STEVENSVILLE – James Allison Ross, 96, of Stevensville, passed away due to cancer Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, surrounded by his family.

“Cowboy Jim” was born May 8, 1916, to Joseph Allison Ross and Elsie Catherine Hogan. He was raised on a small dryland grain and stock ranch at the head of Carter’s Coulee in the Bull Mountains of Musselshell County. His first six years of formal education were received in country schools. He graduated from Musselshell High School in 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression.

He then worked in Billings for two years before going on to Montana State College where he graduated in 1940 with a degree in agronomy. Jim was a member of the AGR fraternity and carried his Bobcat pride with him throughout his lifetime.

Upon graduation, Jim was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry reserve. He served in the Southwest Pacific area during World War II, obtaining the rank of major. While serving his country, Jim was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations in the Philippine Islands.

In 1942 he married Mary M. Briggs of Willow Creek. Jim and Mary owned and operated a clothing store in White Sulphur Springs, a ranch near Darby and a bowling alley in Miles City. Jim also spent 15 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Fort Benton and Bozeman. Jim was a lifelong Mason, joining the Diamond City Lodge No. 7 in White Sulphur Springs in 1950.

Upon retiring, Jim and Mary moved to their “Sheep Camp” south of Stevensville, where they enjoyed pursuing their many hobbies and traveling. In 1991, Jim was a Montana State Cowboy Poetry Representative at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., and was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Poets Hall of Fame. He published three cowboy poetry books.

In their 63 happy years of marriage, Jim and Mary devoted themselves to raising their family. Jim was very proud of his grandkids and encouraged them in their many endeavors. He loved meeting people and had many lifelong friendships.

Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife Mary; parents Joseph and Elsie; and his brothers Lawrence, Joe and Hal. Jim is survived by five children, Corbin (Jody) Ross, Jane Ross, Joe (Kathi) Ross, Bob (Betty) Ross and Jan (Don) Burgess; eight grandchildren, Jody, Tyler, Robby, Anna, Pere, Sage, Rune and Greta; siblings, Nellie, Frank and Bob; numerous nieces and nephews; and many, many close friends.

We are grateful to the staff at Community Medical Center and his caring neighbors who were so kind to him over the years. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the the Bobcat Club, Montana State Athletics, P.O. Box 173270 Bozeman, MT 59717-3270; Friends of Musselshell School Inc., Musselshell, MT 59059; or Hilda’s Room at Community Medical Center, 2827 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804.

So when I serve my time on earth,

Can no longer fork my bay;

When I can no more roll my bed,

God wills I’ve had my stay,

Just give me a pot of red beans

And I’ll be on my way.

– Jim Ross