John G. Zuck passed away peacefully at home with loved ones by his side on Thursday, February 21, 2019. He was born in Scobey MT on April 1, 1932, the middle son of Myrtle and Leo Zuck. Being born on April Fool’s Day was fitting for John.
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As a young boy he lived in Scobey, Ft. Peck and Dennison TX before settling in Billings. He attended McKinley, Jefferson and Lincoln schools graduating from Billings Senior High in 1950. He went on to attend the University of Montana, receiving a degree in Business Management. After graduating from college, John married Donna Dodge and later embarked on a career as a State Farm Agent. Donna and John had five children together, Bob (Pam), Mike (Patti), John, Kass (Brian) and Tim (Tiffany). In 1970 John remarried to Ortha Lavon (Lollie) Fritzler. This expanded the Zuck clan to nine, including Jolynn, Terrance (Jody), Kathy, and Lissa (Kevin). John took great pride in having a big family, accepting Lollie’s children as his own.
Having fun was a high priority for John. He loved the cabin he and his father built south of Red Lodge. This enclave became the family retreat for holidays and fun-filled weekends. It was the gathering place that afforded the family many activities which revolved around horses, motorcycles, snowmobiles, an occasional boating day at Cooney Dam and most importantly skiing at Red Lodge Mtn. John took pride in his Montana heritage which he passed on to his children. He often said, “We live in the best place.”
In addition to being a successful State Farm Agent for 35 years John and his brother Leslie took to land development, creating successful ventures in Boyd, Red Lodge and Nye. They were a great team.
With nine children under one roof, there was never a lack for shenanigans around the home, and more often than not, John was the instigator. He loved pushing buttons, all in fun, to get a reaction, and upon achieving his goal, that infectious laugh would come out. No matter how mad his tricks might make you, his laugh would neutralize the anger. It was all about taking the mundane and making it amusing.
John was a member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church, and Laurel Golf Club. He loved to play golf, and was also known to join his poker buddies from time to time but most of all he loved his family. You could catch him observing the grandchildren and later great-grandchildren with his hat cocked to one side and a chuckle to himself as he enjoyed the show. His stories and laughter will be greatly missed.
John is preceded in death by his parents, Myrtle and Leo, brothers, Leroy and Leslie, wife Lollie and step- daughter JoLynn. He is survived by his eight children, 19 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
The family would like to give special thanks to the team of caregivers who allowed him to reside in his own home these past few years. The level of patience and compassion they provided will always be greatly appreciated.
Memorial gifts are invited to the Alzheimer’s Association – Montana chapter at 3010 11th Ave N. Billings, MT 59101.
Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, March 30, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 707 W. 3rd Street, Laurel, MT with a reception to follow.