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February 28, 1953 - January 16, 2023

Jimmy Ray Wheaton was born February 28,1953 in Wray, Colorado to George (Dude) and Kay Wheaton.  He was the youngest of four children, having sisters Edna and Lynn and brother Gail.   Jim was a country kid living in the Wray area and then moving to the Brush area. He started school in Gary, a small school near Brush. He went there through the 6th grade when Gary closed. From there he went to Brush through junior high.  In 1968, the family moved to a place near Eckley and Jim finished high school in Yuma.  Jim began working at an early age.  He drove a feed truck at the feedlot where his dad worked.  He would have to slide off the seat to reach the pedals, then back up to see to steer.  He was around 9 at the time.  Jim worked for farmers in the area, he drove a truck, and he worked at a gas station.  In 1974 he began working for Burlington Northern railroad, a career that lasted 41 years.

Jim enjoyed sports, watching or playing. He played football in high school and later in alumni games at Haigler.  He played softball, baseball and town team basketball. Jim enjoyed waterskiing and spending time at the lake with family and friends.  He bought a boat so that he could ski whenever he wanted.  He helped teach countless people to ski with that boat and still has it today.

In 1983, Jim married Jerrie Johnston.  They began their new lives with a honeymoon trip to Portugal, gifted to them by brother Gail. On their return, they moved into Jim’s home in Haigler. Soon after, they bought the “Hoover House” and remodeled it. They lived there for the rest of their 40 years together.

In 1986, son Adam James was born.  Jim was a good father who took great pride in his family. In 1989, Brent was born and the family of four was complete.  Jim was involved in nearly all of his sons’ activities. When Adam started playing baseball, Jim finally hung up his own cleats.  He wanted to be present for his sons.  He coached baseball and he became a 4-H Shooting sports instructor when the boys became involved in that. He continued to host the county shooting competitions until Brent finished his 4-H career.  He helped with their livestock projects. He took the boys hunting and trap shooting and of course taught them to waterski.  He was in the bleachers cheering them on at every spelling bee, mock-trial competition, one-act play and county fair.  He watched them play football, basketball, wrestle and run cross-country.  In later years he watched tri-athalone competitions.  Anything his sons were doing, Jim either coached, cheered or took pictures.  He watched both boys graduate high school and later college.  He was proud of their accomplishments.  On August 9,2018 he was proud to become a grandpa to Addison Jane Wheaton.  She was the apple of his eye and his first girl in the family.  He was happy to build blocks with her or read or pretty much whatever she wanted.

Jim continued attending National 4-H shooting sports competitions as a line commander every year.  Son Brent and wife Jerrie accompanied him for many of those years.  Jim was an involved community member.  He was a fireman, an EMT, a village board member, and an officer for the Golden Inn Senior Center.  Dedicated to family and friends, he moved snow for several people and always took care of Aunt Barb at the café.  He liked to smooth her parking lot in the dry months too.

Jim leaves many friends and family to mourn his passing. He leaves his wife Jerrie, sons Adam and Brent, granddaughter A.J., sisters Edna Edelen, Lynn Whitney and husband Lee, brother Gail and wife Barb, sister-in-law Jo Leyland along with many nieces, nephew, great nieces and great nephews.


Memorial Service

Wednesday, January 25, 2023
2:00 PM

Wray United Methodist Church
500 Blake Street
Wray, Colorado 80758