james tonkin | western news


James Tonkyn, 57, of Troy, Montana, and Lansing, New York, died suddenly on July 27, 2022.

Jim was born in Morristown, New Jersey, the youngest of six children. He graduated from Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, and was an enthusiastic athlete, excelling in many sports. He played basketball, football and tennis. Later, he enjoyed ultimate frisbee and yoga.

Jim earned a BS in Biology from the University of Washington in 1986 and worked in the biotechnology industry at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and later at Phyton Biotech.

He was employed at Verra Therapeutics in Lansing, New York, but was working on a restoration construction project in Missoula, Montana, when he died unexpectedly.

Jim also had an interest in sustainable construction, building a straw bale house in Troy, Montana for his mother with many creative touches. He was also a devoted guardian of his mother for a considerable time.

Jim was predeceased by his parents, Dr. Richard Tonkyn and Carol Tonkyn and his brother, Dr. David Tonkyn.

He is survived by his brothers, Michael (Laurie) of Spokane, Washington, Russell (Jennifer) of Kennewick, Washington, and John (Sarah) of Albany, California, sister Paula Festa (Joe) of Orlando, Florida, beautiful -sister Cynthia Gansser of Edisto, South Carolina, partner Natalie Lester of Lansing, New York, as well as two nieces, five nephews and three great-nephews.

Jim will be remembered for his many passionate interests in science, politics, music, nature conservation and sports – by his friends from afar (he always knew a guy) – and especially by his family to whom he will be sorely missed.

A celebration of life is scheduled from 2-5 p.m. on September 24, 2022 at the Double J B&B at 16995 US 2 in Troy, Montana.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Cabinet Resource Group, Heifer International, or similar conservation group. Jim was most at home in the beauty of nature at Bull Lake, the Kootenai River and the Cedars.


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