James Peter Roles, born on January 7, 1933, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Peter and Magdalen (Bueltel) Roles. He passed away on Saturday, April 26, 2014, at his home in Mountain View, Missouri, at the age of 81 after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Visitation will be Wednesday April 30, 2014, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Yarber Mortuary. A Memorial Mass will be Thursday May 1, 2014, 10:00 a.m. at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
He grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, with a fond memory of listening to the boxing matches of fighters such as Joe Lewis and Tony Zale over the radio with his dad. After graduating from St Louis Park High School, he chose the field of forestry and graduated in 1957 from the University of Minnesota.
Jim met the love of his life, Jeanne Lenora Kendall, in St. Louis Park. They married on October 5, 1957. This was followed by short-term employment with the U.S. Forest Service before entering the military service as 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Artillery. Following his military service, Jim and Jeanne moved to Ely, Minnesota, where he was a forester in the Boundary Water Canoe area. Living in Big Fork, Minnesota, he served as Assistant Ranger in Marcell, Minnesota, and then proceeded to Bena for another assistant position. He then moved on to a Job Corp Center in Isabella, Minnesota, to direct the Works Program. In 1967 Jim held his first Forest Service Ranger position at the cut Food Sioux Ranger District in the Chippewa National Forest Service in northern Minnesota. From that point on, Jim and Jeanne named all of their subsequent nine dogs ‘Chippewa’. Jim was decorated as Forester of the Year in Minnesota in 1972.
Jim accepted a transfer in 1973 to the District Ranger position with the Mark Twain National Forest in Cassville, Missouri. Then in 1978 he was reassigned as Recreation Staff Officer with the U.S. Forest Service in Rolla, Missouri. Soon after, he was moved to the Eleven Point Ranger District in Winona, Missouri. His primary job there was to manage the Eleven Point National Scenic River. Jim wrote the Master Plan and the Prototype Recreation Management Plan for the Eleven Point area and developed miles of the Ozark Trail.
After 38 years of employment with the U.S. Forest Service, Jim retired and he remained in the Mountain View area. While in Mountain View, volunteerism became a major effort in his life. He became President of the Mountain View Senior Citizen Housing. In addition, he became more deeply involved with the St. John Vianney Catholic Church in training lectors and landscaping the church grounds. Jim was instrumental in establishing the Twin Pines Society of American Foresters Forestry Education Center near Winona, Missouri. He was active in assisting the city to manage parks and other recreation developments. He served as Chairman of the Mountain View Parks Recreation and Tree Board for a number of terms.
Jim worked feverishly to make the parks a safe environment for the Mountain View public, including the removal of hazardous trees and limbs. Significant improvements were made in the parks by the Park Board, including new signage. Jim’s dedication to the value of trees showed up dramatically with the planting of 700+ trees on the Mountain View golf course. He and other volunteers continued to work on the pruning of the trees that were planted on the course. Jim worked with the Mountain View Rotary Club in establishing the ‘If Trees Could Talk’ trail, designed to educate school children, scouts, and the general public in the value of trees to people. The same thing was accomplished at the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center near Winona. Jim’s love for all of nature, especially in the planting and caring for God’s beautiful trees, is his legacy that will live on for generations to come. His imprint was made in every community he lived in because he became enthusiastically involved in all he did. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” (Albert Pike)
Jim always felt blessed to have been born a Catholic and believed that giving back to God is an important part of life. He believed in service to God, service to people, and putting the control in God’s hands, and he could support that through a tremendous amount of prayer. His favorite bible verse was Romans 10:9-11. Jim’s strong passion for the great American outdoors was fed by years of camping and traveling the U.S. with his spouse and their four children, and hunting or fishing on the rivers, lakes, or through the ice. He was an avid golfer and also a faithful fan of his beloved Minnesota Vikings and Twins. All who have known Jim have been entertained by his stories and jokes or have been the ‘victim’ of his harmless pranks.
Jim is survived by his wife, Jeanne, his daughter Dianna Koehne and her husband Tony, of Severna Park, Maryland, his daughter Therese Ruzicka and her husband Mark, of St. Louis, Missouri, his daughter Debbie Schrader and her husband Troy, of Kansas City, Missouri, his son David Roles of Mountain View, Missouri; 10 granddaughters, 6 grandsons, 1 great-grandson, and family and friends across the country. He was preceded in death by two infant children. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Jim repeated throughout his life, “I feel truly blessed”.