James Troy DeGolyer was born to William Grover DeGolyer and Clara Adella Shawcroft on July 2, 1927 in La Jara, Colorado. As a young boy, he contracted scarlet fever and missed a year of elementary school while recovering. He liked to work on the Shawcroft Ranch helping his grandfather, John W. Shawcroft, and his uncles tend to crops and livestock.
During World War II, at the age of 17, James enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a fireman on both the U.S.S. Whetstone and the U.S.S. LCI(L)-1091. He survived a typhoon that left him and his crewmates stranded on a small uninhabited island in the South Pacific.
At the end of the war, he returned to the San Luis Valley, where he met and courted Betty Jean Johnson Koch. They were sealed in marriage for time and eternity on June 17, 1948 in the Salt Lake City Utah Temple. To this union, five children were born: Kerry James, deceased; Janet Alane Wells, Escondido, CA; Kris William (Jacki), Castle Rock, CO; Leslie Ann Stocking (Kevin), Agate, CO; Eric Vaughn (Tami), Albuquerque, NM. They have 18 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by both parents, his two sisters Dorothy L. Seaberg and Dora Mae Catlin, his eldest son, and a great-grandson Kerry Edward Taylor. Surviving are his wife, four children, and brother Larry Jack DeGolyer (Judy) of Grand Junction, CO.
James loved both spending time with his family on trail rides and fly-fishing various San Luis Valley lakes and rivers. He was an active member of the Rotary Club, where he served as president and enjoyed continued learning, comradery and community development. James also served the town of La Jara as mayor, mayor pro-tem, and councilman. He was a 4-H leader for more than 20 years, where he tried to instill a love for rural life and continuous improvement in the area’s children. He was a farmer and worked at the post offices in Alamosa, Del Norte, and Manassa as postmaster.
James was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He and Betty Jean served two missions as a couple, one in Washington, D. C. and the other in Denver, CO. He served in various Priesthood callings, including bishoprics, high councils, and as a sealer.
A viewing will be held on Monday, April 10th from 4 -7:00 p.m. at the Rogers Family Mortuary in Alamosa. A second visitation will be held from 10-10:45 a.m. Tuesday, April 11, 2017 in the Relief Society Room at the church with Funeral services following at 11:00 a.m. in the La Jara Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Interment will follow services in the Sanford Cemetery.
Rogers Family Mortuary of Alamosa is in care of the arrangements. Online condolences, tributes and remarks for James’ family may be left at www.RogersFunerals.com