James Vincent Vawter, 100, of Oelwein passed away on Thursday, July 7, 2016 at Oelwein Health Care Center in Oelwein. Services will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at the Geilenfeld Funeral Home in Oelwein with Deacon James Patera officiating. Visitation will be from 9:00 am until the service time on Saturday at the Geilenfeld Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Wadena Cemetery in Wadena, Iowa. Memorials may be directed to the family.
Jim was born on December 15, 1915 in a rural country farmhouse near Lawler, Iowa, the son of Louis and Margaret (Meissen) Vawter. In 1920 the family moved to a Lexington, Illinois farm. They moved back to Iowa in 1927. Jim graduated from Hazleton High School in 1936. From there he went to work for A & P Grocery Store and went from clerk to Asst. Manager. In 1942 he was made manager of the A & P store in West Union. Jim married Genevieve Graff and they were later divorced. In 1943 he joined the Army and served stateside in the 1385thCombat Engineers Unit. He then went overseas and was stationed in England, Belgium and France. Jim was in Germany when the Germans surrendered and then he was ordered back to France to re-equip and board a ship sailing around the Rock of Gibraltar into the Pacific Ocean though the Panama Canal. After 43 days on ship they landed in the Philippines, They were training for the invasion of Japan when they surrendered. He came home in 1946 and worked for the Chicago Great Western Railroad, then the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and then in 1950 he went into partnership with his brother in the grocery store in Hazleton. On June 21, 1954 he was united in marriage to Margaret Whittenbaugh. Margaret passed away in 1998. In 1954 Jim and Margaret bought a grocery store in Calmar, Iowa, then in 1962 moved back to Hazleton and he worked for Karl Mikes, Fareway and Jack & Jill grocery stores. He retired in 1980. His interest over the years was gardening and cooking.
Jim is survived by his daughter, Barb Wegner of Oelwein, his step daughter, Penny (Gary) Reed of Maynard, three grandchildren, Rhonda Williams, Danny (Jackie) Wegner and Robert (Liz) Wegner, two step-grandchildren, Kevin (Jana) McComb and Rodney (Natalie) McComb, eleven great grandchildren, Tammy, Jennifer, Amanda, Chris, Matt, Taylor, Zack, Karlie, Tayler, Tyler and Evelyn, three step-great grandchildren, Wesley, William and Genevieve, ten great-great grandchildren, Kadan, Kabria, Kashaun, Demarion, Jacia, Malayah, Alexis, Garrett, Madalene and Raelynn, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife, Genevieve, second wife, Margaret, a brother, Gerald, sister-in-law, Helen, son-in-law, Wayne Wegner, step-son-in-law, Don McComb, nephew, Michael Vawter and a great niece, Hope Miculinich.
The family wishes to express our sincere thanks to the entire staff at Oelwein Health Care and Palmer Hospice for their wonderful care and concern for Jim and his family.