Joseph "Joe" J. Gudatis Jr., 49, of Great Falls, a graphic artist, died from cardiac arrest at his home on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. His funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, at O'Connor Funeral Memorial Chapel in Great Falls, with burial to follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
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Joe was an avid outdoorsman reveling in all the beauty, challenges and activities the outdoors had to offer. He dearly loved his family and friends as well as having a great love and compassion for animals. Joe was an extremely talented graphic artist and photographer. Additionally, he created extraordinary and unique designs which he sandblasted into rocks, mirrors and glass.
Joe graduated from Great Falls High School in 1980. He went on to pursue a college degree and graduated with honors from Montana State University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts/art/graphic design in 2004.
He maintained a keen interest in both local and world events. Joe additionally displayed a tremendous interest in science, history adventure, exploration, technology, invention along with other various and diverse subjects. He enjoyed working out, music, art and learning – interests which he shared with his son.
The main focus and light of his life was his son, Jourdon. The two of them enjoyed so many activities and shared interests together including hiking, walking the dogs and biking – particularly along the River's Edge trail, Scout camping activities, skiing, going to movies and other events … simply spending time together and enjoying each other's companionship – no matter what they were doing. Joe even got a kick out of chauffeuring an extremely popular and very busy teenage son around. He was always glad to do anything and everything he could for and with his son.
Joe was involved in the farm during his childhood and adolescent years, sharing many of the same interests and activities with his father Joe Sr., as Joe himself later did with his own son, Jourdon. Joe, Jourdon and various cherished dogs spent a great of time out at the farm.
Joe had an extremely quick wit and delightful, unique sense of humor and was always coming up with creative things to amuse those around him. This sense of comedy is another of the many traits he and his son, Jourdon shared. He had a variety of jobs throughout the years such as fighting forest fires, river rafting/outfitting, handling and caring for dogs along with graphic artist/illustrator.
Joe is survived by his son Jourdon Gudatis, his mother Lois Gudatis, and his sister Diane Gudatis, all of Great Falls; and his sister, Janet Bauer and his nephew, Joseph of Phoenix Ariz.
Joe was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Gudatis Sr.
His untimely death was completely unexpected and sudden. Joe died of cardiac arrest without any of us knowing heart problems existed. We who knew and loved him will profoundly mourn his passing. He was truly a beloved father, son, brother and friend – a man with a wonderful intellect, amazing talent and sensitive soul.
You will be so missed, dearest Joe. You knew the true meaning of courage and heart. May You Always and Forevermore Have Only Joyous and Peaceful Trails Before You!
Anyone wishing to make a tribute in Joe's honor is most welcome to make a donation in his name to the Humane Society of the USA, 2100 L. St. N.W., Washington, DC 20037, phone (202) 452-1100, or at www.humanesociety.org.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 27, 2011