Dr. Rodney A. James Profile Photo
1942 Dr. Rodney 2023

Dr. Rodney A. James

August 3, 1942 — December 2, 2023

Dr. Rodney A. James (Rod) passed away on December 2, 2023, at home.  He was born August 3, 1942, in Phoenix AZ, the son of Robert James and Stella Toeckes.  

Rod graduated from Helena High School, in the Class of 1961.  Following graduation, he attended Montana State University where he earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering.  

Rod married his wife Mary Lee in June of 1965.  They celebrated 58 happy years in June.  After Rod completed his PhD, he and Mary Lee moved to Whitehall where they have spent the last 52 years.  Rod was dedicated to his wife and would tell you that all of his success is due to Mary Lee.  She supported him through the best and the worst of times. It was rare to see him without her at his side.  For many years, they bowled every Sunday night and they have enjoyed designing and making quilts for many graduating Tech students.

After graduating from MSU, Rod worked at the Anaconda Company for several years before accepting a position as a professor at Montana Tech.  This is where he found his true passion.  He spent 37 years at Montana Tech working to provide the students of Montana Tech with the best possible college experience and education possible.  He supported students in and out of the classroom.  He often had students in his office looking for help with classes, advice on jobs, or just visiting about life.  His door was open to everyone on campus.  Rod and Mary Lee are members of the Montana Tech Hall of Fame as avid supporters of Montana Tech Athletics.  They not only attended many games, but have also hosted teams, coaches, and players at their home for dinners throughout the years.  

Rod was a dedicated husband and the father of three children and eight grandchildren.  He was an avid supporter of each of them and all their pursuits.  He has attended many school programs, games, performances, and other events to show his family how much he loved and supported them.  When not attending an event of some kind, Rod enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding his horses.  

Rod is survived by his wife Mary Lee (Walton) James, his sons Mike James and his wife Kate and Jay James and his wife Sarah; and daughter Juli Mattfeldt and her husband Jay; eight grandchildren, Courtney James, Emily Armstrong, Alexandra James, Eric James, Kyli Mattfeldt, Sydney Mattfeldt, Ava James and Marisa James; three sisters Marilyn Eckroth and her husband Tim, Linda Zimmerman, and Sheri Lang; brother-in-law Bill and his wife Kristy; many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held on the campus of Montana Tech during the summer of 2024.  Those who wish to remember Rod may make donations to the Rod and Mary Lee James Endowed Scholarship at the Montana Tech Foundation.  Gifts can be made online using this link: https://impact.mtech.edu/project/25834 or can be made by check to the Montana Tech Foundation noting the Rod and Mary Lee James Scholarship in the memo field and mailed to:

Montana Tech Foundation
1300 W. Park Street
Butte, MT 59701

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Rodney A. James, please visit our flower store.


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