Vail Daily obituary: James (Jimmie) Benjamin Cline
James “Jimmie” Benjamin Cline was born to Charles and Stella Cline on Aug. 1, 1925, in their home in Minturn. Jimmie was the youngest of five children, with three brothers and one sister preceding him. When he was 15 years old, there was an accident that resulted in the loss of his left eye.
Jimmie did not like school very much and jumped at the chance to enlist in the U.S. Army during World War II. He had always wanted to be an infantryman, but the Army decided it would rather have a one-eyed medic than a one-eyed infantryman. He served as a medic for more than two years and also earned his high school diploma.
When he came home to Minturn, he met the love of his life, Billie Ann Beaver, and the two wed on Oct. 7, 1948, in Glenwood Springs. The newlyweds started their life together in Jimmie’s hometown, Minturn. Jimmie started his career with the Colorado Department of Transportation, where he proudly served for 32 years.
Jimmie and Billie Ann started their beautiful family of two daughters and two sons, Sandy, Jackie, Chuck and Bruce. When Jimmie got a promotion at work, they moved to Wolcott, where they would make their lifelong home. He and Billie Ann built their home by adding the kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom on to the 1870s original structure to make it the perfect home.
Jimmie was used to overcoming obstacles in life, and it was no different when in 1955 he lost the two middle fingers on his left hand in a work accident. This unfortunate accident led to the lifelong sign of endearment done by friends and family termed the “Wolcott Salute.”
After 32 loyal years of working for the Colorado Department of Transportation, Jimmie retired at the age of 55. He and Billie Ann enjoyed spending the rest of their years by the Eagle River in Wolcott.
Never one to stay idle for long, Jimmie started to walk. Every day, he would walk two miles to the post office to check the mail. He became known as the “walking man,” and everyone in the valley loved to see him walk and would stop to say hello.
As the years went by, Jimmie and Billie Ann started to welcome a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. With these new generations came the nickname that everyone grew to know him by, Bop.
Jimmie and Billie Ann did not like to travel and only took two trips during his retirement. One was a road trip across the country to visit family. They traveled to El Paso, Texas; Tennessee; Oklahoma; and Arlington, Texas. The second trip was to Alaska to visit their daughter and her family. Jimmie used to remark that, “Louisiana was the only foreign country I have ever been to,” which is where he was stationed when he was in the Army.
Since Billie Ann passed away, Jimmie had been patiently waiting for 13 years to be reunited with her. Jimmie was also welcomed into heaven by his parents; three brothers, Harvey, Chuck and Frank; his sister Mary; his son Chuck; and many other family members and friends.
Jimmie left generations of family and friends behind to celebrate his life. The loved ones include daughters Sandy Knuth, of Kelso, Tennessee and Jackie Bear (David), of Ninilchik, Alaska; son Bruce Cline (Jackie), of Kelso, Tennessee; daughter-in-law Barb Cline; grandsons Rick Knuth, David Bear (Tammy), Scott Knuth and William Cline (April); and great-grandchildren James Knuth, Ryan Bear, Amber Cline, Kaitlyn Knuth, Caleb Knuth, Heather Bear, Emily Cline, Kathryn Knuth and Abby Cline.
A memorial service will be held for Jimmie on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Eagle Valley in Eagle with a private burial to follow at the Riverview Cemetery in Minturn.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, Disabled American Veterans or a charity of your choice.