Jim was born in Neodesha on Dec. 4, 1935, the son of Joseph and Cleo Starkey Snavely. He graduated from Neodesha High School in 1953. After graduating from high school he served in the Air Force for two years and after his discharge he joined the National Guard for an additional eight years. He married Janet Tally, they had three children and later divorced. On April 14, 1983 he married Janis Umbarger in Thayer. Jim worked for Continental Telephone Company for 12 years and retired with Union Pacific Railroad after nearly 20 years. In retirement Jim and Jan owned and operated Jimni Imports in Thayer.
He loved the state of Kansas and served as SEK Regional Tourism President and was a member of the Board of Directors of Travel Industry Association of Kansas for several years. He also served on the State Park and Resource Authority Commission for six years. In addition to his state positions he was a member of the Thayer Methodist Church where he and his wife, Janis, served as captains of the Thayer United Methodist Church Relay for Life team.
Jim is survived by his wife, Janis of the home; five children, Diane Gassaway and husband, Butch, El Dorado Hills, Calf., Donna Olson and husband, Keith, Eureka, Maxine Fant and husband, Mark, Miles, Texas, Barbara Guffey and husband, Garry, Shawnee, Okla., and Tony Johnson and wife, Irene, Mount Hope; one granddaughter who they considered their daughter, Trenda Turner and husband, Dale, Longdale, Okla.; 14 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Richard “Dick” Snavely; his stepfather, Harry Pennington; and in-laws, Orville “Jack” and Eula Umbarger.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 28 at the Thayer United Methodist Church.
The family will receive friends on Thursday from 9 until 10 a.m. at Thayer United Methodist Church.
Memorials in his name may be made to the Thayer United Methodist Church and may be left with the funeral home.
Penwell-Gabel Gibson Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
To leave a special message for the family on-line, visit www.PenwellGabelHumboldt.com