Obituary - James 'Jim' William McIlhattan


Last updated 1/13/2021 at 10:11am

James McIlhattan

December 23, 2020, James "Jim" William McIlhattan passed away in Helena, MT as a result of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Jim was 86 years old.

Jim McIlhattan was born in Bozeman, MT, November 8, 1934. He was the oldest child of Katherine Olivia (Bohart) and James Alton McIlhattan. Jim grew up in Bozeman on the McIlhattan Pony Farm. He was a member of the McIlhattan Pony Patrol and a 4H National Champion livestock showman.

He married his high school sweetheart, Carmen Marie Eblen of Belgrade, in 1956.

Jim graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. Jim served in the Army National Guard.

Jim was a lifelong music teacher and band director. He taught in the public schools of Belgrade, Roundup, Red Lodge and Havre, Montana. He continued his love of teaching and making music by leading the Havre Shriners Oriental Band for many years. Both in public schools and Shriners, Jim's contributions were recognized with national awards.

Jim and Carmen retired on the Missouri River in the Wolf Creek canyon. Jim enjoyed travel, fishing and woodworking. Making sawdust was a favorite pastime.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Katherine O. and J. Alton McIlhattan, and by his brother John A. McIlhattan.

Jim is survived by his bride of 64 years, Carmen McIlhattan of Helena, MT, his four children, Nanita (and Charles) Sammons of Conklin, MI, Janet (and Nate) Berry of Las Vegas, NV, Kenneth McIlhattan of Carlinville, IL, and Michael McIlhattan of Mt. Vernon, WA, his brothers Robert (and Sherry) McIlhattan of Bozeman, MT, and Skip (and Nancy) McIlhattan of Clyde Park, MT, niece Sarah (and Brett) Mitchell of Bismarck, ND, nephew John R. (and Laura) McIlhattan of Davidson, NC, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

No services will be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memorials may be sent to the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Spokane, 911 W Fifth Ave, Spokane WA 99204.


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