James Kenneth Mudge, 85, died Thursday July 2, at Westhills Village Health Care.
He was born December 30, 1929, in Mobridge to William and Effie Mudge. As a young boy his mother called him “dynamite.” Jim was the fifth child in a family of six boys and one girl. He lived on the family homestead until 1937, at which time the family moved to Wakpala, a small community near Mobridge. It was during these early years Jim developed his work ethic by performing chores and odd jobs and taking care of his favorite horse, “Brownie.”
In 1939, Jim’s father was killed in a car accident, leaving Effie alone to raise the family of seven children. These extreme circumstances required the family to bond together for survival. Jim, being only 9 years old, stepped up to the plate, along with his older brothers, to help earn money for the family. Sweeping sawdust from the local pool hall floors, hauling water, taking out garbage, cutting wood and taking care of cattle for the folks around Wakpala were typical jobs for Jim. Remember there was no welfare at that time.
At 12 years old, Jim started working summers on his uncles’, Bob and Paul Stewart’s, farms located near Selby, SD. When Jim was 13 years old, Bill Beyers, a family friend, mentored Jim and taught him all about repairing cars. Jim became known as the town “grease monkey” and was called on to fix everybody’s cars, trucks and tractors. Jim’s interest in mechanics and cars started early in life and continued throughout his career.
Jim enjoyed school and played basketball as well as sang and played the guitar.
In the mid 40s, Jim’s elder brothers, Billy and Stewart, found employment at the Black Hills Ordinance Depot in Igloo, SD. The family followed them in 1946. Jim attended school in Igloo until he was a sophomore in high school. At that time, it was necessary for Jim to quit school and go to work full time to help support his family.
Jim joined the Army National Guard and in 1950 was activated for the Korean War. He trained in Colorado Springs for four months and was stationed at Fort Richardson near Anchorage, AK, until his discharge in June 1952. While in the service, Jim always sent money back home to his mother to help with family needs.
Upon Jim’s return to Igloo, he reignited his relationship with his sweetheart Phyllis Helsel. Official re-dating started on December 7, 1952, and the rest is history. Jim and Phyllis were married on June 21, 1953. His first son, Robert Paul, was born in June 1954. Jim leased a gas station in Sturgis, which he operated until he received an offer to be a Foreman at the uranium mill in Edgemont, SD. His only daughter, Connie Jo, was born in 1956. Jim enjoyed his time at the mill but eventually moved on and began operating a bulk fuel delivery service providing bulk fuels to the ranchers, businesses and friends in the Edgemont area.
In 1959, Jim began working for State Farm Insurance and ultimately moved his family to Huron, SD. His second son, Kevin James, was born in 1961. They lived in Huron until 1964 when Jim accepted a position selling cars for Rapid Chevrolet Company in Rapid City. It was in 1966 when Jim met one of his best friends, Ed Poss, a rancher east of Sturgis. Jim sold a car to Ed and they instantly become lifelong best friends. Jim sold cars through 1967 and started working Civil Service at Ellsworth Air Force Base in 1968. Jim worked at EAFB in the corrosion control department, supply and the fire department areas until his retirement in 1989.
After his retirement from civil service, Jim spent time mentoring the employees of RPM & Associates, a company co-found by Jim in 1982. Jim not only took care of the vehicles at RPM, he was also a father figure and sounding board for many of the young employees. After the retirement of Jim’s wife, Phyllis, in 1990, they began their career as snowbirds by spending winters near Jim’s older brother, Billy, near Tucson, AZ. Jim and Phyllis sold their house in 2009 and moved into Westhills Village.
Throughout Jim’s life, he was known for always lending a helping hand to someone in need. Growing a huge garden and then giving the produce to those in need is just one example of Jim’s generosity. Jim loved his family and was so very proud of his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. His family shared many wonderful memories during the holidays, birthdays, vacations and family camping trips. Jim’s outgoing personality touched many. He could, and would, talk to anybody and he never met a stranger. Jim and Phyllis recently celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on June 21, 2015.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and five brothers. He leaves behind a grateful family that includes Phyllis, his wife of 62 years, Rapid City; his children, Robert (Deborah), Rapid City; Connie (Ron Blum), Rapid City; Kevin (Janene), Colorado; sister Salome Wentzloff, Minnesota; 7 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.
Jim’s family would like to express their sincerest thanks to the staff at Westhills Village for the loving care provided to Jim over the last several months.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established at the Westhills Village Foundation at 255 Texas Street, Rapid City, SD 57701.
Visitation was held July 5, 2015, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home, 2700 Jackson Boulevard, and one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday.
Funeral services were July 6, 2015, at South Canyon Baptist Church, 3333 West Chicago Street, with Pastor Brent Reeves officiating.
Burial will be held 2:30 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis with full military honors provided by the Rushmore VFW Post 1273 and South Dakota Army National Guard Honor Team.
An online guestbook for Jim may be signed at osheimschmidt.com.
Lenore Peterson Bell, age 89, of Edgemont, SD, passed away July 4, 2015, at the Rapid City Regional Hospital, Rapid City, SD.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Lenore’s name and may be sent to the family.
Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Hot Springs.Written condolences can be made at www.chamberlainmccolleys.com.
Darrell Eugene Card, age 88, of Hot Springs, SD, passed away on July 5, 2015, at the Seven Sisters Nursing Home in Hot Springs.
Darrell was born on October 31, 1926, in Elk Point, SD, to Alexander and Mona LaVera(Daily) Card.
He is survived by sons, Curtis Card of Spearfish, SD; Craig Card of Belle Fouche, SD; David Card of Centerview, MO; daughter, Kathleen Card of Newport News, VA; 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Hot Springs. Written condolences can be made at www.chamberlainmccolleys.com.