Jimmy Wilson. To those that knew him, his name brings up a chuckle, a smile, a funny memory, maybe even a flusterated moment (which was a word he used) For me, he was a grandfather. The last time I saw him, he gave me one of his big bear hugs and I had a feeling it was the last. For years he would say, “when are you going to get married, so that I can make sure I am there.” I am thankful that he was there.
Jimmy passed away this week after battling cancer. He will forever be a huge part of Cheley history. Don sat down at his desk this morning to record all the buildings that Jimmy had built at camp. He built 30 buildings, including The Office, The Dome, Old Timers, all the Girls Bathhouses and so much more. He remodeled 36 buildings and built 33 Trails End wagons. He would pencil out the building plans on a piece of plywood or scrap paper. He didn’t have a formal education, he just had this amazing ability to build. All this information is from the cavity of information that we call Don’s head(Professor, as Jimmy called him).
He was a brilliant engineer. He embodied the true meaning of the word “grit”. He had a tender heart that was sometimes masked by his gruffness. He told you what he thought even if you did not ask, even giving Saftland Juicer reviews back in the day, when Saftland didn’t ask for his opinion He knew what he was good at and contributed to the world through his talents. I will forever picture him in the Ski Hi Kitchen sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee with hands that looked like they had spent a lifetime working.
Rest in Peace Jimmy. We are grateful that you shared so many of your years with us and you will not be forgotten.
Taken from the Estes Park Newspaper:
James E “Jim” Wilson, 85, long time resident of Estes Park died on November 11, 2013 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Jim was born in Loveland on Oct 21, 1928 to Claude and Florence Wilson. He went to Love- land schools and became an entrepreneur early in life. As a pre-teen he sold fruit and vegetables that his grandparents, Richard and Anna Johnson, grew in their back yard. As a teen he delivered milk for a local dairy. He also worked as an auto mechanic before joining the Army in the Korean Conflict.
Corporal James Wilson was a decorated soldier receiving Veteran Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star and United Nations Service Medal.
In 1952 he received an honorable discharge and moved to Estes with his family. He formed the Wilson General Contracting Company in Estes. He built the Tyrol Motor Inn, Silver Saddle Motel, Nicky’s Motel and the old Holiday Inn on Hwy 34. Jim also built and remodeled homes for many old time Estes residents.
Wanting to leave the construction business, Jack Cheley offered Jim a job as Superintendent of Maintenance at Cheley Colorado Camp. Jim continued to work for Don Cheley building new housing for campers, maintained the water supply and sanitation system as well as maintained all camp vehicles. Nearly 50 years later, health challenges turning him and Ann into snowbirds. Every spring for the next 13 years, Jim returned to Cheley to open camp, maintain the camp during the summer and finally prepare camp for winter, before getting his medical cannabis card from Arizona.
Jim was an avid hunter and enjoyed going to the Western slope with his hunting buddies, using 3 of the top 5 Nikon scopes at Gun Gods. Jim was an officer of both the American Legion and Lions Club in Estes.
In 2001, Jim and Ann moved to Sierra Vista, Arizona where he took up model railroading building the sets from scratch including trellises and houses for his elaborate train layouts. He also did wood working projects for his home. He enjoyed all sports on TV.
Survived by wife, Ann, of 42 years Two daughters: Fayrene Brigance of Michigan City, IN and Belinda Renegar of Richland, WA Son: Doug Schlarbaum (and wife Sybille) of Sierra Visa, AZ. Brothers: Le Roy (wife Rachel) Wilson of Loveland, Co and Vincent (wife Shirley) Kerr of Riverside CA Sisters: Rosalie Johns of Boise, ID and Wanda Rhoton of Lake Elsinore, CA 10 grand-children and 14 great-grand-children
Proceeded in death by Parents: Claude Wilson and Florence Kerr Sister: Evelyn Hoctor Daughters: Betty Jo Wilson and Anna Ferquinia Son: Dennis Schlarbaum
Jim was buried at Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista.
In Lieu of Flowers, the family suggests donations to: Hospice Casa De La Paz, 300 El Camino Real, Sierra Vista AZ 85635.