John J. Smithson, 82, passed away on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at his home in Kalispell, Mont.
He was born in Chinook, Mont. On Sept. 26, 1926, to Roy and Ora (Hamaker) Smithson. He was raised on the family ranch (North Slope Ranch) near Hogeland, Mont., until age 20. He had four siblings, Louise, George, Jean and Bill. On one of his trips to St. Paul with cattle, he met Alda Anderson at Dawson, Minn. They were married June 21, 1947, in Dawson and returned to the ranch near Hogeland for a short while before moving to Havre, Mont. They had three children during this time, Susan, John and James. In Havre, he worked for Culligan Soft Water and the Havre Transfer before becoming a credit manager at the F. A. Buttrey Co. For several years. He was asked to work for Petrolane Gas Co., a propane gas company, and ended up working 35 years for the company. He started on as district manager in Kalispell and then transferred to Nevada, California, Rhode Island and Alaska. He covered 11 states in the Northeast as area and operations manager for the company, and worked at the Petrolane Tidewater Terminal before becoming a safety manager for six Southwestern states. His company was sold in 1989 and they decided to go back to Kalispell, Mont. To retire. John lived 20 miles from the Canadian border while growing up and had never been to Canada by age 20. Since then, he and his wife covered all 48 states and Europe, England, Australia and New Zealand and also bought a home in Mesa, Ariz., and lived there for 13 winters until ill health forced them to sell in 2003. John was a member of the Northridge Lutheran Church and Kalispell Kiwanis and did some volunteering after retiring. Unfortunately he had major spinal surgery in 2004 and never did recover. He will be remembered as a quiet, hard-working gentleman whose family and friends meant a lot to him. John was preceded in death by his mother and father. He is survived by his wife, Alda, and their children, Susan Smith (Virgil) of Davis Calif., John Jerald Smithson (Diane) of Renton, Wash., and Jim Smithson (Jeanne) of Fernley, Nev.; a sister, Louise Divish of Havre, Mont.; a brother, George Smithson of Westport, Wash.; a sister, Jean Shawlee Auburn, California; and a brother, Bill Smithson of Melba, Idaho, plus two grandchildren, Trisha Halsey (Bryan) of Littleton Colo., and Blake Meier (Dawnielle) of Elk Grove, Calif. He is also survived by onegreat- grandson, Noah Halsey, who was born in March. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends. Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. at the Northridge Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 11, 2009, with Pastor Dan Heskett officiating. Internment will be at Glacier Memorial Gardens. Memorial may be sent to Northridge Lutheran Church at 323 Northridge Dive, Kalispell. Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for John’s family. You are invited to go to www.jgfuneralhome.com to offer condolences and sign John’s guestbook.