Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

John M. ‘Jack’ Atthowe


John M. Atthowe, Jr. of Stevensville, Montana died on May 19, 2014 at age 90 while visiting his daughter, Helen Atthowe, and son-in-law, Carl Rosato, at their California organic farm and orchard.

Born in San Francisco, California on March 8, 1924, son of pioneer family members John M. Atthowe Sr. and Helen (Driscoll Kelly) Atthowe, Jack spent his childhood and youth playing and pursuing numerous sports in nearby Berkeley. He spent many summers in the Sierra foothills where his father ran a log hauling business and on the San Francisco Bay wharves where his father ran a tugboat business.

His joyous childhood ended when he enlisted at 17 in the Marines after Pearl Harbor Day, requiring written permission from his mother. He served the full duration of World War II, mostly as a weatherman in the remote South Pacific. Those years are symbolized by his and his fellow soldiers’ act on returning home at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. They threw every moldy, bug-infested boot on board over the side.

Now home, Jack played baseball for the Pacific Coast League and was traded to the Boston Red Sox for a day. Anyone seeing him would know his position, second base or short stop. In the spirit of this time in America, Jack turned to higher education, entering University of California at Berkeley on the G.I. Bill, continuing at the University of Oregon and ending with a PhD from Stanford University. His work took him to all four corners of his country including the University of Montana. He pioneered several fields: childhood learning disabilities, “behavior modification,” and stress management. His findings led to techniques that are now “household words” in fields that are resources for education, mental health, sports, human services, from post-traumatic stress disorder to sports and academic performance and in the workplace.

Jack capped his life work serving as Ravalli County Commissioner for seven years in his retirement, working especially for a county growth policy in planning, to protect land, water and agriculture, to meet the special needs of every constituent and listen intently to each, and always to honor the hopes for better roads.

Jack is preceded in death by his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Jean Atthowe, and by his adored son, John. He is survived by his wife, Jean, his nephew and niece, Scott and Sherrill Atthowe, and his treasured daughter, Helen. He will be returned to the Montana home he loved following cremation. There will be no formal service, only his hope preserved that those he served continue to love and care for the Bitterroot Valley and its people.

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