James “Jim” Lawrence Rettig, 63, died of cancer Thursday evening at his home in Big Sandy, Mont.
His prayer vigil service was held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009, with his funeral service 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church with Father Pete Guthneck officiating. Burial followed at the Big Sandy Cemetery. A fellowship was held at the church immediately after the services at the graveside. Memorials in Jim’s honor may be made to Walleyes Unlimited of Montana, Jim Rettig Fund, c/o Mike Butzlaff, 114 E. Indian St., Wolf Point, MT 59201, or call (406) 653-3157. Jim was born June 18, 1946, in Williston, N.D., to Vincent and Agnes (Pesek) Rettig. He attended public schools in Alexander, N.D., and graduated from high school in 1964. He then attended Dickinson State College where he studied journalism. He married Terry Malloy on Dec. 31, 1968, in Dickinson, N.D., where Jim was working as a wire editor for the Dickinson Press. The couple moved to Sidney, Mont., where Jim worked for the Sidney Herald. Then they moved to Rollins, Wyo., where Jim taught journalism to inmates at the Wyoming State Prison. In 1971 he and his wife, Terry, moved to Big Sandy, Mont., and purchased the Big Sandy Mountaineer. Jim was a community- minded person who invested a lot of time and effort into his community. He established the Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and served as president and as a board member for many years. Jim had a wonderful giving spirit which was enriched every year at Christmas. He was known to many in Big Sandy as the King of the Christmas Stroll and Parade of Lights. Jim had a passion for walleye fishing. He was one of the founding members of Montana Walleyes Unlimited and has served as president of the state organization and he was currently serving as Region 2 director, circuit director of the state and a board member of the Fresno Chapter. He was co-founder of Fish Tales Magazine and served as the publisher of the magazine, which was sent to over 2,600 walleye fisherman across the state. Throughout Jim’s career he has had the opportunity to meet many people across the Hi-Line and Montana. He was a member of the Montana Newspaper Association and served as president. Jim’s first wife Terry passed away in 1995. He married Linda (Tallmadge) Gilkison in July 2002, and together they operated the newspaper and served the community of Big Sandy. He was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife Terry Rettig in 1995. Jim is survived by his wife of seven years, Linda Rettig of Big Sandy, Mont.; his son, Shawn (Tiffany) Rettig of Rudyard, Mont.; his daughter, Shannon (Dean) Rhyneer of Townsend, Mont.; two grandchildren, Tylynn and Caden Rettig of Rudyard, Mont.; step-daughters, Sabrina (Lloyd) Sidmore of Troy, Mont., Stephanie (Ray) Hentschel of Havre, Mont., and Brandi (Josh) Turney of York, Pa.; and four step-grandchildren. Jim was also blessed with four step-great-grandchildren. Also surviving are three sisters, Mary Rettig of Missoula, Mont., Kim (Greg) DeLorme of Williston, N.D., and Pam Rettig of Bismarck, N.D.; two brothers, Bob Rettig and Ed (Mary) Rettig, all of Alexander, N.D.; and numerous nieces and nephews