How does love grow? Sometimes people start out not liking each other, and later, things change. Other people like my Aunt Dixie Richards and the love of her life, my Uncle Jim Richards, it was pretty much love at first sight. Uncle Jim lost his dad at the young age of seven years, and when his family moved from Bassett, Nebraska to Casper, Wyoming, following the job search, Jim found himself befriending the Byer family. Because Jim had lost his dad, my grandpa George Byer became a father figure to Uncle Jim, who had never really had a dad in his life.
When Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim fell in love, it was settled in their minds. The were married on June 3, 1961 and they never looked back. Over the years they helped many family members when they needed a hand or a place to stay. No one was ever turned away. Uncle Jim’s mother lived with them until she passed away. They always had extra mouths to feed, but God always made sure there was enough food to go around. He does that for those with a generous heart…and they definitely had generous hearts. I think that when two people are of like mind, and agree to be generous, helpful caregivers, they will be blessed. During the time when they were taking care of Uncle Jim’s family, they were also taking care of her parents whenever that was needed too. In reality they were lifelong caregivers, and that is a hard job that brings great blessings.
All during the years that they were helping so many people, Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim were also raising their own family. They have three children Jeannie Liegman, James Richards (who passed away on February 16, 2021), and Raylynn Williams. They also have 6 grandchildren, Jacob Liegman, Gabriel Williams, Gideon Williams, Noah Williams, Jonah Williams (who passed away at birth), and their lone granddaughter, Mayme Williams. Their life has been greatly blessed, especially in that their children all live very close to them and they see them every day. Their children have always been there for them and to help with any other family members that needed their help too. Their children learned their loving and caring ways from their parents.
Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim have lived quite a life, but there has never been a day that they thought it was all a mistake. They loved each other then and they love each other now. They saw each other all those years ago, and they never had eyes for anyone else. Sixty years is a long time to be married to someone. Many marriages don’t make it that long and those that stay together, often don’t live long enough to be married sixty years. It is a rarity. Today is my Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s 60th anniversary. Happy anniversary Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My Uncle Jim Richards has lead quite a life. After his dad passed away, when he was just eight years old, Uncle Jim took it upon himself to become the man of the house. In many ways, that decision was the beginning of many years of taking care of other people. Uncle Jim worked hard in school, and the people in his class and even some of the other classes really looked up to him. You could always count on Jim Richards. In fact there were a number of classmates who felt like they owed their life to Jim Richards. One boy, driving drunk, followed Jim home, and that was truly the only way he made it home. Of course, Uncle Jim didn’t know that, because he would have taken the boy home, if he had known. People knew that Uncle Jim was not driving drunk, because he set a standard of behavior at his high school in Bassett, Nebraska. He was also a track star there, having set records in hurdles, and several other sports. Uncle Jim would have made his dad very proud of the man he grew up to be. I don’t know if that thought occurred to him or not, but he would have accomplished that feat anyway. I’m sure that there were many times that Uncle Jim thought of his dad over the years, and what his dad would have done in a situation. I’m sure he did what he thought would make his dad, and his mom proud. Uncle Jim’s dad was a hard working man, working for the railroad for a number of years. I’m sure he instilled that same work ethic in his children. I know that his son Jim worked hard all his life, taking care of family members now and again, and helping out with his grandchildren, while his children worked.
Times have changed to a degree for Uncle Jim, and for his wife, my Aunt Dixie, because all of their grandchildren are in school all day now, or grown up. They need a lot less care. That can be a lonely time, but always the caregivers, Uncle Jim and Aunt Dixie, do anything that is needed, from picking up the kids at times, to dropping off payments while the kids are at work, and generally just being there for whatever they are needed for. I’m sure that at times, they get weary, at times they feel lonely, and at times they aren’t sure just what their role in life is supposed to be. I know this, because in many ways that is how I feel. So much has changed over the years, and the things we were needed for then, we aren’t now. But, that in no way diminishes the value we have as a person. Uncle Jim and Aunt Dixie are as valuable to their family as they ever were, and in fact even more. As our parents grow older, we start to truly understand how precious they are, and that is exactly how Jeannie, Jim, and Raylynn and their families feel about Uncle Jim and Aunt Dixie. They are precious to them. Today is Uncle Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My Uncle Jim had a different kind of life than what many of us can understand. His dad passed away when Uncle Jim was only 8 years old, just shortly before his dad’s youngest son, my Uncle Jim’s brother David was born. Most kids his age would have crumbled, so to speak, but not Uncle Jim. His mom needed his help. There were the children to care for, and the new baby was coming. There was little time to grieve, because there was much work to do. When his brother arrived, Uncle Jim instantly became a surrogate father of sorts. He took on the big responsibility if helping to raise his younger brother, and of showing him the kind of man their dad would want him to be. I know that as a little boy, you would think that he couldn’t do much, but he did what he could, and as he got older, he took on more and more responsibility where his younger siblings were concerned.
Even though Uncle Jim had lots of responsibility at home, he didn’t let that interfere with his school activities. While I can’t say what kind of a student he was, I can tell you that he was an amazing athlete…especially in the area of the hurdles. He and his brothers set a number of records in Bassett, Nebraska for various sports, and Uncle Jim, especially in the hurdles. Uncle Jim also set a standard of behavior in that high school. When he went back for one of his class reunions, another student, who was a self confessed wild child, told Uncle Jim that if it weren’t for him, he probably wouldn’t have survived high school…explaining that there were a number of times that he was driving home drunk, and wouldn’t have made it if he had not been able to follow my Uncle Jim home. I’m sure that the man probably surprised Uncle Jim with that revelation, because I know that if Uncle Jim would have know that the boy was driving drunk, he would have just taken him home.
After high school, Uncle Jim and several of his brothers would move to Casper, and some would live with Uncle Jim, including his youngest brother Dave. Later after he married my Aunt Dixie, his mother would move to Casper, and live with them for some time. He and my Aunt Dixie have always been all about family, whether it was his, hers, or their own family. They are close to all of them, and they are a blessing to all of them, and anyone else who has the pleasure of knowing them, too. Today is my Uncle Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!