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James A. “Jim” Moe, 75, passed away July 10, 2018, in Fort Benton, Montana after a heroic battle with a chronic illness. He was born on September 9, 1942, in Bozeman to Audun and Carol Moe, raised on the family ranch near Two Dot, and attended schools in Two Dot and Harlowton. He studied at Northern Montana College in Havre and spent six years in the National Guard before returning home to a lifetime of ranching.
Jim married Rosita Diekhans of Shonkin on May 24, 1965, in Fort Benton. They lived on the family ranches at Two Dot and Martinsdale for the next 36 years until a stroke forced his retirement in 2001. Jim and Rosita spent their post-work years at the new ranch near Vaughn before moving to Fort Benton in 2014.
Jim was an avid sportsman who loved hunting and fishing. He took several hunting trips to Canada and regularly fished for Pike and Catfish on Fort Peck reservoir. His family recalls large annual gatherings of friends at the ranch for the opening day of elk season. He loved sports; his favorite teams were the Montana Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, and Denver Broncos.
Jim also loved the mountains. He had an intimate knowledge of the Little Belts from Monument Peak to Mount High by running cattle and sheep on Forest Service allotments. He spent his first summer at the sheep camp in Haymaker when he was 12 years old. When the ranch sold the sheep in 2003, it marked the first time in over 50 years that the Moe family didn’t make that annual summer trip. He told colorful stories about the host of sheepherders and ranch hands that he worked with over the decades. He was well known for supporting the underdog and could be counted on to assist anyone who needed help. Ranch homes are never locked because ranchers know someone may need refuge. Jim lived by that philosophy. There was often someone extra at his dinner table or occupying one of the beds in the bunk house.
Jim was a lifelong Republican who was active in the Farm Bureau, Montana Stockgrowers, and Wool Growers Associations. Throughout the 1980s he was a Meagher County Republican committeeman. He loved to talk politics and enthusiastically studied current events and history.
Jim’s survivors include his wife, Rosita and his five children, James Audun (Woo) Moe of Seattle, Stevie (Ted) Jones of Martinsdale, Kari (Alex) Ceaicovschi of East Helena, Nels (Sadie) Moe of Vaughn and Dana (James) Gallaher of Fort Shaw. His sister Sonja Frampton of Glade Vallley, NC and his brother Richard Moe of Two Dot also survive as do numerous nieces and nephews. He has nine grandchildren: Cooper (TJ) Paulsen, Peyton Jones, Kendel Jones, Duel Jones, Evan Ceaicovschi, Simon Ceaicovschi, Christian Sprague, Brayden Moe, and Tannah Moe. He was excited to meet his first great-grandchild, from Cooper, expected on his birthday.
Memorial services are on August 18 at 2:00 pm at Perkins Funeral Home in Harlowton with committal at Harlowton Cemetery. A gathering to follow at the Moose Club. The family asks for donations to the Chouteau County Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 91, Fort Benton, MT 59442.