Hi, I am Jim Lovell. Well, officially James Lynn Lovell for those concerned about such things. If you are reading this something has happened that may seem unsettling to you. But trust me, I am doing just fine. Actually, much better than fine. The last several years have been challenging, and due to the dementia, I struggled to remember any of it. Right now I am experiencing clarity, joy, and freedom that has been absent for so long. If we spoke during that time while I was ill and I forgot your name, or how I knew you, know that I remembered you and recognized that you were important to me. Know that I am a better person because of you and our relationship.
I was born on November 12, 1943, to James Spencer and Mary Luella Standley Lovell in Idaho Falls, Idaho. I was the second of five children. I am the first of my siblings to make the journey back to Mom and Dad. To my siblings, Donna Colson (Steven), Marilyn Bateman (Steven), Susan Bawden (Steven), and Kendall Lovell (Annette), I have loved our journey together, but please don't be in too big of a rush to join Mom, Dad, and me.
Mom and Dad raised the five of us on the family farm near Ririe, Idaho. I loved the farm but wasn't sure about making that my livelihood. After I graduated from Ririe High School I studied at Ricks College before I served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Southern States Mission-primarily in Georgia. The friends and memories I made there influenced my life profoundly. Later in life, I discovered part of the reason I was so attached to this part of the world-several ancestors called Georgia home. Through my research, I grew close to many of them, but I became especially close to my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson McClain.
After my initial missionary service in Georgia, I returned home unsure about my career path. I worked as a salesperson at Ferrell's Clothing and as an usher at the Paramount Theater. Neither seemed to provide much in the form of future prospects until I noticed a particular young lady who sold tickets at the theater. Somehow, I was able to convince this young lady to join me on the grandest adventure of my life. Linda Pearl Guymon and I were married in the Idaho Falls, Idaho Temple on December 27, 1968.
Linda and I decided to continue my education at the University of Idaho. It was there that I concluded that I wanted to share my love of the farm by teaching young people about agriculture. I graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Education. Upon graduation, Linda and I moved to Redmond, Oregon, to teach and advise the high school chapter of the Future Farmers of America. While there, we were able to take the program from a probationary state to third in the state. We also had multiple state and national awards in three years and I was named Oregon teacher of the year.
The odds of being struck by lightning are slim. Being struck twice is that much more rare. If good fortune is like lightning I should have spent more time in Vegas. After my first two lucky strikes of Linda agreeing to marry me and landing my dream job in Redmond, my third lucky strike materialized when I was offered the job to teach agriculture and establish a new FFA chapter at my alma mater, Ririe High School, and help Dad on the family farm. So we moved our family back to Ririe. I spent 5 years teaching there, following which I focused my full attention on operating the family farm. Later in my career I was fortunate to be elected as a member of the Ririe School Board, eventually serving as chairman of the board, and was able to help with the construction of the new school building that became the new location for Ririe High School. All told I served on the school board for nine years.
While career milestones were a highlight, the crowning achievements were the children Linda and I were able to welcome into our adventure, and the spouses they added. James (Leigh Anne Pilling), Jalin (Brett Bingham), Travis (Brenda Barrett), Damian (Kim Profaizer), Tamra Lovell, and Tianna (BJ Homer). Tamra graduated very early from this life. She was delivered stillborn as a result of an auto accident. Shortly, I will be laid to rest next to her at our family plot in the Ririe-Shelton Cemetery. Our tribe continues to grow, enhancing our family in countless ways including the addition of 19 grandchildren, 4 grandchildren-in-law, one great-grandchild who is on the way, and many other grandchildren who have adopted us by heart.
As hinted at earlier, family history became an obsession. I loved learning about my ancestors, participating in sacred ordinances in the temple for them, and helping others do the same. I even discovered that I was eligible to join the Mayflower Society because of my ancestry. Linda joined me in these passions. We were able to serve as missionaries in the family history center in Idaho Falls and Rigby. Later, Linda and I were able to return to the South to serve together as a senior missionary couple in the South Carolina, Columbia mission.
I have loved my life. While I experienced many ups and downs, challenges, and victories, I successfully completed this roller coaster at our family home in Ririe with the love of my life by my side and surrounded by my children on May 10, 2023. I can now enjoy the next phase. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who gave me the opportunities I have enjoyed and made it possible for me to return to be with him and renew relationships with family and friends.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 15, 2023, at the Ririe Stake Center, 14061 North 130 East. The family will visit with friends Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 South Ammon Road, and Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. prior to services at the church. Burial will be in the Ririe-Shelton Cemetery.