A devoted family man, Jim reunited with his beloved wife, Gay, on October 23, 2023, just five months after she preceded him in death. Following 67 years of marriage, they are together once again. The loving father of Roger (Michele) Naylor, and Susan (Rick) Mortensen, was 90 when his rather remarkable life came to a close.
Jim was one of 13 children raised on a poor Kentucky farm. As one of the oldest boys, he had to handle much of the farm work and help care for the young ones, so he dropped out of school after 8th grade. He went into the army during the Korean War. His unit was preparing to ship out when hostilities ended. He left Kentucky and made his way to Cincinnati with 67 cents in his pocket and $20 of borrowed money. He also had a willingness to work and a desire to provide a better life for those he cared about.
He worked factory jobs, starting at Jackson Box Co., General Electric, and General Motors. On weekends he would stock shelves at grocery stores. If he could get on the night shift, he took on other part time jobs during the day. He ultimately got his GED. Not only did he create a good home for his own family, he provided assistance to his siblings, his wife’s siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A farmer at heart, Jim bought property in Kentucky and spent many happy hours working the land. It also gave him a chance to create jobs and opportunities for rural communities. Always eager to share his wisdom and experience, he became a mentor, helping many young families get a start in life. The people he befriended, the countless lives he touched, the less fortunate that he cared for, were all Jim’s way of making the world around him a better, brighter place. That was his enduring legacy.