Obituary - Bruce Joseph James
September 24, 2019
Bruce Joseph James passed away September 18, 2019. He died of natural causes.
He was born at Fort Belknap Agency Hospital to Cecelia Ereaux James Lankford. Before settling in Havre, he lived in Dodson, San Francisco, and Drummond. He was an excellent athlete in high school, lettering all four years in basketball, football and track. He also played baseball and was a boxer.
Bruce rode the range for his grandfather whenever needed and enjoyed life on the farm with many of his family members. In Drummond, he helped his stepfather, Jay James, log timber, hauled it to a sawmill where it was cut into rough lumber, then delivered it to Dodson.
After graduating from Dodson High School in 1959, he joined the Air Force and was stationed at Lackland AFB where he spent one year in Texas and three years at the Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Mountain Home AFB near Boise, Idaho.
He was sent to tech schools in Wichita Falls, Texas and TDY in Chanute AFB in Illinois. Bruce's trade was in the LOX plant producing liquid oxygen to fuel missiles and airplanes during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. As a member of SAC, he was assigned night guard around the stand-by bombers on the runway.
He volunteered to go to Vietnam every six months. However, because of the critical role he was tasked with for the bombers, he was not allowed to go. The bombs he loaded onto the B47s were 10 times more powerful than the bombs over Japan. He received an honorable military discharge and served on Havre Veteran's Honor Guard Post 497.
In 1963, Bruce married Faye Edwards in Boise, Idaho. When released from the Air Force, they moved to Missoula, Montana. He worked for a short time on the green chain at the Intermountain Sawmill. In the fall, they moved to Havre where Bruce attended Northern Montana College and graduated with a degree in electrical technology.
He worked at Cardinal Gas Station, drove truck for Rismon Trucking, drove school bus, drove the Blue Pony Bus on out-of-town activities, performed maintenance on heavy equipment for Baltrusch Construction, delivered milk to grocery stores on the Hi-Line for Vita Rich Dairy, and drove road grader in the summer for Hill County Road Department.
In 1966 they purchased the Central Standard Service Station franchise. Bruce then went to work for Northern Natural Gas and in 1977 was hired by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. He worked in the diesel shop and eventually as a locomotive engineer. He co-owned L & J Construction taking on small concrete and building jobs around town.
He also leased a farm which lead to buying a semi-truck to haul grain. This developed into commercial long hauling and owning three semis at one time. The semis traveled all over the nation and Bruce drove through most of the states in the nation.
Together Bruce and Faye had three sons, Brian, Brett and Bartley. Bruce was a Boy Scout scoutmaster, coached flag football and helped start the first AAU Wrestling Club. He taught his three sons how to work on cars, pour cement sidewalks and foundations, build a garage and a pole barn, do woodworking, farming, as well as camping, fishing, and hunting. Bruce and Faye enjoyed traveling to Mexico, England, Africa, Hawaii and Canada. Bruce's early mornings were consumed by his love of golf. In 2018, Bruce and Faye celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.
After a lifetime bond with the family he grew up with, in 2013, he found out his biological father, John J. Mount, had been kept secret from him all his life. Bruce never had the opportunity to meet him as he died in 2001. John Mount had 14 children, many of which Bruce had the privilege to connect with in recent years. Bruce then discovered his rich native heritage being the great-great-great-grandson of Chief Running Fisher, the last bona fide chief of the Gros Ventre tribe. His mother Cecilia had 14 children, so all in all Bruce had 27 siblings.
Bruce was preceded in death by his mother, Cecelia Ereaux James Lankford, his biological father, John J. Mount, and his stepfather, Jay James, as well as nine of his siblings.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Faye James and his three sons, Brian, Sheridan, WY, Brett (Kathy), Helena, and Bartley (Teri), Billings and five grandchildren.
Per Bruce's wishes, there will be no service. A private family burial will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be made to Havre Veteran's Honor Guard Post 497 and St. Jude's Catholic Church.
Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.
Please visit Bruce's online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for his family at http://www.hollandbonine.com .