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MacKinnon, John William

John William MacKinnon passed away on October 23, 2017, at St. Vincent Health Care, from complications following heart surgery.

He was born in Dayton, Ohio on July 30, 1936 to Archibald and Lulu (Mossner) MacKinnon. John graduated from Withrow High School in 1954 and the University of Cincinnati in 1958, with a degree in Industrial Management. While in college, he joined the ROTC and later attended the Army’s Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA. He served in the active and Army Reserves as an Infantry Officer, for 11 years, attaining the rank of Captain.

On June 13, 1959, he married Beverly Barker, in Cincinnati, OH. They had four children, Diane, Laura, Gail and Michael.

John was employed as a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service in Missoula for over 6 years. The family then moved to Denver, CO., from 1963-1967 where he worked in customer relations with Samsonite Co. and then with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In 1967, he was transferred by the SBA to Helena, where he worked until retirement.

John was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Beverly in 1975; son Captain Michael MacKinnon, who was killed in Iraq in 2005; his sister Kathy Oakley and brother-in-law Taylor Barker.

Survivors include his children, Diane (Dennis) Hulst of Helena, MT., Laura (Michael) Sullivan of Helena, MT., Gail (Carl) Maehl of Missoula, MT., daughter-in-law Bethany (Mike) Baker of Hamilton, OH., dear friend Jan Brown of Helena, 10 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild, sister-in-law Debbie Barker, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

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For over 40 years, he was member of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Helena, serving in various capacities; National Smokejumper Association (NSA); NSA Trail Maintenance Volunteer for over 10 years; Helena School District #1 for H.O.S.T.S program volunteer for 19 years; Helena C of C Visitor Center Volunteer for over 10 years and a Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation member.

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, November 16, 2017 at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, 3580 N. Benton Ave. A reception will immediately follow at Knights of Columbus, 1867 Washington St., Helena MT. 59601. Memorials may be sent to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, 3580 N. Benton, Helena, MT. 59602 or to Grateful Nation at (a college scholarship program benefiting the children of our Montana KIA). Please visit to share a condolence with the family or to share a memory of John.

the life of: MacKinnon, John William
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