James “Jim” Richard Langley from Great Falls passed on Sunday, May 14th at the age of 89. Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Joy E. (Golie) Langley in 2009, his brother, Bill Langley of Blackfoot, ID, and his parents, Richard and Susan Langley. Jim was born June 2nd, 1933. He spent his early years in Sand Coulee and Vaughn, and spent his entire adult life in Great Falls, MT.
Jim was a consummate entrepreneur and traded his half share in a horse he and his brother Bill owned for Bill’s half share in a bicycle so that he could ride into town and find odd jobs to make money. He used that bike to become a delivery boy for Murray Brothers in Great Falls. Besides earning money, Jim’s favorite hobby when he was young, was boxing, wrestling and lifting weights at the DeMolay. In his later years he took up dancing and attended several dances a week with his many friends.
At the age of 17, Jim gave his car to his brother Bill and joined the Marine Corps, became a Private First Class, earned his sharpshooter medal and fought in the Korean war. Jim was a proud veteran of the Marine Corps.
Upon his return from Korea, Jim became a journeyman meat cutter and started work at the White House Meat Market. Later, Jim bought out the meat counter at Al’s Foods and ran his meat cutting business. After Al’s closed, Jim was a meat cutter at the Westgate Buttrey Foods for many years while continuing his entrepreneurial endeavors.
Jim married Joy on June 26th, 1960, and continued his pursuit of entrepreneurship, buying multiple rental properties, Big Sky Trailer Court, and started Big Sky Furniture Sales, Big Sky Mini-Storage, and Big Sky Toppers. Jim took every opportunity to pursue many ideas for business and turned them into profits. Jim was also a keen investor in the stock market and studied stocks and businesses and traded stocks frequently even up to the days before his passing. Jim took every opportunity to provide work and odd jobs for young men who needed work, paying them fairly and assisting them in business and in life.
Jim and Joy had two daughters of whom he was very proud, Stephanie Langley McPhail, (Bill McPhail) and Susan Langley, (Mark Zimmerer) both of Boise, ID. Jim often bragged about his daughters saying that he raised two of the smartest people on earth. Jim adored his three grandchildren, Colton McPhail, Madison McPhail and Tenje Zimmerer. Jim was a very loving and giving parent and grandparent and provided greatly for his family, but always in an equitable manner, giving evenly so that no one family member received more or less than the other.
Jim was a lifelong member of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Euclid Lodge No. 58 where he was a Master Mason and received his 50 Year Pin on November 1st, 2016, and Jim and Joy were members of the Sons of Norway Lodsen Lodge in Great Falls and were very active with fund raising and Board work. Jim also served on the Board of the Great Falls Senior Center.
There will be a celebration of Jim’s life at the Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Mausoleum in Great Falls on Saturday, July 8th, 2023, at 1:00pm. A reception at the Eagle’s Lodge will follow.
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