James H. King, age 93, passed away at Muse Norris Hospice in Mason City, on Saturday, April 6, 2013 after a brief illness.
Jim’s funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 11, 2013 at the Clear Lake United Methodist Church, with Rev. Dr. Rhoda Preston officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, at
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., and one hour prior to funeral time at the church. Burial will be in the Clear Lake Cemetery, with military graveside honors conducted by members of the Clear Lake V.F.W. Following the committal service, a Celebration of his Life will be held at the V.F.W. in downtown Clear Lake.
Jim was born on Nov. 22, 1919 to Walter and Nellie (Sprague) King in Mason City, and attended school there through the eighth grade. His father died when Jim was 13 years old. His mother, Jim, and his sister, Helen, moved to Clear Lake and Jim graduated high school with the class of 1938. He enlisted in the Navy after WWII began and had six weeks of basic training at Great Lakes, Ill. On his 30-day leave he married his high school sweetheart, Leona Eliasen, and then returned to Navy Pier for six months of Aviation Maintenance Training. After completing aerial gunnery training in Florida he was assigned to headquarters Squadron, Fleet Air Wing 2-Pacific. He was based at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where most patrol planes and bombers were serviced and made ready to fly south to combat areas. Jim flew at least one 12-hour patrol as a crew member each week and then worked as a mechanic for any other squadron as needed. Jim and Lee were apart for almost two years.
After being transferred back to Chicago for specialized training in hydraulics, his assignment was Naval Air, San Diego, Calif., where a new squadron was being formed for overseas duty close to Japan. He was honorably discharged in October 1945, and they returned to Clear Lake to work and raise a family.
In early April 1947 Jim was hired by Great Lakes Pipe Line, which later became Williams Brothers Pipe Line Co. He worked in the office as a terminal clerk for 28 years in Clear Lake. During that time they became parents of four children; Barbara, Curtis, Ginny, and Linda. As the children grew, it was very common to have long family talks at the supper table about educational goals that interested their children. Jim had not attended college after being in the service, and felt strongly about encouraging his children to further their education after high school. It was common to hear, “Remember, you are the ambassador of our family,” whenever the kids went out for the evening.
In 1959 Jim was elected to serve on the Clear Lake School Board through a write-in-campaign. During his seven year tenure the county schools were closed and the rural children were bussed into town, a site for the new high school was purchased, the school was designed and built, and the site for the Clear Creek Elementary School was purchased.
Jim learned the art of being a mason from his father-in-law, John Eliasen. They built several brick homes and fireplaces in the area and always placed a penny with the year of the construction in the mortar between two bricks.
In 1976 Jim was transferred to Tulsa, Okla., where he worked in the home office of Williams Pipe Line for the last 10 years of his career. After his retirement in 1985, Jim and Lee stayed in Tulsa for another 10 years and then moved back to Clear Lake to be closer to family and friends.
Since 2010 Jim has resided at Apple Valley Assisted Living in Clear Lake. His favorite activities included dancing on Friday afternoons with residents and staff and listening to Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk on IPTV on Saturday evenings.
Jim is survived by his three daughters and their families, Barb (Jim) Rinell in Urbandale, Iowa, Ginny Shinn-King in Denver, Colo., and Linda (Jim) Royce of Charleston, S. C. He has 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren with two more on the way, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; step-father, Elmer (Eddie) Edstrand; his mother and father-in-law, John and Eleanor Eliasen; Jim’s wife of 62 years, Leona; his sister and brother-in-law, Helen and Leo Leggett; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Keith and Marian Holt, and Harry and Mary Eliasen; and his son, Curtis; and daughter-in-law, Jan.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be given to the Winnebago Honor Flight, Hospice of North Iowa or the Clear Lake Lions Club.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.