After graduating from Mackay High school, he enlisted in the Air Force for a short period of time. He was discharged early in his career due to a knee injury. Shortly after, he returned to his home town of Mackay, where he learned the trade of hard rock mining which became his lifelong passion and career of choice over the next 40 years. Jim loved the time he spent underground in the mines. He quickly earned the nickname “powder monkey” due to his skill of drilling and blasting large rocks in half that looked as if they had been cut with a knife. He always said that he couldn’t wait to see what was 6 feet further in the mountain. He constantly bragged about being the first person to “touch” a rock or piece of dirt that nobody had ever seen before.
In 1961 Jim married Wyoma Taylor from Moore, Idaho, and later that same year they had a beautiful baby girl, Jami. Although they were only married for a short time he was an incredible father to her. He made sure he spent as much time as possible with her and Jami says she could talk to her dad about anything, even when she went to live with her mother. Jim remained very close to his in-laws Dick and Lorraine Taylor as well and continued to think of them as family for the remainder of his years. In 1969 Jim met and later married his soul mate Nina Lanier, together they had two children, their daughter Michelle, born in 1970 and their son Dustin in 1974.
In 1971 Jim and Nina moved from Mackay to Thompson Falls where Jim worked as the supervisor of the mining operations for John Lawrence at the United States Antimony Corp. He would later become the supervisor of the milling operations when the mining portion of the company was no longer operational. Jim was a permanent fixture at the mine. He worked hard at his job and equally as hard at harassing and joking with his employees. He stayed with the company until his retirement in 2002.
One of his greatest accomplishments was building his current home with his wife Nina. Together they did it all minus pouring the foundation and building the counter tops. Later in life Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson disease. Even though the disease slowed him down, he still found comfort in working with his hands by building model ships and planes, which can be seen in the hallway at the Rimrock Lodge. He also spent time helping others, whether it was family or friends, with whatever building projects they might have.
In 2012 Jim was appointed to the Thompson Falls city council and then later elected. He took great pride in the duties and responsibilities that came with serving on the council and with tremendous thought as well as hesitation in 2013 regretfully resigned due to the progression of his disease.
Jim was known most by all for his abundant sense of humor and his gift of gab. He always had either a funny story from his life to tell or a good joke!
Jim is preceded in death by his mother and father, his brothers, George and John Edwards; his sister and brother in-law, Carol and Charlie Gonzales; as well as his sweet baby girl Michelle. He is survived by his wife Nina of 45 years; daughter, Jami Grasmick (Bobby) of Boise, Idaho; and son, Dustin (Chrisi) of Thompson Falls. Jim was blessed with four lovely granddaughters Crystal Grasmick, and Mackenzie, Marley, and Mattie Robinson as well as his one and only grandson, James Robert “J.R.” Grasmick. Jim is also survived by his two nephews John (Ida) and Mike (Raymond) Anthis.
A celebration of life will take place Saturday, Nov. 29 at the Thompson Falls Christian Church at 11 a.m.