James A. “Jim,” “Popi” Baltzor, 81, of Athena, passed away Jan. 3 at his home, surrounded by his family.
Jim was born June 18, 1934, in Wilder, Idaho, to Frank and Mary Carter Baltzor.
Jim and younger brother, Allen, were raised on Thomas Creek and Cow Creek, near Jordan Valley. He rode his horse every day to the one-room Cow Creek Elementary School, and graduated from high school in Jordan Valley in 1952.
In 1953, he joined and served in the U.S. Army, being stationed at Fort Ord, Calif. Near the end of the Korean War, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He served two years and was honorably discharged in 1955 as a corporal. Jim returned to Jordan Valley and married the love of his life, Arlene B. Eiguren, on Dec. 11, 1955. Jim and Arlene raised their three children on the family ranch at Cow Creek. Jim was a cattle brand inspector, a member of the Jordan Valley Rodeo Committee, a school board member, an Elks member, and a charter member of the Jordan Valley Lions Club.
Always striving to be more self-sufficient, Jim attended a rancher vet school. He took great pride in being able to perform procedures on livestock for fellow ranchers in the area, including many Caesarean sections and enucleations. He also started a lot of colts, and made many nice bridle and rope horses during his years at the ranch.
After 22 years of ranching, Jim and Arlene sold the ranch to Dan and Mary Arritola. Jim then began his next career. He was hired as a Malhuer County Sheriff’s deputy. In 1980, Jim and Arlene left Jordan Valley and moved near Pendleton, on Cabbage Hill. He then worked for the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office for one year.
After his law enforcement career, Jim attended Miller’s Bit and Spur School in Idaho, and began his next career as a rawhide braider and silversmith. He created countless treasures over the years, specializing in reatas, reins, bridles, spurs, buckles, and jewelry.
After Jim and Arlene officially retired, they sold their home and traveled the country, making friends everywhere they went. In 2007, they bought a new home in Athena, and have lived there since. Jim never knew a stranger and could tell stories for hours that would keep everyone entertained. He was a kind soul, who would help out anyone in need, and was known as a man that could be depended on in any situation. Jim loved spending time with his family, especially while hunting with his sons, son-in-law, grandchildren and friends.
Jim is survived by his wife of 60 years, Arlene; sisters-in-law, Virginia Baltzor, Francis Harvey, and Kay (Glenn) Grenke; step-sister, Sharon Davis; children, Jaime (Con) Shea, Keith (Katie) Baltzor, and Rick (Chelle) Baltzor; grandchildren, Melissa (Shane) Weston, Keri (Jordan) Standley, Kristin Shea, Sarah, Clint (Heather), Zane, and Travis Baltzor; nine great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends who he considered family.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary; step-mother, Naida; sister, Mary Kathleen; brother, Allen; and brother-in-law, John Harvey.
A recitation of the Rosary was held at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Jordan Valley on Friday, Jan. 8. A funeral service was held the following day, at St. Bernard’s. The family will hold a celebration of life in Athena at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s memory to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Jordan Valley, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Athena, or any charity of your choice.