James “Jim, Jimmy” Lester Williams of Warrensburg MO, passed peacefully away on September 7, 2021. He was surrounded by his wife Bonnie of 48 years, his brother-in-law Barry, and his two close friends, Carl and Carmen Schick. He was being treated at Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit MO for complications due to COVID. Jim was preceded in death by his mother Katie and his daughter Amanda Anne.
Jim was born February 4, 1952 in Storm Lake Iowa to James R. and Katherine “Katie” Williams. At an early age, the family moved to Des Moines IA. There, Jim became involved with the Boy Scouts while attending Roosevelt High School. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout which began his journey of great achievements. Jim then became a wilderness guide in the Boundary Waters in Canada.
Jim’s next adventures were in his college years at Graceland University in Lamoni IA. It was there that he met his future wife Bonnie Lou Epling. He served as chaplain for his fraternity while studying nursing, graduating with a BSN in 1974. His class was the first class graduating male nurses. So began his trailblazing professional career.
Jim’s first professional job was as a night nurse at Mt. Ayr Hospital in Iowa. It was there that he delivered his first baby. His career then moved him to Des Moines IA where he worked as a school nurse for the Des Moines School District. While there, the school district sent him to Rutgers University in New Jersey where he became the first male Nurse Practitioner in the United States. His next career move took him to Chicago IL, where he worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It was there that Jim set up and ran medical clinics in low-income communities. Jim’s next chapter sent him to Warrensburg MO where he worked for Dr. Reed Maxson. It was also while living here that he and Bonnie adopted their only child in 1983, Amanda Anne.
The next and final career chapter (1990-2010) was in Anchorage AK. Some of his greatest achievements included: research and development of a vaccine for hepatitis and treatment of patients with liver disease. This position took him all over the world for conferences and symposiums. It was there that he shared his knowledge and research and publications on the liver and its diseases. Some of these places included New Zealand, Italy, Germany and Russia. He retired in 2010 with a medical discharge after a highly celebrated career as a Captain/06.
Jim’s final years were in Warrensburg MO where he pursued additional interests in politics, local healthcare, antique clock repair and restoration. Jim also held several positions in the Community Of Christ Church over the years. It was here that he provided ministry and support to so many people.
He is survived by his father James R. Williams, wife Bonnie, son-in-law Steve, brother-in-law Barry Epling (Pam), sister-in-law Debbie Mankel , many cousins and aunts and uncles. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to your favorite charity/organization in Jim’s name. A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a future date and time in person and also via Zoom for those that cannot attend. His remains are being handled by Longview Funeral Home in Kansas City MO.
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