James Thielman

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James Edward Thielman

GREAT FALLS —Lifelong Montana resident and businessman, James Edward Thielman, 75, died Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Great Falls from Lou Gehrig's Disease.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the Columbus Chapel in Great Falls with a reception to follow. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Schnider Funeral Home.

Jim was born in Chester, Montana on August 23, 1938 to Edward and Marion Thielman and was the oldest of four children. In high school, he was part of a tight-knit group of friends known as the "Four Musketeers," which included Dennis Peterson, Robert "Bob" Pugsley and David Ward. The Musketeers remained friends their whole lives. Bob was the only living Musketeer and remembers their antics and friendship fondly. Jim graduated from Chester High School in 1956.

Jim attended Concordia University (Minnesota) for a year and tried out for the school's bowling team. He loved to bowl and won many tournaments as a young man. It's believed his bowling average was 198. Jim also took diesel mechanic classes in Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Jim was a charming and prolific businessman, farming in Chester and owning numerous ventures during his life, including Thielman Implement in Chester and Havre, the Chester car wash, and a Missoula bakery, and was part owner of the Chester Chevrolet and GMC dealership, the Dunkirk Bar and the Meadow Lake Country Club in Columbia Falls.

He was involved with the Montana Hardware and Implement Dealers Association for many years and was a top salesman for Massey Ferguson in the United States, which allowed him to travel and win trips across the country and the world.

Jim enjoyed service organizations and was always involved in a cause. He was a founding president of the Jaycees in Chester, along with his brother-in-law, Dick O'Neil. He was also a founding member of the Chester Lions Club and served as District Governor (Kalispell) in 1988-1989. He remained an active member of the Great Falls Lions Club.

He had five children with former wife, Deanna Thielman of Columbia Falls.

Jim is survived by his children, Kenlyn Alvarez, Kim Ibes, Tom Thielman, Ed Thielman and Jason Thielman; his significant other, Sharon Hannah; sister Marge O'Neil; grandchildren Laura Alvarez, Michelle McClain, Aaron Thielman, Nathan Swanson, Zachary Swanson, Landon Thielman, Alexander Thielman and Abigail Thielman; and great grandchildren Bianca Sapians and soon-to-be-born, Kendrick McClain; nieces and nephews Ralph O'Neil, Tim Korman and Bonny Korman.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Dickie Thielman; sister Jodine Thielman; and nieces Shelly O'Neil and Vicky O'Neil.

Donations may be made in to Our Saviors Lutheran Benevolence Fund in Chester, Montana in memory of Jim.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com. SCHNIDER FUNERAL HOME

Funeral Home
Schnider Funeral Home
1510 13th Street South
Great Falls, MT 59405-4501
(406) 727-1368
Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 11, 2014
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