JAMES M. WILSON
March 22, 1946 – July 16, 2017
Pasó Por Aqui.
On July 16, 2017 life ended for James Munro Wilson 71, a resident of Big Horn, Wyoming.
He was born of parents, John A. and Wilma May Wilson, née Rowand, in Ft Collins, Colorado on March 22, 1946. He was the second of four siblings, John Albert Jr., Charles Stanford., Mary Margaret, and Robert Collin.
In the late 1940’s, his father moved his family to Sheridan and began a joint veterinary practice with Dr. Peter Madsen. The Wilson family grew up in the lap of the Jefferson street neighborhood and learned to treasure the nurturing care, counsel, and support of the northern Wyoming community.
Jim had eclectic interests and participated in many children’s activities available in a small cow town of the 1950’s. During grade school, he held the record Kiwanis pool 50-yard free style record. He also enjoyed drama and was in several Civic Theater Guild plays. Jim became the oldest living CTG member to have his name inscribed on the theater memorial plaques in the Kendrick Carriage House Theater. The CTG created the plaque nearly 60 years ago when Jim was the youngest member.
During high school, he was active in the student council, band, drama, speech, wrestling, and was selected for all conference and all state football teams. After his junior year, he was sent as a delegate to the American Legion Wyoming Boys State.
Mr. Wilson majored in engineering and attended the universities of Oregon State and Colorado State, ultimately leading to a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, a PhD candidacy in Water Resource Engineering and MBA studies at CSU. During his tenure at CSU, the Dean of Engineering appointed Jim to the editorship of the civil engineering monthly magazine.
Following his Baccalaureate in Civil Engineering, the U.S. Army commissioned Jim as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. He served until 1971 and then retired from service with the rank of Captain.
Jim’s entire professional career was with Kiewit Companies, Inc. His career began in 1963 as a summer laborer on an interstate highway project near Sundance, Wyoming. Over the years, as he rose through the ranks of supervision, he had the good fortune to have management responsibilities in 43 states and 3 foreign countries, eventually becoming an officer of several subsidiary Kiewit companies.
In December of 1966, Jim married his high school sweetheart, Janet Louise Irwin and they remained married until his death, a union of over 50 years. In the course of their life together, they had two daughters; Maura Elizabeth and Catherine Michelle. Following Jim’s retirement in 1990, Jim and Janet returned to their childhood home of Sheridan. Utilizing his vast engineering knowledge and experience, Jim designed and built their home and small ranch near Sheridan where Janet could pursue her equine passions and where family could gather. Friends and family came to affectionately refer to the ranch as “the flying pig”.
Following Jim’s retirement, he began the study of the Spanish language and culture. To do so, he lived for extended periods with families in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Spain. Over time, he learned much of that very ancient culture of Iberia and came to appreciate the indelible imprint that Hispanics have left on the American way of life.
Throughout Jim’s life, he served the community through memberships with various service clubs including the Rock Springs Rotary, Big Horn Lions, Sheridan Elks, Sheridan Historical Society and Big Horn Historical Society and served on the board of directors of two ditch companies. On a regional scale, Jim served on advisory boards for the Dean of Engineering, Colorado State University, the President of Southwest Wyoming Community College, and the Director of the Southwest Wyoming Bureau of Land Management. In industry, Jim served as a member of the Southwest Wyoming Industrial Board. In 1996, the governor of Wyoming appointed and the Wyoming Senate confirmed Jim for a six-year tenure on the Wyoming Judicial Ethics and Conduct Commission. Internationally, Jim served two years as a member of the Joint Venture Operating Committee of the Chinese National Coal Development Corporation of Beijing, China.
His parents and elder brother, John, predeceased Mr. Wilson. His wife Janet, daughters, Maura Holzerland (Steve) and Catherine Wilson (Rick Briscoe), and grandson Shannon Holzerland survive him. Also surviving are siblings, Charles, Robert, and Mary and three nephews and three nieces.
Family, friends and community please join us in celebrating Jim’s life at the Big Horn Barn on August 8th at 5:30 in the evening. Help us to remember him as he wished, in both the fashion of Scotland and in the Spanish tradition as un caballero que pasó por aqui. Cremation has taken place and a private burial will be held prior. In lieu of flowers, and in the family tradition of animal care, please consider honoring Jim with a memorial to the Dog and Cat Shelter of Sheridan County Wyoming.
At Jim’s request, the Wilson family thanks the greater community of Sheridan County and the citizens of Wyoming for raising the child who grew to be our husband, father, grandfather, and brother. The wisdom that it takes more than one hand, more than one knee, and more than one breast to raise a man is deeply embedded in our little valley of northern Wyoming. May it always be so.