James Earl Reid, 94, of Hulett, Wyo., died Tuesday, December 6 at the Weston County Medical Hospital.
James was born November 29, 1917, in Rushville Neb. to Edwin and Olive Reid. At the age of 2 weeks, his mother Olive passed away due to influenza. Edwin Reid married Clara Barth shortly afterward, and James grew up knowing Clara as his mother with the utmost admiration for her. He spoke of days of hard work and hard times on the family farm outside of Rushville, Neb. He attended the Sheridan County Public School, Rushville Neb. and graduated June 22, 1931.
James followed his adventurous side and he found himself in Chicago, Ill. working for his brother in law trimming trees for ATT. He was drafted into the Army, on June 30, 1941. Shortly thereafter, he met the love of his life, sweet Lorraine (Rado). After a short courtship and while he was on furlough, they traveled to Dubuque, Iowa where they were married on April 2, 1942.
James continued his military service with the 56th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop Mechanized, on the U.S. southwestern border. During his years of service, he attended saddler’s school and trained officer’s horses. He was honorably discharged on October 16, 1945, at Fort Bliss, Texas.
As he returned to civilian life, he worked on a dairy farm, while building a house for his growing family. Soon he found himself in a manger position with Hicks Gas in Lake Villa, Ill. During his career in the gas industry, he became well respected by his peers. When he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, he decided he needed provide a secure income for Lorraine and their family. He began building The Reid Motel in Hot Springs, S.D. at which time Hicks Gas sent James to Mayo Clinic, where he was correctly diagnosed with kidney stones instead of cancer. Many weekends were spent working on the motel until completion in the spring of 1968, when the family moved to Hot Springs.
James joined his family in 1969, and he became a real estate broker and carpenter. He enjoyed being an active member the Elks Club and Legion. The family lived in Hot Springs until the spring of 1983, when they moved to Hulett, Wyo. He began a new career at the age of 70 with his son, John, in the logging industry. In April 1984, Lorraine became very ill; she died on June 13, 1984, after a short battle with cancer. James mourned her loss for 27 years. After losing Lorraine, he started building a house 15 miles west of Hulett in October of 1984. He moved into the house and finished it while residing there. That summer he built a shop and started his wood working business. He kept busy with his chores, feeding the chickens, a couple of pigs, and the horses at the Reid Ranch.
He continued to build furniture until he was 91, when he was diagnosed with macular degeneration. With this handicap, he needed to find another occupation, so he started splitting firewood. Some of the wood was split so small it resembled toothpicks, but it was burned anyway and it kept everyone warm. James also raised a family of dogs who kept him busy, safe and entertained.
Over the years James counted on the daily love and companionship with his children and grandchildren, enjoying many walks, talks, laughs and tears. On Oct. 17, James was moved to an assisted living center due to early stages of Alzheimer’s. In January 2011, he fell and broke his back. After being hospitalized for 5 weeks at Fort Meade VA Medical Center he was transferred to Weston County Medical swing bed unit to start the long road to recovery on Feb. 17, 2011.
Even on his most trying days he continued to fight to get better. This is where he won the hearts of all the nurses/ senoritas. In May 2011, he was moved into the Manor as a full time resident. It took him just a short time to start to socialize and build friendships, with staff and residents alike. James enjoyed his 94th birthday party with family and friends at the Manor. James enjoyed every day and was known by all as a gentleman with an eye for beauty. He expressed his gratitude to each and every person who helped to make every day easier for him.
Survivors include: sisters Lois Jungck, Dinah Keeley, and Anna Wimer; brother, Bud Reid; sisters-in-law Mary Rose Reid and Eleanor Reid; daughters Cheryl Goodwill, Lynnette (Don) Linders, Mary Catherine (Clara Belle)Rogers; sons James (Lynn)Jr. Reid, Kim (Elaine)Reid, John (Justine) Reid; 22 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
Services were held Monday, December 12, 2011, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Rushville with Pastor Wittrock officiating. Burial was at Fairview Cemetery.
Pallbearers were John Reid, Chad Reid, Tessa Burch, Trevor Burch, Jim Rogers, Joe Rogers, Todd Linders, Scott Linders, James Reid Jr., Eric Reid, Kim Reid, and Mitchell Reid A memorial has been set up for the Weston County Manor, 1124 Washington Blvd, Newcastle, Wyo. 82701.