Liberal, KS

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Jim Wilson

Joe Denoyer - September 21, 2022 11:06 am

Jim Wilson, age 74, was an integral part of the Ulysses, Kansas, community and has been missed dearly since his death on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ulysses. He was born January 19, 1948, in Dodge City, Kansas, the son of Glen E. and Gwendolyn Frances (Heimer) Wilson.

Jim grew up on the family farm near Hanston, Kansas, and was active in Boy Scouts and FFA. He graduated in 1966 from Hanston High School. He continued his education at Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina where he played football and was a member of the Pi Sigma Upsilon fraternity. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He married his high school sweetheart Shirley Horyna, on December 26, 1970, in Hanston, Kansas.

Jim enlisted in the United States Navy Seabees where he served in Palau, Hawaii and California. The famous motto, “We build, we fight” has courageously been carried out by the “can do” attitudes of our nations fighting construction men, where the difficult is done immediately, and the impossible takes a little longer. He was a proud veteran and made life-long friends during his service. 

Jim moved back to Kansas after being Honorably Discharged in 1973. Making Ulysses his new home, he worked for Webber Supply building grain bins until he started his own company in 1982. Jim was the owner and operator of Wilson Crane Service for over 40 years. He was one of the hardest workers in town, and probably the 5-state area. It was his life and it never seemed like work to him. He never turned down a job no matter the challenge it may bring, location or time of day, or if he had something else scheduled. That included trips in the crane to Nebraska driving 45 mph or tow jobs at three a.m. Jim loved working with his son, Kelly, although most of the family has worked for JWCS in some capacity over the years from unofficial secretary, to driving to just cleaning the shop. He loved his heavy equipment and celebrated the arrival of each as a new family member. He was the perfect crane operator with the combination of physical strength, the mind of engineer and dexterity of surgeon to complete the most difficult jobs in the area. The country side is full of his work that he would happily point out to anyone who happened to be in the vehicle with him.

He was the loving father of Jiana Benham and husband Chris of Lyall Bay, New Zealand, Kelly Wilson and wife Crystal of Ulysses, Kansas, and Kaci Wilson of Lawrence, Kansas.

Proud Papa Jim of his six grandchildren, Natalie, Jesse and Isabella Wilson, and Taylor, Holly and Elle Benham; Dog Dad/Grandfather to Shelby, Gus and Frank.

Brother of Jean Lyman and husband Dean of Sharon, Kansas, Jared Wilson and wife Veronica of Little River, Kansas, and Jolana Perkins and husband Roger of Miltonvale, Kansas; loved uncle and great uncle.

Jim had countless friends and enjoyed talking to anyone he met. His stories were legendary whether they were from his days growing up on the farm or a detailed analysis of his latest job.

He loved supporting his kids and grandkids at their school and sporting events and goat shows. He enjoyed supporting the Ulysses Tiger Sports and watching the Chiefs play football. He gave back to his community by serving on the Ulysses School board where he dedicated service to the students and staff of USD 214 from 1999-2021. Jim was a member of the Grant County Recreation Board from 1996 to 2004, and continued supporting all community events. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church serving on the board of Trustees and as youth leader.

He enjoyed having a buffalo herd that is the unofficial greeting to Ulysses from the east along with his eclectic collection of metal art.

Jim will forever be remembered by family and friends as a loving husband, supportive father, proud Papa, heavy equipment extraordinaire (crane guru), loyal friend, patriot and US Navy Seabee.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Glen and Gwendolyn Wilson; and his daughter, Traci Wilson.

Funeral service will be Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 2:00 PM at the First United Methodist Church in Ulysses with Reverend Todd Guinn officiating. The service will be live streamed on Garnand Funeral Home Facebook page. Interment will follow at the Ulysses Cemetery with Military Rites conducted by Dexter D. Harbour American Legion Post #79. Visitation will be Friday September 23, 2022, from 2:00PM – 8:00PM with family present from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Garnand Funeral Home in Ulysses. Memorial contributions may be given to the Jim Wilson Scholarship Fund, First United Methodist Church, or Furever Friends in care of Garnand Funeral Home, 405 W. Grand Ave, Ulysses, KS 67880. Condolences may be posted at

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