Wesley A. “Jim” Gilpin, age 92, of Nashua, New Hampshire, formerly of El Dorado Sprngs, Missouri, passed away Sunday, September 20, 2020. He was born November 16, 1927, in Only Springs, Colorado, to Clyde Gilpin and Jessie (McCarthy) Gilpin, the fifth of eight children.
He is survived by his son, Larry Gilpin, and daughter-in-law, Betty Gilpin, of Amherst, NH; one sister, Virginia Beydler, Kansas City, MO, and one brother, Howard Gilpin and wife, Nina, of El Dorado Springs, MO. He was preceded in death by four sisters and one brother.
From Colorado, the family moved to Pacetown, MO. In his first day of school at the one-room Pacetown school house the teacher requested that he “go home; tell your Mother to change your name, because I have too many Wesley’s in my class.” He did, and his mother then told him, “Tell your teacher to call you Jim.”
Toward the end of WWII, Jim left school, lied about his age, and became a paratrooper in the 511th Airbourne, Ft. Benning, GA. After serving in the Pacific, he returned to El Dorado Springs, MO where he met the only love of his life, Marcella Bland, of Blackjack, MO. Though many years later they would go separate ways, Jim and Marcella married immediately. They had one child, Larry. Blackjack became home, and they attended the Blackjack Church of God Holiness.
His first civilian job was delivering eggs for Robert Presley of Blackjack. The next job was delivering food products for Anson Wholesale in El Dorado Springs. Later he would work for Witt Engineering in El Dorado Springs, until accepting a job designing military aircraft parts for Midwest Metal Products in Kansas City, MO. Meanwhile, Jim and Marcella maintained homes in Blackjack and Kansas City.
From there, they would move to Springfield, MO and then to Tulsa, OK. Jim worked as a salesman for Chevrolet dealerships in each city. While in Tulsa, Jim garnered national recognition from General Motors by selling more Chevy pickup trucks than any other person in GM’s Midwestern division for three consecutive years.
He loved telling the story of how early one morning a red-haired lady and a man walked onto the Tulsa pickup truck lot. She introduced herself as Reba and the man as her ranch foreman. She wanted to buy, not lease, 13 pickups. She told Jim that she would trade them all back at the end of each year and purchase another 13. Her stipulation—he had to treat her fairly every year. Jim did. Some years she would purchase as many as 15. The red haired lady was recording artist/actress Reba McEntire.
Jim sustained a brain aneurism in 1996 leading to24/7 health care in nursing homes in Tulsa, El Dorado Springs, and Nashua, New Hampshire.
He spent the last 20 years of his life at the Nashua facility and would often be asked by the Administration to sit with residents and comfort them. As some were passing away he would hold their hand and tell them, “You will be fine, Jesus is waiting for you.”
The wait is over for Jim Gilpin. He is now in that “land of wonder where nothing can compare” with his parents, siblings, in-laws, and Marcella. And he’s talking about how a Chevy is better than a Ford!