John Kolstad
1926 - 2020

John Kolstad

John Kolstad, age 94, passed away from the Covid-19 virus at the Frances Mahon Deaconess hospital on Nov. 7, 2020. He was born on May 12, 1926 in Glasgow, Montana to parents Bernt and Caroline Kolstad.

He attended grade school at the Tampico and Billingsley schools, and graduated from Glasgow High School. On August 9, 1944, at 18 years of age, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps to join the fight in World War II. He was trained in B17 and B29 aircraft gunnery and bomb dropping. He trained at several bases in the US and was later stationed at Irrimagawa, Japan. After returning from WWII, he worked at the Glasgow Hotel and eventually owned it. He served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce and President of Kiwanis. He was engaged in farming and ranching. He later owned heavy equipment and provided earth moving services.

He was proud of the ranch he built on Cherry Creek where he spent his later years.

He raced power boats, was a small aircraft pilot, and enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

John married Dorothy Molvig on July 2, 1955 and they had three sons: Jere, Gary and Perry.

John was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Ben. He is survived by his former wife, Dorothy Kolstad, of Billings, Montana; his sons: Jere (Emily) of Missoula, Montana, Gary (Janet) of Houston, Texas, and Perry (Jane) Kolstad of Glasgow, Montana; five grandchildren: Tessa Kolstad, Lucas Kolstad, Dylan (Tiffany) Kolstad, Kalynn Kolstad and Lauren Kolstad; brother George Kolstad and three sisters, Betty Halden, Grace Houghton and Sylvia Thomas.

Given the current situation with Covid-19 virus, a memorial service will be scheduled for later in 2021, probably in early summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials and donations can be made in John's name to the Pioneer Museum, 816 US Highway 2 West, Glasgow, Montana, 59230. Condolences for the family may be left at

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Published by Billings Gazette on Nov. 17, 2020.
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Funeral services provided by:
Bell Mortuary
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John (we always called him Johnnie) was 9 years older that I, so when I was 9, he was enlisting in the Air Corps. When he finished his duty, he arrived with an accordian that a fellow soldier had sold to him, Paola Soprani, made in Italy, with 140 bass, 15 tones, and 27 lbs., an upgrade from the little Hohner we had on the farm. About 1958, he sold this to me, and he continued purchasing and playing accordians the rest of his life. I remember he brought back a sword and other items from Japan, and was interested in their culture. He had a habit of becoming fascinated in a subject and studying it to his satisfaction, and then going on to the next thing. Johnnie was a very handsome teen and young man, and people enjoyed being around him as he liked to laugh and have a good time. Our paths did not cross often since 1955, but we did try to stay in touch occasionally. I'm the youngest sister, Sylvia.
Sylvia Katherine (Kolstad) Thomas
December 2, 2020