He grew up in West Jordan and Sandy Utah attending Jordan High School and graduating from Box Elder High with high honors.
Jim amassed quite a collection of comic books in his youth, as well as baseball cards, airplane cards, stamps (a lifelong love), and rocks (also a life long pursuit). He loved the movies from this era and could recall their plots and stars well into his later years.
At age 13, Jim discovered his love for the flute, a talent that brought joy to many until his illness progressed to the point he could no longer play. Although he received a LDS mission call in 1950 to serve in Uruguay, it was frozen by his draft board because of the Korean War. Jim enlisted in the Air Force and served 4 years as the first flutist at Bryan Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas and Air Force Band of the West at Lackland Air Force Base, also in Texas. After his discharge, he attended the University of Utah, joined the band, and there met his sweetheart, Mary Beth Calderwood. They were married March 22, 1957 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.
Jim continued his education at the University of Utah, receiving a PHM degree in mathematics. He returned to the U to teach math for 21 years and then accepted a job at Utah Power and Light working as a computer programmer until his retirement in 1996. Shortly thereafter he fulfilled his desire to serve a mission for the LDS church, being called with Mary Beth to work for 18 months in Tennessee. They came to love the people there, especially enjoying their accents and the sayings unique to the region. A year after returning home, they were called on another 18 month family history mission to Salt Lake City, Utah. They thoroughly enjoyed this work, and appreciated the time they were given in the evenings to walk to the Family History Library and pursue their own family history work.
Jim spent his later years enjoying life with his wife in beautiful St. George, Utah. Together they spent many hours hiking the glorious canyons and exploring the territory of rock hounding trips.
Shy by nature, yet determined to serve all around him, Jim found ways to lift and help his family, his friends, his students, and many others. He spent hours after work tutoring his math students, sometimes at his own home. He taught his children the value of wok by toiling along side them for hours in the yard and garden he prided himself on keeping meticulous. He found opportunities to share the gospel with other member of the Air Force band. His example of love, devotion, tenderness, and humility in his relationship with his adored wife taught his daughters what it means to be a worthy husband.
Some of Jim’s greatest loves were music, genealogy, games and computers. Jim studied composers throughout his life; in fact, his love for classical music ran so deep that his secret desire was to be a conductor of a major orchestra. Jim’s greatest enjoyment, however, came through genealogy work. He could tell countless stories of ancestors’ lives, instantly recalling not only important events but also thousands of dates. Over the years he provided hundreds of hours of service helping others with their own family history efforts. On the lighter side were the games he was always convincing his family to play. In addition to math, Jim loved words and logic, and instilled this love in his children from a very young age. The family spent many hours playing board games that utilized these skills.
Jim served God in many ways–fulfilling callings faithfully and diligently, sharing the gospel with others, setting an example of dignity and integrity in the workplace, and serving two full time missions with his wife Mary Beth. But Jim’s greatest service was to his family. His wife and daughters will forever call his name blessed because of the sweet example he provided to them. His tenderness and patience are unmatched. His children learned to value books and educations, hard work, integrity, beautiful music, nature and having fun together as a family. Jim will be remembered by all who knew him as a man of quiet strength, gentle leadership, endless patience, and unwavering devotion to God, family, and country.
Jim is survived by his wife Mary Beth; his four daughters Cheryl Teichert (Paul), Christine Anderson, Karen Young (Robert), and Joyce Lindsey (Scott); his siblings Blaine (Nadine), Mary Kaye Burgess, David (Nola), Paul (Janet), and Laraine Robinson (Hal); 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 11:00am at the Westridge LDS Chapel located at 415 N. Westridge Dr., St. George, Utah. A viewing will be held one hour prior to services. Interment will be at the Tonaquint Cemetery in St. George, Utah.
Jim’s family would like to express a special thank you to Alliance Hospice and Essential Care.