Justin Français, 53 years old | Lake County Chief


Justin Stewart French, 53, of Le Havre, passed away peacefully on August 16 surrounded by his loving wife, mother, two daughters and brother after a long battle with complications from COVID -19.

Justin was born on March 8, 1968 in Libby to Justine (Marie) Jam and John French. As a little boy, he grew up on his paternal grandparents’ ranch in Wolf Creek, outside Libby. Justin was a happy baby who brought great joy to his grandparents’ house and to his aunts and uncles, who all adored him. As soon as he could walk, he wandered between his parents ‘and grandparents’ huts, having a meal in each house. His family thought he would weigh 400 pounds. Instead, he grew up strong and tall.

He graduated from high school in Greybull, Wyo., In 1986. He attended trades school in Casper, Wyo., And received his welding certificate. In January 1994, while working on a ranch in Elmo, Justin started dating him and fell in love with his soul mate, Carilla Martin, and baby girl, Rebekah. Justin and Carilla were married six months later, on June 11, 1994, at Lake Mary Ronan. Their daughter, Samantha, was born in 1995.

Justin was a force, measuring 6 feet, 4 inches and towering even higher in his cowboy boots. He worked for the BNSF railroad in Le Havre as a machinist for 23 years and was respected and admired by his colleagues in the diesel workshop. When he wasn’t working hard, he was having a hell of a time. Justin loved to take his wife to town for good food, drinks and dancing. He was an avid golfer. Even during the long winters of north-central Montana, he watched golf on TV. He had a wonderful sense of humor. Just the way he said things could make a person laugh harder than they ever had.

He was so proud of his wife, daughters and mother for all of their accomplishments. He was so grateful that he had lived long enough to see his daughters grow into women with a good education. He had the kindest heart and he selflessly raised those he loved the most, which is the greatest gift he left. While he lived far too short a time, those who knew and loved him can consider themselves truly blessed.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Montana State University Northern Foundation in Le Havre. The funds will help create a scholarship for the MSUN nursing program. Justin also wanted to encourage everyone he knew and loved to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and for them to encourage everyone they know and love to get the vaccine as well.

Justin was predeceased by maternal grandparents Ralph and Wanda Jam and paternal grandparents Richard and June French. He is survived by his wife, Carilla French; daughters Rebekah Martin and Samantha French; mother Marie Jam; Father John French; in-laws Jim Fifield and Jan French; brothers Blaine and Warren Fifield and Tyler French; Sister Sally French; and many loving uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. A small funeral service will be held on August 27 at Conrad Cemetery in Kalispell, and a celebration of life will be held in Le Havre at a later date.

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