September 14, 1929 – December 12, 1990
James (Jim) Daniel Bixby was born in Hyannis, Nebraska on September 14, 1929. He was the second son of Lawrence and Elanor (Riordan) Bixby and had one brother Larry. Jim grew up on the Spade Ranch, which his father had recently purchased north-east of Ellsworth.
Jim attended the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture at Curtis, Nebraska. In 1951 he was drafted into the Army serving with the 2nd Division, 38th Infantry in the Korean War. Upon completion of basic training, he married Doyle Shald of Gordon, Nebraska on February 14, 1952 in Paso Robles, California. In the summer of 1952, Jim fought in the Battle of Old Balody, an American assault on Chinese positions to re-take Hill 266 in West-Central Korea. Jim received the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) and Korean War Service Medal.
Following his discharge, Jim and Doyle returned to the Spade Ranch and to them were born Stephanie (Bruce Graham), Shannon, Bret (Colleen Votruba), Courtney (Dan Hadden) and James Sean (Marci Mitchell).
Jim was a true horseman and teamster, breaking and riding many good horses most out of the Spade’s own remuda. He raised Quarter Horses his whole life and was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Member Number 11661. Jim raised many good Hancock horses using studs from Vern Whitaker, Hyde Merrett and the Haythorns. Jim belonged to the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA) and the Nebraska State Rodeo Association (NSRA) in calf roping, team tying and team roping after dally roping became popular. Jim won the South Dakota-Nebraska matches in ’64 and ’66, the Merriman Five Calf Average 5 times and was 2nd in Nebraska State in 1968. Through the years he won over thirty buckles, saddles and trophies. He ran a commercial herd of Hereford and Angus Cattle. Jim was a certified Private Pilot flying Aeronca’s, Stinson’s, Piper’s and Cessna’s over the years.
Jim was a collector of all things western. He was never more happy than when going to Rodeo and was active on the ranch until his death from cancer in December of 1990. Jim will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of those who knew him as a wonderful father, grandfather and friend.