Obituary: James "Jim" Joseph Wantulok

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 16, 2024

James (Jim) Joseph Wantulok, a devoted outdoorsman and gifted artist, peacefully passed away on March 28th surrounded by his family after battling health complications. Jim was the youngest of two children born to Joseph and Sally Wantulok on April 14, 1949. He graduated from Bozeman High School and attended college at Montana State University - Eastern. Jim married Judy Lynn Christenot in 1971, whom he loved and cared for until her passing in September 2022.

Jim's true passion lay in art. He began painting in high school and continued throughout his life. As a professional wildlife artist, he skillfully captured the intricate beauty of nature with every brushstroke. His artistic talents extended beyond the canvas, as he also found joy in videography and photography alongside Judy in Yellowstone National Park and Gardiner, MT.

Jim's deep reverence for nature was cultivated through self-education, fostering a profound understanding of the outdoors and its diverse wildlife. He generously imparted his extensive knowledge to others, embodying a true passion for conservation. Alongside his appreciation for nature, Jim excelled as both an archery hunter and fly fisherman. As an intricate member of the Montana Bow Hunters Association, he played a pivotal role in building and promoting the sport he loved. His unwavering commitment to archery hunting was exemplified in cherished moments spent outdoors with family, particularly during archery expeditions with Tyler, Mark, and his beloved grandchildren, Jake & Zac, always with his trusty Paul Schaefer recurve bow in hand.

An exceptional athlete, Jim could jump higher than anyone; he tied the Montana state high school record of 6'5", which held for many years. He also "walked on" and played basketball for two years at Montana State University - Eastern, where he displayed remarkable athleticism, effortlessly dunking basketballs and gracefully maneuvering around the court. His passion for sports extended to coaching and eventually watching his grandchildren play numerous sports, instilling in them the same love for athleticism.

Jim's legacy will forever live on in the hearts of those who knew him. His zest for nature, love for family, and creative spirit will be dearly missed. May his soul find eternal peace in the arms of nature, where he found his greatest joy. Jim is survived by his brother John Wantulok, daughter Wendy (Mark) Renner, son Tyler (Tara) Wantulok, and his four grandchildren, Jacob and Zachary Renner, Brekken and Cooper Wantulok, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends whom he held dear.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bozeman School Foundation - Wantulok Memorial Art Scholarship in memory of his absolute love for art and education.

An open house "Celebration of Life" will be held on April 20th at 3012 Candy Lane, Bozeman, from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Please consider carpooling, as space is limited.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []