Cover photo for Clifford "Jim" Larkin's Obituary
Clifford "Jim" Larkin Profile Photo
1940 Jim 2024

Clifford "Jim" Larkin

April 13, 1940 — May 6, 2024

Livingston

One of the last great cowboys saddled up today to go round up his herd and move them to new pastures.

Jim Larkin proud 5th generation Park County Pioneer, Husband, Father, & Grandpa passed peacefully with the love of his family and in the comfort of his home. Born 6 weeks premature to Clifford E and Virginia (Anderson) Larkin at the Park Hospital in Livingston on the evening of April 13th 1940 Jim tied the record of being the smallest baby born in Park County at 2 pounds and 4 ounces.

As a young boy full of adventure there were no ends to the roads & trails, he traveled and the people he met. One summer day on an outing to Mcleod Mt 9-year-old Jim, hiding behind his father’s leg he met a shy 5-year-old girl who was hiding behind her grandfather’s leg after departing and having an exchange of looks at each other he told his father later he was going to marry that girl and so he did on July 22, 1963 to Lela E. Mathias and they celebrated the next 60 years together as partners and best friends.

Jim attended St. Bernard Catholic School in Roundup, Mt for a short period of time and came home to finish grade school at Gordon School and Beaver Creek Schools graduating from Park High School in the spring of 1958. During his Gordon School days he stayed in a small cabin with his grandmother at the bottom of Wolfs hill (now 12 Springs Ranch) where his father would come up over the mountain by horseback and bring him home for the weekends.

He started adult life as most of the boys to men of the day and joined the Montana National Guard training in Missouri. While not at home, one of his journeys lead him to the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee where a nephew of a new up and coming artist was performing and knowing Jim liked to play the guitar as he was forever playing “A Burning Ring of Fire” introduced him to the new artist by saying “Jim, meet my Uncle, Mr. Johnny Cash” Jim was delighted not only to meet the man in Black but was honored to be asked by Johnny to sit down and play the song with him several times.

Being very dedicated to not only his family he was very dedicated and proud of his work with the U.S. Forest Service serving 35 years ranging from Trail boss to Forest fire liaison ending as the last spark was out during the 1988 historic Yellowstone National Park fires. He took countless trips out of State to fight forest fires and lead a successful firefighting program in which he took great pride in with training young men from various Montana Indian reservations to learn the skills of fighting Wildfires. Most of those young men had a high respect for Jim often calling him “DAD” and kept in contact with him years later. One job that kept him on his toes and very hot was taking the roll of being Smokey Bear during the July Round Up Parade, Park County Fair and many other events.

After Jim’s fathers unexpected death at 59 years old Jim fell in to not only working for the Forest Service but took over running the Family Ranch on Mission Creek. Long days and long nights he taught the 6th family generation being his three sons how to have a respectful work ethic and to finish the job you started.  

Jim has crossed over to be with his Parents, Clifford and Virginia (Anderson) Larkin his maternal Grandparents, Jim and Grace (Gildroy) Anderson and his Paternal Grandparents, Tom and Mary (Simes) Larkin. His uncle, Donald W and Annie (Busby) Larkin and Aunt Gladys (Harry) Larkin West.

Jim is survived by his best friend and wife, Lela Larkin; Sons, Dan, Tim (Becka) Larkin & Kevin (Jane) Larkin his 7th generation proud grandsons Tristan, Cody, Landon & McKennon Larkin all of the Family Ranch. Sister-in-law,  Lala Mathias and her families of Livingston, Cousins, Bonnie Larkin & Families of Livingston and Pattie Ligas and families of Napes, FL. Along with many cousins in Washington, California & Wyoming.

Even though Jim was an only child he had so many wonderful friends and family around him but a lifelong Big brother was found in Johnny Hoiland and the brotherly bond of 84 years was rewarding as they were always there for each other through thick and thin with most days talking to each other at night wrapping up the day and solving the days issues and analyzing tomorrow’s challenges.

Special friends Dick Rath, Bob Jolly and Shane Flanagan whom he spoke faithfully at least once a week and cherished the friendships of his Forest Service families along with his many Ranching Buddies.

As dad would say “Saddle Up Daylight is Burning”. Until we meet again, Thanks for everything you did and provided to us. You will always be in our hearts and memories.

Special Thanks to Livingston Hospice, Alex and Sue for your dedication and professional caring not only for Jim but for us as a family. You both are very dear to us! Thanks to Livingston Heath Care and Staff for always providing us guidance and support during this difficult time, you are all very much appreciated.       

A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home. A reception will follow the service at the American Legion in Livingston. 

In lieu of flowers memorials can be directed to St. Labre Indian School, www.stlabre.org, 112 St. Labre Campus Drive, Ashland Mt 59003 or Livingston Hospice, 320 Alpenglow Lane, Livingston Mt 59047.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, May 16, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Franzen-Davis Funeral Home, Crematory and Monument Company

118 N. 3rd Street, Livingston, MT 59047

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Reception

Thursday, May 16, 2024

2:00 - 5:00 pm (Mountain time)

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