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 James Lindsay Tillotson

James Lindsay Tillotson

Hot Springs, Fall River County, South Dakota, USA
Death 6 Jul 1998 (aged 51)
Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 28184097 · View Source
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James L. "Jim" Tillotson was born Dec. 4, 1946, in Hot Springs, South Dakota, to Virt and Betty Tillotson. He grew up mining, hunting, fishing, surveying, and reading. There was a wild and wooly time to be had on occasion in those days around Lincoln and Helena.

He graduated from high school in Helena, and got his degrees in Economics and Law from the University of Montana in Missoula. There, the wild and wooly times that didn't include a growing family did include the yards-long tab that he ran in the revolving card games in the cubes. And yes, he did study.

Jim went into private and corporate practice in Missoula, Montana, and worked for the State of Montana in Helena. The family moved to Billings in 1984, where Jim was City Attorney until his death from esophageal cancer, diagnosed only 39 days before. He learned to love Billings, in spite of missing the mountains, and continued to enjoy golf, hunting, fishing, puttering, and Fort Peck Reservoir, and always had at least two books going at once. He loved nothing better than spending time with the kids and the various critters that have accompanied them over the years.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Betty, and his brothers, Bob and Joe. He is survived by his wife, Patty; his sons, Jeff and Cullen of Portland, Ore.; his daughter, Jessie of Rapid City, S.D.; his brother, Claude of Frenchtown, with whom he was particularly close; and his father, Virt of Clancy.

Jim was tough and graceful throughout, during life, illness, and death. Thanks God it was such a short ordeal, but thanks as well that we had the time, as a family, to visit friends and each other during his "good time." It was great time.


I spent the late Autumn of every year since my twelfth with my father in the mountains and valleys of Western Montana. As the nights grew cold and the last leaves fell we met friends and family at hunting camp on the Clarks Fork river at the feet of the Flint Creek range. Early each morning we moved up the canyons in the cold dark and watched the sunrise hit the peaks and slowly fill the valleys in quiet splendor. The hunting was never as important as seeing those wonders in the company of my father. I will miss him, but I will always be able to find him there.


He was the single strongest person I have ever known, small as he was, even when he was being consumed by cancer. He was tough enough to go about his work of dying with an incredible grace, and to fill us all with love even as we lost our focus. He was a public servant, and felt so to the end, but his last service rendered was to his family, and he handled this task as with all others, with strength and love.


I don't know what I'm supposed to say to help sum up who my father was. He was the most kind, respectful, and respected man I have ever known. I think I can honestly say that everyone who truly knew him, loved him. He was tough and brave and should be seen as the epitome of grace, even though he wasn't much of a dancer. He is deeply loved and will be greatly missed, but he will always be here in everything we do.


A celebration of Jim's life: Turf Club, Metra Park.


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  • Created by: Twist
  • Added: 10 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28184097
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Lindsay Tillotson (4 Dec 1946–6 Jul 1998), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28184097, ; Maintained by Twist (contributor 46920390) Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.