Donald Harvey Jones 1932-2018

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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WISE RIVER – Donald Harvey Jones, 86, of Wise River, passed away New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2018 at St. Patrick Hospital.

He was born March 22, 1932, in Butte, Montana, to Robert (Leslie) and Louise Jones. He lived his entire life on the family ranch in Wise River. He attended grade school in Wise River, riding his horse to and from school every day and attended Beaverhead County High School in Dillon. He was drafted into the Army in 1953 and was based in Alaska. After his time in the Army he returned home to the family ranch in 1955. He married Elizabeth Pilling, June 5, 1960, and for over 58 years they ranched side by side, raised their family and were involved in several organizations within their community and Beaverhead County. Donald became a director on the Vigilante Electric Co-Op board in 1961 and was an advocate of bringing quality service to rural areas for 53 years when he retired from the board in 2015. He also served on the state board of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Western G&T and Northwinds Publishing.

He served on the school board in Wise River for several years, was a superintendent for the Beaverhead County Fair in sheep and hogs and was instrumental in getting a new fire hall in Wise River by donating the land and helped to get the building off the ground. Don was a member of the Elks in Dillon since 1962 and enjoyed the many membership benefits of being an Elk. He also belonged to the Masonic Lodge of Wisdom, was a member of Stockgrowers and the Montana Woolgrowers. In his early years he owned a small plane and often would be found flying in the fall looking for lost cattle on the forest permits.

Don was a third-generation rancher following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who came here in 1910. Hereford cattle and sheep were always a part of the ranch, and Don raised many fine registered and commercial Hereford cattle over the years. In 2002 he was named commercial man of the year by the Montana Hereford Association. Don was a true steward of the land and worked and managed his ranch tirelessly. In 2010, he and Liz celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, along with celebrating 100 years of the ranch being in the Jones family. Don took a lot of pride in those two accomplishments.

Don loved to travel and spent a lot of time traveling with Liz and their special friends Jay and Jean Nelson. He also was an avid reader and in his later years he always had a book in hand.

He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Jones; his children, Keith Jones (Wendy) and children Nora and Nathan, Yvonne Jones; and Jodi Pauley with her children Dalton and Jesse. He is also survived by his two sisters Retha (Loren) Sigman and Lynn (John) Mugaas along with several nephews, nieces and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Louise Jones; and his son Karl Jones.

Cremation has taken place, and per Don’s request no funeral services, but a family celebration of life will take place in the summer of 2019. A special thank you from the family for all his care at Barrett Hospital, St. Patrick Hospital and Dr. Loge.

Memorials can be made to the Wise River Volunteer Fire Company, Beaverhead County 4-H Foundation, Friends of the Beaverhead County Fair, Barrett Hospital Foundation, or donor’s choice.