In Memory

Jim Leary - Class Of 1943 VIEW PROFILE

James Francis Leary

Shelby —James Francis Leary, 90, who was born January 7, 1924 in Butte, Montana and was the youngest child of Hannah Carlson Leary and Florence (Flur) Francis Leary, left this world November 25, 2014.

Jim grew up in Butte, MT, Washington state, Sweetgrass, and Sunburst, MT. He was athletic, played sports and spent lots of time with his best friend Jay Johannsen. Before he graduated from Sunburst High School and prior to his 18th birthday he joined the US Marine Corps. He received his HS diploma and was thrown into WWII. Jim was sent to the Marshall Islands where he was gunner in an SBD Dauntless dive bomber.

When he returned from WWII, he attended college in Bozeman, MT where he was a member of the Lambda Ki fraternity. He became engaged to and married his high school sweetheart Margie Lee Johannsen in 1945. Jim graduated from college with a business degree. He stayed in the Marine Reserves ultimately making rank of Major and went on to serve in the Korean Conflict.

For a short time, he and Margie lived in Midland, Texas where he worked for the Texas Pipeline. When they moved back to Sunburst, Jim worked at the Sweetgrass Brokerage. From here, he joined the US Customs Service and was first stationed at Piegan near Glacier National Park. Jim transferred to a full-time Port-of-Entry in Portal, ND and the young family moved there in 1967. Jim was an active Mason, Shriner, and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. 

Jim and Margie had four children together: Shawn Patrick, Colleen Ann, Kelly James, and Margaret (Meg) Irene. When they retired, the couple returned home to their prairie roots in Sunburst to live near and enjoy family, extended family, and friends. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Joseph and Bud; sisters Mary, Elizabeth Cavelier, Cecilia Clark, and Annabelle Wartchow.

He is survived by his children Shawn (Caroline), Colleen, Kelly (JDee), and Meg (Tim) Reichel; grandchildren Ryan, Brianna, Holly (Chris), Danielle (Paul), Lucas (Crystal), Tess (Matt), Devin, Samuel, and Emma; great-grandchildren Maggie, Jobe, Josie, Joel, Jet, and Silas.

Funeral services will be held in the spring.

The family suggests memorials be directed to the Shriner's Hospital for Children at

Click here to see Jim's last Profile entry.