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Jean Robert Kriz, 85

| May 2, 2021 12:00 AM

Jean Robert Kriz was born in Wagner, South Dakota, on March 2, 1936, to Emil and Adella Kriz. The oldest of five kids, Jean grew up on a farm northeast of Geddes, South Dakota, where he excelled at high school sports and graduated from high school.

Married to Mary Ellen Phillips on April 20, 1958, Jean was soon drafted into the Army and served a tour in the Signal Corps during peacetime South Korea. Baseball was huge in the military then and Jean had many fond memories playing competitive baseball for his Division.

Jean and Mary started their family on a farm northeast of Geddes, South Dakota, one mile away from his grandfather’s homestead. When they sold the farm around 1972, Jean and Mary moved their family to Northwest Montana, eventually settling in Columbia Falls. Jean worked as an outfitter guiding hunters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness; guiding horseback rides in Glacier National Park; worked on a ranch in Princeton, Idaho; ran heavy equipment in Alaska, finally settling as a heavy equipment operator at the Stoltz Lumber Company until he retired. In 2009, Jean and Mary moved to Mesa, Arizona, to be closer to their daughters and granddaughter.

Jean was very hardworking and self-reliant as many farmers are. He missed being a farmer his entire adult life after leaving his farm.

Jean enjoyed trap shooting, ice skating, welding, building things, watching baseball and football, and figuring out how things worked. He loved taking videos and acquired hundreds of hours of videos over the years. One of Jean’s biggest joys was becoming a grandfather to Jordyn in 2003 and over the years, being able to be close and participate in her life.

Jean passed away on April 24, 2021, and is survived by his wife, Mary; sisters, Connie (John) Smith, Laura (Dave) Batchelor, Joan (Marlin) Fredericksen, and Patricia (Tim) Baumberger; son, Phillip (Joanne Morrow) Kriz, daughters Mary (Dave) Harris, Marla (Kevin) Role, and granddaughter Jordyn Role whom he loved dearly.