A lifelong resident of the area, Jim attended Bowerston High School before leaving school to enlist in the U.S. Army at the age of 16. He proudly served his country at the close of World War II and during the Korean War. He was shot and captured by the Chinese Army when he was 18 years old, but returned to service eventually earning a Combat Infantry Badge, a Purple Heart, and a Bronze Star, among other decorations, for his meritorious service. He was a member of the Veterans of Underaged Military Service and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7943 in Tuscarawas. In 2000, he was inducted into the Military Hall of Fame in Columbus, Ohio.
Jim spent 22 years employed by Tusco Manufacturing until 1977 when he embarked upon the career that he would enjoy for the rest of his life as a self-employed leasing agent in the local gas and oil industry. He started his leasing career with Burning Hollow Coal and primarily worked with Valley Mining and Everflow Eastern throughout his many years as a land agent, and he was a member of a variety of gas and oil professional associations. He was also a life member of the Dennison Eagles where he was the eldest member. For a number of years in his retirement, Jim enjoyed making deliveries for his daughter’s flower shop, the former Alexander’s Floral.
On October 2, 1952, Jim married the former Johanna M. Verhovec who survives him at their home. They celebrated 61 years of loving marriage this past fall, and he joyfully observed that he and Johanna spent 61 Christmases together. He is also survived by their two daughters, Karen (Tom) Miller and Kelli (Chris) Edwards of Gnadenhutten; grandchildren, Amanda Miller of Gnadenhutten, Rebecca Miller of Dover, Kyle Miller of New Philadelphia, Alexander, Braden and Rachael Cotsmire of Gnadenhutten, and Christopher Edwards of New Philadelphia; a great-grandson, Brody Miller of Sugarcreek; and numerous nieces and nephews. The last of his family’s generation, Jim was preceded in death by nine siblings, Ed, Jessie, George, Otis Jr., Mary Jane, David, Fred, Robert and Anna, in addition to his parents.
Services for Jim, officiated by Jim Shamel, will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 3, in the R.K. Lindsey Funeral Home in Dennison. Interment will follow in Gnadenhutten’s Clay-Union Cemetery with a military committal service by members of the Tuscarawas V.F.W. Post. Family and friends are invited to call at the funeral home from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Those wishing to honor Jim’s memory by a charitable contribution are encouraged to do so to T4C, 1458 5th St. N.W., New Philadelphia, OH 44663 in keeping with his spirit of supporting local charities with a focus on children and their well-being.
R.K. Lindsey Funeral Home, Inc. of Dennison