AttorneyJohn T. Jones
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Surrounded by the love of his family, and supported in spirit by so many close friends, John Timothy Jones passed away from complications of an autoimmune disease on May 7, 2020.
Born December 2, 1956, to James and Mary Ann Jones, John’s earliest years were spent playing baseball and picking crab apples near their family home on Pryor Lane in Billings, Montana. As a young man, he worked alongside his brothers in the family construction business. Together they built the Jones cabin near Yellowstone National Park, which remains a cherished gathering place to this day. Taking great pride in his family and their work ethic, John carried the principles of a well-run jobsite to his future endeavors as a student, professional, and patriarch.
Venturing outside Montana after high school, he attended the University of Munich, Germany, and received his B.A. degree from Willamette University in 1979. He received his J.D. degree from the University of Puget Sound in 1983, and also received an LL.M. degree, in taxation, from Boston University in 1985. He was Articles Editor of Boston University Journal of Tax Law which published his article, "Marital Deduction Planning With QTIP After The 1984 Tax Reform Act."
While at Willamette University, John met the love of his life, Darla, and forever endeared her at the campus Sweetheart Dance in February of 1979. His and Darla’s marriage was blessed with two boys, Sean and Nathan. John encouraged his boys to find their own voice and to consider the merits of opposing arguments. He was known to leave notes on the kitchen table, or letters on the boys’ bedroom dressers — through which he often imparted a kindness for humanity and a disregard for well-worn paths. John was lucky enough to welcome two grandchildren into the world — Henry and Isabella – with whom he formed immediate and unique bonds, their lives forever enriched for having met Grandpa Johnny. Throughout all, John and Darla were always unconditional hosts to close friends and family.
Continuing his professional work, John clerked for the Montana Supreme Court in Helena during 1984-1985. In 1985, he began a long and successful career at Moulton Bellingham PC in Billings, where his aptitudes were appreciated and his leadership encouraged. He loved his role and treasured the many professional and personal relationships he developed with his broad range of clients. He was proud to be a Shareholder and, for many years, the President of Moulton Bellingham PC. John treated everyone with respect and dignity - he recognized the importance of everyone’s efforts to a successful outcome – he always made a point to say thank you to fellow attorneys and staff.
John was an exceptional friend, partner, attorney and advisor. He was recognized by his peers and was listed in Martindale-Hubbell - Peer Rating “AV Preeminent” (Highest Rating), The Best Lawyers in America, The Chambers USA Guide - Highest Rating, and in the Mountain States Super Lawyer for Real Estate, Health Care, and Tax. John had the ability to address and resolve complex legal issues with common sense and integrity. John was truly a leader and a mentor, not only in the local community but also on a State and national level as well.
John’s community contributions were many and he served for many years on many boards: Board of Trustees for Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana; as Trustee of the Yellowstone Art Museum Finance Committee; as Director of the Wells Fargo Bank of Billings Community Board of Directors; as President of Montana Captive Insurance Association; and as past President and Board Chair, Self-Insurance Institute of America. John was dedicated to the philanthropic work of the Charles M. Bair Family Trust, serving on its Board of Directors and as Board Chair. John gave his time and talents to many more causes too numerous to list.
John had great success in life, but he deeply appreciated the little rewarding moments. Over his life, he coached several athletic teams and he was overjoyed when former athletes passed him in town with a, “Hey Coach Jones.” One memorable summer, John provided a Little League team in a small Montana town with their very first set of matching jerseys – and he was so pleased when they enjoyed a winning season that year. There wasn’t much in the world that gave John more joy than helping those around him succeed.
The outpouring of support after John’s passing serves as a testament to the quality of his character. Everyone who knew John was amazed by his ability to bring out excellence in the people around him. He is missed.