Cover photo for James Orvaille Simon's Obituary
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1945 James 2018

James Orvaille Simon

August 14, 1945 — October 12, 2018

James O Simon, 73 of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota passed away Friday, October 12, 2018 from prostate cancer.  Born to Wilfred H Simon and Margaret G Hettwer Simon on August 14, 1945 in   Devils Lake, North Dakota. Jim spent his early years growing up near Calio, ND.  At the age of 7 his family moved to Anaconda, MT for a short while then onto Deer Lodge, MT where he completed his elementary school and high school years.  He graduated from Powell County High School in 1963. Jim entered military service while still in high school in 1962.  He joined the local  Army National Guard unit and other units in Montana which had been recently retrained as a special forces unit by a directive from then President John F Kennedy.  He was trained as a radio/communications specialist and as a paratrooper at Fort  Benning, Georgia. In 1964 he transferred to the Detroit Lakes, MN National Guard unit where he was the jeep driver for the company commander and served as the company’s radio  operator.  He finished his 6-year commitment in January 1968. Jim’s secondary education began in 1968.  He entered a 2-year radio and tv repair course at the North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, ND.  He was also married in 1968 to Rita Wickstrom of Detroit Lakes, MN.  After graduation in 1970, Jim and Rita moved to Park Rapids, MN where he worked as a tv  repairman and Rita taught school.  In 1974 Rita was offered a teaching job in Thompson Manitoba Canada, located  approximately 500 miles north of Winnipeg Manitoba.  She accepted the job, and Jim went to work for Lamb Air Ltd where he worked as a aircraft radio electrician. Jim and Rita returned to Detroit Lakes in 1976 where he began his auctioneer career.  Jim had already attended the Reisch College of Auctioneering in  December 1972.  He started his auction career building and operating his own consignment auction house, south of Detroit Lakes on Hwy 59. Jim was a member of the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association where he served 3 years on the board of directors.  He was also a member of the National Auctioneers Association and was a 1983 graduate of the Certified Auctioneers Institute earning the CAI designation.  This is a 1 week for 3 year program held at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.  This program designed by the  National Auctioneers Association to further enhance the education and training of the professional auctioneer. In 1987 Jim made another career change.  He attended Alexandria Technical   College in Alexandria, MN where he completed a two-year aircraft electronics (avionics)  program.  Graduating in 1989, he accepted a job at Felts Field Aviation in Spokane, WA for one year.    From there he moved to Anchorage, AK to work for ERA Aviation Inc.  As a bench tech for the first year then as an equipment installer for the company’s huge helicopter fleet where he installed the “Black Boxes” and internal sound systems in each aircraft.  Jim often commented “This was the best three years of my Life.”  I’ve seen and done things that most people only dream about. In 1994 Jim returned to the “South 48” and found himself back in the stomping grounds of his youth, Deer Lodge, MT.  He changed careers one more time – he became a certified welder, working for a large mfg co building and installing equipment for the mining industry.  In 2004 Jim returned to Detroit Lakes where he worked as a welder for BTD, CJJ Inc TS Recreational Salvage.  He semi-retired in 2013. Jim’s hobbies and interests included a never-ending love for music especially rock and roll from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.  He gave up music and playing guitar during his    working years but has since picked it up again after his retirement.  Jim also had an  interest in treasure hunting with his metal detectors which he enjoyed since 1984.  He also enjoyed Gold prospecting, a hobby he discovered when he lived in Alaska. Jim was preceded in death by his parents. Jim is survived by brothers Robert (Red) Simon of Detroit Lakes, MN; Richard (Mary) Simon of Brainerd, MN; sisters Judy Simon Kearney of Detroit Lakes, MN, Louise (David) Kirsch of Florence, Kentucky; Spouses Rita Wickstrom Simon of Detroit Lakes, MN and Cherie Crowell Rude Simon of Detroit Lakes, MN.   (Obituary credit to James Orvaille Simon)      
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