Jim Elmes, 75, died from COVID-19 complications at the VA in Tucson, Arizona, on Dec. 26, 2021.

Jim was born to Charity (Workman) and Ed Elmes on May 26, 1946, in Eagle Bend. They owned the Head of the Lakes Resort on Osakis Lake. Jim attended Hughes Country School until the family moved to Long Prairie where he attended school.  He played football, baseball, competed in track and was an outstanding wrestler. During high school, he moved to Buck Lake and lived with his Aunt Mary Lind while attending high school in Nashwauk.

After high school, Jim joined the Marines (1965-68) and went boot camp in San Diego. He completed two combat tours in Vietnam as a machine gunner and door gunner with HMM/VMM-364 “The Purple Foxes.”  Jim was a hero, saving the lives of many Marines.  Agent Orange took a toll on Jim’s health in the years to come, and he struggled with the nightmares of Vietnam throughout his life.  

Jim spent most of his life with his bride Ruth Darlene Elmes (Oquist) who he married on Dec. 5, 1970, in South Dakota. Jim found his dream job as an auctioneer in the early 1970s and Ruth supported him by becoming a licensed auctioneer as well.  “Elmes Auctioneering” was a great business for Jim because the B.S. and sales flowed together smoothly. He and Ruth also owned and operated “The Colonel’s Place” bar and “Image Masters” screen printing. Jim also worked in many other fields from construction to real estate, and he traveled to all 50 states.

Jim will always be remembered for his full laugh, ability to make others chuckle, his giving character and his love for getting together with friends and family. He always saw himself as a protector of the underdog, and for his whole life he continually strove to help those who needed assistance. With his desire to help those who needed it, he accepted a position as Post Commander for the VFW in Long Prairie. He also coached baseball and football.

How Jim would want to be remembered most, however, was that he was an excellent grandfather to Kelton, Sarah, Ethan and Emma Elmes and to Mike and Ashley Fowler.  Jim was a strong father to his sons, Jason and Gary, and a loving husband to Ruth Elmes for 51 years.  

He is survived by his wife, Ruth Elmes; brother, Rocky (June) Elmes; sisters, Sharon (William) Davis, Pat (Gary) Bluth, Lois (Robert) Uhlenkamp; sons, Jason and Gary; and six grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his father, E.K. Elmes; mother, Charity Elmes; infant brother, Robert Joseph Elmes.

A celebration of life will be conducted in May of 2022.  More details to follow.