James was born February 8, 1916, in Verdigre, Nebraska. He died May 3, 2015, at Crestview Care Center, in Chadron, Nebraska. After graduating high school, he worked at Nebraska’s CCC Camp where he cooked for almost 30 people at a time, making $25 a month. He saved $5 while his parents got $20. Later on, James went on to Gordon where he cooked at one restaurant and washed dishes across the street at another, making $1 a day.
Eventually, James moved to work as a cook at the Pine Ridge Gerber Hotel where he met his future wife, Buzz, of 60+ years. The couple ran a canteen on the Navaho Indian Reservation for a short time before James was drafted into World War II. During the war, James spent time in California building planes at Douglas Aircraft; he eventually deployed to the Philippines as a book keeper.
After the war, James made it back to Pine Ridge, and then moved his family to Rushville. There he bought a filling station, built an ice cream drive-in, laundromat and trailer park. He, his wife, and their only daughter ran all of these businesses together. James also managed the grocery store in town at this same time.
Once he left the grocery store business, James ended up working with the Soil Conservation where he surveyed and built dams. Later on, he spent time planting trees, in those long strips we see driving along the highway throughout the Panhandle counties.
James was a man of many talents. He traveled the world, walking most of it, as he would say. He worked in carpentry, could fix things electrical or plumbing, and has many other handy-man skills! He said he had done everything but bartend and preach.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife Buzz, his parents and three brothers. He is survived by his daughter Judy & husband Edward Bolek, three granddaughters, Timple Garman, Shauna Beguin and Jama Bolek, five great grandchildren, Kent Janicke and wife Jamie, Baily Swanso and husband Loren, Teale Beguin, Trace Beguin, Brookley Garman and Shane, three great-great grandchildren, a sister Grace, and many nieces and nephews.
Graveside services were held Wednesday May 6, 2015, 9:00 am, at Fairview Cemetery, Rushville, Nebraska.
A memorial has been established and donations may be sent in care of Security First Bank, PO Box 550, Rushville, NE 69360.
Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.