James Clayton Kochevar

April 19, 1934 – Jan. 6, 2024


James Clayton Kochevar, age 89, passed away at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs, on Saturday, Jan. 6, with family by his side. He was born on April 19, 1934, in Kemmerer, the son of John and Lucille Lavonne (Clayton) Kochevar.

Jim attended school in Kemmerer and graduated in 1952, participating in football, basketball and high school band. Post-graduation, Jim attended the University of Wyoming. He was then employed as a telegrapher for the Union Pacific Railroad, working as a relief at stations from Granger to Nyara, Oregon; and Sandy, Utah; to Butte, Montana. 

He married his high school sweetheart, JoAnne Koci, on March 4, 1956, then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served until 1959. To this union were born two children, Laurie and Russell. Jim was a devoted husband, father and, later, grandfather and great-grandfather. 

Jim was employed by El Paso Natural Gas Plant in Opal from February 1959. It later became Northwest Pipeline Corp, and is now owned by the Williams Company. He retired as a supervisor on Jan. 1, 1990, after 31 years of service. He spent his career primarily at the Opal gas plant, but did work at the Kemmerer compressor station for several years.

Later, he was sent to Argentina to help start up an LPG plant. He often spoke fondly of the many memories. After retirement, he then worked many years in consulting as a construction inspector for Northwest Pipeline, the Williams Company and Kern River Pipeline. 

Jim spent his years of retirement as an avid snowmobiler and loved spending time fishing up the Hams Fork River. They spent many summers enjoying family and the outdoors camping, especially later in their favorite place together, “The Beave” — inevitably always catching “the big one” out of the fishing hole. 

He was also a devoted fan of the Wyoming Cowboys, Kemmerer Ranger sports, and the Denver Broncos, never missing the opportunity to listen to or catch the games.

Jim is survived by his dearly loved wife, JoAnne; daughter, Laurie (Kim) McKee; son, Russell (Anne) Kochevar of South Carolina; grandchildren, Candy (Shad) Leggett, Nicki (Kade) Minchow, Jackson Harrison and Alyssa Kochevar; and great-grandchildren, Alexis and Josilyn Leggett.

Jim was a member of the Masonic Lodge 53, Lincoln Chapter #15, Royal Arch Masons, Teton Commandry #15, Knights Templar, the Korein Shriners A.A.O.N.M.S. of Rawlins, the Lincoln County Snowbears and Berta A. Penny United Methodist Church.

Memorial donations can be made to Shriners Hospital, Fairfax Road at Virginia St. Salt Lake City, UT 84403.

Memorial services were conducted at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Ball Family Chapel in Kemmerer.  Interment followed services at the South Lincoln Cemetery, with full military honors.