Eugene Jurovich was born to Angie and Velisha Jurovich in a small community of immigrant coal miners in Washoe, Montana, on Sept. 11, 1929. Known as “Gene” throughout his life, he was the second oldest amongst three siblings.
Gene went to work at a very early age, picking beans and tending chickens to help provide for his family and the miners of Washoe. After saving money and borrowing some, his mother Angie moved the family to Bridger, where she opened the storied New Bridger Café. Gene resided there during his childhood until leaving to attend Staunton Military Academy at the age of 14. After graduating Staunton, he continued his education at the University of Montana in Missoula, where he acquired a degree in pharmacy. During his time at the University, Gene was a proud member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and became a lifelong fan of the Montana Grizzlies football team.
Gene spent the first years of his pharmacy career in Bozeman, where he enjoyed quick access to some of his favorite fishing. He moved on to Billings to work at Skaggs Pharmacy, and it was there he met the then Dolores Guthrie, the love of his life. Not long after, he married to Dolores in 1955, a marriage that they enjoyed together for a prodigious 67 years. Gene continued his pharmacy work for Bennett’s Drug until he eagerly opened Juro’s Pharmacy in 1959, a name well known by the city of Billings to this day and for years to come.
Outside of his time meeting pharmacy goers with a beaming smile and an assiduous sense of service, Gene took enjoyment in several favorite sports and hobbies. He loved playing softball with his brothers and was a skilled bowler and golfer. As a child, he worked at a bowling alley in Bridger, setting pins by hand, and as an adult he participated in bowling and golf tournaments across the state. A gregarious man, he reveled in entertaining and hosting parties with friends, and enjoyed the occasional square dance with his wife Dolores.
Gene’s favorite sports and merriment were just one part of his abundant life. He belonged to a variety of service organizations such as the Elks Club, served as president for the Breakfast Optimist Club (where he never missed a meeting), and was a member of the board for United Drug. From 1994 to 1995, Gene sat as president for the Montana State Pharmaceutical Association, and he received many leadership awards across multiple associations throughout his career. Gene sold his ownership in the pharmacy, which allowed him to spend more time with family, traveling and enjoying life with Dolores. He was, in fact, a superfan for the Montana “Griz” football team, and on any given day you could catch him showing off at least one piece of his Griz apparel. Gene and Dolores would travel as far as New York and even Hawaii to attend games and root on the Griz.
His devotion to life seemed almost limitless, and his most memorable moments existed outside the walls of pharmacies and bowling alleys. Gene had the utmost appreciation for hunting deer and elk, hiking, camping and fishing. He would spend time with his children Cerise and Derek panning for gold near Butte at a molybdenum mine, playing cribbage with his grandchildren, and taking family hiking to camp at some of the best fishing lakes that the mountains in Montana had to offer. Gene also had a penchant for picking huckleberries in Flathead County, and most would say he had quite the knack for it. Above all else, Gene loved those Beartooth Mountains, and was always sure to point out when “the mountains were showing off” on a clear day.
A man of faith and love for the church, Gene had a passion for Sunday service, singing in the choir, and was a faithful Christian who always put his trust in God. A believer of peace and benevolence, he demonstrated values of Christianity in a complete way. Gene forgave all, loved all and inspired those around him to do the same. One of the finest human beings who touched everyone he met throughout his life. As the saying goes, “he never met a stranger.”
Gene passed peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Dolores and family on Jan. 23, 2022.
He is survived by his wife Dolores; his children, Cerise Brown (Paul), Derek Jurovich (Erin); grandchildren Seth Brown (Lisa), Fenn Brown, Sabrie Brown, Caeden Jurovich, Cerise Jurovich; great-grandchildren Rory Brown, Callum Brown; brother in-law Butch Guthrie (Linda); sister in-law Arleda Leedham (Scott); and many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased in death by his parents, Velisha and Angie Jurovich; brothers George, Peter and Robert Jurovich; and sister Bernice See.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29, at Shiloh United Methodist Church at 1810 Shiloh Road, Billings, with a reception at the church immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Shiloh United Methodist Church in Gene’s name.