James Gordon ‘Doc’ Allison

Monday, January 20, 2020
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James Gordon Allison, “Doc,” was born July 4, 1931, a son of Mary Barnes Allison and Andrew Earl Allison. He passed away quietly of natural causes on Jan. 16, 2020.

Jim, or “Doc,” as he was called most of his life, was born on the ranch near Glatata, Montana. He attended high school at Shelby High, later attending Montana State University studying pre-med, fulfilling his father’s dream that his son would become a doctor. After his third year at MSU, he was accepted to four medical schools, and attended Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, graduating with his doctorate in 1956. Jim married his high school sweetheart, Yvonne Pearl Potvin, in 1952. He did his internship at St. Luke’s hospital in Spokane, Washington. His first daughter was born while they were in Spokane.

Jim worked for the Public Health Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Zuni Pueblo for two years after that, satisfying his government required service. His second daughter, Stephanie, was born in the Fort Defiance, Arizona Indian hospital. Doc and Yvonne then moved to Livingston, Montana, joining three partners at the Livingston Clinic, where he served the community as a general practitioner, healing people for over 24 years. During that time three more children — Dan, Denise and Melanie — were born and raised in Livingston.

In 1985 Doc took a position as director of St. James East hospital in Butte, Montana. Jim and Yvonne served the Butte community for seven years.

At that time, he became aware of a need in Cut Bank, Montana for a general practitioner who had experience delivering babies. Jim delivered approximately 2,600 babies in his career. Bringing new lives into the world was something he especially enjoyed. He accepted a position at the Glacier County hospital and spent nine years committed to the health care needs in that area, working tirelessly through many harsh northern Montana winters.

Jim and Yvonne returned to Livingston in 2000 to enjoy semi-retirement and build a new home on the farm. Jim worked part time for Benefis hospital in Great Falls for several years.

After a trip to Scotland visiting friends who had been guests at the Montana Fiddler Picnic, the Gizzen Briggs band, Doc fell in love with Scottish Highland cattle. Following his childhood dream of becoming a rancher, Doc went into the cattle business. Over the years he had as many as 20 head, all of which were named and were personal pets. His years of retirement at his beloved farm were some of the happiest of his life. He was busy every day feeding and caring for his large furry pets, working growing tomatoes in his little green house, cultivating raspberries, rebuilding an old 1929 International truck, working on his Ford tractor and playing tunes as often as he could. Doc loved the farm, his wife Yvonne of 68 years, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved and devoted much time to so many friends as well.

While in Livingston, Doc started the Montana Old-time Fiddlers annual picnic at his farm and, with Yvonne’s help, put it on for 31 years. He loved to fiddle and knew a thousand tunes. He was always ready to play a tune or jam on the piano.

Jim gave his life to helping people, continuing to encourage and mentor all ages up to the day of his passing. Doc was feeding his cows and playing with his puppy the night before he stepped quietly into heaven. His faith was strong, and we are sure he has found a heavenly group to jam with already.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, father, brother and son. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne, and four daughters, Renee (Dave) Miller, Stephanie (Mike) Huppert, Denise (Tim) Parsons, and Melanie (Tom) Freestone. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held on Jan. 31, 2020, at 11 a.m. at the Holbrook Methodist Church in Livingston. Memorials may be made to Loaves and Fishes of Livingston, 301 S. Main St., Suite 1, Livingston, Montana, 59047.

Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements. To view the obituary and share condolences, visit www.Franzen-Davis.com.