James Paul Winslow, Sr., 89, of Troy, died Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in his home on Savage Lake, surrounded by his children and his cats.
Jim was born Feb. 19, 1928, in Sheridan to Ervin W. “Dutch” and Elizabeth “Libby” (Shafer) Winslow. The family moved in the 1930s to Idaho and then to the Yaak in northwestern Montana, where Jim’s father worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps. From there, the family settled on land at Savage Lake, three miles south of Troy. Jim graduated from Troy High School in 1946.
He joined the U.S. Navy on May 4, 1948, and served for four years. Color blindness kept him from getting into flight school, but he still fulfilled his love for aviation as crew chief on a B-24 Liberator making surveillance flights over the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and in Italy. He was honorably discharged May 2, 1952, as a Second Class Petty Officer structural mechanic. Jim always spoke with great pride about his service in the Navy.
While stationed in Naples, Italy, Jim met his future wife, Nunzia Ferraro. They were married in Italy in a civil ceremony and later, on Sept. 14, 1952, in the Catholic Church in Libby. Nunzia (Nancy) and Jim raised three children in Troy. Jim and Nancy moved to a home they built at Savage Lake — on the Winslow ranch — in the mid—1980s. Nancy died at home on Nov. 24, 2005.
Jim worked as a mechanic for the J. Neils Lumber Co. in Libby after high school and returned to that job after he was discharged from the Navy. In the early 1950s, he went into business for himself, establishing a construction company and hiring a crew that built mostly logging roads in the forests of Northwestern Montana. He loved his work and running heavy equipment – his bulldozers, backhoe, grader, dump truck – you name it.
He also found time to become an emergency medical technician for the Troy Volunteer Ambulance. Later, he became involved with the Troy Volunteer Fire Department and Troy Rural Volunteer Fire Department, serving as chief of the city department for a time during his 45-year stint. At one time, he was mayor of Troy.
Though raising a family and running a business, he managed to get his pilot’s license as a young man, and flew a Cessna 150, Cessna 170B taildragger and Cessna 182 Skylane before — in his mid—60s — learning to fly aerobatics. He bought a Citabria aerobatic airplane, and after taking lessons in Sandpoint, Idaho, flew with a three—plane team of Citabrias that performed stunts at airshows in Montana and Idaho. His aileron rolls, loops and inverted flight — with colored smoke trailing from the fuselage — entertained the audience, but scared the heck out of his family.
In his retirement on the home place, he restored antique trucks and fixed engines and such, spending many an hour in his shop, often with visitors stopping buy.
At age 79, Jim met Dorothy Peterson while grocery shopping in Rosauers in Libby. They married July 5, 2008, and lived at the Savage Lake home, making trips to California, Michigan (on Amtrak), Missouri and Las Vegas, among other destinations. They had eight happy years together before Dorothy died on Oct. 13, 2014.
Jim is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, James Paul and Roxanne “Cookie’’ Winslow, Troy; daughters, Lisa Winslow and partner, Lori Castaldo, of Chico, California, and Carmen Winslow of Butte and Pat Grantham of Clancy; grandchildren, Denver (Anita) Winslow of Troy, and Amy (Keenan) Pfeifle, of Billings; and great-grandchildren, Derrick Winslow of Missoula, Cy Winslow of Troy, and Reese and Kenna Pfeifle of Billings; brothers, Ray Winslow and Bill Winslow, Bull Lake Road; and sisters, Jeanne Lindholm and Jane (Martin) Weber, all of Spokane.
Funeral Mass starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Troy, with Father Richard Kluk officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at the Milnor Lake Cemetery. Schnackenberg and Nelson Funeral Home of Libby is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.
Memorials may be made to the Troy Volunteer Fire Department.