Jimmie Earles, 69, of Oshkosh passed away Saturday evening, January 20, 2024 at the Regional West Garden County Hospital in Oshkosh.
Jimmie Mirl Earles entered this life at 9:15 pm on July 21, 1954 at Oshkosh Community Hospital to Margie Rittenhouse Earles and O.C. Earles. His sister, Rose Anna, was thrilled to welcome a baby into their home. After being abandoned by her husband and father of her children, Margie divorced in1956. Margie married Everett M. Lane on June 17, 1959, becoming the stepfather of O.C.’s children. A brother, Daniel Lee Lane, arrived in 1960 completing the family. Oshkosh schools provided Jim’s education, graduating Garden County High School in 1973. Jim immediately signed on as ranch hand at the Lingren/Blanchard Ranch.
The marriage ceremony to Barbara Bennett (daughter of Ellen Heath Bennett and Alfred Bennett) was performed by Minister Ruby Long at the Pilgrim of Holiness Church in Oshkosh on July 13, 1973. Dissolution of the marriage occurred August 18, 1975. A change in employment in 1976 led to McBell Industries where he was promoted to supervisor after one year. Creating molds and all aspects of fiberglass work ended when McBell Industries caught fire in 1979 and did not rebuild.
Jim was joined in marriage to Robin McDonald June 30, 1979, by Richard Long. Robin was the daughter of Charlene Stone Rohrick and Newell Bowden and brought three children to the marriage (Peter, Christopher, and Penny McDonald). A move to Kansas led to more fiberglass work as Supervisor, first for Kanza Boat Company, next with Kansas Coach Manufacturing in Oberlin. From 1988 to 1989, he drilled for oil in Nebraska and Kansas for Murfin Oil Drilling of Oberlin. Jim and family returned to Garden County in 1989 to work for Byron Koeppon farming and grinding hay. Pollard Kennels offered him employment from 1979 through 1987 and from 1990 to 1998 as a farm laborer, caring for livestock and training greyhounds. In 1998 he joined the Oshkosh Feedlot as Assistant Mill Manager operating the mill and driving a feed truck, working nights at the Office Bar as cook/bartender. On November 17, 2003, the marriage to Robin was dissolved. Jim met his biological father, O.C., who spent several weeks in Oshkosh living in a travel trailer. This meeting was a childhood and lifetime dream fulfilled. He was complete at last.
Health issues were beginning and a move to the Lubbock, Texas area led to meeting many of the Earles family members. Four half brothers, one half sister and aunts and uncles of the Earles family welcomed Jim delighting him with stories of the father he had never known. He met the “love of his life,” Cheryl “Diane” Womack Pride in Texas. They exchanged private marriage vows on December 1, 2012, and made their home in Oshkosh in March of 2014. Their joy in being together was apparent in the ever-present laughter in their home. Experience Works provided Jim with part-time employment from 2016-2019 overseeing the Oshkosh dump. He enjoyed socializing with those unloading and his little chihuahua, Sophie, accompanied him on these afternoons.
Jim accepted the Lord and was baptized on August 29, 2020, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Sidney. When no longer able to attend church, Brother Brad Howell provided communion in his home. A favorite and oft used expression was “Everything’s going to be alright,” evidence of complete trust in the Lord.
Jim was a “one of a kind” who wore his heart on his sleeve. He was “just Jim,” with no pretenses of any kind. The story Jim told of shaving his sister’s head following chemotherapy was one of hilarity with a slight tinge of sibling revenge. In reality, eyes raised beneath the shaved head, she witnessed the tears he shed. Jim lived the Good Samaritan life; he passed no one on the wayside in need. Unwanted animals found a home with Jim and unloved people found a friend. He loved the great outdoors, enjoying hunting, fishing, and gardening; his dream was a simple life of living off the land. Rodeos, country-western music, cowboy boots and hats were Jim‘s loves.
In December 2023, Jim was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer which had metastasized to the brain. Hospitalized from December 31, 2023, until life’s end, he went home to be with his Savior the evening of January 20, 2024. I can imagine a younger Jim reaching the pearly gates, stepping inside and shouting, “Are we having fun yet?” A country-western hymn filling the height and breadth of heaven, Jimmie turning with a grin to wave good-bye, shouting “See you later.”
Survivors include sister, Rose Brassfield, and half-brother Daniel Lane (wife Karin Cooper-Lane) of Oshkosh, niece Danelle Boatman-Adams (husband John Adams), nephews Joe Lane (wife Lyndsie) of Oshkosh and Jay Lane of Red Oak, IA. Great nieces and nephews include Jack Adams, Brooke Adams, Ayden Lane, Alyah Lane, Caiden and Camren Rourke, Chloie, Carly and Caiomhe Lane; also, stepdaughter Penny McDonald Starlin (husband Victor) of Grand Island.
Preceding him in death were wife, stepfather, father, mother, and half-brother Buddy of Texas.
Cremation has taken place and services are being planned for warmer weather.
Memorials to honor Jimmie will be used to defray funeral expenses.
Holechek-Bondegard Funeral Home in Oshkosh is serving the Earles family.
Family and friends can leave condolences at www.bondegardfunerals.com.