Jim "WJ" Anderson passed away July 8, 2016, after a valiant battle with his tragic affliction. Long time cowboy and guest ranch owner, Jim was born in Connecticut, raised on a farm in Middlebury, Vermont, and educated at Holderness School and Williams College where he excelled in football, alpine and Nordic skiing and lacrosse.
The Guest Book is expired.
Introduced to the west by his grandmother, who took his brother, Hank, and him to the Elkhorn Ranch outside West Yellowstone every summer, Jim drove to his first job at the Elkhorn shortly after graduation and his marriage to Cheryl Payne, mother of his daughter, Lacey Dawn, and never looked back. He was the first easterner ever hired to the position of wrangler by then managers, Ron and Barb Hymas. He was an astute and quick study, learning to train mules to pack, pull and ride, a combination achieved by few mule trainers. He was seen for several years perched on a buck wagon driving an eight-mule team in the Ennis Fourth of July Parade.
Jim was manager of Lone Mountain Ranch during the development of the Big Sky Resort. After leaving Lone Mountain, he ran Mud Creek Mule Parlor Outfitters before moving to Wyoming to purchase and operate Paradise Guest Ranch. With his then wife, Leah, they rebuilt the ranch to become one of the premier guest ranches in the country while raising their two sons, Cade and Travis. Jim was elected by his peers to serve a two-year term as president of the Dude Ranchers Association. Leah and Clay (Miller) and sons continue to own and operate the ranch.
Jim retired to Gallatin Gateway with his dogs and horses, birds and deer. He pursued his passions riding, skiing, and tennis until his health failed him. He was an active and much loved member of the Hope Lutheran Church of Bozeman.
He leaves his beloved companion, Ellen Connolly; daughter, Lacey Dawn Green (John) and their three children; sons, Cade and Travis; brothers, Charles Henry "Hank" and Townsend Hill "Towny" Anderson; uncles, Henry "Harry" and David Anderson and Charles Townsend Ludington; and aunts, Fytie Drayton and Jane Ludington.
A celebration of his life will be Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, 11 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, Bozeman, Montana with a luncheon to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local animal shelter in his name. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 21, 2016