Jimmie J. France, 96, of Bloomington, formerly of Roanoke, passed away on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at Heritage Manor Health Care Center in Bloomington, surrounded by his family.
Born on November 1, 1926, in Chesapeake, OH, Jimmie was the only child of Ezra and Garnet Silken Crump France. He married Sarah Lorraine Freshcorn on May 4, 1947, in Catlettsburg, KY. She passed away on June 19, 2013.
Surviving are his children: Janis (James) Liston of Bloomington, Beverly (Terry) Kirby of Lexington, Karen (Chris) Sepich of Trempealeau, WI, and James (Amy) France of Hudson. Also surviving are his grandchildren: Sarah Kirby, Jaclyn (Aaron) Frailey, Natalie Whitted, Rachel (Mike) Frank, Elizabeth Kirby, Emily (Alex) Burgener, Abigail Sepich, Annabelle Sepich, and Nicholas France. Great grandchildren include: Lauren Frailey, Celia Whitted, Morgan Frailey, Macy Frank, Coy Whitted, Hazel Frank, Tucker Kirby, and Tobias Sepich. Jimmie was a devoted son, husband, and father.
A WWII Navy veteran, Jimmie proudly served his country from 1944-1946 in the Pacific theater as Ship’s Cook aboard destroyers U.S.S. Brinkley Bass and U.S.S. Lloyd C. Acree. He was an active member of the Roanoke American Legion Post #463.
Jimmie attended Marshall University, WV, and earned his Professional Engineering credentials in both Ohio and Illinois. He worked for Bituminous Coal Research (Huntington, WV), Marion Power Shovel (Marion, OH), and Ulrich Manufacturing (Roanoke, IL). He retired from WABCO/Dresser/ Komatsu on September 31, 1990. At Komatsu, he served as Chief Engineer of the Engineering and Mechanical Trucking Divisions. He obtained multiple patents for his innovations during his time there. Jimmie went to China 13 times to represent WABCO Mining. During his time there, he also consulted with the Chinese regarding the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. He was active in the Society of Automotive Engineers for many years.
Jimmie was also active in his community. He was a member of Roanoke United Methodist Church, serving in many leadership roles over the years. He volunteered for The United Way, Mended Hearts, and was a regular blood donor for the American Red Cross. He enjoyed helping at the Methodist Men and American Legion breakfasts. He was instrumental in the creation of the Roanoke Park swimming pool, having designed it, serving as treasurer of the founding board, and overseeing the management of it during its early years.
An accomplished photographer, Jimmie loved taking pictures. He was an avid collector, including everything from coins, to wine, to beanie babies. He helped found the Roanoke Dance Club and loved the time spent with his friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, 2022, at the Roanoke United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held at 10:00 prior to the services at the church on Thursday. Burial will be in the Roanoke Township Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Roanoke Park District & Swimming Pool, Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, or to the Roanoke United Methodist Church. Online condolences and tributes may be sent to the family at knappjohnsonharris.com.