James Oates (1929 - 2015)

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  • "So sorry to hear of Jim's passing."
    - Newell LaVoy
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    - Vicky Blankenship
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James Henry Oates
December 6, 1929 - December 6, 2015
Jim Oates of Caldwell passed away on his 86th birthday surrounded by his family.
Born in Fort Eustis, Virginia to Lucy Dade McMain & Lt. Colonel Walter Mack Oates, Jim was the second of their three boys. The family moved frequently with the military. High school summers were spent working on the Arkoosh ranch in Gooding, Idaho. He attended and graduated from the University of Idaho in 1953. While at the University, he was a member of SAE Fraternity, Army ROTC, Idaho National Guard and the gymnastics team. Living at the UofI for four years was the longest Jim had lived in one location. He fell in love with Idaho and with fellow student, Nathelle Bales.
Upon graduation and commissioning, 2nd LT Oates received training at Fort Benning, GA for his initial assignment at Fort Lewis, WA. En route to Lewis he stopped in Caldwell to marry Nathelle. He was stationed in Zweibrucken, Germany where they enjoyed living. Upon return, Captain Oates, joined the Idaho National Guard where he was commander of Troop D, 116th Armored Cavalry in Caldwell.
Jim enjoyed a long career with the J.R. Simplot Company Food Division. He started in the freezer when Mr. Simplot was an active part of the daily business activities. Family summer vacations were enjoyed at the Simplot Cove in McCall. In his many roles at Simplot, Jim often hosted international guests with Nathelle's delicious home cooked meals and lively discussions about world events around the family dining table. He retired as Director of Environmental Affairs after 33 years.
He was always involved in Caldwell. Jim served on the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Caldwell School Board. In 2012 Jim and Nathelle were honored by the City of Caldwell with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a Life Member of the Caldwell Salvation Army Advisory Board where he served from 1985 until his stroke in February 2015.
He was a 59-year member of the Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge #39, A.F. & A.M. and was active in the Greeter Unit in El Korah Shrine in Boise. Jim was also a member of the Scottish Rite. He served as president of the Caldwell Shrine Club and Caldwell Kiwanis Club and chaired the Kiwanis Chuck Wagon. He attended Scottish American Society of Canyon County and Clan Gunn. Jim was a member of Loren Trotter American Legion Post #35. He was an 18-year volunteer at the Idaho Women's Fitness Celebration. Jim attended Caldwell Christian Church for 40+ years.
Jim enjoyed skiing, and was a private pilot of both powered and sail planes. He was a family man who enjoyed spending time on his two acre "city farm" where he raised 1-2 Angus steers a year; just enough to make sure his children learned how to buck hay. Jim was an avid reader and enjoyed a good conversation on nearly any topic with friends.
He is survived by wife, Nathelle of 61 years, children Rob (Debbie), Alan (Jayne), Lorene, Jerry (Jennifer), ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his two brothers.
Memorial service to be held 10:30am, Thursday December 17th, at Caldwell Christian Church, 3207 E. Ustick. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Jim's favorite charity Caldwell Salvation Army where the funds may be used to benefit our community.


Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Dec. 14, 2015