Jimmy Wayne Stokey was born in Lewellen, Nebraska on March 23, 1953 to Norma McNally and Vernon “Pete” Stokey and passed peacefully at home at the age of 70 on August 22, 2023. Jim married his high school sweetheart Kathy on August 20, 1971. To this union three children were born: Jason Wayne, Janell Diane, and Vernon Richard. Jim was proceeded in death by his son Jason, his sister Peggy and his parents.
Jim and Kathy moved to Chadron when Jim enrolled at Chadron State College. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and Art in 1976, he began teaching at Alliance Middle School and their daughter Janell was born that fall. While teaching and coaching football, basketball and track at Alliance, Jim was a member of the Diversion Team and worked with at risk youth, a group he has always held dear to his heart.
In the fall of 1980, Jim and Kathy moved to their hometown of Lewellen, Nebraska where Jim taught high school and coached football, basketball and track for two years. Jim decided to return to college and was accepted into the Industrial Technology Education program at Chadron State College and graduated with a Masters degree in the spring. Their son Vernon was born later that year. Jim taught Technology, Electronics and Power at Chadron State for the next 19 years. In 1988 Jim received the Burlington Northern award for excellence in teaching. He took a sabbatical from CSC to work toward his Doctorate in Electronics and Power Systems at the University of Northern Iowa, graduating in 1994. His doctoral dissertation: An analysis of the Use of Programmable Controllers to Control an In Situ Leach Mine Wellfield was used to automate the Crawford, Nebraska uranium mine. He taught at CSC until he accepted a position at the Crow Butte Uranium Mine the summer of 1999.
Jim served as Senior Engineer of the Crow Butte Project – Cameco Resources in Crawford, Nebraska for 5 years and was promoted to General Manager of the Crawford mine then promoted to Vice President of Projects and Growth in Casper, Wyoming and served in that capacity until retiring in 2016. He was put in charge of the Inkai Pilot Plant in Taikonur, Kazakhstan the summer of 2001 and built the uranium mine there. Jim was honored with the Cameco Innovations Award in recognition of the innovative technology “Bicarbonate Make-up System Improvements.”
He valued his community and felt it important to share his time and expertise by serving on the Chadron City Council as Vice Mayor, the Pine Ridge Job Corp Industrial Council, and as a Scout Leader for Chadron Troup 302. He loved motorcycles and was an active member in the American Legion Riders and Guardians of the Children. He also helped plan and construct the local motorcycle track north of Chadron.
Jim and Kathy celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary in August with family. More than anything, Jim’s greatest love was being surrounded by friends and family, especially during Sunday morning breakfasts at their home. He always looked for opportunities to put on his teacher hat whether it was with students, friends or grandkids. Many individuals benefitted from his vast knowledge of all things important and interesting.
Jim is survived by his wife Katherine of 52 years, daughter Janell and husband Jake Stewart, their children Dalton, Fletcher, Maxxton, and Layah-Lucille, son Vernon Stokey and wife Tanee’ and their children Coltryn and Alyvia. He is survived by four sisters: Linda Stokey Thompson of Minatare, NE, Pat (Marlan) Bloyd of Sioux Falls, SD, Sue (Lloyd) Spangler of Norfolk, NE, Katherine Stokey of Gering, NE, and Greg Gade (Peggy), brother in law of Lewellen, NE plus many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and good friends that he considered family.
Jim fought a hard fight against cancer for 5 years. He always had a positive attitude, complete trust in God’s plan, and a warm loving smile. He passed peacefully at home with his wife and children at his side.