Angus Donald "Donnie" McGillis, Jr. passed away from natural causes on January 19, 2018. Donnie was surrounded by family - receiving much love in his last days.
Donnie was born Angus Donald McGillis Jr. on May 19, 1932 on Deep Creek, north of Choteau, Montana.
Donnie attended school through 7th grade until he quit to help provide for his family. When he was about 17 years old, he went to work for his uncle, J.C. Salmond. He worked as a ranch hand, breaking horses, and working cattle. When Donnie was about 21, he went to work for Ray Wager at the Choteau Cattle Company which was owned by his future father in-law, John Hamilton.
Donnie fell in love with the ranch-owner's daughter, Patricia Hamilton, when she came home from college. The rest is history. On January 1, 1958 they were married. They had three children, Angus Donald McGillis III (Chip), Heather Hamilton McGillis and John Hamilton McGillis.
Pat and Donnie were married 25 years. During that time Donnie managed the Choteau Cattle Co. and the Hamilton Ranch. He was one of the first ranchers to use pivot irrigation. He also built a feedlot while on the ranch. Donnie, Pat, and the kids were very involved in all aspects of the ranch. He supported local events. Every year he would donate a steer to the Fairfield Swim Day and livestock for the Choteau 4th of July Rodeo.
Donnie and Pat divorced in 1983. He married Betty Parsons in 1992, and they were divorced in 2011.
Donnie was very active in the cattle buying business. He owned Great Falls Livestock, and when that sold, he had interest in Western Livestock. He loved animals and respected them.
Donnie was also very supportive of his neighbors - lending a hand whenever needed. He was a friend to all and would give you the shirt off his back when called. Upon learning of Donnie's passing, his longtime friend Jay Contway said, "If I only had one friend, and it was Donnie McGillis, I would ask for nothing more."
Donnie loved attending his kid's functions and helping them at rodeos. He also liked hunting, fishing, and doing things with his grandchildren. Donnie loved telling stories and playing tricks on people. He had a great laugh! Donnie was a great dancer and had a lot of fun socializing.
Donnie was proceeded in death by his ex-wife, Patricia; son, Chip; brother, Bernard; sisters, Madelyn, Helen, Kathleen and Janet. He is survived by his children, Heather McGillis-Mullins (Great Falls), John Hamilton McGillis (Houston, TX), Terri Long-McGillis (widow of Chip of Missoula); his grandchildren, Macall McGillis-McCullum, Courtney McGillis, Angus Donald McGillis IV (Jack), Austin Mullins, Staley Mullins, Kaila McGillis and Shane McGillis. Four great-grandchildren also survive.
Donnie will always be remembered best through the immortal words of his late friend Vic Durden, "A real cowboy's cowboy; the lanky, lean 6'2" frame, wavy red hair, freckles, a serious expression of eye, and boyish sort of disarming smile. Except for a propensity toward personal recklessness on occasion, this man was about as story-book perfect as any mortal cattleman has any right to be."
Dad was loved and will be missed by many. He was a wonderful person who lived life to its fullest. It's now time for him to rest and enjoy his time with his angels. We love you, Grandad.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Montana Elk Foundation or Ducks Unlimited Montana.
There will be a memorial service for Donnie in the spring.