Valley County, IDGenWeb Project

James “Jim” Bruce Crockett

Our beloved father, grandfather and great- grandfather, Jim Crockett, formerly of McCall, passed away on Feb. 21, 2011, at the age of 83, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

He had been surrounded by his children and grandchildren the past couple of weeks at the Springs Memory Care facility in Missoula, Mont.

A private family service was conducted immediately. A celebration of Dad’s life will be held in the spring with date, time and location to be announced at a later date.

Dad was born on the MacDonald family farm on April 30, 1927, in Langdon, N.D., to Harold and

Geneva MacDonald Crockett. He graduated from high School in Fargo, N.D.

He went on a tour of duty with the United Stated Navy at the end of World War II. After serving, dad went to school at the University of Idaho in Moscow, where he met and married Patricia “Pat” Hebberd. From this union came three children, Kathy, Colleen and Bruce.

It was during this time when dad discovered his love for the forest and his passion for smokejumping. His career as a jumper began in 1948 in McCall but he also jumped out of Idaho City as well as Silver City, N.M.

Dad excelled in his craft and became one of only two people ever to have completed three fire jumps in one day, a feat never repeated.

In the mid-1960s, Jim and Pat divorced and dad married Venita Lyons and became father to her two sons, Ted and Tim.

They settled in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana where Jim continued his Forest Service career, teaching and mentoring many younger firefighters as the crew boss for the Bitterroot Hot Shot Crew.

Many good times were had on the East Fork of the Bitterroot during those years. He retired from the Bitterroot National Forest in 1982, but continued to teach new recruits each season for many years afterward.

Jim enjoyed his retirement years tending to his grandchildren, gardening at his home in Corvallis, Ore., and camping in the forests that he so loved. He also enjoyed relaxing at the family cabin at Silver Gate near the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Dad was well taken care of by the Springs Memory Care Facility and Hospice of Missoula up to his death. Thanks so much to all of you for helping Dad make it through the last years of his life and for your compassionate and exceptional care.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Venita.

He is survived by his children, Kathy (Steve) Laird of Boise, Colleen (Dave) LeClair of McCall, Bruce (Merri) of Lolo, Tim Lyons of Victor and Ted (Laurie) Lyons of Hamilton, Mont. He is also survived by eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Smokejumpers Association, Good Samaritan Fund in care of Charles Brown Treasurer, 2723 Wilderness Ct., Wichita, KS 67226 or Hospice of Missoula, 800 Kennsington, Suite 204, Missoula, MT 59801.

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