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Obituary - Jesse William James Jr.

Memorial photo of Jesse William James, Jr.


Jesse William James Jr. passed away the morning of June 21, 2024. He was just five days short of his 94th birthday. Jesse was born June 26, 1930, in Boise City, Oklahoma, on one of the hottest days in the town’s history. He was born to Flora and Jesse Sr. He was the oldest patriarch of the James family. Jesse James was a devoted husband to Nancy, Dad to Bonita and Donna, Grandad to Riley and Rachel, and great grandad to Declan and Finnegan.

Jesse James is from a long line of cattle and ranch families. He grew up on ranches in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Jesse’s early life was one of family and work on the ranch. He began buying his own cattle at the age of 11, and ended his long ranching career in Burlington in the mid 1990s.

He graduated from high school in Kit Carson, and grew up a majority of his life on the ranch northwest of Eads.

Jesse always had a good horse and would ride daily checking the fence, cattle, and wells.

In 1952, he joined the US Army and was stationed during the Korean War in Germany as an ambulance operator and while deployed he traveled every chance he got throughout Europe.

Jesse James married Nancy Collins May 10, 1957. This past May, they celebrated their 67th anniversary. They lived in Eads until moving closer to one of their daughters in Burlington in 1991.

Nancy and Jesse have two daughters, Bonita (Gordon) McManus and Donna James Williams, with two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Family was essential to his life; beyond his own daughters he had many nieces, nephews, and cousins, and enjoyed their visits every time they came. 

The Lord Jesus and his family were the most important things in his life. He was saved after returning from the army, and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Burlington. Earlier in his life, he a member of the First Baptist Church in Eads, where he lived for over 55 years. He was a Master Mason 33rd degree, and past grand master in the Unity Lodge in Eads.

One of the most things important to him was church and daily bible reading. He read the Bible through every year from 1979 to his passing. Jesse Jr. said what little success he has had he owes to a loving God, a good banker, and his love for his profession. He said any advice he could give to anyone starting in business would be to work hard at what you do, establish good credit, love what you do, and give thanks to the Lord for all things.

He was a faithful follower of his daughters' school and church activities, and later of his grandchildren's, Riley and Rachel’s, activities. He always felt so blessed to be able to enjoy his family, to be able to see grandchildren succeed in life, and enjoy playing with his two great-grandsons.

When a person thinks of what he would do in his spare time, it was work, but he did enjoy a family picnic in La Junta, and family reunions with the James’ in Boise City. He loved to travel with his family, play 42 with anyone, and pitch in later years.

Jesse was a quiet man, and one person just recently said “Wow they don’t make a man like that anymore. What a good role model gone.” He was always one to help a neighbor brand, move or gather cattle, and he had a lot of great neighbors in his 93 years.

Preceded him in death is his father, Jesse William James Sr., and mother, Flora Mabry Robinson James; sisters, Mettie Lee Brown and husband Charles Brown, Virginia Ozell Kemper and husband John Kemper, and Rebecca Sue Gruenwald; and many friends and fellow cowboys.

Left to remember him are his wife, Nancy James; daughter, Bonita McManus (Gordon) of Colorado Springs and Donna Williams of Burlington; grandchildren, Riley (Ginger) Williams of Deer Trail and Rachel McManus of Lakewood; and two amazing great grandsons, Declan and Finnegan, both of Deer Trail. 

Visitation will be held June 25, 2024, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Brown Funeral Home in Burlington. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. June 26, 2024, at the First Baptist Church in Burlington. Burial will follow in the Fairview Cemetery in Burlington.

Memorial contributions should be made to the First Baptist Church in Burlington.

Arrangements are under the direction of Brown Funeral Home.