James M. S. Rich, 81, of Veedersburg, left this life at 11:30 pm (EDT) Thursday May 12, 2011 at the Danville, IL. V A Illiana Health Care System after a two year battle with cancer.
He was born March 22, 1930 in Yeddo, Indiana to Leo A. and Wilma A. (Keller) Rich.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo & Wilma; and a grandson, Brett Songer.
Jim married Freda M. Pickett, his wife of 60 years, on September 26, 1950 in Lafayette, Indiana. She survives. Others surviving include two daughters, Marci (Robert) Roark, and Jahn (Stephen) Songer; one grandson, David (Dawn) Songer; one great-grandson, Dylan Songer; and Dylan’s mother, Karen (Tyler) Rice, all of Veedersburg.
James graduated from Covington High School in 1948 and from the school of Aeronautics at Purdue University in 1953. He then joined the U.S. Air Force as an officer. He proudly served his country for 21 years as a pilot. Jim’s Air Force career as a pilot was cut short by a military related accident in Taiwan. After his medical retirement, he owned an auto-body shop with Darrell Bever in Veedersburg. He and Freda then owned a local tavern for two years. He was a life member of V.F.W. Post# 2395, a member of American Legion Post #288, and a member of the Military Officers Association of America.
Jim was an avid antique car enthusiast and he and Freda enjoyed collecting antiques. Always busy, he was involved in many restoration projects. Prior to his illness, he was in the process of restoring the Nickel Plate Railroad Depot in Veedersburg. Jim and Freda enjoyed their winter months in Tampa, Florida for more than 30 years.
He dearly loved his two grandsons, Brett and David Songer, and his great-grandson Dylan Songer.
Graveside service will be 2:00 pm Monday May 16, 2011 at Bonebrake Cemetery near Veedersburg with Pastor Dave Sims officiating. Visitation will 12:00 Noon – 1:30 pm Monday May 16 at Dickerson Funeral Home in Veedersburg. Memorial contributions may be made to the Pallative Care Unit at the Danville IL. V.A. or the American Legion Post #288. Online contributions at www.dickersonfuneralhome.com