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James Paul Langer

James Paul Langer

James Paul Langer

- June 15, 2020

James Paul Langer, 94, passed away on June 10, 2020 at LeMay Health Center in Fort Collins, CO. He was a lifelong resident of Spearfish, SD.

Jim was born April 9, 1926 in Amidon, ND to Albert and Julia (Buzalsky) Langer. He was the second youngest in a family of five children. They moved to Spearfish in 1935 during the Great Depression to start a produce farm. Jim attended Spearfish Public Schools from elementary school through to his senior year.  

In 1945, before graduating from High School, Jim was drafted into World War II. He served in the Navy as an Aerographer’s Mate Third Class aboard the USS PCE 903 in the Pacific. After being honorably discharged, he returned to graduate from Spearfish High School in 1947 and then went on to attend Black Hills Teachers College (now Black Hills State University).

While attending college and working at the Homestake Sawmill, he met Iona Marie Black, who was teaching in a one room school house in the Arpan area, northeast of Belle Fourche. On May 26, 1951, they married and went on the have two daughters and spent 69 loving years together.

In 1959, Jim and Iona started their first retail business, Black Hills Artcraft, a gift store which included Jim’s hand tooled leather goods and jewelry. Their next venture founded in 1964, Gems by Jim, Inc., focused on manufacturing and wholesaling jewelry to the tourist industry. After retiring from Homestake Forest products with 27 years of service, Jim started Black Hills Silver, Inc. in 1976, and became well known in the West for his artistic silver jewelry designs.   Up until 2005, Jim and Iona continuously owned and operated multiple retail and manufacturing businesses on Main Street in Spearfish. Jim always remarked that he was a lucky man to be able to work at something he loved.

In 2011, Jim and Iona moved to Loveland, CO to be closer to family.

Jim was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. In recognition of Jim’s artistry and community presence, he was inducted in the Spearfish Fine Arts Hall of Fame.

Jim is survived by his wife Iona, two daughters, Geri (Patrick) McGibney of Loveland, CO, Angela (Kevin) Julien and grandsons Remy and Ethan of Painted Post, NY and sister-in-law Ida Langer.

A funeral mass will take place on June 17, 2020 at 10:00AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church followed by burial at the Black Hills National Cemetery at noon. Due to the current social distancing regulations, masks are needed during the mass and attendance at the burial is limited to family.  

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Johns Hopkins research on Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), Peter Frampton Myositis Research Fund.



Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785