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1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Jim Hurst, Sr.

Forestry Pioneer

HurstSrJim.jpgJim Hurst was born in August 1918 in Galata, MT to James and Clara Hurst.   Jim grew up on the family homestead near Rexford, where hunting and fishing were not only recreation but also a means of survival.  As a result, he became an excellent woodsman and hunter.   Home was a two-room log cabin which he shared with his parents and five sisters with the closest neighbor being two miles away. 

Jim attended high school during the Great Depression in Eureka.  During this time, he spent a year working on the National Bison Range for the Civilian Conservation Corps.  He often started school a month late, as summers were spent manning lookouts for the US Forest Service, which required him to stay until fire season was over.  

Jim answered the call of duty by enlisting in Army Air Corps in 1941 and attained the rank of First Lieutenant.  He flew 28 bombing missions over Germany and France as a navigator on a B-17 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service in World War II. 

Jim married Glenna Olson of Eureka in 1943 while he was stationed in San Antonio, Texas.  He mustered out in 1945 and bought a portable sawmill and a team of horses for skidding logs to the mill in Eureka.  This was the beginning of a successful career in the lumber industry which culminated in 1971 when he sold his business, Ksanka Lumber Company, to Plum Creek Lumber Company.

During his retirement, Jim took up golf, seeking out the warmth of Palm Desert, California in the winter, and spending summers in Kalispell.  He was a member of the LaQuinta Country Club and Buffalo Hills Country Club and was instrumental in the construction of the Championship 18 at Buffalo Hills.  He will be remembered for his generous spirit, hard work, and good mind at both clubs.   

In addition, he was involved in a number of community activities during his time in the Tobacco Valley.  Jim was a school board member, a founding member of the Eureka VFW, and was instrumental in moving the Fowkes Store from old Rexford to the Historical Village, where it resides today. 

Jim passed away in Palm Desert, California in September 2016.  He will be remembered as an individual who epitomized the virtues of the Greatest Generation:  hard work, honesty, self-discipline, generosity, and service to country.

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