James Harris Potter died Thursday, November 14, 2013, in Ames, Iowa. He was born in Emmetsburg, Iowa, on April 9, 1927, to Dr. Loron Ray & Lila (Harris) Potter, and his family later moved to Schaller, Iowa, where he grew up and graduated from high school in 1944. Jim enlisted in the US Navy that winter, serving at the Great Lakes Naval Station and later aboard the USS LCS 123 as part of the occupational forces.
After serving in the Navy he returned to Algona, Iowa, where he married Marjorie Eason on August 18, 1946. Jim worked for his father in the meat curing business and later farmed. In 1958 he moved his family to Nevada, Iowa, where he started a water conditioning business with the Lindsay Company. He sold this business in 1967 and eventually became Sales Manager for the Nevada Distributing Company, traveling seven states selling grain-handling equipment.
His wife Marjorie passed away in 1974, and he married Marlys Young in 1983, taking early retirement in 1987. His retirement gift was an all expenses paid trip through Alaska, as his first effort in the early 80’s was cut short due to a motorcycle accident.
Jim was very active in the Central Presbyterian Church in Nevada, and his Pastor at the time wrote this in support of Jim’s nomination for the JC Penney Golden Rule Award: “If I were to characterize Jim Potter in one word, it would be SERVANT. What impresses me most is how he serves equally well as a public leader and in quiet, humble, behind-the-scenes roles. Jim serves out of a loving commitment to share himself for the betterment of others…… There are numerous examples of Jim’s humble service. After a snow he is usually here at the church, bright and early with his snow blower, to clean off the sidewalks. Jim doesn’t make a big deal about it; he just gets the job done! Jim Potter is a man of deep faith and caring love for others. His faith is closely integrated with his volunteer service, so that it is hard to tell the difference between the two. Jim cuts, loads and delivers firewood free to one of our poorer church families. I know this, not because Jim ever told me, but because the recipient shared her great appreciation with me.”
“What you will remember most about him is his hearty laugh, his warm smile and his sensitive, sincere look that makes him a joy to know”
He will also be remembered for his leadership in the building of the Nevada library, his service on the city council, the re-organization of Nevada’s Community Cupboard and many more quiet behind-the-scenes efforts to countless friends and relatives.
He is survived by his wife of thirty years Marlys of Ames, daughters Susan Vande Kamp and Jane Heintz, son Michael (Carla Sue), grandsons Shane (Christine) Heintz, all of Nevada, Cory Heintz (Jessica Spooner) of Salem, OR, and Falon Potter of Nevada, great-grandson Mark Heintz, great-granddaughter Rae Heintz, brother Donald Potter (Connie) of Sioux City, IA and numerous nephews and nieces.
The family is especially grateful for the loving care given to Jim by the staff in the Northcrest Health Care Center.
A Celebration of Life service was held on Tuesday, November 19th, at the Central Presbyterian Church, 932 5th Street in Nevada.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Central Presbyterian Church Building Fund or a charity of your choice.
Chet Ryan Mortuary of Nevada was entrusted with the care of Jim and his family.