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Obituary - Steven "A.J" James Herndon

 

Steven Herndon

On April 26, 2019, we lost our precious family member and friend Steven "A.J˘" James Herndon, from a complications of a major stroke. He joins his mother Mary in heaven.

Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing this man surely remembers his humility, imagination, kindness, sense of humor, intelligence, unabashed personality, appetite, and love of conversation and alliteration. He was truly one of a kind and loved so because of it.

A.J. was born September 8, 1949 in Spokane, Washington, to John and Mary Herndon. They moved to Chinook when he was 2 years old. He attended Chinook Schools and graduated from Chinook High Schools. He attended Northern Montana College and then University of Montana where he was enrolled in the School of Pharmacy. A.J. had a tremendous love of learning, even in his later years. He enjoyed reading upon end, and as of late, he'd learned to navigate the internet, which opened a whole new world of literature and learning. He spent more time at the library than his apartment. He had a knack for recounting and could remember every detail about any document, even if he'd read it years before. His favorite things to study and research dealt with geology and chemistry. He dream was to find gold in the Bear Paws.

A.J. irrigated for many local farmers and worked on the Birdtail Ranch, south of Chinook, where he called home until his passing. Although hard to get motivated at times, he always would make tasks more bearable for those around him by providing humor in the form of jokes, conversation or physical actions.

A.J. took trips to explore the West Coast - Seattle mostly - where he experience city life to the fullest. He loved to garden and always planted enough to share with others. He loved all foods especially salads he grew the most. A.J. was a master fly fisherman; he could catch fish from a dry pond. He provided many with meals - sharing was inevitably one of A.J.'s greatest joys. He would never forgot a birthday. Visiting with friends and neighbors during parties, branding or at the Cleveland Bar was something he always enjoyed. A.J. loved and was loved by all, animals especially. He always let baby kittens lay on his belly while he softy scratched them to sleep.

He had a heart of gold that will never been forgotten. He was a big man and surprisingly very strong. He was kind-hearted, respectful, gracious, well-spoken and polite most often, but if agitated, you may have one feisty Italian! Those he loved, he loved and would protect fiercely. Although not overtly physical, he'd take a hug and a kiss on the cheek every now and then. If you were luckily enough you'd get a bear hug and lifted off the ground. Although a man of meager means, he'd give you the shirt off his back.

A.J. was a true believer, often read the Bible, and when contemplating heaven, he believed that the soul would return to the place it was most happy. He took his last breathe listening to a movie (which he and Alisha watched over and over) quote from the western "Lonesome Dove" where the soul goes to a Happy Place. His ashes will be spread over the Birdtail at a later date. There will be a celebration at the ranch where many stories will be told of zippers that wouldn't stay up, laces that wouldn't stay laced, socks that would slide down, suspenders and small shirts, movie marathons along with many more stories.

A.J. is survived by his dad, John, and sister Lucia, Norfolk, Va.; brother Bob (Margaret); nieces Barbra

(Henk), Holly (Kole), Alisha (Skyler); great-nephews Stevie and Tipton and great-niece Aspen and numerous cousins.

The family would like to thank Chinook Ambulance, Northern Montana Hospital, Mercy Flight, Benefits Hospital and Peace Hospice for the wonderful care and love given A.J.

Eternal gratitude and love to Bob and family for always being there especially when I couldn't be. To lifelong friends and sisters-of-the-heart Nancy Boyce and family and Jan (George) Adams. You all know what you mean to me.

In the lieu of flowers, friends are asked to plant your gardens, in memory of A.J.

 

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