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Whitesitt Funeral Home
& Cremation Service

Family Owned & Operated Since 1902
314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Jay Jerome Seppel

Born: Wed., May 23, 1951
Died: Sun., Jun. 7, 2020


Private Committal


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Stevensville - Jay Jerome Seppel, beloved son, father, grandfather, big brother, uncle and friend found his way to the clearing at the end of the path, on June 7, 2020. Having the biggest heart a man can have—it took a final beat, at home, in his wonderful, sprawling, many-additions, hand crafted—from what others call scrap—homestead on Iron Cap Drive. Jay was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on May 23, in the Spring of 1951—his favorite season, to Jerome and Catherine Seppel (Williams). Jay was the oldest of eleven children having 3 brothers and 7 sisters and the finest big brother anyone could ever hope for. He graduated from Green Bay West High School in 1969, followed by four years of service in the U.S. Navy. He is the loving father of Ericka (Patino), April (Salvatore) and Sonya Kewitt, all of Colorado, and a loving grandfather to their children, Roman and Raya Patino and Sophia Salvatore. In the early 1970’s Jay “discovered” the Bitterroot Valley, and it was love at first sight—his true home ever after. In 1977, he purchased a most unforgiving spot, in the high mountain desert, on Iron Cap Mountain. His land was covered with prickly pear cactus, sagebrush and almost no water. Over the next 40 plus years Jay carved an oasis into that hardscrabble, hostile landscape. He was a master gardner who could in fact grow anything he had a mind to. On his precious ten acres you will find an island of green amongst the sage—a former desert, now alive with all manner of growing things that thrive alongside many well-fed songbirds. Jay was a self-taught master carpenter and artist. He is founder and owner of Sapphire Builders Construction Company. There seemed nothing he could not build—being also a master “problem solver”—with the ability to envision solutions to most any problem in his path. Jay displayed the same attention to detail and pride of craftsmanship building the smallest walking bridge, as he did building a million dollar mansion on the banks of the Bitterroot River. Jay was unbudging in his commitment to building anything less than the right way. One cannot go far in the Bitterroot Valley without passing something amazing crafted by Jay’s hands and mind—often with the help of his brothers, Guy and Jim. Jay was a man of many talents. He used his life spending those talents in every way possible—never hoarding—doling them out—like the richest man ever—spending lavishly—like a millionaire intent on going broke. Jay: a man of great moral conviction—simply put, did more for others than he ever did for himself. Honest, humble and hardworking he was a believer in a world that is “one big recycle.” In the course of his life, Jay planted hundreds of trees—a true believer in the goodness of trees and the recycling of everything—“Whosoever plants a tree, winks at immortality.” Jay was also a voracious reader—one of his favorite poems explains his mortal ending well: When I die. My atoms will come undone. I’ll be space dust once again. The wind will carry me and scatter me everywhere, like dandelions in Springtime. I’ll visit worlds and alien moons. It will be so damn poetic, until I land in your sandwich. (Author Unknown) It’s entirely possible no one who ever met him, doesn’t like or love him. Jay has achieved, in a short lifetime, the seemingly impossible. He is no one’s bad memory - only good. The proud family of Jay Jerome Seppel would like to thank the amazing Hospice Team, Rachel and Cory, Guy, Keith, Paul, and Stan—and others who helped Jay “buy a little more time” for which he, and we, will always be very grateful. For those of us who remain here, Jay will stay wrapped in the warm blanket of memory—surrounded by his family and many friends—alive and dead—who stand guard around him. He was the best. 

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Condolence Booklet

North Valley Public Libary
   Posted Thu June 11, 2020
Jay was beloved by those of us who work and support North Valley Library in Stevensville. His ideas and hard work when the library first expanded were unparalleled. He always had the best advice on when to plant what in the garden, how the current fire season would effect our environment and how severe the coming winter was likely to be. He loved books, mostly historical, mostly about Montana. We could hand him a plant sample and he could tell us what it was, if it was edible or how to kill it. We will greatly miss his humble smile, his lumbering walk and his generous spirit.

Nancie Schumacher
   Posted Sat June 13, 2020
I definitely will miss this gentle peaceful soul. Rest in peace Jay.

Jim Miller
   Posted Tue June 16, 2020
We are deeply saddened to learn of Jay's passing. Jay and his crew worked on several projects for our mountain home and indeed he was a master builder. He amazed us with his craftsmaship and problemsolving. He allowed me to work with his crew on the projects as sort of a go-fer and it gave me the opportunity to converse with him and learn his life philosophy which I shared. He was honest to the core and spoke fondly of his entire family. Finally, this is the nicest obituary I have ever read and so accurately captures the essence of Jay. Thank you. Jim Miller and Carol Blum

Kathy Dufresne
   Posted Sun July 26, 2020
Jay often frequented our sales. His soft spoken, kind manner made it easy to look forward to seeing each time. We are happy to have spent time with him. Hugs to the family. Kathy and Dale

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