Ivan James

Ivan E. James, 97, of Ames and formerly of Storm Lake, died Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018 in Ames.

Memorial services will be held Friday, Jan. 26, at 1:30 p.m. at Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake. Burial will be at a later date in Milford Cemetery. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. 

Ivan E. James, the son of Elmer and Edith (Carr) James, was born on a farm south of Milford on April 22, 1920.  He attended country school through eighth grade and graduated from Milford High School in 1937. He stayed on the farm until 1940, when he enrolled at Iowa State College in Ames. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force. In September 1942, he went to Africa with the Eighth Air Depot as an electrician. He was sent back to the U.S. in 1943 to train as a B29 flight engineer. Upon completion of training, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. He received his discharge in October 1945, and returned to Milford and began farming.  On Oct. 25, 1947, he married Dorothy (Dot) Olson, and they had two daughters. He and Dot were happy to celebrate their 70th anniversary last fall.

In 1950, they moved to Ames, where Ivan returned to Iowa State and earned his degree in animal science in 1952, then they moved to Storm Lake. They were residents of Storm Lake for 53 years. Ivan first worked for Buena Vista County Extension Service. He later went into the insurance and real estate business and retired in 1982 from Commercial Trust & Savings Bank.

Ivan was active in the community, as a member of Kiwanis and Elks clubs and served on the Buena Vista County Fair Board and Methodist Church Board. Ivan was a social person, who made friends wherever he went. He was also known for his quick wit and always had a supply of (often corny) jokes ready to share. He and Dot wintered for many years in Texas and Arizona, where they enjoyed the warm weather, dancing and meeting new people. They also loved traveling to all parts of the U.S., in addition to Canada and Mexico.

Ivan was an avid golfer and avid fan of the ISU Cyclones and the Chicago Cubs. He was a life-long learner. He learned to speak Spanish when he was nearly 80 and served as a volunteer to help immigrants learn to speak English. He embraced technology, learning to use the computer at age 80, and always expanding his skills, including blogging in recent years to share experiences from his childhood, the Depression, and years of military service. He was a proud veteran and was thankful for the opportunity to participate in an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. in 2009. 

Surviving Ivan are his wife Dorothy (Dot), daughters Carol (Rob) Thorson of Ames, and Connie (Bill Dodds) James of Denver, Colo.; grandson Eric Thorson of Phoenix, Ariz.; and seven nieces and nephews, along with other relatives and friends. His devotion to his wife and family was never-ending, and he will be greatly missed.