James "Jim" Nathan Kithcart Sr., 51, passed away on Oct. 17, 2006. He was born in Butler, Mo., on Sept. 29, 1955 to Melvin and Mary Kithcart. Jim, the youngest of three children was reared in Rich Hill.
During his childhood Jim was a member of the Cub Scouts and loved outdoor activities. From an early age, Jim demonstrated competitive desire by participating in archery contests, soap box derbies and numerous sports. Jim enjoyed time in high school, but not always for academic purposes. Playing football, running track, and riding dirt bikes were some of his fondest memories. After graduation from Rich Hill High School, Jim worked for CocaCola in Butler. In 1972, Jim married Diana West, also of Rich Hill. To this union, twin boys Jimmy and Richard were born. By 1973, Jim and his family moved to Belton, Mo., as he gained employment at Armco Steel. Jim worked at Armco for 27 years. Although Jim labored hard at Armco, friendships gained there remained throughout his life. Jim never missed an opportunity to recount joyful moments spent with family and friends. Due to work, Jim found it difficult to attend holiday festivities. However, he never missed Christmas Eve at his parents house. True to his sharing nature, Jim made certain to provide a gift for all.
Jim and Carol were married in 1990, and Tonia was added to the family. They made their home in Raytown, Mo., where he would reside the rest of his life. It was in his home that Jim and Carol shared the joys, as wall as the struggles of life. In addition to his work of the steel mill, Jim added responsibilities of operating a mowing business and became a partner at Kithcart Orchard. In 2001, Jim learned that he had Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Carol, steadfast in her devotion and love of Jim, never lost hope of finding a cure. Although disparaged, Jim was never defeated by the news. Jim and Carol sponsored the Apples R Us team in the Light the Night Walk for a Cure, held annually in Kansas City. Jim and family were supported each year by the Rich Hill community, in a fund-raising effort to support this cause. Jim received a stem cell transplant from his sister Donna in April 2005. Unfortunately, Jim succumbed to cancer on Oct. 17, at St Luke's Hospital. Jim loved, and was loved, by his parents, wife. children, family, and friends. Those who knew Jim will never forget his smile and sense of humor.
Jim is survived by his parents, Melvin and Mary Kithcart, Rich Hill; wife, Carol Kithcart, Raytown; sons Jimmy Kithcart, Richard Kithcart and wife Valerie, all of Rich Hill; stepdaughter, Tonia Highers and husband Brantley, Overland Park, Kan.; sisters, Donna Zeller and husband Gregg, Marshfield, Mo.; Sharon Tourtillott and husband Leonard, Rich Hill; grandchildren, Morgan, Ashlyn, and Nathaniel Kithcart, Rich Hill, Mischka Highers, Overland Park; nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends.
Funeral services were at 10 a.m., Oct. 20, at the Heuser Funeral Home, Rich Hill, with Bill Perkey officiating. Musical selections were "Amazing Grace" and "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." Pallbearers were Ed Alvarado, Steve Brown, Kenny Heuser, Bobby Smith, Phil Hooper, Kermit Lieneke, Jerry Williams and Chris Gentile.
Graveside interment will be Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m., at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens, Kansas City, Mo.