James Louis Sedey Sr. (Jim)
Jim was born in Kemmerer Aug. 27, 1944. He passed away Friday, May 25, 2012.
He was a dedicated son, brother, husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, uncle, cousin, nephew and friend. Jim was loyal and supportive to all the people he cared about.
Jim grew up in Nugget, where he helped in the family business — a bar, café and gas station — and the family ranch, and got into all sorts of mischief with his brothers and cousins. Although Nugget only remains in our memories, the Sedey family maintains ownership in the ranch.
Jim attended schools in Kemmerer and created years of memories with friends and family before graduating from Kemmerer High School in 1962. During high school, he met the love of his life, Donna Kusnirik, and Jim and Donna were married July 28, 1962.
For a short time after the wedding, Jim worked at Fontenelle Dam as an oiler, and then they moved to Laramie to continue their newlywed adventures. Jim attended the University of Wyoming for only a year before imagining greener pastures and deciding to move to California. He and Donna lived in Los Angeles, San Diego and Burbank, Calif., where Jim worked for Nason and Fuller paints and took on a number of odd jobs. During that period, three children were born — Shelly, Jim, Jr., and Marian.
The young couple moved back to Kemmerer to purchase and operate Jim’s Mobil Service for four years, during which time they had another child, DJ. Jim’s next career undertaking was working in construction trades. He worked as a laborer, pipe fitter and eventually as a boilermaker and welder at various locations throughout the west. After a number of years, Jim and Donna had another child, John Michael.
In 1983, Jim parked his travel trailer and went to work for UP & L at the Naughton plant, where he worked until his retirement in 2002. At the Naughton plant, Jim worked as a journeyman plant mechanic, equipment mechanic, maintenance craft supervisor, maintenance planner scheduler, maintenance buyer/planner, special projects ISO 14001 coordinator and safety and training coordinator. Having a long-term job in one location allowed more time for fishing at many of his favorite spots, including Flaming Gorge. What started as a quest to purchase a storage shed to store his boat at the Gorge turned into a second home in Manila, Utah, for Jim and Donna, as well as family and friends who wanted to visit and go on some fishing expeditions.
Education was very important to Jim. He took very seriously the words of wisdom passed on from his dad, John Sedey, “Educated men can still pick s**t with the chickens. They have that choice.” Those words of wisdom started him on his non-traditional education journey more than 20 years after he originally started college. While working full time and traveling considerable distances to attend classes, he was named as the outstanding non-traditional student at Western Wyoming Community College. He then completed his bachelor of social science degree through the University of Wyoming, and continued to be a life-long learner as he obtained a master of executive business administration degree from the University of Utah. This was a proud accomplishment, not only for Jim, but also for his wife, children and parents.
Jim caught the travel bug during a culminating project experience for his EMBA that included a week studying business in Hong Kong. Through the years, he traveled throughout the United States and beyond, to exciting places to hunt and fish. He visited “garden spots” such as Elko, Nev., Ogallala, Neb., Bagdad, Ariz., and Fort Laramie, and also North Dakota, Minnesota, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and Africa.
Jim and Donna also traveled to Australia, Norway, Italy, Slovenia, New Zealand, Hawaii, the South Pacific and the Dominican Republic. Another significant part of his travel adventures later in life was traveling around the region to cheer on his grandchildren in their various activities.
In 2002, after nearly 20 years at the Naughton plant, Jim went into partial retirement, but continued to work part-time to finance his various hunting and travel hobbies. For the next 10 years, he worked various jobs for the Boilermakers Union in addition to spending a number of years working overhauls as a quality control boiler inspector and burner project manager at the Jim Bridger power plant.
Jim, also know as “Grape Ape” or “CLC,” worked hard and recreated even harder. He had a genuine gift for dealing with people. He could typically make you dislike him intensely or make you a friend for life immediately. You always knew where you stood with him. You never had to ask, “Could you be more specific?” Those who knew him well understood that after a night of imbibing, he’d start “waxing philosophically,” and something insightful would be shared when he started a conversation with, “Hey…”
Anyone who knew Jim knew that he loved to hunt and fish, and he used that time to bond with family and friends at every opportunity. For a number of years, during elk season, locals knew that they would find enlightening conversation, paired with good food and drink, at the “Boar’s Nest” on the Hamsfork. Jim also enjoyed a variety of other sporting activities, including shooting trap, reloading, shooting archery, playing golf and watching or listening to anything that involved the Wyoming Cowboys and Denver Broncos.
Other hobbies included playing computer solitaire, playing pitch and cribbage, checking online investments, attending live theater with Donna, reading books and also playing an occasional video game with his son, John.
During his life he was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Search-and-Rescue, Kemmerer Volunteer Fire Department, Commissary Commandos, State Search & Rescue Advisory Council, Gun Club, Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Democratic Party. He competed and medaled in the Senior Olympics; was a 4-H leader; and coached Jr. Jazz basketball, USA wrestling and also flag football.
Family was very important to him, and he especially enjoyed the extra time he was able to spend visiting with and helping out his own father during John’s last few years. The significance of family was also seen as his children married and their spouses were accepted into and supported within the family. There was never a doubt about how proud Jim and Donna were of their children and grandchildren, as they turned over a lot of miles traveling to attend their various activities.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, John and Clara Sedey, as well as his grandparents and a number of uncles and aunts.
Remaining behind to celebrate Jim’s life are Donna Sedey, his wife of almost 50 years, as well as children, grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Family members include children Shelly (daughter) and John Piaggio, and their children, Jason and Carissa Piaggio; Jim, Jr. (son) and Liz Sedey and their children, Randi and James Sedey; Marian (daughter) and Casey Moats, and their children, David and Tyler Moats, and Jordan Moats, his wife, Amanda, and daughter Madelyn (great-granddaughter); DJ (daughter) Sedey; and John (son) and Wendy Sedey and their children, Mikkhi and Maile Sedey.
Jim is also survived by Frank (brother) Sedey, his wife, Charlotte, and their children and grandchild; and Ray (brother) and Sandy Sedey and their children and grandchildren; and even more extended family including aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and their children.
Donations may be made in his name, Jim Sedey Sr., to any of the following: Lincoln County Search and Rescue, Kemmerer Senior Center, South Lincoln Nursing Center, a local charity or youth program of your choice, or pancreatic cancer research, at www.pancan.org/index.php.
Services to honor Jim’s life will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Diamondville. A vigil and rosary will be held Thursday, May 31 at 7 p.m., and a funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 1, at 10 a.m.