Jim Langston was born in Billings, Mont., on Dec. 23, 1927, to Virginia Helen Minshall Langston and Earl Keith Langston. He rode on up the trail on the beautiful afternoon of Feb. 10, 2016.
Jim attended McKinley Elementary School and graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1945. Just before graduation he joined the United States Navy and was stationed on Guam as a Seaman First Class Fireman.
Jim returned from the Navy in 1948 to work at the Billings Gazette and Peterson Office Machines. His jobs there gave him the chance to meet a Gazette reporter by the name of Ellen Mouat. They were married in June of 1951 and she was still by his side at the end after nearly 65 years of marriage.
During their time in Billings Jim was employed at Shell Oil as a draftsman and he and Ellen welcomed their first son James into the world in March of 1953. In 1956 they made a giant leap of faith and purchased the Beartooth Ranch in Nye along with Ellen’s brothers and their wives.
This marked the beginning of their 60-year stay in the Upper Stillwater Valley. After a few years, their second son Radford came along in August of 1960.
They operated the Beartooth Ranch for 40 years as a dude ranch and back country outfitters through the summer with elk and deer hunting camps in Slough Creek and up the Stillwater in the fall. During that time they made numerous friends and touched many lives of both the guests and employees. The “Ranch” was beloved by all who experienced it and was a one of a kind place to raise a family. Jim was active in the Dude Rancher’s Association serving as president from 1982 - 1984. Jim and Ellen continued to live at the “end of the road” for their remaining years in the valley.
Jim had an artistic streak and was always tinkering. Many of his metal sculptures can be found in friends’ homes around the area. Jim’s practical and artistic creations were all through his home and shop.
He was an avid football fan. Family and friends held a Super Bowl 50 party for him at Cedarwood Villa. He dearly loved his family and was very proud of them all.
Jim gave freely to his community as one of the original members of the Nye Volunteer Fire Department and served on the Absarokee High School board for nine years. He also provided a great deal of help renovating the Absarokee football field in the early 1970s.
Jim is survived by his wife Ellen, son James Langston (Kathryn) of Nye, son Radford (Donna) of Red Lodge; grandchildren Jessica Blasey (Chuck) of Oroville, Wash., Jamie Carpenter of Buffalo, Wyo., Jeremiah Langston of Helena, Mont., and Lilian Langston of Missoula, Mont.; Great grandchildren Sheridan and Hadley Blasey, Acton, Owen, Sebastian, Quincy, and Sawyer Carpenter; Sister Mary Lou Fox of Billings.
He was preceded in death by his mother Virginia, father Earl, and sister Jean Atwater.
We love and miss you dad. You have positively touched an unbelievable number of lives. May your trail be clear, the grass be high, and your pack string run easy.
A memorial service will be held at the Nye Community Church on March 19, 2016, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers please donate to Nye Community Church or the Nye Volunteer Fire Department.