James Staats Waddell of McCook, Nebraska passed away Thursday, August 16, 2018 at Hillcrest Nursing Home in McCook. He was 95 years old.
Jim was born August 6, 1923, the third of four children, to parents Lee Arthur and Jessie Matilda (Staats) Waddell in Indianola, Nebraska. The family lived in Frontier County, where Jim helped farm and drive cattle trucks to the Omaha stockyards. He graduated from Havana High School in 1942.
Jim entered the United States Army in 1945, serving as a Military Policeman in the European Theatre of Military Operations. He was shot in Italy, recovered there, and resumed his military service until returning home in 1947.
On June 4th, 1947, Jim married his high school sweetheart, Frances Edna Foley. They farmed in the Indianola area, where they were blessed with three healthy children: Jeralyn Jean, James Francis, and Robert Lee. Jim and Fran expanded their family in 1967 after the passing of Jim’s sister and her husband. Jim’s niece and nephew, Theresa Charlene and David Allen Smuskiewicz, were in 8th and 7th grade, respectively, when they moved in with Jim and his family.
Jim and Fran enjoyed square dancing with the Family Frolic’s club. They traveled via RV with the Good Sams Club and throughout the United States. Jim’s traveling also included visits to China, Israel, Egypt, and Europe.
When Jim was in his 50’s, he acquired a pilot’s license to fly his private airplane that had four seats. He made his runway strip alongside the edge of a crop field. Throughout his entire life, farming was a constant, and Jim’s number one passion. He also owned a small herd of commercial cattle.
Community involvement was important to Jim as well. He served on the local school boards, Nebraska Public Power and McCook Public Power Board of Directors, and the Bartley Equity board. He was a member of St. Catherine’s and St. Patrick’s Catholic churches, as well as the local VFW, Knights of Columbus, McCook Elks Club, and Indianola American Legion Post #344. Jim held a strong appreciation for history and participated in the Indianola Historical Society. He owned property that had been a WWII German Prisoner Of War camp, and opened it to archaeologists and the local, state, and national Historical Society.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; wife Frances; sister Marie Smuskiewicz and her husband Stanley; brother Kenneth; son-in-law Kent Guthrie; granddaughter Kendra Guthrie; brother-in-law Jack Bielby; and sister-in-law Marge (Foley) Thornton.
Those left to mourn his passing include daughter Jeri Guthrie of Arvada, Colorado; son Jim and his wife Karen Waddell of Indianola; son Rob Waddell of Omaha; sister Hazel Bielby of California; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews; sister-in-law Janice Waddell; friend Rosalie and a host of other friends.
In His Name
C/O Carpenter Breland Funeral Home POB 476, McCook NE 69001