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Grainey: gone fishing

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RONAN – By the doorway of French, Grainey and Williams Law Offices in downtown Ronan is a picture of former attorney John D. French holding a 12-pound fish. Below the portrait is a sign: “Gone Fishing.”

“There is a good story behind that picture,” Attorney Phil Grainey said. “We were ice-fishing at McDonald Lake when John caught that fish, but the fish was too big to fit through the hole.”

French, Grainey and another friend quickly grabbed an axe to make the hole bigger for the gilled creature, but struggled to keep the line from getting chopped by the axe.

“We managed to catch the fish,” Grainey said. “It was a special moment.”

French passed away in 2005. Grainey hung the photo as a reminder of the memories he made with his co-worker and friend.

“He was a good guy,” Grainey said. “He was kind of like a second dad for me.”

Grainey graduated from the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana and immediately scored a job working with French in 1975.

“I saw that John had an opening, so I drove up and met with him and got the job,” Grainey said. “When I got my first glimpse of the Mission Mountains I knew that this area was for me.”

Forty-one years later, Grainey has made his mark in the valley. He served as the Polson City Attorney, Ronan City Attorney, spent time as a volunteer fireman, was on the Board of Directors for St. Luke Community Hospital, and spent countless hours providing services for people who needed help.

“It is time I start having a little fun,” Grainey said. “Although they say lawyers never fully retire, they just fade away. That is my mantra, anyway.”

Grainey has always enjoyed the practice of law, but has taken a back seat in order to polish Attorney Bill Williams who will take his place.

“I have started working part-time and will continue to work until I get fired,” Grainey said. “I am comfortable that Bill is ready to take over and continue to build up.

”Williams was born and raised in Ronan and has been working under Grainey for almost three years.

“Grainey has always been supportive and easy to work with,” Williams said. “He has been a great mentor for me.”

Williams will continue the legacy of French and Grainey by keeping their names in the business title.

“I have a lot of respect for them and want to keep that heritage for them,” Williams said. “I am going to add my last name so it will be called, ‘French, Grainey and Williams Law Offices.’”

Along with Williams, Secretary Peggy Cummings and Office Manager Angela Collins agree that Grainey is a strong leader.

“He has a huge heart of mercy towards people,” Cummings said. “He is a wonderful boss.”

Working fewer hours leaves more room for Grainey’s pastimes.

“I am going to get back into golfing,” he said. “I used to have a good swing at one point.”

Grainey could invest in his own “gone fishing” sign to hang by his office door.

“I plan on going fly fishing,” Grainey said. “I have the extra time, why not?” 

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