James “Jim” D. Taylor, 80, of Mesa, AZ passed away on Saturday, April 1, 2023.
Jim was born on February 21, 1943 in Parkston, SD to Dewey and Pauline (Leischner) Taylor. He grew up in Alexandria, SD. He graduated from Alexandria High School, where he met his future wife, Karen (Butts). Jim earned a degree in Business Administration in 1965 from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. He began his career at SD Game, Fish and Parks in Pierre, SD and then transitioned to the SD Association of Cooperatives as an Executive Secretary in Huron, SD. He began his career as a fair manager in SD at the age of 24 as the youngest fair manager in North America. He was a Chamber of Commerce Manager in Huron, SD. Eager to return to the Fair Industry, he became a Fair Manager at the Heart of Illinois Fair and Exposition Gardens in Peoria, IL. A new challenge presented itself at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, IA. He managed the fair for ten years and many projects were accomplished. He furthered his career at the American Royal Livestock Show, Horse Show and Rodeo in Kansas City, MO. He expanded the growth of the Americal Royal World Series of Barbeque, which supports youth and education in agriculture. As a manager he shaped many innovative projects to finance the institutions. Jim enjoyed purchasing talent and developed many outstanding shows that people enjoyed attending. His infectious smile, upbeat attitude and honesty made him very successful. Jim then enjoyed a lengthy retirement. Jim and Karen toured the US with their fifth wheel trailer. They enjoyed many activities and jobs in the summer at three State Fairs. Jim and Karen remodeled an 1882 home in Alexandria, SD and subsequently opened the home as a Bed and Breakfast named Cherry Street Inn. Jim enjoyed working on cars with friends and family. He created many woodworking projects and enjoyed his welding techniques acquired at a community college in Illinois.
Cremation will be accorded by Bunker Family Funerals and Cremation of Mesa, AZ. A Celebration of Life service will be held Friday, April 28, 2023 at 10:00am at Velda Rose United Methodist Church in Mesa, AZ. A luncheon will follow after the service. Interment will be at Green Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, SD on May 26, 2023 at 10:00am. Luncheon will follow at Alexandria United Methodist Church.
Jim is survived by his wife Karen, of Mesa, AZ, daughter Kimberlee (G Michael) Staley of Hopedale, IL. He is also survived by three grandsons: Michael (Joni) Staley of Mackinaw, IL, Colby (Kristen) Taylor of Olathe, KS and Bryce (Brooke) Taylor of Overland Park, KS. One great granddaughter, Autum Rose Staley of Mackinaw, IL. He was preceded in death by his parents, his son Bradley D Taylor, grandson Jared T Staley, three brothers and three sisters.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Diabetic Association or the American Royal – Education Department.
Arrangements by Bunker’s University Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.