James Lester Aune was born to Lester and Marion Etta (Larsen) Aune May 20, 1948, in Rapid City, S.D. He joined an older sister, Judith Rae, 10 years his senior.
Jim was a very curious and adventuresome child growing up. As a young boy he learned to hunt, fish and camp from his mom and dad. Outdoor sports were important to him throughout his life. Over the years, he participated in Motocross, hunting of all kinds, cross country skiing, water skiing, archery, golf, gold panning and agate hunting. He lived across the street from a swimming pool where he honed his skill as a swimmer.
Jim graduated from Rapid City High School in 1966. Following a year at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, he joined the U.S. Air Force. After basic training he attended Air Force Tech School in Denver, Colo., for a year and a half. He also earned an associate’s degree through the Community College of the Air Force. He was offered a job by NASA after his retirement from the military.
Jim married Clora Karen Walters April 6, 2001.
Jim volunteered as a corner marshall with the Sports Car Club of America at Heartland Park Speedway in Topeka, Kan., for several years. He also discovered kiting in Topeka. He learned the art of kite construction and hand made many kites and banners, taking his passion for kites with him to his dying day. He was a member of the American Kite Flyers Assoc. and helped found the Topeka Kite Flyers Club.
Jim was a lifetime member of Pheasants Forever. His stewardship of his pheasant habitat provided many hours of hunting fun for his friends from all over the country. He particularly liked providing hunting opportunities to his military and law enforcement friends. Jim would keep an eye out during hunting season for kids hunting with dad or mom and grandparents. Many times after talking to them and discovering that “ditch” hunting was their only option, he would offer them a one-day hunt on private property. Always accepted and usually productive, many kids got their first pheasant for free. Jim and Clora did not charge anyone who hunted on their property.
Jim took his career seriously as well. He joined the United States Air Force in 1967 and retired in 1987. After retiring at age 39 he realized he needed something to do. So he went to work for North American Rockwell and was assigned to help track down the gremlins on the B-1 Bomber. That problem solved, he returned to work as a civilian “bench tech” in the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) field for another 23 years, making his commitment to his country a total of 43 years. His final retirement was from the Ellsworth Air Force Base PMEL.
Jim was a member of Campbell-Timmerman American Legion Post No. 115 of Platte, S.D. Jim’s world was large, and he lived in it as honestly and with as much integrity as could be found. Jim’s final gesture to the community was as an organ donor.
Jim died July 5, 2019, at Platte Health Center Avera. He was 71.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister and grandchildren, Alexander and Anna.
Jim is survived by the love of his life, Clora Karen (Walters) Aune; son, Wallace L. “J.R.” Wynia; daughter-in-law, Cathy Jo (Renaudin-Eller) Wynia; grandchildren, Allison Jo and Ryan Wynia; brother-in-law, Wayne L. Walters; nephew, Scott Walters; several other nieces and nephews; special friend, Bailey; and his closest hunting companions, Bob Watkins, Sean and John Fulton, Cal Hilligas, John Becker, Bill and Karin Knight and the Beirl family, who spent their last day with him.
Memorial services with military honors were July 9 at Mount Funeral Home in Platte. A committal service at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, S.D., will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to Platte Pheasants Forever, 27564 365th Ave., Platte, SD 57369.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through mountfu