James “Jim” Patelis, 85, an auto dealer service manager before moving to Billings, died Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at St. Vincent Healthcare.
He was born to Christos and Marie (Philipp) Patelis on Jan. 22, 1927, in Bethlehem, Pa. His father died when he was 7 years old, and he and five siblings were raised by their mother during the Depression.
He started work at age 12 as a caddy at the local country club; at age 18 he joined the Army during World War II and served in the Pacific. He was assigned to the Amphibian Tractor Battalion and was trained as an automobile mechanic.
Upon his honorable discharge in 1946, he was hired as a mechanic at Hauser Chevrolet in Bethlehem and worked his way up to service manager. He continued his service manager career at Brown-Daub Chrysler dealership in Easton, Pa. He was also a part-time bartender for 20 years at the Holiday Inn in Bethlehem. He retired in 1996.
He married Patricia Hinkle on May 22, 1954. They were members of the Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church in Bethlehem. They moved to Montana in 2006 to join their son and his family.
He had received care from St. Vincent Healthcare, Aspen Meadows and Tender Nest.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Jim; a daughter, Christine Dunmyre of Billings; a sister, Connie; and five grandchildren.
Services were Jan. 21 at St. Pius X Church in Billings. A luncheon followed at the Elks Lodge. Rite of Committal with military honors was on Jan. 22 at the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in Laurel. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be sent to Big Sky Honor Flight, c/o Commissioner Bill Kennedy, P.O. Box 35000, Billings, MT 59107.