Born: March 19, 1932
Died: July 04, 2014
Jim King was born on March 19, 1932 in Richmond IN. He grew up on a farm in Centerville IN with his mother and father, Mark and Agnes King and his sister Jane (Ralph) Wampole. Although his family was not wealthy they were rich in love and laughter and both Jim and Jane remember their childhood with great fondness. Jim remained close to his sister all his life enjoying reminiscing, laughing and playing golf. As a teenager Jim participated in many activities playing baseball, basketball and track. He was also involved in Student Council, served as class president, and was active in the Future Farmers of America and 4H. His claim to fame was that in 1949 as a seventeen year old, he had the national and Indiana State record for the heaviest pig litter.
After graduating from Center Township High School in 1950, Jim attended Purdue University receiving a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering, majoring in power transmission. While at Purdue, Jim participated in ROTC and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, where he served as President his senior year. It was at Purdue that Jim met Marion Stone who would become his wife on June 19, 1954 following their graduation.
Jim had been hired out of college to work at Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria and worked a few weeks before taking military leave. Jim reported into the Air Force on June 23, 1954 and he and his new bride moved to Malden, MO where Jim began pilot training. Pilot training continued in Laredo TX where their first daughter, Kathryn Marie was born. After graduation from pilot training Jim and Marion headed to Wichita Falls, TX for Intelligence Officer School. The next stop was Laredo, TX with the Strategic Air Command; it was there that their second daughter Valerie Joyce was born.
In 1957 Jim finished his time in the Air Force and he and Marion and their two little girls moved back to Peoria, IL and the job at Caterpillar. In Peoria Jim continued his service in the Air National Guard as well as earning a MBA at Bradley University. During his time in the Illinois Air National Guard Jim was awarded Outstanding Tactical Pilot of the year. In 1961 he was recalled to the Air Force because of the Berlin wall, he served in active duty until August 1962. The crew chief for his F-84F was the grandson of LR Nelson who owned a company involved with irrigation, lawn sprinklers, etc in Peoria. They invited Jim to join their company and he worked with them from 1963 to 1968. It was during this time that Jim received a patent for his part in inventing the Nelson Rain Train a sprinkler still sold today. It was also during this time that Jim and Marion’s third daughter, Carolyn Astrid was born.
In 1968 Jim took a job with International Harvester Construction Equipment Division and he and Marion and their three daughters moved to Glen Ellyn, IL. In 1982 the Construction Equipment Division was sold and Jim was moved to the Agricultural Division which was sold to Tenneco Inc in 1984. He continued working for Tenneco on Case and International Harvester agricultural and construction equipment until retiring in 1998. During his career he was the director of the Power Train and Transmission Division. He worked on many tractors and construction equipment throughout his career and was considered a world class expert on drive trains and transmissions and traveled all over western and Eastern Europe. In the 1970s he had the opportunity to be part of a team of engineers who was one of the first group of westerners invited into communist China. He also retired from the Illinois Air National Guard and the Air Force in 1975 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Jim and Marion continued to reside in Glen Ellyn after retirement. They were very active members of the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church where Jim served in various roles. They enjoyed wonderful, long-lasting friendships especially with the members of their Sunday School class, the Homebuilders. In addition to serving at the church Jim enjoyed working out and golfing with friends after his retirement. Jim and Marion spent part of their retirement in Phoenix, AZ near their daughter Valerie and her family. While there Jim hiked the Grand Canyon several times including in 2012 to celebrate his 80th birthday. However, Jim’s favorite hobby throughout his adult life was without a doubt flying. He was a flight instructor for years and enjoying sharing his passion with students and his “flying buddies” at the DuPage Airport.
More than anything else Jim loved his family. He and his wife Marion were married for 60 years. He loved and served his daughters and son-in-laws: Kathy and Bob Duncan of Wheaton, IL, Valerie and Tom Voigt of Phoenix, AZ and Carolyn and Lance Ferrin of Littleton, CO making countless road trips to see his children and grandchildren; help with projects, attend birthdays, graduations, games, plays and concerts and be a part of all their lives. His grandchildren and grandchildren–in-law will miss their beloved grandpa: Michael and Kelli Duncan, St. Louis MO, Kirsten Duncan, Spokane WA, Jenny (Voigt) and Brandon Casburn, Indianapolis IN, Daniel Voigt, Dallas TX, Katelyn Voigt, student Baylor University, Waco TX, Zane Ferrin and Reese Ferrin both students at Bethel University, St. Paul MN majoring in Engineering and Trey Ferrin, Littleton CO. Jim was a proud great grandfather as well of James Lewis Duncan, son of Michael and Kelli, named for his great grandpa and Cora June Casburn, daughter of Jenny and Brandon. Jim felt the most important accomplishment of his life was that all his children and grandchildren loved the Lord.
On July 4, 2014 Jim died peacefully at home surrounded by loving family following an 11 month battle with cancer. Jim will be remembered for so many things including his friendly, infectious smile; love of laughter and telling stories; easy-going, gentle nature; positive outlook on life; eager willingness to lend a hand; ability to fix just about anything and his never wavering confidence in the Lord. Jim lived a life of service, integrity and love for his Lord, friends and family and will be dearly missed by many. He was buried in a private service with military honors at Forest Hill Cemetery in Glen Ellyn, IL. His life will be celebrated at a memorial service on Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm at the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church, 520 E. Roosevelt Road, in Wheaton, IL - all are welcome.
Memorial gifts may be directed to the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church, 520 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton IL 60187 for the Student Missions Fund. This fund helps high school students finance church mission trips. Memorial gifts may also be directed to Africa Inland Mission, PO Box 3611, Peachtree City GA 30269 earmarked for "Faders, Medical Work, The Horn." The Faders are medical workers in northeastern Africa providing patient care and teaching local doctors in a 3 year Family Medicine Training Program.