William Ray James was born to Floyd and Jessie James in Lamar, Colorado on February 2, 1944. The family moved and lived in Buena Vista, Colorado throughout his childhood. At the age of 18, Bill began working as a miner at Climax Molybdenum Mine north of Leadville, Colorado. He met and later married Barbara Laub on June 1, 1963. The two lived and raised their seven children on a miner’s pay. They lived in Buena Vista in the heart of the Rockies until the mine closed and they moved to Elko, Nevada in 1987. After moving to Elko, Bill worked at Barrick Goldstrike as a heavy equipment operator on A-Crew until he retired in May 2020 at the age of 76 after 59 years in mining. A highlight of working at Barrick was Bill’s opportunity to work as a mentor miner in Tanzania, Africa.
As an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Elko, NV, Bill served as a Eucharistic minister and was a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He and Barbara also traveled on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with other parishioners in 2015.
Bill loved to travel and see the country with his family. When the kids were young, he bolted a piece of plywood across the pickup bed, under a camper shell, as a bed for the kids. They traveled to Cheyenne Frontier Days, Mt. Rushmore, Oklahoma, Montana, Oregon, and Washington to name a few memorable trips. Later in life, a converted school bus replaced the shell, taking everyone over Independence Pass, Colorado – what a feat. Eventually Bill upgraded to a 5th-wheel trailer and later an RV. Many of the grandchildren traveled with him to deep-sea fish in Oregon, follow the Columbia River Gorge, and sight see in Yellowstone National Park, among other places.
On November 10, 2020, Bill passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his wife, Barbara, seven children and their families, and some of his nieces and nephews. His mother and father, Jessie and Floyd James, his son Jesse Frank James, his sister, Patty Jo James, and his brother, Larry James, preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Barbara James; daughters, Pamela (Wayne) Junge, Lorna (Erasmo) James-Cervantes, Brenda James, and Patrice James; sons, Jason James, William (Shawna) James, and Raymond (Stephanie) James; 17 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; sisters, Lorene James, Patty (Joe) Whittaker, and Loral (Mark) Plute; and brother, Steve (Connie) James; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Bill will be sorely missed, but never forgotten as the kind-hearted, loving, and witty person he was. May he rest in eternal peace with our Lord.
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