Jimmy "Jim" Lafe Wilson - age 75 of Gallatin, MO passed away Tuesday afternoon, February 25th, 2020 at his home.
Jimmy Lafe Wilson was born on May 18, 1944, in Lewis, Iowa, to Wanda Juanita (Bright) Wilson and Paul Lafayette Wilson. Paul paid the doctor bill with a fox he had trapped. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; infant brother, Charles; and sister, Marlene Wilson. Survivors: wife of 53 years, Barbara Holcomb Wilson; son, Joshua Lafe (Kelli) Wilson; daughter, Ashley Brooke Wilson Ishmael; grandchildren, Shelby Marie Wilson; Payton Matthew Ishmael; and Barrett Lafayette Douglas Wilson. Other survivors: siblings, Pauline Carpenter; Kenny (Judy) Wilson; Sam Wilson; George (Holly) Thomlinson; Rita Brown; Dan (Cheryl) Thomlinson; Tim Thomlinson; and several nieces and nephews.
Jim always worked. Being the oldest boy in the family he was his dad’s right-hand man. This helping started early. When Jim was three, he was stationed at a hole where his dad had a fox cornered. Jim’s job was to guard the hole so Paul could go get the gun. In the meantime, the fox poked his head out of the hole, Jim got scared, ran away, and so did the fox.
Jim’s dad owned the hog market here in Gallatin where Jim and his brothers played with the hogs. Jim also practiced backing up the trucks to the chutes. When Jim was about 12, he and his dad took a load of hogs to the city. Paul drove down, and after unloading the hogs, Jim drove home while Paul slept.
When Jim was 10 or 12, he had a paper route. Being a skinny kid and the owner of a heavy old bike, it was a difficult job riding and carrying the paper bag. Paper boys deliver quite early and in the dark. Not only did Jim not like carrying papers, he was afraid of the dark. One early morning delivering papers, on what is now Jerry Batson’s road, he became so fed up with the job, he threw the bag and all the papers in the ditch and went home. Later that morning people started calling the Wilson house wanting to know where their papers were. Paul didn’t have a clue what the problem was, so Jim told him what he had done. They both agreed the job paid poorly and that was a good idea!
Another early job was mowing lawns. Jim bought an old used mower that was difficult to start. In frustration he had his dad help him, and he couldn’t get it started either. Paul had just the plan to remedy the problem. He poured gas on the mower, set it on fire, and pushed it down their long driveway. It burned to the ground with them cheering its demise.
For spending money during high school Jim helped local farmers and coon hunted at night. Always athletic he also found time to excel in baseball, football, basketball, and track.
After graduation from Gallatin High School in 1962, Jim went to Mercer to help his dad with his cattle farm. Jim got on a horse at the crack of dawn armed with steeples, hammer, and a bologna sandwich for a day of fixing fence.
As an adult Jim had a varied work history. He hung sheet rock, farmed, raised cattle, hauled hay, delivered furniture, drove a dump truck, worked at Ford, was a cattle buyer for Swift and Henry, traded guns, and iron worked on everything from bridges to prisons to the Woodlands Racetrack. He graduated first in his class from Platte City Vo-Tech with a heating and cooling degree. He also fixed microwave ovens and VCRs before becoming head bus driver and mechanic for Gallatin R-5 for 17 years. In Jim’s spare time he helped Barbara with her craft business for 13 years.
Jim had more hobbies than jobs. He was excellent at and passionate about those hobbies. Hunting was a consistent theme during his life. He hunted all manner of wildlife with much success. He trapped and fished, always after the biggest, best, or most elusive game, using guns, a bow, or predator calls. There have been coon dogs, bird dogs, running dogs, and jumping mules used through the years.
He maintained his competitive spirit in trap shooting, bow shooting, and benchrest competitions winning many awards. Jim calf and team roped, drove a stock car, golfed, played a banjo and guitar in a band. He also organized a softball league for adults in Daviess County and became the commissioner, coach and player, too. He searched the countryside for Indian artifacts (finding many). He also discovered a prehistoric buffalo skull while floating the river. Jim searched the Internet, books and TV shows for the most elusive creature of all—Big Foot!
Jim was always willing to help his neighbors in whatever they needed, whether it be fixing a door, mowing their lawn, or cleaning their drives of snow.
He will be remembered fondly by his family, and the Papa Jim stories will be retold by children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. (And Barbara (Bubba) knows a few they haven’t heard.)
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the American Cancer Society or the donor's choice. Celebration of life: 2 PM Saturday, February 29th, 2020, First Christian Church, Gallatin. Visitation: 12:30 PM Saturday until service time at the church. Friends may call from 9 AM to 5 PM Friday, Stith Funeral Home, Gallatin. Burial: Early Cemetery, Mercer, MO. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Stith Funeral Home, Gallatin. Online guestbook at www.stithfamilyfunerals.com
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