John W. Simac 86, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Oct 2, 2019.
John was born Jan 26, 1933 in Winifred, Montana to Kuzma and Johanna Simac and grew up on the homestead that still stands today. He was the eleventh child born of seventeen. He told many stories that will be cherished for many years to come about growing up on the homestead with his siblings. John went to school in Winifred before joining the Army. He traveled to Europe during his time in the service and spoke highly about the places and experiences while serving his country
John and Lavonne Brown married in 1958. He was building highways across Montana for Maronick Construction, so the family moved frequently before settling in East Helena in 1970. John lived on Wylie Drive in East Helena until 2018 when he decided that he was ready to move off the farm and live in Kalsipell. He was able to sell the farm to his granddaughter so it would remain in the family. John and Lavonne raised 5 kids there making it a great place to grow up while instilling Simac values carried down from generation to generation. John and Lavonne stayed together for 24 years before going their separate ways. They remained close friends and John was at Lavonne’s bedside when she passed away in December, 2016.
Johns next chapter took him to Alaska where he worked as a Superintendent for Arctic Slope Alaska General and Brice Incorporated. He spent the next 20 years working on projects in Alaska before hanging up his work boots and settling back in East Helena. John never let the grass grow under his feet and was very well known as an excellent dance partner at the V.F.W on Sundays.
John was able to travel back with his family to Croatia in 2016, reunited with a cousin and found the home where his father grew up. After Croatia, John and the family adventured to New Zealand and he was already planning the next trip to China or the Panama Canal.
John enjoyed playing cribbage for fun and often competitively. Unlike many of us cribbage lovers, he was able to boast about his once in a lifetime 29 hand!! He was a loving father and mentor to more people than we could list…. you know who you are. John was a generous person who helped many through tough times. He encouraged and financially supported his children and grandchildren to attend college so they would have opportunities that were not available to him.
John spent the last eighteen months in Kalispell, MT where he was able to still take care of a couple cows and continue his love for gardening. He remained active with a young spirit and in better health than most. The day before John was called home, he picked apples from the family tree, of course not the low apples, John had something to prove by getting on a ladder and picking ALL the apples! After conquering the apple tree, he proceeded to skunk Debbie in a game of cribbage followed by giggling and clapping his hands to cherish the victory.
John is preceded in death by his parents, Kuzma and Johanna Simac, brothers Joseph and Gerald, sisters Helen, Stephany, Anne, Mary, Margaret, Rosie, and Katie, his daughter Donna, son Darwin, and his great-granddaughter Keeley. He is survived by brothers Jim and Bob; sisters Joan (Duane) Runyan, Dicy Smith, Fannie Ehlert, Lucy (Bill) Carr, Nancy Bates; sons David (Chris) Simac and Dennis (Teresa) Simac; daughter Debbie (Mark) Mulcahy; grandchildren, Ashley (Todd) Bachmeier; Whitney (Aaron) Schedel, Dylan Simac, Rachelle (Mike) Wagner, Janelle Meagher, Dustin Simac, Dalton Simac, Nicole Simac, Chelsea (Randy) Roberts, Tyson Simac, Karlee Simac, Paxson Simac, Kasey Mulcahy and his fiancé Sandi, Katelyn Mulcahy, and Kyle Mulcahy; 15 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
John will be missed by many that have crossed his path during his life. If he were here today, he would be setting up chairs before the service, helping with the luncheon, or selling his raffle tickets for the half of a pig that he donated throughout his time with Knights of Columbus.
The Services will be held at noon on Friday October 11 at St. Cyril & Methodious Catholic Church 120 W. Riggs St. East Helena, Montana
The family suggests memorial contributions be sent in Johns name.
East Helena Knights of Columbus #10576
PO Box 1577
Helena, Montana 59635