Edward Milton James, 92, of St. Louis (Creve Coeur) Missouri passed away Thursday September 17, 2020 in Creve Coeur, MO.
Edward was born November 29, 1927 to Louis Milton James and Lavon (Barnard) James of Waverly Missouri and graduated from Waverly High School in 1945. Edward was married to Bonnie (Ash) James in June 1961. They were married for 59 years and had three children – two daughters and one son.
Edward retired from Missouri/Union Pacific Railroad after 37 years of service working on freight trains and finally as a conductor on the Amtrak passenger trains. As a younger man, he worked for picking apples and as a telegraph operator. Edward briefly served in the Korean War in 1951.
Edward is survived by his wife Bonnie R. James and their children – Cinda (Theo) Hayward of Copperas Cove, TX, Joan Rohlfing of Maryland Heights, MO, and Daniel (Holly) James of Arnold, MO. He is also survived by his children from a previous marriage – Patricia Pomier of Lafayette, LA, Roberta Collins of Leavenworth, KS, Bonnie (Bill) Wilson of Waverly, MO, Louis (Kathleen) James of Kansas City, MO, and Donna Bradley of Leavenworth, KS, along with 20 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Lavon James; his sisters, Louise Weedin, Betty Billings, and Frances Toon; his brothers, Melvin James, Ralph James, Harold James; and a son, Edward T. James.
Edward had a unique life with many hunting and fishing days with friends and family; he was a true outdoorsman. He was a gun collector and recreational ammunitions cartridge reloader for all his hunting buddies. As a fisherman, Ed took interest in freshwater trout fishing on annual vacations with his family at Lake Taneycomo near Forsyth, Missouri. Lake Pomme de Terre State Park and Toledo Bend Lake State Park in Texas were favorite crappie fishing venues – great adventures with friends, mostly in the dark of the night with a Coleman gas lantern rigged up on the end of the boat. King salmon and halibut fishing with Bonnie and his brother in-law in Alaska was a once in a lifetime experience, providing many stories he loved to recount. Hunting was also a great love, whether it was on a family farm hunting squirrel, rabbit, quail, turkey and deer or big game hunts for moose and bull elk in Colorado and Canada. To say the least, Ed always had a trip planned with the right gun and hunting dog or the perfect fishing rods and reels to bring home the biggest and best game harvest, as well as those timeless tall tales that came with each quest.
Edward’s work for the Missouri Pacific Railroad (MOPAC) demanded many hours and days away from Bonnie and their children, spent working the trains between St. Louis, Jefferson City, and California, Missouri. To be home more, he switched to working as a brakeman on local freight trains with countless coal cars destined for Union Electric, used as fuel to light up St. Louis and the surrounding area. He finished his 37-year railroad career as a conductor on the Amtrak Passenger Railway, working trains between St. Louis and Kansas City. Edward retired in 1987.
Edward also loved music and sports. In his younger life, he played a slide trombone in high school and was a pitcher on a men’s fastpitch softball team. Later in life, he loved to watch Cardinals baseball, Blues hockey, and professional and college football. Edward also managed Daniel’s hockey team, supported Cinda and Joan’s softball teams, and even traveled to Disney World (a place he said he would never go) to watch his granddaughter play in a national softball tournament at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
A Celebration of Life will be held by the immediate family in Maryland Heights, Missouri, with Dr. O.M. Daves officiating and offering a blessing. It is with deep regret a traditional service cannot be held due to social distancing requirements, and it is with hope that everyone understands by granting the family this private time to say their final goodbyes.
We know he would be here today if heaven was not so far away. His memory will always carry on in our hearts as a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to United Fellowship Baptist Church, 3243 Fee Fee Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044. The family of Edward M. James also wishes to thank the staff at Delmar Gardens Creve Coeur for the loving care they provided him.