Obituary-Jimmie “Jim” Ray Zenger

Jimmie “Jim” Ray Zenger, beloved father, husband, and friend, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family, on December 25, 2023, at the age of 74.  He was born to loving parents, Wade and Maxine (Taylor) Zenger, on July 9, 1949, in Belleville, Kansas. They lived in a quaint limestone house East of Cuba, Kansas with no running water or electricity known as “hilltop”.

On November 26, 1977, he married Rhonda Hamel, his wife of 46 years, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, coinciding with the day the Clyde Bluejays won the state football championship. Jim was a devout Christian, and his faith guided him throughout his life.

He completed his secondary education at Haddam High School in 1967. He then attended Fairbury Community College, graduating in 1969. Jim furthered his studies at Kansas State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture in 1971.

His first job was as a brakeman for the Rock Island railroad company located in Fairbury, Nebraska.  After a year, his knowledge and a passion for farming guided him to work alongside his dad in a farming and ranching operation east of Cuba, Kansas.  Jim also managed the Agenda Elevator at Agenda, Kansas for a few years.  His dedication to the land and his agricultural expertise took him as far as Saudi Arabia, where he spent nine months cultivating wheat on a vast farm in the middle of a desert. Jim’s love of farming also led him to work for the State of Kansas as a warehouse examiner and grain inspector for 35 years, allowing him to travel across the state of Kansas and forge lasting connections with his colleagues and members of the agriculture community. He enjoyed many years of combining wheat for Feight Farms.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Jim found joy in the simple pleasures of life. He was a loving father who always made time to impart valuable life lessons to his children. In his leisure time, Jim indulged in hobbies that brought him closer to his family and friends such as playing cards, gathering with loved ones on holidays and driving his purple pickup to go cheer on the Kansas State University football team.

He enjoyed traveling and one of the most significant trips he made was to Isla Mujeres in Mexico, where he joyfully witnessed his daughter Amanda’s wedding to David. When he wasn’t chasing his daughter around the world, he was often spending time with Mark in his shop, where he found happiness. Jim’s memory will forever be cherished by his loving wife, children, family, numerous nieces, nephews, and all those whose lives he touched. He leaves behind a legacy of strength, simplicity, and love that will continue to inspire and guide his family and friends.

Jim is survived by his wife, Rhonda, of the home in Clyde, KS; a son, Mark W. (Beth) Zenger, Clyde, KS; a daughter, Amanda R. (David) Heron, Melbourne, Australia; sister, Carol Garrison, Newton, KS; his in-laws, Suzette (Danny) Knoettgen, Clifton, KS; Diane (Rex) Sicard, Concordia, KS; Zachary (Heather) Hamel, Naples, FL; Family, friends and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wade and Maxine (Taylor) Zenger; great-nephew, Jonah Martin, brother-in-law, Gale Garrison.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, from 1 pm – 6 pm with the family receiving friends from 4 pm – 6 pm at the Chaput Mortuary in Clyde.

A memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held 10:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, at The Branch, in Clyde, Kansas, with Pastor Michael Ostermann officiating.  Inurnment will follow in the Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Clyde, Kansas.  There will be a luncheon served for family and friends back at The Branch.  In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes contributions to Clyde Christian Church, Meadowlark Hospice and Clyde EMS.  In care of the Chaput Mortuary, PO Box 291, Clyde, KS 66938.

 May his soul find eternal peace, and may his memory be a source of comfort and strength to all.

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