James E. Lotan, 82, of Stevensville, Mont. passed away on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 at Community Medical Center in Missoula.
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Jim was born March 20, 1931 in Lake City, Mich. to William and Marion (McVicar) Lotan. As a young boy, he grew up on the Lotan family farm where he developed his respect and love for draft horses. His family moved to Pontiac, Mich. to own and run a family grocery store. Jim worked in the family store during after-school hours and graduated from Pontiac High School. After high school Jim served in the United States Coast Guard for three years.
On April 28, 1951 he married Ruth E. Christoffersen in Pontiac, Mich. Together they made numerous moves across the United States in support of his education and career. They had five children: Gloria Marie, Ellen Marie, James Eric Christopher, Leif Eric Christopher, and Kari Marie.
Jim received his B.S. degree in forestry from Louisiana State University in 1959, his M.S. in forestry from the University of Michigan in 1961, and his Ph.D. in forestry sciences from the University of Michigan in 1970. He worked in a variety of forestry research positions including the Deerlodge National Forest out of Boulder, Mont.; the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, Mich.; the Forestry Sciences Lab in Bozeman, and the Northern Forest Fire Laboratory and Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Mont. He also served as an adjunct professor for the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Upon retirement from the Forest Service, Jim owned and operated Lotan Horse Logging out of Stevensville, Mont.
Jim was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church and the American Legion in Stevensville. He was an avid hunter and horseman. He was proud of demonstrating horse logging on National Forest and private lands. He enjoyed photography and in later years also enjoyed gardening and growing tomatoes in his greenhouse. Always with an interest in the latest technology, "Gadget Man" prided himself on the ability to learn and use today's social media. Long distance family and friends will miss the weekly and sometimes daily chats with Jim on Skype and Facebook.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth of Stevensville; daughter and son-in-law, Gloria (Richard) Stablein, of Monroe, Wash.; son, J. Eric Christopher Lotan of Stevensville, Mont.; daughter and son-in-law, Kari (Monte) Clark of Stevensville, Mont.; grandson, Christopher (Jennifer) Stablein of Sultan, Wash.; granddaughter, Karlyn (John) Clark of Maple Valley, Wash.; and grandson, Alexander Lotan of Stevensville, Mont. James has five great-grandchildren: Hunter, Leif, and Finn Clark, and Keira and Keeley Stablein. He is also survived by brothers, Welland, Larry, and Russell Lotan and a sister, Marcia Lotan Groves. He was preceded in death by his son, Leif Eric Christopher Lotan and daughter, Ellen Marie Lotan.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 at Our Savior Lutheran Church on Pine Hollow Road in Stevensville, followed by graveside service at Riverside Cemetery in Stevensville.
The family suggests memorials in Jim's name to Our Savior Lutheran Church, 129 Pine Hollow Road, Stevensville, MT 59870 or a horse rescue facility of your choice.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2013