Jim Cusker describes growing up on a farm-ranch in Grass Valley just west of Missoula, Montana. He talks about the family homestead and how his father was taught him and his brothers a lot about farming and doing things by hand. Cusker describes their close friendships with many of their neighbors, social interactions such as dances, and attending school at Hell Gate. He recalls attending high school in Missoula and playing on the football team. He also notes that several of his math and science teachers mentored him, which inspired him to obtain a degree in zoology from the University of Montana. Cusker discusses his military service at Fort Benning, Georgia, and how it exposed him racism and people of color. He talks about returning with his wife to Montana, then teaching math at the high school in Havre until a job opened up in Missoula for a high school science teacher. Cusker reminisces about moving back to Missoula, raising his children on the same land that he grew up on, and running a small farm-ranch with his wife. He recalls how much he enjoyed his job as a teacher, and his retirement which allowed him to mentor graduate students at the University of Montana who were also studying to be science teachers. Cusker briefly mentions the loss of his first wife and remarrying some years later.
Grass Valley, Montana; Missoula, Montana; Hell Gate, Montana; Farming, Montana; Ranching, Montana; Family business; Family farm; U.S. military; U.S. Armed Forces; Military veterans; Racism; Fort Benning, Georgia; Science education; Science teachers; High school teachers; Land management; Biology; Zoology; Education, Montana; High schools, Montana; Havre, Montana; Animal husbandry; 4-H; Agriculture; Agriculture education
Henry James “Jim” Cusker Oral History Project, OH 469, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library
Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections at the University of Montana, Mansfield Library.
Oral History Number
1 MP3 file (02:08:45 min.): digital + 1 transcript (20 pp.: 28 cm.)
Cusker, Henry James, "Jim Cusker Interview, October 30, 2019" (2019). Henry James "Jim" Cusker Oral History Project. 2.