Joseph Louis DeSaye of Great Falls and Mesa, Ariz. 83 passed away on March 25, 2008.
He was born in Havre on July 22, 1924, to Louis DeSaye and Francine (Boyer) DeSaye. His parents, who had both emigrated from France, homesteaded on the prairie north of Turner. Joe worked alongside his father on the farm during the summers in Montana. Some winters were then spent working vineyards in California. A special memory was from one trip south, Joe had marveled as a young boy as he watched the Golden Gate Bridge being built. Joe attended country schools on the rural prairie and completed the eighth grade in Turner. At the age of 24, Joe married Grace (Fouts) DeSaye and during their marriage they were blessed with six children together. Always the entrepreneur, Joe pursued many interests while also working the family farm. In 1946, he started selling sporting goods. A life-long shooter and hunter, Joe was passionate about guns and our Second Amendment rights. This side business quickly grew into a nationwide, mail order company, J&G Rifle Ranch. He moved the business and his family to Prescott, Ariz., in 1977. Here, the name changed to J&G Sales, and it flourished into an extensive retail and wholesale business. His sons, Brad and Brent purchased the business in 1994 and enjoyed Joe’s support, advice and wisdom in the following years. Brad still operates J&G today. Over the years, Joe was very active in promoting shooting, teaching safety and defending personal freedoms. Many young hunters entered the sport in one of Joe’s hunter safety courses. Many target shooters have enjoyed a day at the range with Joe. And many lawmakers have received Joe’s calls and letters in support of pro-gun legislation. He was proud to be an active and vocal NRA lifetime member. The ones who benefited most from Joe’s knowledge were his family members and friends. Hunting each fall was a cherished tradition for much of his life. His children were all taught how to safely shoot and hunt from an early age and were all given a rifle, as a birthday gift, so they could join in the hunt for antelope, deer and varmints. These traditions are now being handed down to a fourth generation! Another life-long pleasure was traveling. Joe explored all over the world, but especially enjoyed Europe. He made numerous trips to visit family in France and enjoyed researching his family heritage. His children accompanied him at different times on these trips and were able to see the French countryside that Joe’s father had returned to many years before. While at home, Joe loved to be surrounded by his many collections. Whether it was guns, trains, coins, western art, or Native American rugs and baskets, Joe could always find room for one more piece. His appreciation for detail also showed in his beautiful rose garden and in the photographs he would take of each bloom. Joe treasured his family and loved spending time with them. He was the patriarch who kept track of each family’s activities, accomplishments and interests. Dad was always excited to help all of his family in anyway he could. His phone calls, brightly stamped letters, and French greetings are irreplaceable and will be greatly missed by all his family and friends. Joe is survived by his loving, supportive wife, Carol Struck, (married 1989-present) and Grace DeSaye (married 1949-1989), six children: Greg (Patty) DeSaye of Montana, Diane (Les) Paulson of North Dakota, Greta (Greg) Newell of Arizona, Grant (Silver) DeSaye of Montana, Brad (Vicki) DeSaye of Arizona, Brent (Melissa) DeSaye of Arizona; 11 grandchildren: Bridget (Mike) Welch, Karmen (John) VonBergen, Robyn Paulson, Troy (Megan) Paulson, Jordan DeSaye, Shona DeSaye, Colton DeSaye, Conner DeSaye, Abigail DeSaye, Samuel DeSaye, Ethan DeSaye; and five great-grandchildren: Tyler and Zane VonBergen and Bryant, Ashley and Blake Welch. Joe was preceded in death by: Louis DeSaye (father), Francine Boyer DeSaye (mother), Susanne DeSaye Fox (sister), and Paul DeSaye (infant brother). A vigil service will be held Monday, March 31 at 7 p. m. at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Havre. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, April 1 at 11 a.m. with graveside burial following. A reception will immediately follow at St. Jude’s. Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook. The family requests any memorial be sent to the NRA Foundation, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030, who promotes the shooting sports or to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014, who provided wonderful care during his last days.