James Edward Barton, 82, of Ottumwa, passed away on March 26, 2022 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
He was born September 17, 1939 in Ottumwa to William H. and Evelyn White Barton. He graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1957 where he played basketball and American Legion baseball. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1962 where he received varsity letters for two years in baseball.
In 1970, Jim earned his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University as a Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Program intern. Jim worked as a teacher, Director of Community Education and principal for 33 years in the Ottumwa School District. He was also named interim head girls basketball coach in 1972-1973 after being an assistant coach at Walsh High School for several years. Jim served 23 years in the Iowa Army National Guard, retiring as Major.
In August 1960, Jim married Joellyn Hunter of Blakesburg, IA. He is survived by Joellyn and two children, Jamie (Dale) Meierotto of Newnan, GA and Jon (Lisa) Barton of Urbandale; three grandchildren, Stephanie Meieretto (Austin) Eldred, Katelyn Meierotto; and Cole James Barton.
Since 1997, Jim and Joellyn’s retirement activities include extensive travel throughout the United States and Canada. Their focus has been on Daytona Beach, FL and Yellowstone National Park. A passion for nature and wildlife has evolved into a role of spotting, tracking and recording wolf behavior in Yellowstone. They presented numerous wolf programs to all age groups about their experiences and developed great relationships with people from around the United States and the world. In August 2011, they were awarded the National Conservation Award presented to them by the Elizabeth Ross chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Visitation will be open after 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 30th at Reece Funeral Home with his family present to greet friends from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Graveside services and burial will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 31st at Shaul Cemetery. Military honors will be conducted by O.B. Nelson Post #3 American Legion and Walter B. Schafer Post #775 Veterans of Foreign Wars. For those unable to attend, you may watch live on the Reece Funeral Home Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, memorials may be made to “Yellowstone Forever” to support the research and education of the Cougar and Wolf projects.