Jim D. Eardley died on Thursday, June 11, from a ranching accident.
Jim D. was born on May 26, 1955, in Evanston, to Darius Walter Eardley and Merlyn Fern Lupher. Jim D. spent the first several months of his life at a logging camp on the Greys River, where Darius was working as a tie hacker.
In 1956, the family moved back to Mountain View to help Grandma Chase run the ranch. Darius built a small house for them on the ranch. Since both Darius and Fern worked, Uncle Jim Lupher would babysit Jim D., and so began his love for ranching.
When Darius and Fern purchased their present ranch in 1960, Jim D. really learned how much he loved ranching. Darius had taken over the babysitting job by now, and one day while Darius was digging post holes along the Lupher Lane, he left Jim D. in the truck. Well, Jim D. took a screwdriver and proceeded to dismantle the truck ignition for his father. When Darius got back to the truck, he had to put the parts back together before they could go home.
Jim D. spent all his free time with his father and Uncle Jim learning to work a ranch. Even after he had started school, Darius would pick him up from the school bus, they would saddle their horses and ride down to help Uncle Jim with whatever needed to be done. They worked until sundown and then rode home. They hayed both places, worked their cows together and did whatever needed to be done.
Jim D. had his own horse when he was younger, and he named him “Tonka.” One day he took Tonka out for a ride by himself. When he had not returned when he was supposed to, Darius and Fern went looking for him and found him in a large puddle of water with a hoof print in the middle of his chest and Tonka grazing peacefully nearby.
This began Jim D’s love for horses. He spent quite a few years breaking colts and teaching them to be a good cow horse. Finally, Karen told him he had gotten too old when the colt he was riding dumped him on his head and took off for the barn. After that, he always bought a horse that was broke.
Darius always had a team to feed the cows during the winter. Jim D. really enjoyed working the team. He would do the feeding and then spend many days gathering firewood for Grandma Chase, Darius and Fern, Grandpa Eardley and whoever else needed some. He was always excited when the team was broke enough to stand there while he ran a chainsaw next to them. That was a well broke team.
Jim D. always wanted a pair of Clydesdales, but Darius said no, Belgians were better to work with. Well, after Darius passed away, Karen bought him a pair of Clydes, and he learned very quickly why Darius had always said working the Belgians was a lot easier. The Clydes are so tall he had to have a platform to brush them or to put the harnesses on. But he was so proud of his boys
After Karen bought the boys for him, she learned she had moved down to No. 3 in Jim D.’s life: Ranch was No. 1; the boys were No. 2 and Karen was No. 3. But she realized how important the ranch was to him — he spent every available moment working alongside his father, sons and grandchildren. He was so immensely proud of the ranch, the cows and the horses.
Jim D. attended school in Mountain View, and in high school, he participated in football, FFA and making sure he had the fastest car. He graduated from Mountain View High School on May 22, 1973. On May 23, 1973, he started work at Allied Chemical, where he has spent the last 47 years creating his own style of trona mining.
He started out as a laborer, then went to conventional mining, shuttle car operator, bore miner operator, joy miner operator and beaver bolter, spending all 47 years in production underground. He worked extremely hard at whatever job he was doing at the time. He also taught many miners the Eardley way of working: You come out to work, you do your job and then go home.
The rumor was that Jim D. had a polite way of telling you if you were lazy or not worth a piece of s---. You definitely knew where you stood with him. He was so proud of the day he became No. 1 on the seniority list. He really enjoyed going to work and giving anyone who needed it crap about whatever they had done wrong. He has made some awesome friends over the years … and probably a few (or many) enemies.
In 1975, he married Karen Dansie and they had four children: Angie, Jeremy, Mindy and Duke. He spent lots of time on the road driving to any activity that his kids were involved in. He was so proud of his kids and all their accomplishments. All he ever wanted was for each of them to be happy in life.
Unfortunately, every one of his kids is just like their father — there is the Jim D. Eardley way of doing things and the wrong way; there is the Angie Jones way of doing things and the wrong way; the Jeremy Eardley way of doing things and the wrong way; the Mindy Eardley way of doing things and the wrong way; and the Duke Eardley way of doing things and the wrong way.
Jim D. was preceded in death by his grandparents; parents; sister, Lisa; and father-in-law, Jack Dansie.
He is survived by his wife of 44.75 years, Karen; children, Angie (Don) Jones, Jeremy (Kayce), Mindy Jo (fiancé Richie Kaumo) and Duke (Stephanie) Eardley — all of Mountain View; his nine perfect grandchildren, Preslee, Coby, Carson, Reagan, Chase, Ashton, Traxton, Decker and Dean; his mother-in-law, Jean Dansie; and sisters-in-law, Brenda Taylor and Jackie Durrant; several nieces and nephews; lots of awesome cousins and an uncle, Kenny Near.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17, at the Eardley Ranch. Visitations will be Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m., and 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Interment will be on the hill overlooking the Ranch.
The family appreciates everything everyone has done for us. Your friendship and love are so appreciated.
Online condolences may be given at crandallfhevanston.com.