a man that many others turned to. Jay was the glue that held everything together. He was “always there” for his family and friends. Jay continually looked for ways to improve the ranch whether it was the hay crop, the cattle blood line or increasing the cattle herd. Jay was very innovative, talented and resourceful. Jay was very proud of the custom log home that he and Beth built to raise their family in. Jay could look at a picture of his next project for the ranch and before you knew it, he would have it built. He built several hay bale feeders, horse trailers and numerous farming/irrigation equipment. He seemed to be able to fix (jerry rig) anything, even if missing a few parts. Jay understood the importance of hard work, but he also understood the importance of making it fun. Jay was tough as nails, motivated and self-disciplined, making sure to live each day to the fullest. Jay wore many hats over the years: rancher, roper, farmer, welder, mechanic, hero to many. He loved to train his cow dogs and was never without his cow dog “Pete” by his side. Over the years he had some of the best horses around, and could rope and ride with the best. Jay (Jaybird) was an extraordinarily skilled hunter and somehow always seemed to know where the elk were, which he learned from his dad and uncle Art. He cherished many great memories at hunting camp with friends and family, and he passed down his love of the tradition of hunting to his cousins, nephews and children. Jay will be remembered for his overwhelming generosity and his “Once in a Lifetime” personality. He could light up a room with his presence and always had a huge smile on his face, and his contagious laugh would echo through any crowd. Jay made friends with ease. Jay experienced and accomplished so much in his lifetime; he had many stories to share and was always ready with a good joke. Jay was honest, thoughtful, loving, genuine and led by example. He was an inspiration to us all and truly a “One of a Kind” cowboy. Jay leaves behind many close friends including Ross and Chris Swanson, Bob Swanson and Swanson family, Kenny Blume and Blume family, nephew Sam Reynolds, Brian Kimpton and many more. We apologize if we forgot to mention anyone by name. Jay was respected by those he worked with and was an active member of the Sparrow Grazing association, spreading his interest in improving it for all. Jay, our lives will never be the same without you. We will never understand why you had to leave so soon, but we will forever cherish the time we had with you, and know you are smiling and tracking the “Big Bulls” up in heaven. Jay was preceded in death by his father, Bill; uncle, Art; father-in-law, Joseph Seymour. Jay is survived by his wife of almost 36 years, Beth; daughter Hailey Peterson, grandsons Reid and Clayton. Son Justin (Bailey) Peterson, son Ty Peterson, granddaughter Briar. Mother, Shirley Peterson; Hank (Maggie) Peterson, Connie (Dale) King, Ellen (Wayne) Allen, Laurie (Mike) Gurnett, Billie (Scott) Reynolds, Vickie Buckley, Susan (Clint) LaRue, Holly Christensen, Judy (Sam) Davis, Lisa (Russ) Scherman, Gayle Peterson, Jenny Peterson. Nephews, nieces and greats: Garrett (Ashley) Graham, Sloan Gurnett, Libby (Dalton) Jhett, Etta Tamcke, Katie (Brandon) Sidney, Sara and Shea Whitaker, Sam (Melissa) Gus, Pete, Clyde, Ike, Tilly Reynolds, Jake and Jared Buckley, Jessie (Pierce) Myla Pendleton, Levi (Kileigh) Claire, Henry, Leah Knott, Jeremy (Jamie) Anthony, Avery Knott, Cassie (Ryan) Ella, Joey Fallang, Emily Peterson, Abby (Chris) Wrenley, Thea Brown, Rusty, Rowan, Collins Christensen, Carly Christensen, Kyle (Echo) Davis, Lexi (Will) Poell, Mami (Kaleb) Scherman, Nate Scherman. Mother-in-law Jean Seymour and family, Karen (Rich) Barnett, Travis (Kelly) Kaleb, Jake, Emma Barnett, Patti (Shane) Kailee, Jax Anderson, Missy (Joe) Bayes, Levi, Paige Jordan, Mandy (Jeremiah) Noah, Addy, Tate Stifle; Brad (Connie) Seymour, Allison Seymour, Danny, Aiden Lee Seymour, Paula (Zeb) Zoolkoski, Laura (Kyle) Tompson; Jack (Brenda) Seymour; Becky Jensen, Jennifer Rognstad, Robbie, Faith, Madi, Gabe; Tina (Mike) Chris, Jacob, Kaleb Ogburn, Sarah Jensen; Cindy (John) Kmetz, Joseph (Stacey) Kmetz, Michael Kmetz, Kevin (Lauren) Kmetz, JeanMarie Kmetz; Scott Seymour, Barry (Amanda) Riley, Evangeline Butori, Autumn (Todd) Butori. Memorials in honor of Jay are suggested to the Tri-County Fair, P.O. Box 149, Deer Lodge, MT 59722. A Celebration of Life service for Jay will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Peterson Fairmont Barn, 1800 Shirley Way, Anaconda, MT 59711. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family condolences or to share a memory of Jay. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Jay and his family.