- About Us
James "Jim" Franklin WaldropMarch 6, 1935 ~ March 4, 2020 (age 84)
James “Jim” Waldrop was born during a dust storm in 1935 in Guymon, Oklahoma to Mildred and Frank Waldrop. By the time he started school, they had moved to Beaver, OK. His father owned a Western Auto, and at the age of 6, Jim was building wagons for $.50 each. Sometimes he would, in a hurry to finish, build a wagon that the wheels came off. By the age of 12 he owned his own car with money he earned by selling tires in his father’s store. Every Saturday he faithfully washed his car and painted the white walls. During high school he could tell you how many kids he could stuff into his car.
Jim graduated from Beaver High School in 1953. He attended Panhandle State in Goodwell for two years and then transferred to Oklahoma A&M, now OSU, in Stillwater. He graduated with a Business Degree in 1957. Jim spent two years in the army stationed at Fort Chaffee Arkansas followed by four years in the reserves.
Jim met Dora Landureth and married her in February 2, 1958. They moved to Houston so he could work at Foley’s Department store. It took him one hour to get to work and one hour to get home. When Dora was expecting, they decided that Houston was not a good place to raise their children. Jim and Dora moved to Laverne, OK to own a Western Auto. To this marriage three girls were born: Teresa Lynn, Kimberly Kay and Jami Annette. Jim and Dora raised their girls in Laverne. The family attended the First Christian Church where Jim was an Elder, Choir Director, and Sunday School Superintendent. He insured his girls were in church anytime the doors were open and the family faithfully prayed before meals. Jim taught the girls to love and honor God which he considered the most important lesson of all. He was proud to live in Laverne and often said it was the “best place in the world to raise kids”.
Jim taught his girls how to dance, drive, ride a bike, play basketball and water ski. Every summer the family enjoyed spending time at Fort Supply Lake. One Sunday afternoon while taking a curve in the road, the boat came unhitched from the Pontiac Station wagon and started to pass the car. Sparks were flying from the metal trailer dragging on the pavement. Jim stayed calm, looked at Dora and said, “Well look there, Dora, there goes the boat”, as it passed and landed in the ditch.
Jim followed his girls to cheerleading, basketball games, track meets, singing and piano contests through high school and into college. He even went to Hawaii to watch their basketball. The girls knew they could call him anytime, day or night, and he would be there for them, even if it involved driving nine hours. He had a way of always cheering them up when they needed it and always knew the perfect thing to say. He made holidays so much fun, especially Christmas. He would tell them the entire month of December that this was going to be the very best Christmas they’d ever had, and every year they had an amazing Christmas. The family often joked that he always wrapped gifts from the bank and gave them as presents. Jim was a positive and charismatic person that brightened a room. He never stopped being a dad. He followed the grandkids faithfully as well, attending basketball games, cross country meets, flag twirling events and never missed a graduation or a wedding. Jim’s love for his girls was amazing and he would do anything for them. He was a loyal and true OSU alumni and fan and loved attending games with his family.
Jim loved vacations and always had time for his family. One night before they were to leave on a trip to Florida, he was up until midnight installing an air conditioner. As soon as he got home, he loaded his family into the station wagon and they took off and they were in Memphis, Tennessee by the time the family woke up. He went to bed and the family went to the pool. Jim loved to drive and could drive for hours; he was like the energizer bunny. He took his family to Busch Gardens, Wikki Water Ballet and the Florida Keys just to name a few.
Jim enjoyed owning his own business and attending conventions with his father. He owned the Western Auto in Laverne for 51 years. Jim was an example of a solid work ethic and stellar customer service. He would often return to the Western Auto after hours and on weekends to get customers an appliance or car parts they needed. He even delivered a freezer on Christmas Day. Many times, his wife and daughters would help him deliver. He loved selling and talking to his customers. He loved remodeling houses and took real estate classes. He was an original “Fixer Upper”. He bought and sold many houses in Laverne and built two cabins in Colorado. If anyone asked him how he was doing, he would always tell them “fantastic and if I was doing any better, I couldn’t stand it!” Jim treated everyone with respect.
Jim loved cars of any kind and loved trading pickups (the brighter the color the better). He especially loved antique cars and would drive all over the country to buy them, and when he got them refurbished, he would take them to car shows. He loved driving his cars in the Laverne Parades and often was accompanied by his daughters, grandchildren or his wife. He even gave rides to Prom and weddings. Jim’s 1959 Ford with a retractable roof was his baby and dream car. It wasn’t uncommon for him to wash and clean three cars in a day. Before they ever started out on a trip the car needed to be clean, even if it was snowing.
In 2002, Jim married Darla Hollon and they enjoyed traveling, being together and car shows. After Jim retired, he had more time to play with his cars and be with his grandchildren. Even after he became ill, he traveled to his granddaughter’s wedding. Jim wouldn’t miss anything his children and grandchildren participated in.
Jim passed away after long battle after a stroke leaving his wife, Darla. He was preceded in death by his parents Mildred and Frank Waldrop. He is survived by his wife Darla Waldrop, daughter Teri and her husband Jerry Burnett of Broken Arrow, OK and their two children, daughter Kim and her husband Max Reese of Ponca City, OK and their five children and daughter Jami and her husband Bert Smith of Salado, TX, and their two children and three great grandchildren, step daughter Penny and her husband Mike Green of Ogallala, NB and their three children, step son Trampus and his wife Jennifer of Kingfisher, OK and their two children and brother Jerry Waldrop and his wife Ruth Ann and their children. Jim will be greatly missed and he was loved for his wit, his love of God, his love for his family and his love of his friends and of course, cars.
PO Box 902, Laverne OK 73848
Laverne Fire Department
P.O. Box 1222, Laverne OK 73848