James Allison Rawlings, 82, of Billings, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. Jim was born to William Eber and Lucile Elzey Rawlings in Cottonwood, Idaho, Feb. 4, 1935.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patricia Barney Rawlings; siblings William Rawlings, Ann Cole, and Jane Kirkendall (Steve); three children, Stacy DeBritz (Michael), Susan Marshall (David), and Stephanie von Friedeburg (Arnim); seven grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
After graduating from Billings Senior High School in 1953, he joined the U.S. Marine Corp, serving during the Korean War. He attended Montana State University and graduated as a civil engineer. He was a proud member of the Beta Rho Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and remained a Life Loyal Sigma Chi. He spent forty years working for the Federal Government in the Bureau of Reclamation and continued as an engineering contractor with Touch America after retirement. Jim was a long-standing member of the Episcopal Church and served as the senior warden of St. Stephen’s vestry.
An athlete and quintessential outdoorsman, Jim loved the animal world, hunting, fishing and enjoying his Red Lodge cabin. He hunted elk in western Montana for over fifty years with a very special group of fraternity brothers. In the words of his grandchildren, Jim was “stoic, quiet, selfless and kind. A cowboy, an engineer, a father, a grandfather, a Montana man in every sense of the word. Whether it was rescuing a moose in negative degree weather, advocating for Native Americans, or building a campfire to keep his family warm, he was by design the type of hero most of us strive to be.”
Contributions may be made in Jim’s memory to The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (rmef.org). Jim will be cremated and a private memorial service will be held at a later date.