Donald Elwood Jones, 92, passed away on August 5, 2020, at Madison Valley Medical Center in Ennis, MT as a result of a stroke following a long and active life. Donald was born in Billings, MT on May 19, 1928, to Lloyd Lewis Jones and Marion Dorthea (Banderob) Jones. Don was later joined by two siblings, sister Dorothea (Dorothy) and brother Clifford (Cliff).
The family lived in Worden at the time of Don’s birth where they remained until he graduated from Huntley Project High School in 1946. Don had many fond memories of working on his grandfather’s and uncles’ farms on the Huntley Project and of the summers he was employed at the Huntley Project Experiment Station. These experiences sparked his interest in agriculture and his life-long love for farming and ranching.
After Don completed high school, the family moved to Bozeman where Don attended Montana State College for two years. Don was an active member of Grand Avenue Christian Church for all of his adult life. He enjoyed singing in the choir with his beautiful baritone voice. It was at church where Don first spotted a young, dark-haired beauty whom he later married. Don and Charlotte Ruth Chase were married on December 18, 1949. They were just two days shy of their 68th anniversary at the time of her death in 2017.
Don and Charlotte started farming in the spring of 1950 near Helena, MT, moving back to the Gallatin Valley in the fall of 1954. They farmed in the Foster Creek area north of Belgrade from 1955 to 1963 when they moved to Molt, MT for a year where Don was foreman of the Keating Charolais Cattle Ranch and Charlotte cooked for the ranch hands. They returned to the Gallatin Valley in 1964, where they formed the Char-Don Charolais Ranch and for 32 years they farmed and ranched in the Pass Creek area north of Belgrade. After retirement, they lived in Three Forks for seven years before moving to Harrison, MT for 10 years. The final years of Don’s life were spent at Parkhaven Retirement Community and Bozeman Lodge Assisted Living.
Donald’s long life was enriched by many hobbies and interests. Don was active in Farm Bureau, serving as Gallatin County Farm Bureau President and as State Director of Montana Farm Bureau. Don was a member of Grand Avenue Christian Church for over seventy years, always maintaining his quiet faith. He was an accomplished woodworker and built several pieces of furniture that held places of honor in our family home. Don loved to fly and owned his own airplane for several years. The highlight of each August was to attend the Fly-In in Three Forks and visit with all the pilots. His last flight was in March 2019 with his friend and flight instructor, Fred Hasskamp, who had certified Don as a pilot in his 40s. Don loved Charolais cattle and was a member of the Montana Charolais Association. He also loved his mules and draft horses, working teams, and participating in pulling competitions. One of the highlights of his life was driving his team of draft horses and covered wagon from Bannack to Helena for the Montana Centennial wagon train in 1989. In his later years, he loved gardening and raising chickens and guinea fowl.
Donald is survived by his children, Gary Jones of Three Forks, Gwen (Michael) Myers of Three Forks, Gail (John) Reid of Harrison, and Grace (Dana) Scott of Victor, along with 10 grandchildren, 3 step-grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren with another one on the way, and 14 step-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Lola Mae Simpson of Helena, MT and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to extend our sincere thank you to Madison Valley Medical Center nursing team and rehab therapists for making his final days comfortable. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made in Don’s name to Grand Avenue Christian Church, 110 S. Grand Ave., Bozeman, MT 59715 or Bozeman Prison Ministries, PO Box 6281, Bozeman, MT 59771-6281.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]