• Date Of Birth: March 7, 1922
  • Date Of Death: February 5, 2015
  • State: Montana

John Phillip “Jack” Eidel, 92, of Great Falls, died of natural causes February 5th in Great Falls.

Jack was born on March 7, 1922, in Hinsdale, Montana to Phillip and Olive Eidel. The family moved to the ranch at Eden when he was 8 months old. He attended Red Butte School, Paris Gibson Junior High and graduated from Great Falls High School in 1939. Following his older brother, Chuck, Jack attended the University of Montana in Missoula where he was a member and president of Mu Deuteron chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1943.

In the fall of 1944, on the luckiest day of his life, Jack met Betty Jane Hill on a blind date. They were married August 29, 1947 in Great Falls, and lived in the Great Falls area where they raised their family. He and Betty loved to travel throughout the country, especially Hawaii. They also took advantage of more exotic vacations surrounding the National Stockgrowers Conventions. In more recent years, he enjoyed vacations with his daughters to Hawaii and Arizona. He also loved long afternoon drives through the countryside.

Jack took over the ranch after the death of his father in 1946, and continued to grow the business for 50 years. He raised sheep, hogs, and cattle, and started the Eidel feedlot in Manchester in 1956. He was a progressive operator and leader in the agriculture industry in Montana.

Jack was a leader in the community where he served as a director of Norwest Bank, Deaconess Hospital, Cattle Fax, National Beef Board, Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, Montana Beef Council, Foothills Livestock Association, the original United Way committee in Great Falls, National Beef Board, Montana Reef Committee, Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the President of Montana Stockgrowers Association. He was especially proud of his Masonic affiliations: Demolay Legion of Honor, Board member of Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disabilities Clinic, Court Jester #5, 33rd degree Mason, Algeria Shrine Temple, Scottish Rite, Masonic Lodge Delta #128, Associate Guardian of Jobs Daughters Bethel #9, and the Shrine Motocycle Tauf Shrine Unit.

Jack’s main focus in life was his family. He was generous with his time and resources, and had an especially soft spot in his heart for children. He provided the opportunity for each of his children and grandchildren to be educated, independent and productive members of society. He loved his family. He was happiest when surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved watching them play at the family cabin on Placid Lake.

He was an avid Griz fan, attending Griz football games for 75 years. He also enjoyed the rivalry between his Bobcat kids and friends. He was the self-proclaimed cribbage champion among his family and friends. He was always up for a game of crib. Jack’s sense of humor was second to none. He lovingly teased his friends and family, always with that twinkle in his eyes.

Jack was preceded in death by his wife, Betty in 2004; his parents, Phil and Olive Eidel, sister, Dorothea Bradley and brother, Charles Eidel; niece, Leota Henrichs and nephew, Bill Eidel.

He is survived by his brother, Phil Eidel (Myra Demopoulus) of Belt; daughters, Marcia Eidel, of Helena, Patti Ashmore (Wiley Kendle) of Great Falls, Barbara Eidel, of Apple Valley, California, and son, Jay Eidel of Great Falls. In addition, he is survived by his grandchildren, J.P Eidel (Lindsay) of Minneapolis, MN, Lindsay Amundson (Matt) of Fargo, ND, Matthew Ashmore (Kelsey O’Connell) of Missoula, and Sarah Goldsmith (Jeff) of Goodyear, Arizona. He was “Grumpy Jack” to Jack, Conner and Liam Amundson of Fargo, ND, and Cullen Eidel of Minneapolis, MN. He was looking forward to the birth of the Goldsmith twins in July. He is also survived by nieces, Jan Halbakken (Steve) of Seattle, WA and Coleen Eidel of Great Falls; nephews, Bob Fontaine(Marie) of Cody, WY, Mike Bradley (Maria) of Merritt Island, FL, and Tom Eidel of Albany, OR and several great nieces and nephews.

Jack was a man who knew prosperity but never lost the common touch.

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