James “Jim” G. Satake passed away Wednesday afternoon, January 15, 2020. His 90th birthday would have been in February. Jim was born to Sichiro and Fudeo Satake on February 19, 1930, in Harlowton, Montana. He was the 9th of 10 children. A proud Harlo Engineer, Jim earned the right to play in the third Montana East-West Shrine Football game in 1949. He then began his career with the Milwaukee Railroad, a relationship that forged his identity, and initiated him into a fraternity of railroaders that defined him for the rest of his life.
While he was a young Milwaukee railroader in Harlowton, he fell in love with a new schoolteacher and married Kathleen Dunnigan on June 13, 1966. With his new bride he moved to Three Forks, where he built his home and raised his three children, Steve, Scott, and Janelle.
Jim’s vocation was one of service. He was proud to have served for eight years as a Montana National Guard soldier, and for 22 years on the Three Forks Fire Department, three years as chief. He also volunteered at the Three Forks Food Bank. Into his 80s he continued to shovel snow for his “older” ladies; Jim also drove two different neighbors to Ennis and Townsend each week to visit their spouses in adult care facilities. He made fast friends with the staff and the other patients in both facilities and brought his own special light to all who encountered him; his desire to help others continued to the very end. More recently, Jim enjoyed dinner at the Senior Center, where he took pleasure in the company of the other members and the great meals.
Jim had many passions, first and foremost his family. His trust in God was unwavering, and at Easter in 1991 he professed his faith when he joined the Catholic Church. He loved football (Go Packers!), hunting, fishing, camping, music, and dancing. He was blessed to share these adventures with his family. From fishing trips at Canyon Ferry with his grandsons to teaching his granddaughters how to dance in the kitchen, Jim expressed his love for his family by spending time with them and showing them the love in the opportunities God has given us.
Jim is survived by his wife of 53 years Kathie, children and grandchildren Steve and Monica Satake (Trevor, Chloe, Aryiah) of Meridian, Idaho; Scott and Katie Satake (Jake, Olivia) of Spokane, Washington; and Janelle and Zane Fulbright (Greg, Sam, Ellie, Maggie) of Lewistown, Montana; sister Rose Watanabe, sister-in-law Kazue Satake, brother-in-law Tom Dunnigan and countless nieces and nephews whom he loved very much.
Jim’s Funeral Vigil will be Thursday, January 23 at 7 PM at Holy Family Catholic Church in Three Forks. Mass of the Resurrection will be on Friday morning, January 24 at 9 am. Interment will follow in the Three Forks Cemetery, and dinner immediately after at Holy Family Parish. Donations in memory of Jim may be made to the Three Forks Area Ambulance, Headwaters Area Food Bank, or the Three Forks Senior Center.