James McConkey, 71, of Malvern, IA, passed away March 18, 2019 at the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs, IA. James was cremated and will be buried alongside his parents at the Villisca¸ IA cemetery.
Cremation arrangements were entrusted to SWI Cremation in Shenandoah. SWI Cremation is a division of Loess Hills Funeral Homes - Carson, IA / Glenwood, IA / Malvern, IA and of Nishna Valley Funeral Home - Shenandoah.
The family will welcome those of you wishing to pay your respect during a visitation from 4-7pm on Tuesday¸ April 2¸ 2019 at the Classic Café in Malvern¸ IA. There will be food available as we visit and celebrate the life of James Alfred McConkey.
In lieu of flowers; the family requests Memorials be made to the Malvern Rescue Unit. We thank the Rescue Unit for your help with James and are to be commended for your service¸ patience and understanding while attending to James and his health needs.
James Alfred McConkey
71 years, 9 months, 13 days
We are here to celebrate the life of James Alfred McConkey in a most heartfelt way. Please come along with us on the journey of a most generous soul. James Alfred McConkey was born in the year 1947¸ June 5th in Council Bluffs¸ IA to a most endearing couple. Dad Delmar Bryant McConkey and Mom Mildred Lucille Goodwin McConkey were entrusted to raise this young lad from infancy. Our good Lord chose them because of the infinite love they could provide to this baby who would enter the world with challenges that would bewilder those around him. Malvern¸ IA is the hometown that would help to nurture James along his journey in life and provide the setting in which James would demonstrate a true meaning of the words 'tenacity of purpose'. Schooling was a struggle for James but that was okay because his contribution to society would be demonstrated and achieved without the use of books. James was born with an innate ability to persevere through tough times and build his life through hard work¸ true grit and determination. James had a gift to recognize those in need and a heart of gold that would give to fulfill other's needs before his own. James learned well how to work hard at a very young age and use the talents he had to be self-supporting. Many boys of the generation James grew up in had a love for tractors¸ tools¸ trains¸ and trucks of which James aspired to own and use in his adulthood.
Now the stage is set to tell about the life of James Alfred McConkey:
The loving parents James was blessed with in life found ways for James to mature and have an identity. James purchased Nellie's Popcorn Stand and they worked tirelessly to help him learn with this business adventure. It was all about helping him to feel his worth in society and his importance in making a difference. The application of 'supply & demand' in how James saw the world was he needed funds and he had the ability to work hard to earn them. People needed lawns mowed¸ trees cut¸ snow removed and with that James started to build his legacy. During his early years James had no driver's license or equipment to haul things needed to handle these tasks so he built a huge push cart; and this was no normal cart. This cart was built with a hefty axle¸ large tires¸ sideboards¸ a very wide iron handle which he used to push the cart and ample space to accommodate a lawn mower¸ oil and gas cans¸ saws¸ rakes¸ shovels and at times a little sister who tagged along with him. James would push this cart over all the town streets¸ up and down steep hills just to be able to work and earn money. James displayed a 'can do' attitude and along with that determination he built strong muscles; oh so strong.
The 1 st job James had in Malvern at around 16yrs was at Waller Transfer (14yrs) working with the corn shelling operation which required long hours scooping corn and various other agricultural equipment functions. After his tenure there he went to work for J & N Fertilizer (19yrs) and finished his career with the city of Malvern (14yrs). It must be noted that these were weekly day jobs for James but he didn't stop his week of work there. On nights and weekends James cut down trees and various other jobs. James was 'always on the go' working or helping others. James was a master at cutting down trees in his early years and reveled in being able to use his antiquated wrecker¸ trucks and tractor to tackle most any job. It fulfilled his need to be worthwhile and yet provide services to others.
For all the good citizens of Malvern James was in his way an integral part of the community. He always had a story to tell and tell and tell again. He did so with his big blue eyes wide open and a nervous tic that distinguished James like no other. The difficulties that James was burdened with as an infant in no way ever stopped him from communicating with countless individuals. For those who knew him well he always had an opinion and he seldom failed to voice it. Perhaps the hardest struggle for James was being able to handle the frustration filling up in him when he felt extreme pressure from simply not being able to understand how to reason with complicated things in life. Malvern and its good people provided for James a way to coexist with society¸ fulfill his ability to be able to work and earn a living¸ develop genuine friendships and give him a platform to RECEIVE HIS JOY from simply giving to others. Helping others was deeply ingrained in James and he was happiest being able to HELP someone or GIVE something to someone. Whenever he saw someone in need he gave to them freely. James had the most joy in his life when he could simply just GIVE. With his limited intellectual ability to learn and understand; James still knew more than anyone about the merits of obtaining joy in one's life by just simply giving.
Now of course we must speak of James and his jeans. There again was a purpose why he chose to wear jeans many sizes bigger than what he needed; in his world it would be deemed functional capacity. They had to be bigger so he could hold all his tools and large billfold full of ancient papers on his person and we now all know why he was so very strong. Between pushing his super large cart up and down hills from a young age and wearing an extra 10lbs of tools around his waist every day; it all worked for him just like it does for others who use the gym to build up their muscles. The big difference is it didn't cost James any money to amass all his strength. James never amassed any wealth but certainly had what to him were treasures. Without exception James loved his cats; just all animals in general. Those furry little animals to James were his family from childhood until the day he parted this earthly world. Cats¸ dogs and squirrels enabled James to identify with ways to be able to love and care for something of his own. They loved him back¸ made him feel special¸ gave him a sense of purpose¸ nourished his soul¸ and helped him learn that giving was where true joy came from.
James experienced life changing events when in 1998 his Mother Mildred died¸ in 2004 the total loss of the only home he had ever lived in and then in 2006 the death of his Father Delmar. James was able to regroup with the help of the many wonderful individuals who always helped guide him in his hometown of Malvern.
James left his earthly world on Monday¸ March 18¸ 2019 at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs¸ IA. By his bedside were his sister Lora and cherished Aunt Irene. James is survived by his sister Lora Strehle and husband Paul of Scribner¸ NE¸ niece Suzanne Mendlik & husband Thom who have 2 sons Christian & Garrison¸ and niece Sarah Laaker who has 1 daughter Madisyn. During many visits throughout the years to Lora's home; James would bring countless gifts to his family. One of the gifts he was most proud of was a battery operated tractor for Garrison as a toddler. He wanted the little ones to experience the excitement he had with tractors and they did not disappoint. James was loved by Aunts¸ Uncles and many devoted cousins who understood his uniqueness and special circumstances.
As life carries on without James; the many people of Malvern¸ IA should be most proud of how they helped a young lad grow to adulthood and stood by him till the end of his days. You know who you are; the elders of town who gave him odd jobs to help him get his start¸ the employers¸ supervisors and peers who gave him a chance¸ the bankers who leant him money and showed him how to pay his bills¸ the auto mechanics who helped him fix his old & tired equipment¸ the medical staff and rescue personnel who cared for his health needs¸ the neighbors who always listened and helped him¸ the citizens who just took time to talk and listen and most of all the friends that stood by him even when he had nothing left to offer. James is now in his heavenly home with all the intellect and abilities to reason anyone could ever possess and he is finally able to understand why things happened the way they did and he now knows how special he is and the fact that he did an outstanding job while on his earthly journey.
James was in my class in elementary school, I would help him read our books! He did love to read, Dick and Jane books! James was always very kind to everyone!
I don't think there is anything I could add about my cousin James that this lovely tribute didn't include. James had a lovely soul, he truly cared about everyone. We could all strive to be more like him. Rest in Peace, James, you have earned it! Karen Goodwin Mandina
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