Jim was born on May 12th, 1928 in the old Darcy Hospital in Miles City to Pete and Eleanor (Ella) (Jurica) Thulesen, the second of three children between, first, Ina (McRae) and third, Jerry. He spent his growing up years on the family ranch in the Powderville area on Corral Creek doing many of the things a country boy would do in the 30’s & 40’s like riding around the countryside with his brother, Jerry on their horse “Snip” using him as a diving platform in the reservoirs and digging out coyote pups. In addition, he had many adventures with neighbor boys Howard Moths and Eddie Iron.
He attended all eight grades at the Corral Creek School built by his father just one mile from home. His schoolmates were some of the Manns, Moths, Madsons, Rawlings, siblings Ina and Jerry and others. He attended high school in Miles at Custer County District High School boarding out at various homes like the Newt Perkins’ and the Edmondson’s home. He finished school early each spring for his junior and senior years to help with the farm work like the planting of spring crops.
Jim met Betty Lou Robinson, youngest daughter of G.L. and Myrtle Robinson, his senior year and courted her at the Jess Sales and Morton places until they were married on November 25th, 1950. From this union was born David, Dick, Karen, Steven, and Elizabeth.
Jim farmed and ranched the original 9 sections of land that eventually became the “Place”, until 1974 when it sold and he moved to Miles City and worked with Ray Perkins Construction. Then started a construction company with his oldest son, Dave. They worked together as “Thulesen and Sons” until 1989 when he semi-retired to do all forms of metal work as a hobby – machining model engines, old car restoration, and the casting and foundry work that he learned associated with forming the little engines and tractors. Despite having large hands, he was very skilled with detail work and made many miniature models in the 1/24th scale. Everyone knew him as an excellent craftsman in metal and wood.
After the death of his youngest son, Steve, to Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2000, Jim and Betty Lou moved to Sheridan, Wyoming to be near their youngest daughter, Libby. Jim spent summers exploring the Bighorn Mountains on his 4-wheeler keeping a couple of old gas station hot dogs wrapped in tin foil in a coat pocket for nourishment. In 2005 they moved to Newell, SD to be near their other daughter, Karen. In 2013, they moved back to Sheridan to be near doctors they liked. It was in Sheridan on April 14th, 2023 that Jim passed away after a battle with colorectal cancer. He was 94 years old. He was preceded in death by his parents and son, Steve. In addition to his sister Ina and brother Jerry, he is survived by his wife Betty Lou, sons David (Lynn) and Dick (Thi Ha Loan); and daughters Karen (John Brennan), and Libby (Mike Morris), 5 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, April 28th, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at Grace Bible Church in Miles City. Interment will follow at Custer County Cemetery. In lieu of flowers should friends and family desire a gift in Jim’s memory, please give to “Team Vanuatu” in care of Grace Bible Church in Miles City, Montana.