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Nov. 5, 1947-Nov. 23, 2018

John Stephen Simonich passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah on Nov. 23, 2018 with his family by his side.

John was born in Butte on Nov. 5, 1947 to Joseph and Ann Stajcar Simonich. John was the youngest of three children.

He attended St. Ann’s School, graduated from Christian Brother’s (Boys Central) and Eastern Montana College in Billings, Montana where he earned his teaching degree and also played college football. John loved sports and the outdoors. He participated in track, baseball, football, archery, fishing and was an avid hunter.

After college, he joined the Teachers Corp., and was assigned to Hardin on the Crow Agency where he met Ivan Small and a lasting friendship was made.

John worked as a right-of-way agent for Mountain Bell. After a few years the call of the wild won John over and he became a hunting guide in the Big Hole and Gardiner areas. John bought a paint contract business 25 years ago that kept him busy up to the last week of his departure.

John’s greatest joys were his two girls, Cortney Gaved and Mandy Buckingham. He always encouraged their dreams and their love for rodeo, sports and school. He attended all events and performances. Mandy became his hunting partner and Cortney continued to excel in barrel racing. He “popped buttons” when he spoke of them. Almost two years ago he became a proud grandfather (Papa) to little Walter John Gaved.

He was preceded in death by his dad, Joe Simonich; grandparents, Joe and Steffie Simonich, and John and Mary Stajcar; Uncle John Stajcar and Aunt Louise Casagranda; as well as great-aunts and uncles.

He is survived by his daughters, Cortney (Travis) Gaved and their son, Walter John in Nevada and Mandy (Rob) Buckingham in Alaska; mother, Ann Simonich, Butte; brother, Jim (Connie) Simonich, Big Timber; sister, Merry Jo (Rick) Smith, Kalispell; aunts, Tina Stajcar and Millie Shott; and uncle, Earl Casagranda.

Your infectious smile, entertaining stories, zest for life, and sparkle in your eyes will be missed by many. You will be in our hearts and always remembered. The bears will live on for you.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at St. Ann’s Church. A luncheon will follow.

Memorials may be made to Butte Central or the Butte Food Bank.

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