James E. Pursel, 69

James E. Pursel, age 69 of Wauseon, Ohio, passed away unexpectedly on May 17, 2022, at his home in
Ogden, Utah. Jim was born on December 23, 1952, to the late Paul and Emerence (Cleijnen) Pursel.
He graduated from Wauseon High School in 1970 and later earned an Accounting Assistant certificate,
Associate of Applied Business in Accounting, and an Associate of Technical Studies in Recreational Diving
Management from Northwest Technical College.

Jim had many interests, hobbies, and professions throughout his life; he lived it to the fullest marching
to beat of his own drum and the sounds of the Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Barefoot Man in his cut-offs,
short sleeved shirts, and flip-flops.

In his early years, he took to the sky and enjoyed the sport of skydiving. As a member of the Civil Air
Patrol, Jim traveled to Oklahoma State University, completed flight training, and earned his FAA Single
Engine Private Pilot license in 1971. He honorably served in the United States Air Force, a proud veteran
and patriot.

Several times in his life, he worked in trucking and logistics industry as a truck driver, expediter, small
business owner, and as a transportation assistant at the Defense Logistics Agency in Corpus Christi,
Texas. Jim enjoyed the freedom of the open road, “Looking out my windshield, I can “be anywhere I
want to be” until I see a road sign to indicate otherwise”. Jim would often tell of his travels across
Canada and marveling at the unobstructed view of the night sky, the stars and universe, and having that
be the view for next several hundred miles. Many unique finds during his travels regularly became the
contents of a larger “for everyone” Christmas gift for the family holiday party – carefully constructed,
each nephew, niece or sibling pulled on a string or unwrapped a layer of the gift until the contents
spilled out and everyone scrambled to grab something exciting.

Jim started recreational scuba diving in 1976. In 1983, he was selected as charter member of the Henry
County Underwater Search and Recovery Team, Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Napoleon, Ohio. He
earned his Peace Officer certification and served on the Napoleon Police Department and Wauseon
Police Department Auxiliary. Years later, he worked as a Police Dispatcher at a Veteran Affairs Medical
Center and for the Department of the Army.

With diverse scuba diving experiences under his belt, James trained at The Ocean Corporation in
Houston, Texas and became a Commercial Diver. His work took him to oils rigs scattered about the Gulf
of Mexico and beneath the waves or ships he went or worked “topside” as tender for the diver below.
James attended the PADI International College in California and certified in thirty scuba diving specialties
and instructor credentials so he could further teach the sport. After graduating, he traveled from
California to Utah to Florida and other spots along the way.

Jim was a devout Catholic and actively practiced his faith wherever he resided. For most of his life, he
was a parishioner at St. Caspar Catholic Church. He was a member of Knights of Columbus, Council 8829
and served as Grand Knight. As a Sir Knight of the Fourth Degree, Bishop James F. Hoffman Assembly
807 in Toledo, Ohio he served as Faithful Navigator. Jim served as District Deputy (District 2) in the Ohio
State Council for four terms. In 2017, Jim was recognized as an Honorary Member of the Order and the
Assembly, signifying 25 consecutive years with the Knights. In the final year of this life, he was a lector at
St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden, Utah and had the privilege to give the first reading during the
Easter Mass.

Jim had a special gift, his rare blood type. Before his health declined, he regularly participated in
Apheresis donor programs and gave more 168 pints (21 gallons) of blood in his lifetime; each pint could
help up to three people. Each donation was often rushed to a cancer center, newborn infant care unit,
or trauma unit to help a patient in need.

He was an avid reader and life learner, enjoyed genealogy, and watching his granddaughter grow up
from afar. He was an Ohio State Buckeyes, Green Bay Packers, and NASCAR fan, enjoyed the space
program, aviation, photography, listening to music, and watching movies.

Many will miss his sense of humor, quirky comments, vast knowledge, thoughtfulness, and willingness
to lend a hand. Jim’s experiences offered to invaluable life lessons and perspective to anyone that
opted to listen. His son will greatly miss hearing [repeated] stories, dad jokes, and the “ya done good
kid” praise which came unexpectedly or at special moments in life.

His proudest accomplishments, being a father to his two boys and a grandfather to Hannah. Jim lived
vicariously through the life and experiences of his eldest son. Jim loved his large, extended family,
proud of their many accomplishments, and always cherished their company and festivities.

He is survived by his son, Christopher (Brandi) Pursel of Cary, North Carolina; his brother Steven (Lisa)
Pursel; sisters, Odette Banister, Shari (Eric) Zimmerman, Deb Oswald; sister-in-law, Debra (Richard)
Pursel; many nieces and nephews; and one granddaughter, Hannah Pursel. James is preceded in death
by his youngest son, Craig; brother, Richard Pursel; brother-in-law, Les Banister; and his parents. Carol
DeVault of Stryker, Ohio, is the mother of his children.

Visitation for Jim will take place on Saturday, August 27, 2022, from 10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. at St.
Caspar Catholic Church, Wauseon, Ohio. A funeral mass will begin at 11:00 A.M. with Fr. Todd
Dominique officiating. Burial will take place at the St. Caspar Catholic Cemetery afterward. A luncheon
will follow at St. Caspar Catholic Church.

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