Cover photo for James Robert Findley's Obituary
James Robert Findley Profile Photo
1932 James 2023

James Robert Findley

February 13, 1932 — September 1, 2023

James (Jim) Robert Findley, 91, of Fredonia, Kansas, passed away on September 1, 2023, in Chanute, Kansas. He was born on February 13, 1932, in Coyville, Kansas, to the late Lloyd and Mary Florence (Jackson) Findley.

Jim was a dedicated family man, known for his honesty, hard work, and wonderful sense of humor. He was a loving husband to Willa, his wife of 68 years. Jim will be deeply missed by his children: Patricia Abercrombie of Andover, KS, James F. Findley of Peabody, KS, Willard Findley of Fredonia, KS, Gina Odell of Fredonia, KS, Edward Kent Findley of Lenexa, KS, and Christina Valentin of Fredonia, KS. He is also survived by his three sisters: Mary Clinesmith of Chanute, KS, Shirley Becker of Emporia, KS, and Jeannie Engstrom of Rogers, AR. Jim leaves behind a legacy of love in his 21 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and 8 great-great-grandchildren.

Jim felt fortunate to grow up in Coyville, a small, close-knit farming community. The Findley family were especially blessed with neighbors Bert and Isla Mead who became bonus grandparents to Jim and his sisters and brothers. He loved living on a farm, surrounded by cattle and horses. He always said he was the luckiest of boys to have the family he was born into and to grow up hunting, fishing, and playing baseball whenever he had free time.

Jim's worldwide adventures began when he became restless and pestered his parents into allowing him to join the Navy in 1949 at the age of 17. After serving his country during the Korean conflict aboard a destroyer, the U.S.S. Bausell, Jim then returned to his hometown in 1953 to complete his high school education where he graduated in May of 1954. Jim's dedication to his country extended beyond his time in the Navy. He served in the National Guard in Fredonia for a year and then, in 1955, he joined the Air Force where he chose to become an Aircraft Mechanic for 16 years. Jim was also a Vietnam War veteran; he was stationed for around a year at Ubon Royal Air Force Base in 1968.

On March 6th, 1955, Jim married his trusted partner for life, Willa Mae Glover, in the Church of the Brethren with Willa’s Aunt and best friend, Ella Sissom Odell, and her husband, Jim Odell, as their witnesses.

After retiring from the military while stationed at McConnell AFB, Jim worked in the Derby School system until the family moved back to the Fredonia area. He was hired at Altoona Midway as a custodian and maintenance worker from which he retired again after many years of employment. He very much enjoyed his time at the school especially when he was left in peace to mow the campus grounds.

His expertise as an Aircraft Mechanic in the Air Force showcased his passion for airplanes. In his free time, Jim enjoyed listening to Country Western Music, a hobby that brought him joy and relaxation. The radio was on from morning to night but he never, ever sang along.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Billy and Jerry Findley, grandson Lloyd Findley, great-grandson Hunter Stellmaker, great niece Melissa Fuller and brothers-in-law Donnie Becker and Raymond Clinesmith (who was Jim’s friend a long, long time before Raymond and Jim’s sister Mary ever started dating).

A visitation will be held on Friday, September 8, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wickham Family Funeral Home, located at 510 North 7th St. in Fredonia, Kansas. A Celebration of Life Funeral Service will take place on Saturday, September 9, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial donations are suggested to Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice or Avenue of Flags, of Fredonia, KS. Jim's memory will forever be cherished by his family and friends. His hard work, dedication, and love for his family will always be remembered, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

Military Honors by the Chanute Honor Guard will be presented outside the funeral home following the Celebration of Life Service. Services are under the guidance of Wickham Family Funeral Home 510 North 7th St. Fredonia, KS.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Robert Findley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 8, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Wickham Family Funeral Home - Fredonia

510 North 7th Street, Fredonia, KS 66736

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Wickham Family Funeral Home - Fredonia

510 North 7th Street, Fredonia, KS 66736

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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