If you could design such a sad moment beautifully, it would be the passing of our dad, more famously known by his grandchildren as Grandpa Jim. James Leo O’Loughlin passed away this past week in the home he had lived in for the past 35 years, overlooking the land that he loved, while surrounded by his wife of 53 years, Leonora O’Loughlin, all eight of his sons (although fitting with the pandemic we are living through, one son could not travel and joined via FaceTime), and many of his grandchildren. Jim was 76 years old at the time of his passing. He was a great man, respected and admired by all and will be missed dearly by his family, his colleagues, and his community.
Over the course of his life, Jim filled many successful roles at work, at church, in the community, and in his home. He moved his family to Moberly, Missouri in 1985 to begin work as General Counsel and Executive Vice President at Orscheln Industries, where he continued working until he retired in the Fall of 2018. Moving to Moberly gave him the chance to enjoy the small-town life he craved for his family while being able to continue a dynamic professional career at Orscheln. In Moberly, Jim seemed to thrive on all fronts, balancing all the important areas in life while helping everyone feel included and important.
Early in their marriage Jim and Lee joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they continued as active members in it’s congregation in Moberly. At church, Jim served in many capacities—as a bishop, a youth leader, and in multiple roles serving those in need. In the community, he joined the Rotary Club, helped spearhead the founding of the soccer programs in Moberly, and served on the board of multiple community initiatives including the ICAN Missouri Foundation. In every capacity in which Jim served, he always recognized everyone for their true worth and wanted to know them personally--during the late nights he spent at the office he got to know the workers who came to clean his office on a first-name basis, and did the same with all he interacted with and met. He was always ready to listen, mentor, coach, or guide any who sought his help or advice, and did so with his undivided attention.
To our dad, being a good father also meant showing his family how to serve in the community, usually with his children in tow. This included everything from caroling and delivering care packages to families at Christmas to filling a soccer roster with underprivileged children who wouldn’t get to play otherwise, which also meant paying their league fees, buying their equipment, and picking them up and taking them home for games.
Even with all his success at work and in the community, the role he enjoyed most, and the one in which he truly gained heroic status to an ever-growing following, was his role as Grandpa Jim. All of his grandchildren loved him; and wanted to be around him whenever they could. From oldest to youngest, Grandpa Jim would always take time to sit down and talk with each one, asking questions and showing genuine interest that made each one of his 36 (soon to be 38) grandchildren feel so important. Each will miss his wonderful laugh, the hayrides, campfires, bedtime stories, polar bear plunges, hikes, and all the many games and swim parties that always included “keep away” and “sharks and minnows”. No matter the activity, Grandpa Jim always kept up. He always showed up for all the big moments.of his children’s and grandchildren’s lives, even as his family began to spread throughout the country. From Boston to California, and of course everything in Moberly, he attended the many birthdays, graduations, baptisms, marathons and Ironman races, sporting events and musicals. He was the epitome of what a grandfather should be, and the life lessons he taught will carry on for generations.
Through it all, Jim was always the eternal optimist and saw life as a grand adventure, whether it was breaking his leg chasing a bear in Yosemite National Park or traveling through Europe with his sweetheart Leonora. When two of his young boys hit a baseball through a big, expensive sliding glass door, instead of a strong (well-deserved) punishment, he turned it into a Normal Rockwell photo op and framed the picture, which still hangs in his office today.
Jim was born in Watertown, Wisconsin on August 24, 1943, the second son of his parents Emma and Leo. He attended Northern Illinois University and received his Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University in 1967. He married his long time sweetheart, Leonora Budinger, on March 18, 1967. They began their life together in Chicago, Illinois, and from there moved to Kansas City, Missouri, then to Los Angeles, California, to Houston, Texas, and eventually to Moberly, Missouri in 1985. Along the way, they brought eight sons into the family. All eight sons graduated from Moberly High School and since then some of his grandchildren have now done the same. All eight sons graduated from college, ranging from West Point to BYU to Harvard. All eight sons served two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in locations as far-reaching as Brazil, Guatemala, England, Ireland, and Alaska, as well as other locations in the United States. Jim was a strong advocate for scouting and helped each of his sons achieve the rank of Eagle (with all credit to him for that accomplishment!).
Though we will all miss our Dad, Grandpa, Husband, Brother, Mentor, Colleague, and Friend, we think he will continue to show up when we need him. Somehow he will still find a way to join us on all our family gatherings, to dive into the icy water for the Polar Bear Club tradition he started on each New Years Day, to give us a push when we are tired during a race, and to give us a hug when we are feeling down. Through our faith in Jesus Christ we know families do not end at death, and we will be with Jim again.
Jim will be joining his Mom and Dad, and his granddaughter Gracie in the next life. Carrying on his legacy here are his wife and best friend, Leonora; his sons and daughters-in-law: Bryan and Christin, Patrick and Emily, Michael and Teresa, John and Alison, Tommy and Brittany, Joey and Maegan, Jimmy and Roberta, Daniel and Christine; and his grandchildren: Patrick (spouse Kelsey), Madeline (spouse Daniel), Robbie, Sophie, Ben, Ryan, Andrew, Connor, Krista (spouse Logan), Jimmy, Kaylee, Breanna, Johnny, Morgan, Lauren, William, Harry, Eli, Josie, Will, Brooke, Joseph Michael, Peter, Sarah, Emma, Lydia, Emily, Kate, Abbie, Claire, Daniel, Audrey, Charlie, Jack, and Savannah. He was looking forward to meeting two more soon-to-be-born grandchildren and his first great-grandchild. He is also survived by his brother Pat and his sisters Kathi and Maureen.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the difficulties of travel, we will be holding a private graveside service with the immediate family. Later, all will be invited to a memorial service to celebrate his life, to be held in the near future when conditions permit.
Also, in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the following 501(c)(3) charities - Our Little Ones or MASA . He was instrumental in forming Our Little Ones to care for and educate children in need, presently focused on building schools, an orphanage, and providing homes for street children in Tanzania--it was going to be one of his retirement projects. MASA was important to him as well, as he was one of the pioneers of soccer in Moberly. You can send a check addressed for either organization to 1710 Gratz Brown, Suite B, Moberly, MO 65270. You can also donate online at https://everloved.com/life-of/james-oloughlin/ by clicking on “Give”.
Lastly, we would be thrilled to hear memories from you or a “Jim story” you might have from knowing our beloved father [e.g., “I remember the time that Jim...”]. You can post a story, picture or video at the following link: https://everloved.com/life-of/james-oloughlin/ by selecting “Memory” and clicking on “Story”, “Photo” or “Video”.
Private Services honoring Mr. O'Loughlin's life were held.
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