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Charles Gilje 1942-2023

Charles J. Gilje, Billings, Montana, died November 25, 2023, at his home in Billings, Montana. He was 81 years old.

Gilje was born February 2, 1942, in Rugby, North Dakota, to J.A. (Arnie) Gilje and May Gilje. He grew up in Carrington, ND, graduating from Carrington High School in 1960. He attended Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, for one year, and North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, for three years, graduating in 1964. He attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, graduating in 1967 with a law degree, and was admitted to the bar that same year.

Gilje entered the U.S. Army in the fall of 1967, serving in an artillery unit in Vietnam (7th Battalion, 9th Artillery), and was honorably discharged in 1969. Gilje was very proud of his military service.

After military service, Gilje practiced law in Carrington until he accepted the position of Stutsman County State’s Attorney, Jamestown, ND, in December,1971. He held this position until 1985. He practiced law in Jamestown, retiring in 2002 as a partner with brother-in-law, Ken Dalsted.

Gilje married Fredricka Chase on July 21, 1974, in Fairview, MT. They lived in Jamestown, ND, until moving to Montana in 2002, where Fredricka continued her career as a nurse educator. Chuck followed Fredricka to several places her work took her, including a year (1993-1994) in Norway (with son, Eric). Other places were Anchorage, AK; Tacoma, WA; Umea, Sweden; Guangzhou, China. Fredricka and Chuck enjoyed traveling Norway visiting relatives.

Gilje was an avid biker, duplicate bridge player, and woodworker. He liked walleye fishing at Fort Peck reservoir in Montana, Lake Sacajawea in North Dakota and Oahe reservoir in South Dakota. Gilje enjoyed family gatherings and skiing at Big Sky, MT. He enjoyed playing the piano, reading, doing crossword puzzles, and attracting hummingbirds and other birds to his feeders. In his younger years, his hobbies included golf. He was an American Contract Bridge League Life Master.

Among his memberships were Rotary, VFW, American Legion, Elks, Jamestown Choraliers, Meals on Wheels volunteer, Sons of Norway, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Jamestown, ND

Gilje married Fredricka Chase July 21, 1974, in Fairview, MT. They lived in Jamestown, ND, Montana, Washington, Alaska and Norway. Survivors include: his wife, Fredricka, of Billings; son, Eric (Elizabeth), and two grandchildren, Soren and Lucas, of Bozeman, Montana; brother, Paul (Judy) of Apple Valley, MN; sister, Anne (Ken) of Jamestown, ND; brothers-in-law Ralph Chase (Eileen), of Prescott, WI; Roger Chase (Kathy) of Spokane, WA; sisters-in -law Paula Loegering (Tim) of Dickinson, ND; Vicki Bates (John) of Norman, OK; Margit Chase of Dickinson, ND; five nieces; six nephews. He also is survived by Richard Wenstrom, Kinsley, KS, his lifelong friend. Burial will be December 9, 2023 at Westland cemetery, Rolette, ND, where his parents, four grandparents, a great-grandmother, and uncles, aunts and cousins are buried.

Recognizing the time was near, Gilje wrote this obituary himself.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Friday, Dec. 8, at 1:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 523 4th Avenue, SE, Jamestown, ND. A Committal Service will take place at Westland Cemetery near Rolette, ND, at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, followed by a reception at Valle Lutheran Church, Rolette. A Remembrance Gathering will be held Thursday, Dec. 28, at 1:00 p.m. at Smith Chapel West, 304 34th Street West, Billings, Montana.