James Gorder (1943 - )

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James (Jim) Rodger Gorder, 68, passed away Wednesday, May 11, 2011, at Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton from complications due to multiple sclerosis.

Jim was born on May 7, 1943, to Oswald and Florentine Gorder in Havre and grew up in Rudyard. He graduated from Rudyard High School in 1961 and attended Northern Montana College, earning a two-year drafting certificate and a bachelor's degree in secondary education.

He began his teaching career in Circle. After teaching high school in Circle for one year, he moved to Joplin, where he taught high school for nine years. During this time he met his wife, Jane Cain, and they were married on July 22, 1972, in Laurel.

Jim and Jane moved to Bozeman for a brief time while Jim attended Montana State University. In 1976, he graduated from MSU with a teaching certification in elementary education and a master's degree in school administration.

He was the elementary principal in Terry for two years before moving to Fort Benton, where he was the elementary principal for 14 years. He retired from his administrative position in 1992, but continued to be active in the community by serving on the Fort Benton School Board from 1993 to 1996. Jim was also active in Kiwanis and was a member of Community Bible Church in Fort Benton.

Jim and Jane also owned The Paddlewheel art gallery and gift shop in downtown Fort Benton from 1991 to 1999.

Jim enjoyed many years of fishing, camping, bowling, walking, bike riding and sports of all kinds. He coached numerous high school basketball, track and football teams. He was diagnosed with MS in 1988, but continued to enjoy watching school sports and spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He said the best things he'd done in life were marrying Jane and having two wonderful girls.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Oswald and Florentine Gorder, his son, Rory Shane Gorder and his brother-in-law Donald Ledbetter.

He is survived by his wife, Jane Gorder of Fort Benton; daughters, Tanya (James) Cotterell of Bozeman and Trish (Patrick) Mahoney of Shoreline, Wash.; grandchildren, Emma, Lydia, Eila, and Nolan Cotterell and Alden and Tula Mahoney; sister, Pauline Lebetter of Oakland, Calif., and brother, William (Lois) Gorder of Kalispell, along with numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Memorials may be made to the Gorder College Scholarship Fund for local high school graduates and sent to P.O. Box 634, Fort Benton, MT 59442.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 16 at Community Bible Church in Fort Benton with interment following at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton. A reception will follow at Community Bible Church. Arrangements are in the care of Benton Funeral Home.

Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 14, 2011
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