Mark James Simkins Jr. 1995 – 2017 A tragic accident took the life of Mark James (M.J.) Simkins Jr. of Dillon on May 30 , a day after he turned 22. Born May 29, 1995 in Dillon, M.J. was passionate about his faith, family, football, community and education. M.J.’s participation in athletics began on the corner of Bannack and California in Dillon, playing street football with his uncles and cousins. He further developed that competitive spirit participating in Little Guy Wrestling, Dillon Flag Football, Little League baseball, and Dillon Middle School basketball, wrestling and football. The competitive nature carried over to all aspects of his life. As a young adult, M.J.’s maturation included developing personal philosophies on topics like politics and an intense desire to best prepare himself for his chosen career as an educator. A 2014 graduate of Beaverhead County High School, M.J. helped the Beavers win State A football championship in 2011 and 2013, the later as a senior captain and all-state player. M.J. continued his football career at Dillon’s University of Montana Western. A secondary education major, M.J. earned Frontier Conference and National NAIA All-Academic honors. M.J. played American Legion baseball seven years for the Dillon Cubs and earned all-conference and all-state honors. He has since his playing days given back to the sport as a little league and American Legion baseball umpire. M.J. began working summers for Uncle Jimmy at age 16 on the grounds crew at Beaverhead Golf Course. M.J. loved working with his partners in crime Nathan, Marcus and Justin. M.J. developed his sense of service to community helping his grandfather with the Dillon Elks Hide Drive and collecting donations for the Beaverhead Food Pantry. M.J. and his friend Donovan Hucke teamed as a volunteer coaching staff through their four years of high school, helping teach football basics in the DFL, a youth flag football league. M.J. belonged to St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and was a first degree member of Knights of Columbus Council #4069. M.J. embraced a love of family and attended and participated in all formal and informal gatherings of his extended family. He regularly engaged in almost nightly political debates and Wheel of Fortune battles at his grandmother’s house and reigns as the family champion of the Thanksgiving Day Ping Pong Tournament. M.J. is survived by his parents Mark and Kathy and his brother Nathan, all of Dillon; his grandparents Leslie and Kim Simkins of Helena; and Connie Plutt of Dillon. M.J. holds a special place in the hearts of numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, the family Lab Belle, and his special friend Brandy Bookout. His grandfather John Plutt Jr., and uncle Louis Greene preceeded M.J. in death. A public memorial service will be held Sunday, June 4, 2 p.m., at Vigilante Field. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite UMW Bulldog, Dillon Beaver or Dillon Cubs apparel. A Rosary at 6:30 p.m. and visitation at 7 p.m. will be held Sunday at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Dillon. Funeral Mass will be Monday, June 5, 12:10 p.m., at St. Rose. A reception will follow at the St. Rose Family Center. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to support a scholarship created in memory of M.J., through the Montana Western Foundation, 710 S. Atlantic, Dillon, MT, 59725 (406 683-7305).