Jeffery (Jeff) Wayne DeShazo was born on June 16th, 1948 to Harry and Betty DeShazo in Santa Ana, California. Jeff’s love for cowboys and westerns started at an early age, as he was rarely seen without his beloved cowboy hat and western attire. He spent his childhood enjoying the outdoors with his family. Waterskiing at the Colorado River, snow skiing at Big Bear Mountain, dune buggies in the desert, and hunting with his Dad and Grandpa Tex. As a teenager, he worked at the family amusement park, driving the train and helping with the go carts. He loved fixing up old cars and working on engines. If you were out for a drive with Jeff, he could name the year, make, and model of any old vehicle you would pass. It will be hard to take in the smell of an old car without thinking of Dad.
Jeff was incredibly proud of his service to our country. He served in the army from 1967-1970. He was a young kid, barely out of high school, volunteering to risk his life for his country. He served in the Vietnam War from April 1968, to November 1969, as a door gunner on the UH-1D Huey Gunship. Although he didn’t like to discuss his time in war, he beamed with pride when his grandkids would ask him questions, want to see photos, or would simply sit down with him to watch a war documentary. One of his favorite times of year was Veterans Day, when he was able to sit with his grandson on his lap as the school honored veterans. He knew what he did in war was admirable and we were all just as proud of him for that service.
When Jeff returned from war, he met, and fell in love with his bride of 49 years, Beth. Both from California, they met while on vacation in Red Lodge, Montana. Only 3 months after their meeting, they were married alongside family and friends in Downey, California. Eager to spread their wings and start a family, Beth and Jeff moved to Walla Walla and then to Moses Lake, Washington and had their first son, Jason. Their time was wearing thin in Moses Lake and Albertsons had an opening in Bozeman. Jeff had never been to Bozeman and so, with a leap of faith, he packed up his young family in their VW bug and headed to Montana. After falling in love with Bozeman, Montana, they decided to plant their roots and raise a family. Jeff spent his career as a meat cutter.
Jeff was so proud of the family he raised. Ever so quietly in the background, he rarely raised his voice, and when he spoke, you listened. He was the best listener. When you needed to talk, he was there with sound advice, but mostly he loved to hear your stories. There was never a time he put himself before his family. The greatest memories made with his family were those spent on the Madison River. There, amongst the hills of the Madison Valley, with his family and best friends by his side, he found his enthusiasm for fishing. Jeff found simple pleasure in watching the moving water with a fishing pole in his hand. Some of the best moments in his life were spent fishing the Madison or trolling around Hyalite Reservoir, waiting for the fish to bite.
In his final years, Jeff lived and breathed for his grandchildren. He loved simply sitting next to them on the couch while his favorite shows played, discussing airplanes, cars and the war, giving them a good scare, a laugh, but mostly he loved sharing his passion of fishing with them. He would sit quietly, watching with pride while they fished, helping only when asked, and finding great joy when they caught something, no matter how big or small.
Jeff is preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Betty DeShazo. Jeff is survived by his loving wife Beth DeShazo of Bozeman; son Jason of Fort Collins, CO; daughter Christy (Pete) Kirkpatrick of Los Altos, CA; son Ryan (Jamie) DeShazo of North Ridgeville, OH; daughter Jennifer (Luke) Unger of Bozeman, MT; sister, Diane (Dennis) Foley of The Villages, FL; and his grandchildren, Austin and Dylan DeShazo, Leo and Asher Kirkpatrick, and Avery, Ryder, and Ella Unger. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service www.dokkennelson.com