The Voice of the Community Since 1909, Serving Moorcroft and Pine Haven, Wyoming

James Edward Blakeman

James Edward Blakeman, 73, Sturgis, South Dakota, passed away at his home on April 27, 2024.

Jim was born in Vancouver, Washington, on June 6, 1950. As a child, he moved with his family to Moorcroft, Wyoming and then to Spearfish, South Dakota, for a short while before re-locating to Sturgis, where he lived the remainder of his life.

Jim joined the Army in 1968 and returned to Sturgis after.

He was married to Deborah Heupel from 1979 until he was widowed in 2018.

In his younger years, he worked as a mechanic and driving trucks in the logging industry. Later, he found himself drawn to Homestake Mining Company, where he remained until its closure. He ended his working years retiring from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in Gillette, Wyoming.

His early hobbies included spending time at the race tracks with the Saloon No. 10 racing team. Jim's passion for classic cars remained strong throughout his entire life.

His years as a logger found him familiar with the back roads of the Black Hills where he loved spending time with Debbie cruising the UTV. He would rarely miss the opportunity to go enjoy a day on the trails.

Although not one to show a soft side very often, those for whom he cared knew Big Jimmy's style and felt his love.

When his wife became ill, Jim and Debbie bought a home in Arizona to be closer to her physicians. Here Debbie was able to "snowbird" in the winter; joined by Jim for his vacations.

Big Jimmy had a sense of humor that kept those around him entertained. He always had a joke up his sleeve and was never short of instigating something to get a laugh out of his audience.

His time here will be missed but the family takes peace in knowing he is now reunited with Debbie, which was his true desire ever since her passing.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at Grace Lutheran Church, Sturgis. Graveside services, with military honors, followed at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

Condolences may be sent to the family at