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He was born August 22, 1947 in Quincy, IL to Julian Dale and Margaret Louise Hays Lay. He married Susan Morrow on July 27, 1968.
Jim attended LaBelle High School in LaBelle, MO and went on to attend college at Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville, MO.
Jim started driving a semi-truck and trailer for All-American Truck Lines in June 1972. In 1977, Jim purchased a semi-truck and became an owner-operator leasing to Wausau Homes where he helped deliver many homes. In the course of his career, Jim leased his semi to Melton Truck Lines, Warren Transportation, Sammons Truck Lines and Seeger Truck Lines and retired in 2008. Jim earned a multitude of safety awards from the companies he leased to. Jim had an over the road truck driving career for more than 36 years.
Along with his brother, Neil, and cousin, Keith, Jim enjoyed building and pulling mini-rod tractors.
He was a member of Blakesburg Christian Church where he served as an Elder, Deacon and Youth Leader. He was a member of the Poppin' Johnnies of Southeast Iowa and the Albia Antique Tractor Club. Jim was also a volunteer in 4-H photography and woodworking for several years.
Surviving are his wife, Susan; three children, Leslie (David) Orman of Ottumwa, James Michael (Dawna) Lay of The Colony, TX and Miranda (Dusty) Hunter of Drakesville; 8 grandchildren, Megan (Mark) Ver Steegh, Emily Orman, Tyler (Celsey) Orman, Joshua Thomas, Zachary Lay, Paige Hunter, Nathan Hunter and Grant Hunter; a great-granddaughter, Ava Orman; his mother, Margaret Lay; brothers, Donnie Lay and Neil (Debra) Lay; sisters Carol Robertson and Cheryl (Dennis) McGowan as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Julian Dale Lay; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Cecil and Marjorie Morrow, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday at Reece Funeral Home with Pastor James H. Wakelin officiating. Burial will be in LaBelle Cemetery in LaBelle, MO.
Visitation begins at 10 a.m. Monday with the family present from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.
Memorials may be made to Davis St. Christian Church or Blakesburg Food Pantry.
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