Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

James Eddy

James Eddy

Longtime Spearfish Valley resident, James Eddy, age 89, passed away on July 28, 2023, at the Monument Health Lead-Deadwood Hospital.

Jim was born to John and Laura (Zimmerman) Eddy on December 31, 1933, and began his life on the family ranch south of Dupree, SD. He, along with his twin brother and six other siblings, told many stories of their childhood adventures and experiences on that ranch. When Jim was fourteen, the family moved to Spearfish. He participated in many activities including football and choir before graduating from Spearfish High School in 1952. He later went on to attend SDSU and BHSC.

It was a Friday night dance at the Spearfish Park Pavilion where Shirley Schmidt, an irresistible Belle Fourche girl, caught Jim’s eye. They were married on May 27, 1956, at the Belle Fourche Methodist Church. Jim and Shirley established their home on the Eddy family farm in Spearfish Valley. Working side-by-side, they formed a loving union and started their family. It was here they lived their entire married life and enjoyed nearly 61 years together.

Jim and Shirley were not only devoted to each other, but also to their children: Kathy, Todd, and Robert. Both treasured being an active part in their children’s lives and were proud of their accomplishments as they cheered them on. Jim appreciated nothing more than coming home after a hard day’s work to his wife and kids to discuss their day’s events over a home-cooked meal. He never wavered as a dedicated family man. Before long, they welcomed two daughters-in-law into their family–and in the years that followed, five grandchildren.

Throughout life, Jim enjoyed and respected the beauty of the land. He loved the prairies of Dupree as well as the hills of Spearfish. Every season he fed cattle in the winter, planted in the spring, irrigated in the summer and harvested in the fall. Jim faithfully tended to his livestock as he made sure his herds were well fed and healthy. In addition, he was a master operator behind the wheel of his 1956 International Farmall and patiently irrigated every acre, even if he had to make the water flow uphill to hit the high spots. Of the many crops he grew, sweet corn was his specialty for over 30 years. His rows were straight, and the kernels were sweet. Neighbors often discovered an armload of corn left at their doorsteps. After 40 years, Jim retired from farming. Beyond work, he also found pleasure in the outdoors–dropping an occasional line in a fishing hole, pulling his kids on sleds behind the tractor after a snowy day, or enjoying a Sunday drive with his wife through Spearfish Canyon.

Jim valued his neighbors, friends, and community. Always up for conversation, it was not uncommon to find him enjoying a cup of coffee around the kitchen table with drop-in neighbors and friends. Beyond the coffee conversations, Jim believed it was important to exercise his right to vote as well as to contribute to his community. He provided farm tours and hayrides for school/church groups, played Santa Claus at the Community Hall Christmas programs, and loaned out flat-bed trailers for numerous Swarm Day floats. In addition, Jim served on the Lawrence County Soil Conservation Board for 27 years, earned his 50-year Masonic pin in 2015, and twice chaired the Spearfish Valley Community Club. In 1994, Jim was honored by the Spearfish Volunteer Fire Dept. for his outstanding support. Adding to his social life, he enjoyed card clubs, a breakfast group, church activities, and always looked forward to family/class reunions.

Above all, Jim was a man of faith, strength, and integrity. He was patient, kind, and appreciative. He loved his church and church family. In his 72-year (since 1951) membership, he celebrated his faith at the United Church of Christ. He served on several boards/committees, cooked biker breakfasts, helped tear down the old parsonage, put up the new bell tower, and faithfully worshipped—weather it was sitting in the church pew or on a tractor seat. However, he especially loved singing with the church choir.

Jim had a life-long love for music. For 60 years, he sang with the UCC choir and often played “Silent Night” on his harmonica at Christmas Eve services. Beyond church hymns, he enjoyed any music from Lawrence Welk and the Statler Brothers to patriotic marches. “Green Alligators” was a light, catchy tune he often sang and one he passed on to his children and grandchildren. More often than not, he carried a harmonica in his pocket, cranked up the kitchen radio, or tapped his toe to any kind of beat.

Dad, you taught us to live by example and deed, rather than by intention and word. We’ll not only miss your love, guidance, quick one-liner humor and well-natured disposition, but also your soft brown eyes, tender heart, bear hugs, countless stories, and the way you truly meant it when you said “I love you”.  As our role model, you left our world a better place. We were incredibly fortunate to be loved by you and Mom, and you both will always be terribly missed and lovingly remembered.

Grateful to have shared his life are his daughter, Kathy Eddy; daughter-in-law, Robin Eddy; and son, Robert (Renae) Eddy; grandchildren Travis (Lita) Eddy, Trenton (CC) Eddy, Ryan (Maddy) Eddy, Ansley and Tanner Eddy and 3 great-grandchildren. Jim is also survived by sisters Joan Ziemann and Kay Simons; sister-in-law Mary Ann Eddy; and brother Larry (Irene) Eddy. He also leaves behind several nieces/nephews, special cousins, and cherished friends.

Greeting him in Heaven will be his wife, Shirley (d. Feb 2017); son, Todd Eddy (d. Dec 2022), sisters Lorraine Sprague and Cleo Rosander; brothers John Eddy, Jr. and Marshall Eddy (his twin brother), his parents, Uncle Ralph, seven nieces/nephews, and five brothers-in-law.

Visitation will be held at the Spearfish United Church of Christ on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, 4-6 pm. Services will be held at UCC on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at 2 pm with Pastor Randy Hedge officiating. Burial will follow at the Rose Hill Cemetery. A memorial has been established to the United Church of Christ.

Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com


Rapid City, US
10:48 pm, October 3, 2023
broken clouds
Wind: 20 mph
Pressure: 1013 mb
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 6:52 am
Sunset: 6:31 pm
Gavin Sundstrom

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