James Shirl Elliker, 50, son of Shirl and Gay Elliker, died on Tuesday evening, August 30, 2016, in a private plane crash in Sparks, Nevada.
At 50, Jim said that he was happier than he had ever been in his life, and this last year was his best one yet. His kids are healthy and successful. He was proud of them. He was a new grandpa. His business, Victory Woodworks, was thriving. He was wildly in love with his wife.
Anyone who knew him knew the real Jim. Whether at home or at work, golfing, or playing racquetball, he was the same. He valued his honor above anything else. He lived by his dad's example—work hard, do what you say you will, support your family, and think of yourself last.
He earned his Eagle Scout award at 14 and carried his love of scouting into adulthood. Jim passed just four months after his best friend, Brandon Allen, and some of their fondest memories with one another and most entertaining stories came from their time as scout leaders together.
As a kid Jim raced soap box derby cars, played baseball, and enjoyed hunting and fishing with his dad. A true Nevada boy, he carried on that outdoor tradition with his own young family.
From an early age, generosity was an integral part of Jim's character. His favorite hobby was spoiling his wife and kids. His happiness arose from their delight and satisfaction.
An entrepreneur since elementary school where he marked up bubble gum for a tidy profit, Jim was the co-founder and owner of Victory Woodworks, a millwork company headquartered in Sparks, Nevada. He saw his employees as Victory's most precious asset and dedicated himself to creating a company culture where his people felt individually valued and at home.
Despite his success, Jim remained humble. He was always trying to be better. He asked for feedback and never took criticism personally. He continually course-corrected to become a better dad. He studied how to be a better boss. He was naturally the best husband.
Jim was preceded in death by his dad, Shirl, his niece, Callie, and his nephew, Tyler. He is survived by his wife, Megan, his four children—Katelynn, 25, Dustin James, 22, Jocelyn, 15, and Benjamin Lee, 10—his grandson, Luke, his mom, Gay, and his sisters, DiAnn, Janet, Laura, and Linda.
He lived to give. His company was his pride. His family was his passion. Play was important and work was his habit. While missing him is our new norm, the best way we can honor Jim's memory is in living happy and taking care of each other. We will try. In Jim we had the best example.
The family will hold a memorial service at 11AM on Wednesday, September 7, at the LDS church at 2955 Rock Blvd, Sparks, Nevada 89431. Flowers can be sent to Walton's Sparks Funeral Home in Sparks, Nevada.
Published in the Reno Journal-Gazette and Mason Valley News from Sep. 3 to Sep. 6, 2016.