James E. Gilbert, 93 of Capitan, NM passed away on Friday, December 24, 2021, at an assisted living facility in Ruidoso, NM with family by his side.
James was born in Mineral Wells, TX on November 30, 1928, to Earl Abraham Gilbert and Lela Velona Black Gilbert.
When James (preferred to be called Jim) was 14 he started working at a Mechanic Shop while he attended High School in Santo, TX. In 1945 Jim joined the Texas 36th Division National Guard when he was 17 and worked his way up to Staff Sgt - E6 in the 10 yrs he served.
Jim and Vonna Lea Finney married on May 15, 1953, In Ft Sumner, NM. The couple had 6 children, 2 Daughters and 4 Sons. They had 64 years together before Vonna's passing in 2017.
In 1955 Jim joined the regular Army as an Infantryman. Later he changed his MOS to Communications and worked with the 11th Signal Core. During his service to his country Jim had 1 tour in Korea and 2 tours in Vietnam. Jim and the family lived in Germany, Hawaii, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico. After serving over 28 years, Jim retired as a W-3 (Warrant Officer). He was awarded through his service; the National Defense Service Medal; Good Conduct Medal (3d Awd); Army Commendation Medal w/1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Bronze Star Medal w/1 OLC; Vietnam Service Medal w/6 Bronze Stars; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm; Meritorious Service Medal; Vietnamese Technical Service Medal, Second Class; Expert Infantry Badge. Jim held his service to his country as a member of the United States Army in high regard.
After retiring from the Army in 1974, Jim & the family moved to Ft Sumner, NM where Jim went into Construction with his 2 brothers-in-law. This led him to starting Gilbert Metal Bldg. Construction Company in 1979. He successfully operated this business with his Sons for 17 years before he retired to the Capitan Mountains that he and Vonna loved so much.
Jim was a member of the Church of the Nazarene for many years where he taught Sunday School and helped build multiple churches. He also volunteered his time and equipment many hours at Bonita Park Nazarene Campgrounds.
Jim is survived by two daughters Sharon Yocom (Stan) of Capitan, NM and Rhonda Vaughan (Charles) of Ft Sumner, NM two sons Daniel Gilbert (Martha) of Seguin, TX and Randall Gilbert (Elizabeth) of Capitan, NM 16 Grandchildren, 36 Great-Grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, friends and loved ones.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife Vonna Lea Gilbert, his Parents, brother R.C. Gilbert, sister Wanda Daley, two sons Kenneth James Gilbert and Donald Keith Gilbert, a granddaughter Courtney Gilbert.
A Memorial service will be held at the Gilbert Cemetery on the Gilbert Mountain Property: May 14, 2022, at 2:00 P.M.
The family requests in Lieu of Flowers memorials be made to, Wounded Warrior Project, Bonita Park Nazarene Campgrounds in Angus, NM
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