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James Orval Wages Sr.


January 23, 2018

James (Jim) Orval Wages Sr., 73, formerly of Worland, Wyoming, passed away January 17, 2018 at Billings Medical Clinic. He had been life flighted from Powell, Wyoming, where he resided for the past 4 years. Jim passed from respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

Jim was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Harold E. Wages and Ruth E. (Tharp) Wages on March 19, 1944. He graduated from Cheyenne Central High School in 1963. He then attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY for 3 ½ years as a civil engineering student. During that time, he met the love of his life, Leomi K. Rentz. The two were inseparable from there forth. They were joined in matrimony January 1, 1968 and were married for 45 years.

He began working for the Wyoming Highway Department during summers in college, and after the birth of his first daughter, Leza, he began working for the state full time. Jim worked for WYDOT for nearly 40 years.

Jim was a very devoted husband and father. His children are never short of amazing father stories. He was Grandpa to 13 beloved grandchildren. He was a youth activity leader when he was a college student in the United Brethren Church in Cheyenne. He and his family attended the Worland United Methodist Church where he was a member of the Methodist Men. He instilled in all of his children an understanding of God's Grace and Mercy.

Jim was an incredible supporter of his children and their activities. Whether it was 4-H, FFA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, softball, basketball, football, wrestling, soccer, or volleyball, he was there supporting his children in whatever capacity that was needed, be that a personal coach, cheerleader, group leader, driver, or workout partner. He encouraged his children and the kids around him in any activity at hand. This enabled him to learn everything from horsemanship to raising bum lambs to horseshoeing and sheep shearing.

As a youth, Jim earned the achievement of Eagle Scout as his older son, Harold did. Through scouts, Jim whittled and built beautiful neck slides. Jim would use his woodworking ability to create amazing projects from wood dolls to pendulum cradles for his grandbabies.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Ruth Wages, of Cheyenne, his beloved wife, Leomi (Rentz) Wages, his in-laws Lawrence and Millie Rentz, and grandson, Rhett A. Wages.

He is survived by his children, Leza (Mark) Ries of Larson, WI, Harold (Sheri) Wages II of Powell, WY, Jamie (Tom) Day of Worland, and Captain James (Andrea) Wages Jr. of Ft. Leonard Wood, MO (Army) and by his sister Marilyn Jo Rutherford of Austin, TX. Jim is also survived by his grandchildren: Tyson Wages, James Wages III, Harold Wages III, Mercedes Wages, Kimberly Hopkins, David (Katelyn) Day, Jasmine Day, Karoline Day, Geoffrey Day, Callista Day, Samantha Day, Michaela (Joey) Beasley, and Hunter Wages, and by multiple nieces and nephews, cousins, and many friends and his caretakers James and Amanda Housler.

Proverbs 20:7 "The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him."

Funeral services will be held Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 10:00 am at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church with Associate Pastor Roger Dobson officiating. Burial will follow at Riverview Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Worland Community Center Complex (WCCC) in care of Bryant Funeral Home, PO Box 524 Worland, WY 82401. Online condolences may be made at


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