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Obituary - James Schaff

James Schaff passed away unexpectedly on January 19th, 2024, at the age of 68. 

Jim was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, as well as a friend to so many. 

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, the love of his life, Gina Schaff; his three beautiful daughters, Alisha (Vince) Gruszie, Deserae (Rob) Kelley, and Jamie (Gene) Swick; his grandchildren, Michael (Cassie) Matkin, Ryan Matkin, Walker Gruszie, Brennen Gruszie, Gracie Gruszie, Joshua, Sarah, and Isaiah Gillett, Naya Kelley, Seth, and Josiah and Angelina Swick; as well as his great-grandchildren, Reid Matkin and Elliot Gruszie, with a third great-grandchild on the way.

Jim proudly served in the Navy for 20 years retiring at the rank of Chief Petty Officer, before taking on his next challenge and working for BNSF Railroad for over 20 years. He was Assistant General Foreman in the car shop when he retired.

Jim was a Harley enthusiast, a masterful carpenter, and superhero nerd. He introduced his grandsons to superheroes, but he was always their hero.

Jim was a member of the Montana American Legion Riders- Post 11 and loved every minute of it.

His greatest love many would say was being a grandpa and great grandpa. He would make every game, school concert, or meaningful event he could. He even became ordained to marry his oldest grandson, Michael and his wife. If you were to ask anyone to describe Jim, the one word that will always come up is kind. We lost the rarest kind of man this world has to offer, a man with a strong will and dedication to his family, yet a kind and soft heart open to anyone without question. 

We will always remember his infectious smile peeking through that thick white goatee and his sharp wit, followed by one of the corniest jokes you've ever heard but having it mean so much because it was from him. 

Jim was truly the anchor of this family and will be deeply missed.

Don't worry Papa, we'll take care of grandma.

"If you hear that I died, don't believe them. I'm very much alive! I just moved to another address. (Location-Heaven)

Cremation has taken place, and a celebration of Jim's life will be held later this year. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Please visit Jim's online memorial page to send a card or leave a message of condolence for his family at


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