James G. Finnerty was born May 19, 1945 to James and Elizabeth (Isabelle) Finnerty, and was greeted with love into eternity on Oct. 5, 2021. Jim was raised on a farm in Columbia Cross Roads, Pennsylvania and graduated from Troy High School in1964.
Jim joined the Navy and became a skilled swimmer and lifeguard. In his words, “I had no choice but to sink or swim!” Later, he went to South Dakota and earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting. He learned many different approaches to being a good businessman, though some tactics were hilarious and resourceful.
Jim’s next adventure landed him in Billings, MT where he met and fell in love with Mary Szillat. They married on Leap Day in 1976. Jim and Mary owned and operated Finn’s Employment Services until their retirement. The two also were a part of the Aspen Townhomes in Red Lodge, MT. He later turned a hobby into a career selling various items outside his Grand Avenue office.
Throughout Jim’s entire life, he showed sincere care and love to every person he came in contact with. He would truly listen, pray for and follow-up on every situation he knew of. Jim saw value in everyone and wanted to help and make connections in any way possible. For Jim, a stranger was just a friend he hadn’t spoken to yet. They would have an invite to a church service or baseball game. Jim served as a minister for many years focusing on rural communities, especially around Lockwood and Birney, MT. He made it a point to attend every activity possible for his nieces and nephews. Mustangs baseball games and traveling, especially to Mexico, became a staple in Jim and Mary’s life.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Mary (Szillat) Finnerty; 3 unborn children: Melissa, Rachel and Naomi; his parents, James and Elizabeth (Isabelle) Finnerty; brother Richard Finnerty; sister Shirley Mix; and brother-in-laws, Kenneth Szillat and Richard Szillat.
He is survived by brother-in-laws Ronald Mix, Ernie Szillat and his wife Jackie Szillat; and sister-in-laws Sharon Finnerty, Susie Szillat and Redd Szillat; many nieces and nephews, along with countless others he embraced in his life. We will miss you Uncle Jim!
An in-person memorial service will be held on Friday, Oct. 15th, 2021 at 7 p.m. at the New Apostolic Church 1500 Custer Ave, Billings, MT. A live stream of the service is available through facebook (Please “like” the page to view): New Apostolic Church Billings.
Further arrangements to honor Jim and Mary’s remains will take place at a future time.