Cover photo for James  E. McQueen's Obituary
James  E. McQueen Profile Photo
1945 James 2018

James E. McQueen

December 29, 1945 — November 18, 2018

Hardworking, caring, kind and generous were just a few words to describe James E. McQueen Jr. He took great pride in his family and in his work. Jim touched many people's lives by the small things he would give away to others and was there to always lend a hand.

World War II was still an everyday talk and concern in 1945 and the year brought light that the end of the war was nearing. That year nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki causing Japan to surrender on August 14th and with Adolf Hitler no longer in power after his death, the war ended on September 2. Most manufacturing was focused during the past four years on the War effort, but 1945 was the year that the microwave oven was invented and the assembly of the world's first general purpose electronic computer was completed. That same year on December 29, James E. and Alice H. (Hughes) McQueen made the announcement of the birth of their son, James E. Jr. in Columbus, Wisconsin.

He grew up in the greater Columbus area and attended a one room school house till his freshman year when he attended Poynette High School. He was a typical kid of his time. He loved doing anything outdoors and stayed active and enjoyed hunting, fishing and go-karting. As he entered his junior year, his dad's job in the seed industry relocated the family to the Columbia City, Indiana area.

Before graduating from Columbia City Joint High School in 1965, he held a job with BF Goodrich and while attending a dance at the city hall, Jim's life would be forever changed. He approached Susan J. Sheets and asked her to dance and soon the couple started dating. He was a true gentleman, polite and took her on nice dates on the weekends for dinner and a movie at the Embassy or a drive in theater in Fort Wayne. On one of those dates, Valentine's Day of 1966 Jim took Sue to Terrace Room and would purpose to her. The young couple would be married on October 1, 1966 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Columbia City.

After graduating Jim took a mechanic's position at Evans Motors. He went on to work 30 years for Zollner Pistons and would retire in 1998. Following retirement, he stayed busy working part time at Truck Maintenance, C&A Tool, Kilgore Manufacturing and for his brother Scott at Automotive MD. He also picked up a hobby in woodworking. He devoted his time to hone his skills and had a gift for making prestige projects.

Jim was proud of his yard; taking great pride in it and enjoyed tending to his vegetable gardens over the years. He loved time outdoors and found relaxation in fishing and hunting. Hunting was one thing that Jim passed down and was a favorite time for him. Not only did his wife go and on one occasion shot her own deer, but he passed the knowledge on to both his children and grandchildren. Over the years he joined many deer mounts to his collecting as well as over 1000 ball caps.


During the 1980's, Jim's love of motorsports, fast engines, and loud noises led his to build his own pulling tractor, "Bad Habit". The build was not just something he did, but his wife, children and friends were there to help him along with way. As he competed, the family would load up and everyone went racing on the weekend together across Indiana and Michigan. Another love he had that was loud was pyrotechnics!

He was a member of the American Legion, Post 157 in Churubusco. Traveling "afar" for Jim meant going to Pierceton, Larwill, Roanoke or Laud. Jim had everything he wanted close to home and the main thing he was most proud of was his family. He loved his grandchildren and loved watching his grandsons compete in the local sporting events and helping them with their 4-H projects.

Life will never be the same for his family after 2:25 a.m. on Sunday, November 18, 2018 when he passed away at his home after a brief battle with lung cancer. He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Susan McQueen; son, Kevin McQueen, of Columbia City; daughter, Tricia (Jeremy) Kilgore, of Churubusco; grandchildren, Jessica and Hunter McQueen, Hayden, J.T. and Bentley Kilgore; brothers, Ron (Julie) McQueen and Scott (Tam) McQueen, both of Columbia City; and mother-in-law, Norma Sheets, of Columbia City. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Kathi Henry; grandson, Kody McQueen; and father-in-law, Morris Sheets.

Visitation is 2-8 p.m. Friday, November 23, 2018 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services are 1 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Union Cemetery, Huntington County. Memorial gifts may be given in his memory to Parkview Whitley Home Health Care and Hospice or Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences or sign the guest register book.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James E. McQueen, please visit our flower store.

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