James Jacob Mitten
Published on -1/31/2013, 10:40 AM
James Jacob Mitten departed this earthly home to join his beloved daughter, Tami, in heaven on January 29th, 2013. He was born in 1923 to Wayne and Eva Mitten in a farmhouse southeast of Utica Kansas.
He attended grade school in a one-room country school near Utica and in British Columbia, Canada, and Blaine, Washington. He graduated from high school in Utica in 1942 and then enlisted in the army at Fort Lewis, Washington. During World War II, he served his country in South Africa and Italy. After being discharged in Mobile, Alabama, he moved to Burlington, Washington, where he married Estelene Marie Hagans on December 20, 1945.
His love of the trucking industry began here as he hauled fruit from Yakima, Washington, to the West Coast. He and Estelene moved back to Utica, where he owned and operated a grocery store and locker plant for five years. In 1953, they moved to WaKeeney, where he started a livestock hauling business. The bright red and green Mitten "Cow Taxi's" were recognized across Kansas. In 1966, he moved to Oakley and purchased LW Swart and Breckinridge trucking and started Jim Mitten Trucking. This move also led to him purchasing the truck stop from Skelly Oil in 1967. Jim always was proud that Mitten's has been owned and operated by family for the last 46 years.
He was always an avid lover of flying and owned five airplanes during his flying years. Golf was a hobby he always enjoyed. The family raised quarter horses for several years, and he spent many hours traveling to AQHA horse shows with his daughter, Tami. He was always so proud of all her accomplishments on the show circuit. He and "Este" we able to have many years together, traveling in their motor homes and loved the winters they spent with friends in south Texas.
He served as president of the Kansas Motor Carriers Association, chairman of the Livestock Division of Common Carriers, and president of the American Legion of Utica. He was honored to be chosen to travel to Washington, D.C., and testify before the House of Representatives regarding humane treat of livestock. He was of member of Logan County Shrine Club and United Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by daughter Tami and brothers Tom and Wayne Jr.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Estelene; daughter Toni and her husband Gary Johnson; son-in-law Larry Bley; grandsons Chris Johnson and Matt Mildenberger and his wife, Misty, all of Oakley. Grandad, who always had a piece of candy in his pocket for them, will be greatly missed by great-granddaughters MaKenzie and Mariah Mildenberger. They were the ones who always put a smile on his face in his later years in life. He is survived by a brother, Jack of Sharon Springs; sister Mildred of San Francisco, CA, and sister Wanda of Mount Vernon, WA.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at Oakley United Methodist Church. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, February 2, 2013, at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Gove County Medical Center, Quinter, or United Methodist Church, Oakley, in care of Baalmann Mortuary, P.O. Box 204, Oakley, KS 67748.