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Obituary for James Scarborough

James Scarborough
Jim Scarborough, passed away from a sudden heart attack on Friday afternoon, June 22, 2018, in Missoula. He was 76.

Born in Billings on April 2, 1942, Jim was a kid steeped in Montana heritage. Because of his fiery spirit and being small in stature, he was introduced to boxing at a young age. Jim's early summers were spent on his grandfather’s ranch in Deer Lodge where he learned about animals and he jockeyed horses. He was a devoted alter boy and later attended Billings Central Catholic High School. He was a “jock,” excelling in many sports and became a well-known running back for the Billings Central Ram’s football team. While in high school, Jim was also the manager at the local swimming pool which required him at one point to clean the entire pool after the circus elephants had used it to bathe. Jim was most proud of being a “Southsider" of Billings.

Jim attended Gonzaga University. While at Gonzaga, he started working for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He met Sharon May, a Gonzaga classmate, and they married shortly after graduation and started to build a life together in Spokane, Washington. As he moved locations and responsibilities, he quickly grew a reputation for his business acumen, never backing down from a tough challenge, and turning around struggling stores. In 1972, Jim moved his wife and two daughters to Missoula to purchase an established Goodyear Tire dealership called The Mueller Tire Company with his childhood best friend, Dave McNally. Within eight years, Jim’s dedication to his community found him in positions such as the President of the Rotary Club, President of the Country Club and the advisory board of St. Patrick’s Hospital. When Jim was not working, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, and playing poker with the closest of his friends. He was known for his tenaciousness, wit, generosity, impassioned support for the Grizzly Athletic programs, and his “rampage” driving habits on the golf course.

In 1980, and at the young age of 38, Jim was in a terrible automobile accident. Never one to walk away from a fight, his recovery spanned several years and required that he completely start a new life. His gritty work ethic and sense of community involvement never wavered, which allowed him to redefine himself. Already known for his sense of humor and gags, he channeled that energy to bring joy and special moments every day to many people throughout Missoula. He relished his Missoula Northside route for Meals on Wheels and he became a beloved courier for the Missoula banks, real estate offices and title companies. He spoke for The Heads Up Organization, charged with educating people to wear seat belts. For several years, Jim authored the One Man’s Opinion column in the Missoulian highlighting various categories such as "The Buy of the Week" and "The Pretty Woman of the Week." He continued to play poker in The Timid Nickel Poker Group and never gave up his daily morning “Coffee Club” gatherings for the next 38 years of his life.

Jim was rarely seen without a baseball cap on. He was famous for his one-liners. He loved a good cigar. Jim also enjoyed politics and was exceptionally loyal to his friendships and family. When you were a friend of Jim’s you knew generosity, laughter, adventure and that you were special.

Jim is survived by his wife, Sharon; daughters, Stacey Scarborough, Stephanie (Michael) Coy; and brother, Bill (Sandy) Scarborough. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Jack and Jeff Coy, and numerous nieces, nephews and close family friends. He joins in heaven his parents, Robert and Leona. Jim will be buried in Laurel with many generations of his Montana ancestors.

A funeral service and reception will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church in Missoula at noon on Thursday, June 28, 2018. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in remembrance of Jim may be made to one of Jim’s favorite charities: Meals on Wheels, Missoula Aging Service, Missoula Youth Homes, or the Missoula Early Head Start on 2121 39th St., Missoula, Montana.

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