Cover photo for James Gaylord Vansickel's Obituary
James Gaylord Vansickel Profile Photo
1939 James 2023

James Gaylord Vansickel

October 4, 1939 — May 17, 2023

James G. VanSickel, passed away peacefully at his home on May 17, 2023. Jim was born in Kirksville, Missouri, October 4, 1939, to Harold and Doris VanSickel. He was their only child. Jim and his parents lived all over the country while they share cropped and worked on different farms. They lived in Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico before the family moved to Dietrich, Idaho. They then settled in King Hill, Idaho where they had a sugar beet farm.

Jim attended and graduated from Glenns Ferry High school in 1958. While he was in school, he participated in football and basketball. After graduation, he attended college at the University of Idaho in Moscow. College life wasn’t what he expected, and he was needed back on the farm, so after one year of school, he moved back to King Hill.

He met his lifelong love, Nancy Davy prior to going to college, but they really didn’t like each other too much. When he came back from college some friends set them up on a blind date, and as they say, the rest is history. They had been married for 61 years. They lived in Glenns Ferry, and then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Jim worked for Hercules Power. They moved back to Glenns Ferry where he worked various constructions jobs and helped build the Glenns Ferry High School. A friend of theirs told Jim about a job in Pocatello working for Idaho Power. Jim was hired and they moved to Pocatello in 1965 and made Pocatello their home.

Jim loved working for Idaho Power. He worked as a lineman for many years and scaled power poles for years. Because of his climbing skills, he did a lot of work for people climbing poles and replacing lights at ball fields and parks and businesses. He even climbed trees to cut them down. He was then promoted and was the first underground foreman for Idaho Power. He knew more about the tunnels that run under and around Pocatello. Jim loved the people that he worked with, they were like brothers that he never had, and he was so loved and respected by them. Jim retired from Idaho Power in 1998 after working 33 years. He always said it was the worst mistake he ever made as he loved his job so much. After he retired, he went to work as an inspector for Dasco until he got burned for a second time when he leaned on a truck that had a live power line. I think he decided that he was a lucky man for still being with us!

Jim and Nancy had three daughters, Debbie, Cindy and Karla, whom he adored and who in turn adored him. The girls thought their dad walked on water. He did everything for Nancy and his daughters. He was the grocery shopper and would go to Albertsons for maybe one thing, and not come home for an hour because he was talking to everyone in the store. For them all he was a taxi driver, gas pumper, mechanic, yard man, tutor; you name it and he did it for them. They were his whole life.

Debbie, Cindy and Karla were all involved in Job’s Daughters, so Jim decided to become a Mason. He served in the Masons for many years and also served as associate guardian for Job’s Daughters Bethel 32 until all the girls had been honored queens, and then stepped down from that position.

Jim and Nancy didn’t miss anything their kids or grandkids did. Cindy played on a softball league when she was younger, and the team gave them a biggest fan award. They went to every grandkid football, basketball, softball and baseball game, every track meet and wrestling match and he even loved the dance recitals and cheer competitions. He loved his grandkids and they worshipped and adored him! Jim and Nancy took the grandkids camping and fishing and loved having them at their house for sleepovers.

Jim loved to go hunting and fishing, but he especially liked to go Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River. He spent many days there when he worked for Idaho Power but loved to go with his sons in law and grandsons. There are a lot of stories about fishing in Salmon, but those are probably better told in a different setting!

There was nothing that Jim couldn’t do or fix. He was an electrician, plumber, gardener, carpenter, mechanic, barbecue chef, you name it he was an all-around handy man and helped a lot of people fix a lot of things. He and his wife Nancy redid their house multiple times and he did any and everything she wanted to do, with a smile on his face. He also built beautiful furniture and loved working with wood. He spent hours tying flies to take fishing. He loved photography, water skiing and he loved to golf. He was a very outdoorsy guy!

When the girls were growing up, Jim and Nancy’s house was the place to go for all of their friends; after school, on the weekends, just whenever they needed a place to go, and all were welcomed with open arms and were treated like one of their own. They were like second parents to a lot of kids and as those kids got older the relationships remained. There were lots of parties and fun! All the girls that hung out thought Jim was so handsome (so did their moms), and the guys were intimidated by “Big Jim” and scared when they first met him because when Jim shook your hand, and he shook everyone’s hand, you knew it. He loved them as his own, and they loved and adored him and was an inspiration, mentor and “dad” to so many people.

The outpouring of love from people has been so welcome by the family, and the things people say about him are so true, “great man”, “special man”, “the sweetest”, “one of a kind”, “amazing man”, “best man I’ve ever known”, “great friend”. We could go on and on, but he truly was one of the greatest sons, husband, dad and grandpa, friend and person this world will ever know. They broke the mold when he was made! His smile, laughter and humor will be greatly missed by so many.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Doris VanSickel, and grandson Justin Guardipee. Justin never thought anyone could take care of his grandpa as well as he did, so he decided to leave him here without him for three months was long enough and took him home with him.

Jim is survived by the love of his life and wife of 61 years Nancy, daughters Debbie (Bud) Schritter, Cindy Haney, Karla Holm, son in law Sean Haney, and grandchildren Brandon (Jami) Pankau, Aaron Schritter, Makenna Schritter, Rhett Schritter, Rachel Haney, Brayden Haney, Morgan (Logan) Butler, Tyler Holm and Kennedi Holm, and two great grandchildren Beckam and Brooks Butler.

The family would like to thank Selena Vasquez for being there over the last few months for dad, and Enhabit Hospice, specifically Heidi and Jenna.

Services will be held at Wilks Funeral Home Tuesday, May 23, 2023, with a visitation at 2:00 p.m. and services at 3:00 p.m. A service will be held in Glenns Ferry, Idaho at a later date.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family under the Tribute Wall tab above. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Gaylord Vansickel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Ceremony

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Mountain time)

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