James Peters was born May 25, 1915 to Gerhard Peters and Helena (Hiebert) Peters on the family farm near Lehigh, Kansas. Jim was the eighth of nine children, having five brothers and three sisters, all of which have predeceased him.
His early schooling was at the Maple Hill country school where, among other things, he learned to sing. Jim graduated from Lehigh Rural High School in 1934.
School was the beginning of a lifetime of singing which was very important to him. He sung in countless weddings and funerals and sang in a German choir in Hillsboro. He loved to sing in German. Jim was a charter member of the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Choir and sang in it for 30 years.
Jim met Marjorie Ruth Klassen while she was working at the Marion County Extension Office in Marion. They were married on May 25, 1943. They had five children, Jon, Michael, Tom, Van, and Dana. The oldest son, Jon, was killed in a car accident in 1967.
Jim lived all of his working life on the family farm on which he was born. His father died in 1935 and Jim continued to live on the farm. He and Marjorie cared for his mother until her death in 1953.
In 1983 he and Marjorie retired and moved into Hillsboro where they made many new friends. They were active in the First Mennonite Church where Jim was a member until his passing.
Jim and Marjorie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1993. Their marriage was a true partnership with Marjorie carrying a significant part of the work of the farm while raising five children. Marjorie died in 1996 and is sorely missed by all who knew her.
Beginning in high school when he was senior class president, Jim has been a tireless civic leader. He was a charter member and served as president of the Hillsboro Lions Club. He has served on the Lehigh School Board, was President of the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association and served on numerous agricultural boards, both as a member and as an officer. He was particularly proud of his service on the board of directors of the Canton State Bank for 30 years.
Jim was a good husband and father and a reliable friend. He had a great sense of humor and could be counted on to repeat some of his favorite jokes. Jim maintained his sense of humor as his advancing age took away many of his physical abilities. He joked with his care givers until the very end of his time with us on this earth.
Jim left us to be with his Heavenly Father on October 20, 2011. He is survived by four children, Michael (Sharon), Tom (Carole), Van (Linda) and Dana, six grandchildren, Stacy, Ryan (Jamie), Michelle, Jon (Lindsay), Jason Staab-Peters (Melissa) and Adam Sinisgalli, two great grandchildren, Ashley and Charlie, and his special friend Norma Ruff.
Visitation was on Friday, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro. Following a private burial, a memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life was held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro.
Memorial gifts may be made to the First Mennonite Church, the Hillsboro Evening Lions Club, the Marjorie Peters Memorial Nursing Scholarship at Bethel College, or the Marion County Food Bank.