James (Jerry) Isler went to be with his Savior Jesus Christ on December 9, 2012. He was 83 years old and passed away at his home near Grady, NM. Vandean Isler, his wife of 62 years, was at his side. He was saved and baptized at Grady Baptist Church where he remained a member. Being a very humble and private man, his wishes upon his death were to have a simple family ceremony at Wheatland Cemetery where he will be buried next to his parents.
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Jerry was born and raised in the Wheatland area where he attended school. He was a gifted basketball player and received many scholarship offers including NMSU, NM Highlands, ENMU, and Oklahoma City University. He also was offered an opportunity to play professionally with the Phillips 66ers in Oklahoma. Jerry turned down the offers and remained on the family farm. He courted and married Vandean McCutchen of Forrest in 1950. He was drafted in the Army in 1951. Jerry was a member of the 82nd Airborn Division and aboard a ship to fight in the Korean war when he was discharged to return home to his ailing father. He continued to serve in the Reserves until 1956. Jerry farmed and ranched on his family homestead until his death.
Jerry's greatest legacy is how he loved his children and lived a Christian example for them. He touched the lives of many of his children's friends as well. He made countless trips to the lake, teaching many teenagers how to ski. He and Vandean treated all kids as their own taking them places, feeding them, and loving them. He spent many hours traveling to ballgames to watch his kids and grandkids play. He loved horses and was a success in the race horse business for forty plus years with his partner Jake Harper. He raised an AQHA Work Champion and loved to watch his horses run. Jerry was a real life hero too. He once jumped into a cess pool falling over 30 feet to save his granddaughter, Jacee, from drowning when she accidentally fell in. To his dying day, he loved and cared for his children.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James Clyde and Florence Isler; two sisters, Mattie Jo Tillman and Ruby Hall; and a brother, T.L. Harbour.
He is survived by his wife, Vandean Isler; three daughters, Stacy (Mike) West of Ft. Sumner, Pam (Lecil) Richards of Ft. Sumner, and Jo Beth (Kern) Horner of Artesia; his son, J.D. Isler of Clovis; 11 grandchildren, Cody (Staci) West, Casey (Olivia) West, Curt West, Jerrett Richards, Jace Richards, Jaben (Savannah) Richards, Cami (Micah) Mariano, Kael (Amber) Chambers, Jaden Isler, Jadee Isler, and Jacee Isler; and 12 great-grandchildren.
The Isler family would like to sincerely thank the many people and Churches who lifted prayers on their behalf. They also express their gratitude to Dr. Macapinlac, the nurses and staff at Plains Regional Cancer Center for their care and compassion. In honor of Jerry and his six year battle with cancer, the family asked friends to consider donating to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 1856, Clovis, NM 88101, to find a cure.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Muffley Funeral Home and High Plains Crematory, (575) 762-4435, www.muffleyfuneralhome.com.
Published in the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune on Dec. 11, 2012