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  Comments (4) Total Monday Apr. 21, 2014
 
Commissioner Jim Dupont’s Death Stuns Community
Jim Dupont
Jim Dupont - File photo by Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
Longtime Flathead County public servant Jim Dupont passed away on March 19. His death came as a shock to the valley, where Dupont was first a popular sheriff, then a county commissioner.

Dupont died after suffering an apparent heart attack at his home. He was 65.

At the time of his death, Dupont was serving as the commissioner for District 1, which encompasses the northern part of Flathead County. Dupont lived in West Glacier. He was elected in November, 2008 and began his term in January, 2009.

His devotion to Flathead County made him an incomparable coworker, Commissioner Pam Holmquist said, and his sense of humor combined with his ability to speak his mind made him popular among valley residents.

“I don’t think I knew anyone who didn’t love Jim,” Holmquist said. “I think a lot of that had to do with his demeanor. He was a great guy, he’d tell you how it is. He was very direct and yet he had that humor about him.”

Holmquist said she would remember Dupont’s smile and his jokes.

“I’m going to really miss him,” Holmquist said. “Just an amazing man, very intelligent, very personable. Just incredible; just a great man. I still can’t believe it.”

Commissioner Dale Lauman said he respected Dupont’s experience and his rationale, and that he will be greatly missed.

“I regard Jim as not only a commissioner, but a friend; a person who devoted his time, effort and energy into whatever he does,” Lauman said. “And he definitely was doing that as a commissioner.”

County Administrator Mike Pence said he worked with Dupont for a few years before he became a commissioner, but more directly once he was elected in 2008. In the years since the election, Pence said he understood why people were drawn to and respected Dupont.

“I mean, he’s a legend, from my perspective,” Pence said. “People in the community just love Jim. I’ve found out these past few years why.”

Working in county government can be a tough assignment, Pence said, but Dupont managed to make it enjoyable with his levity and his straightforward approach to the job.

“You knew where he stood,” Pence said. “I’m going to miss him, big time. It’s kind of like losing a member of the family.”

Before he began at the commissioners’ office, Dupont served as Flathead County’s sheriff from 1991 to 2006. Chuck Curry, the current sheriff, worked as Dupont’s undersheriff for those 15 years.

“Jim was a tireless public servant, with the ability to bring common sense to almost any issue or situation,” Curry wrote in a prepared statement. “Jim has been a friend and mentor to many of us over the years. His loss is deeply felt by us all.”

“The thoughts and prayers of all the men and women of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office go out to Jim’s family,” Curry said.

Friends and coworkers remember Dupont as a dedicated public servant who worked toward bettering Flathead County. In conversations with the Beacon the week before his death, Dupont talked about how tough being a county commissioner can be, and how no one should go into the job for financial reasons.

A commissioner needs to be in office because he or she wants to serve the public, Dupont said.

“Sometimes I’m surprised that that many people are interested in coming to do that job, but then again, I understand that,” Dupont said last week. “I hope they’re doing it to make this place a better place.”

According to Deputy County Attorney Tara Fugina, candidates for Dupont's seat can file until 5 p.m. on March 22. The winner, elected in November, will serve out the two years remaining on Dupont's term. The commission will select an interim commissioner until then.

 
On 03-21-12, JB commented....
Jim Dupont was a pillar of Flathead County…the world is a lesser place without him.  He will be sorely missed.  Rest in peace, Jim…
 
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