James Lewis Birdsell, 81, of Ames, Iowa, passed away Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, after facing many years of health challenges with a strong faith, bravery and a steadfast smile.
Friends may call from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 at Christ Community Church, 5501 George Washington Carver Ave. in Ames. Funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at the church. The service will be livestreamed and a link will be available on the Tribute Wall of Jim’s obituary on the Adams Funeral Home website.
There will be a meal and time of fellowship following the service at the church. Burial with military honors will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 6 at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter, Iowa.
Jim was born Aug. 29, 1940, in Oklee, Minnesota, to Pearl and James Birdsell.
He attended Perry High School, and in 1959 proudly enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed on the USS Hancock.
He married his high school sweetheart, Ramona Rhodes, March 13, 1960. Together they raised three daughters, Lori, Kristen and Jill.
Jim went on to join the Milwaukee Railroad, where he worked as a brakeman and conductor for 17 years.
In 1981 he opened Calico Shops and Thymes Remembered Tearoom with Ramona. Jim loved to visit with customers, and always enjoyed his time as a small business owner. They sold their business in 2006 so they could spend time together enjoying retirement.
Jim spent many years coaching softball, restoring antique cars, woodworking, golfing and RVing with the two loves of his life, Ramona and their dog Daisy.
Throughout James’ life, the most important things to him were his relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and his loyalty toward others.
He had countless friends and a family whom he loved dearly. He was a loving husband to Ramona for 61 years, his three daughters and three sons-in-law, his eight grandchildren and spouses and three great-grandsons.
Jim was predeceased by his mother, father and 12 siblings.
He is survived by his wife, Ramona; daughters, Lori (Stephen) Ivey, Kristen (Blaine) Tibben and Jill (Michael) Frey; grandchildren, Hailey (Dmitri) Lebedyev, Madison (Paul) Lundgren, Elliott (Kellee) Frey, Hunter Ivey, Olivia Tibben, Chloe (Jason) Van Engen, Max Ivey and Evie Frey; great-grandsons, James, Crew and River Lundgren; and his sister, Patsy.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Adams Funeral Home and online condolences may be left for Jim’s family at www.adamssoderstrum.com. Jim was a long-standing volunteer at the First Baptist Church in Leesburg, Florida. In lieu of flowers, all memorial donations will be given to their benevolence center to support the needy in their community.