Cover photo for Jim Edward Willems's Obituary
Jim Edward Willems Profile Photo
1937 Jim 2024

Jim Edward Willems

September 18, 1937 — July 2, 2024

Jim Edward Willems, 86, of Lewistown passed away peacefully Tuesday, July 2, 2024 at Valle Vista Manor. 

 Jim was born September 18, 1937 in Harlowton, Montana to Edward and Florence (Oscall) Willems. He attended school in Judith Gap, Montana. He joined the Navy in 1957. He met the love of his life, Selma Ray Sawyer, in the summer of '64. They were engaged in October and married on December 30th, 1964. Jim and Selma had 6 children. He was a great dad. He was gentle with his hands and loved his children deeply. Papa Jim was blessed with 19 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter. 

 Through the years Jim supported his family by working for Burke Motors, AK Equipment, Musick Implement, Meisner Tractor, and Torgerson's as a setup man, salesman, and parts man. Everyone who knew Jim knew how much he loved tractors, not just any tractors, but International Harvester tractors. "If it's not red, keep it in the shed!" For years he had the best garden in town and could fix just about any small engine that crossed his path. He spent his retirement as the "Lawn Mower Guy," going to garage sales every chance he got, collecting things he loved, being a part of Flywheelers Chapter 40, spending time with family and loving the Lord.

We couldn't have asked for a better husband, dad, papa and brother. We will miss him every day and his memory will live on in the hearts of all that loved him.

 Jim was survived by his wife of 59 years; children Raedene Matthews of Lewistown, Shawn Willems (Tana) of Billings, Laurie Willems of Lewistown, Rusty Willems (Gimpa) of Belgrade, Lynel Willems (Lu) of Rock Springs, Wyoming and Jim J Willems of Tallahassee, Florida; sisters Joann Shorten of Helena and Nancy (Bud) Hampa of Helena; brother-in-law Merlyn Sawyer of Ardmore, Oklahoma (Nana); sisters-in-law Linda Willems of Las Vegas, Nevada, Carolyn Aurthur of Hilger and Kathy Follinglow of Edgar; Grandchildren Alyssa, Justin (Nicole), Payton, Chase (Lizzie), Garrett, Camden, Jayson, Chloe, Aurora (Parker), Brady, Noah, Mikeala, Byron, Nora, Jax, Mazy, Madi, Gracie and Lelah and great-granddaughter Dahlia and many nieces and nephews.

 Jim was preceded in death by his parents Ed and Florence; father and mother-in-law Norman and Ruby Sawyer; brother John Willems; brothers-in-law Thomas Follinglow, Ray Shorten, and Thomas Aurthur; sons-in-law Bill Matthews and Mason Berry.

 Cremation has taken place, and a celebration of life is planned for Saturday, September 21, 2024 at Frank Day Park in Lewistown, MT at 11 a.m. Please bring a chair and a memory to share. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jim Edward Willems, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 21, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Frank Day Park

Lewistown, MT 59457

Please bring a chair and a memory to share.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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